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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #4041
    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
    Weather: Rain


    I'm not as bright as you think I am...

    It's the first thought that comes to mind, now that she's really reflecting on herself. She doesn't think that sort of thing is actually below her, no, but the fact that he seems to think it does incites a note of panic down inside...

    She messes up all the time.

    Sure, there had been a time where she had felt invincible, even acted invincible, succeeding where she shouldn't, but her first failure had been a horrendous sting, an impossible disaster, a gash in the heart and confidence that she had yet to recover from, would probably never recover from, one other broken part in the mess of a person she actually was, and so...

    ---There's a bit of a pressure.

    Just as she does not normally get close enough to anyone to feel jealous, nor does she normally get so close to anyone that their opinion of her can hurt her; she fades in and out of others lives, integrating just enough that she can do her job and leave when it's over, minimizing pain on both sides, but...

    This town was making that difficult.

    ---She had slipped up a bit too much, now she cared a bit too much...

    Letting people down felt bad, letting people close to you down was agonizing, and...

    She's not sure she can be as bright as he thinks she is, that's scary...

    But...

    "...Geez, I really can't shake this princess thing huh...?"

    A chuckle.

    ...She does want to try.

    Bright as the sky, clear as the sky...

    "Okay. You win~ I'll embrace my princess side, Mr. Knight."

    Should have seen it coming, he'd been calling her a maiden for ages...

    Maybe that was her nature, deep down?

    "Was a bit of a forced joke anyway..."

    She admits it.

    She got to see him lose his cool anyway, so it was mostly worth it, didn't have to do it again...

    "But okay, gonna start putting a more serious stop to your self-deprecation than too..."

    She smirks...

    Might as well follow through, huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottie
    "Left eyes, you say?" Scottie repeated, directing the conversation to the other topic once more. "That's a bit of a morbid hobby. Then again, it would make sense. During my visit here to Road's End, I've noticed that a number of people are sporting eyepatches... more often than not over their left eye. Of course, there's a certain amount of symbolism regarding that 'sinister' eye of ours... I wonder. Perhaps a local legend passed down to the collective subconscious around here that affects our dreams? Or something more?"
    She folds her hands and rests her head on them, comfortable with Thorne's hand on her shoulder.

    "Well, putting aside all the people in town that have it and how easy it would spread from that alone... There is that horrendous statue outside."

    She glares in it's general direction.

    "According to a girl I met today, the town has some pretty strong opinions about it themselves... One Eyed Jacks, they call it? It has a single eye, purposefully so, and almost everyone that sees it hates it..."

    She smiles.

    "Almost like something is haunting it, right?"

    Her eyes light up a bit.

    Talking trash about that statue is pretty fun-!

    "A bad impression is still an impression, you'd remember something you'd hate, really sticks out in your mind, so that could be a sort of... Virus, that goes through the minds of everyone in town. I mean, it's so gaudy that it basically screams 'hey look at me,' very much fuel for nightmares..."

    ...Or existence.

    Like a monster in the woods that won't let you forget it's there...

    Is it even there?

    It's awfully insistent about itself.

    "And some of the students I've talked to have said they've seen this Dot in their nightmares, wears a frilly sort of dress... Must work fast, since we haven't been here all that long..."

    She shrugs, then...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottie
    "Maybe this Muse as well. Though... who knows yet, no? Regardless, it sounds like something to investigate further," he added, before glancing towards the corridor leading to the cocktail lounge. "... And maybe talking with this friend of yours wouldn't be a bad idea, either. Who knows, he might be just the person I was meant to meet."
    "...Yeah, might be worth doing, although..."

    A pause, then...

    "Might be better to wait for him to come out than to chase him in there..."
    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?



  2. #4042
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    ... Cutie-patootie?

    Elise repeated the stranger's words in her mind.

    He leaned over and offered her a hand as he introduced himself. She eyed his hand dubiously for a moment before she reached up and accepted his offer for a hand up off the ground and was hoisted back up onto her feet.

    "Nice to meet you, Hsan Kra! I'm Elise."

    She paused. She frowned for a moment as she considered the dull pain still aching at the back of her brain.

    Am I? I might not be that Elise-Marie Pelltier from before that the demon described, but she's still me, and even if I'm not her, I'm still her. So, yeah. Yeah. I am. Besides, what else am I even going to call myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shin Hsan Kra
    "I'm after this naughty girl with a scar across her eye - did a lot of bad things in the past, see. Lots and lots of bad things. So somebody reckon'd that they'd be needin' a little talkin' to, and a bit of time in the naughty corner. Sent me on my merry way then, and well, here I am. Not exactly a rivetin' tale of derrin' do and swashbucklin' qualities, but it is what it is. Well, there's a bit more to it than that, but I'm just giving you the long and short of it. Nothing to worry your pretty head over, yeah? I mean, you ain't exactly nicked in the eye from where I'm standin', so it's not like I'm here to be stern with you, ufufufu~"
    I think I will worry my pretty head about this, thank you very much. I guess I'm not alone in having apparently done something horrible in the past. A naughty girl with a scar over her eye, eh? That sounds like Vier. Given her penchant for mind reading and guns, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that she's landed herself in trouble at some point.

    "Well that's a relief to hear that I'm not the one in trouble, but if a private eye like you is looking for someone like that around Pinefall, I'd imagine that means you think this naughty girl with a scar across her eye might be hiding here as a student? If one of my classmates has done lots of bad things, that sounds exactly like the sort of thing I really should worry about."

    Quote Originally Posted by Shin Hsan Kra
    "But, ah, it's not like I could help myself. Seein' a cute lass lyin' on the ground like that, I figured I'd stop by to see what's what - see if they'd need any help. But 'lo and behold, you got up before I could even do a thing! Maybe I should've not intruded after all."
    Elise couldn't shake the memory of Ubon suggesting they give a semi-conscious Jake "CPR" after they rescued him at the Beach Party earlier that week from her mind.

    If I saw someone lying on the ground unconscious and alone on the ground in the rain, I'd want to stop, make sure they're okay, and see if there was anything I could do to help too… I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for now, Shin Hsan Kra…

    "Oh, uh, don't worry about it. I appreciate the help up," said Elise, "Plus you probably helped snap me out of my little reverie there. It was about time I got up anyway."

    Next time I commune with LBJ like that, we're doing it someplace more comfortable and private. Uhg, you think I would've learned my lesson after we cavorted around the fountain the other night and John spotted us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shin Hsan Kra
    "I might've seen a lass like that with a pooch like that not too long ago~? I wonder where it was~?"
    Elise felt a momentary pang of frustration as the reed-like man wove around actually answering her question.

    "Somewhere nearby, I would hope," replied Elise.

    LBJ said that Subaru was still watching us while we were chatting, but it's hard to gauge how long ago that actually was… I can't imagine she and Tonkori would just abandon us out here alone unless they had a good reason. Did something come up? Maybe Tonkori was starting to get cold?

  3. #4043
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Avery’s Dinner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain



    John Dove turns to look straight at Ubon, his cheek now resting on the table. His face is like unworked stone, revealing absolutely nothing, his flat stare eloquent in its utter lack of expression. His eyes fixated on the Asian girl, as if somehow hoping he can wordless project the word “seriously?” into her brain.

    The stare stretches perhaps further than it is comfortable, until John sighs.

    “I don’t care enough, after all. Believe what you want.”

    It is not as if he is going to tell her that he came out of two meetings with members of the Turnside in which any wrong step could have led to his death, if not that of every single one of them. Well, the root of his current issues is neither “Isaac” nor Ultravania.

    Finally pulling himself off the table, John quickly resettles his plate right in front of him and regards his other classmates.

    “And I’ll be having more of that pie. I need sugar in my brain. Now give me a moment while I parse those nicknames.”



    He can only appreciate that they follow a simple pattern.

    “Assuming ‘Allie’ is Aleen here, then ‘Villie’ is…Vier Wolff.”

    He remembers Vier Wolff standing in front of Aleen’s door on a Saturday evening. Indeed, they were rather close in the previous loop, if only from vague snapshots in his memory.

    “Unfortunately, I have not exchanged words with Miss Wolff, so I do not have much to say…” However, Vier Wolff is one of those who remember, which probably has influenced her actions in the current loop, especially towards Aleen King. What kind of end did these two experience on that Sunday?

    “I suspects she is one of those quick to feel suspicion. Like I said, there’s been a number of strange happenings in town and around school. It would make sense that Miss Wolff is concerned, and making efforts to alleviate those concerns. I don’t think she is a bad person, so I think she is acting with your safety in mind, Aleen.”

    With that, he turns towards Caleb.

    “Assuming you are ‘Callie’, then ‘Annie’ would be…Vandemeel, right. Hmm.”

    ‘Hmm’, indeed.

    “Vandemeel…has already convinced herself that the world works in a certain way, and will not accept any other perspective. She believes in justice, but she has unilaterally decided the shape of that justice.”

    Well, she comes from a country that only regained its independence three years ago. John cannot even imagine how it was to grow up in one of the so-called ‘Soviet Socialist Republics’.

    “To become like that, I guess she...has lived all this time in a rather unkind world.”

    John Dove has had it easy. The very fact he could afford to dismiss the world around him for all these years implies he has not lived in a world that could seriously hurt him. Sure, he had to deal with the uncaring, somewhat fearful Dove family, with moving from home to home across America, with school bullying and the accusations of being either a beacon of tragedy or a stone-faced killer, but the fact these things never mattered much to him mean they were never such a big deal.

    “As for plans for the weekend…”

    We are going to fight for our lives. Probably die.

    John has not yet dismissed the possibility that one of the people in this booth is an imposter. That is why he hesitates to share the plan he began to put into motion before going to the men’s toilets.

    “…well, the rain will not stop, but it’s not as if that stopped us today. Still, it’s not a weather than encourages ‘having fun’, and everybody is tense this first week, so I don’t think any sort of activity for the class as a whole like the beach party will work out.”

    John cannot help but understand people like Vier Wolff. To protect people, sometimes you have to hurt them. To protect these people around him, John must keep a prudent distance to them and between them.

    “To be honest, I do not know myself, what I will do tomorrow,” he lies. He already has a decent idea—if he survives the night, that is. You never know in this hellish cage. “If I come up with something interesting, I’ll let you know.”

    John originally wanted to share some pie with Alpa, but he is questioning the prudency of visiting her in the middle of the night. In the first place, she might not enjoy such late visits. Besides, his thoughts keep pulling him in a different direction. A dangerous direction, based on everything he has learned in this day.

    “…maybe you can try following Inacio to the bar?” He says somewhat coyly, showing the slightest smirk to the Portuguese artist. “It would take some particularly bad luck to have a repetition of last night, especially with this rain.”
    Last edited by Daneel Rush; April 24th, 2021 at 02:26 PM.

  4. #4044
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "What's the story behind those? Guns like that can't just be for show. You could probably pin a trained soldier in ten seconds."
    Hearing that question, Billie let out a boisterous laughter and flexed her guns bit more to show off. True, they weren't exactly the type you would see on a normal person often, much less a woman, but when it came to style it did seem to fit Billie like nail on the head. Indeed, it would have been just weird to see her without the muscles.

    "Oh, these? Weeeell, I suppose I can tell you a little bit about it," the bartender replied, grinning from ear to ear. "See, back in the day, I wanted to be in the military - but was told I'd never make it. The typical 'you can't hang, kiddo' spiel. So, thinking that I'd show them, I began training my body. First with normal methods, and after that with a bit of... unconventional means. This was about twenty years ago, see, and I happened to run into this beast of a guy in my work at the time. Gave me some tips and some useful nutrional advice, even handed me his good luck charm which had worked out great for him apparently!"

    She patted her biced, which was like an anti-aircraft turret.

    "Guess it worked out great for me too, since eventually the result was this!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "Two... What are the regulars like here? If they're all as colourful as you, Carrie, I might wanna come back sometime soon."
    This time, it was Carrie's turn to answer. She left her languid eyes drift through the interior of the bar, watching the empty tables and the chairs while a slight hint of a smile rose to her face.

    "Hmm, regulars eh? I guess we have a few, right Billie? There's Tommy and Albert who liked to come a couple of times in a week, Max also sometimes swings by. Josie tends to drop in once in every blue moon, mostly during the early days of the week. Then there's old Ash but ah... he just comes to chew on his pitch gum and stick it under the table - had Billie up at arms eventually. Now I think he's too afraid to come, the old loony," the other woman responded. "We've had some others too, but they tend to be either the type to have no set schedule, or feel like they've just dropped off the grid."

    Billie nodded at those words.

    "Mhm. Haven't seen those guys in coats for a while - not the one with the scruffy jacket, nor the one with red. Frauke's stopped coming recently as well," the bartender added, before suddenly smiling. "Though I'm sure business will pick up, what with all these new people around. Heck, we've been having more fresh faces this week than in a dog's age. Can't say I ain't pleased as punch about that, though!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "Three... What kinda guys does Billie like? I need ammo here or she'll tease me forever."
    Carrie blinked at the sudden, quiet question with a hint of a surprise in her eyes, but soon enough it melted into a sly grin.

    "Well now... I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say this, buuuut~" she replied while Billie looked at the two of them with a raised eyebrow. "Apparently our dear bartender has a bit of a thing for men with badges. Especially one wearing a star, and who happens to live right here in this town."

    The older woman snickered and took a sip of her drink.

    "You didn't hear this from me though~" She added.

    Also, at this point, Prushka noticed that faint rumbling against her back had returned. Huh. Ahti's quiet purring had grown a little stronger. Wonder what was up with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billie
    "Finally! Billie, is your eye being haunted by a hungry nightmare lady with a crazy smile, a frilly dress, and a bad Virginian accent?"
    A flat, awkward silence fell to the room.

    Billie, looking absolutely flabbergasted, scratched her head.

    "Err... No. I lost it to a cougar a plenty of years back. Didn't see it wearing a froo-froo dress, and it wasn't much of a talker so can't say about the accent," she answered. "Gotta say though, never been asked that before. Plenty of guesses about my eye, but nobody chose a guess as wild as that!"




    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "Might be better to wait for him to come out than to chase him in there..."
    Ferguson nodded.

    "Hmm, perhaps. It did look like he was having an important meeting of sorts," the agent said, causing Hawthorn to scoff a little bit and roll his eyes. "Though, what shall we do while we wait then? Should we go invite the owner of this place to join us, after all? Perhaps get a deck of playing cards to pass the time. We've got the makings of a Bridge tournament here, or maybe some Hold 'Em - nothing wild of course."

    Hearing that, the other man, hand still on Liana's shoulder, glanced towards Fyrtio who had not stopped stuffing her face and gave an awkward sort of smile.

    "Yeaaah, I think it might be best if we got at least a fourth player. Not saying you're bad stuff like this, Fyrtio, but your, uh... pokerface needs some work. In lots of ways," he said, before turning his attention towards Liana. "That being said, the statue's really bothering you, huh? Well, not that I can blame you. With how it seems to have appeared in people's dreams, and how things connecting to it keep popping up... having it here just feels like asking for trouble."

    It was one thing to hear about the vague dreams of other people where they might have had some sort of contact with this Dot. However, the way Scottie had explained his little sojourn to the slumberland, it almost sounded like something else - something more concrete, nearly prophetic. Dreams and dreamers had always been a gateway to information from beyond the shackles of times, but often it required one to be a certain type of free-spirited soul to do so regularly...

    And, well, Special Agent Ferguson certainly fit the bill.

    "Just what the hell did Bossman experience back in the day to build up the monstrosity anyways...?" Hawthorn muttered.

    These words, this topic, and especially all these thoughts caused Liana's eyes to be naturally drawn towards one of the windows. A particular window, where the rain-beaten garden and flowerbeds could still be seen. And while the shape of the accursed statue was not visible, it's shadow was. A long, twisted shadow created by the onyx-colored monstrosity that sat at the center of the otherwise perfectly ordinary showcase of nature's beauty - almost like a scar or a wound cut into the land itself by... something, someone. Maybe Dot herself.

    Wait.

    That shadow that she was looking.

    Did it... move?

    That head, which had been looking towards the side, why did its shadow now look like it was... staring right at the window? As in, the window through which Liana herself was visible?

    Was that just a trick of her eyes?

    ... No.

    When Liana blinked and tried to focus her gaze again... she saw that the shadow of the statue was no longer holding its arm up, and cradling the symbol of spade.

    Not it was standing there, arms to its sides, facing the aforementioned window as if burning a hole through it with its gaze.




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

    As Elaine Winters finally returned to the campus area, the evening was well on its way to the night.

    The dim lights of Pinefall High were easily visible from the distance, and were welcoming in a way... almost welcoming. Who knew what sort of secrets lurked around in this place as well? Secrets, lies, and terrible, terrible madness... and that was just the tip of the ice berg. The whole town was mired with mysteries, and there didn't seem to be no end to them - or tragedies.

    Like the one she was struggling with right now.

    At least focusing on other things made it easy to ignore the fact that she had gotten once again soaked, right after drying up a little bit at the lighthouse.

    Still... Subaru should be here somewhere? Maybe she had already returned to the dorms, though Elaine had seen a glimpse of her earlier, playing with Tonkori behind the main building of the school. That was as good as place as any to start with, see if the usual duo was still out despite the rain. At least that bright red raincoat, one much smaller than Elaine's, would be easy enough to spot in the green outskirts of the forest.

    However, when Elaine arrived to the corner of the main building, just one turn away from where she was headed, her instincts made her naturally press against the wall.

    Why?

    Because she heard voices.

    One that she recognized...

    Quote Originally Posted by Elise
    "Somewhere nearby, I would hope."
    And one that she didn't.

    "Hmm, I wonder, I wonder~" the voice of a young man, sounding like a mischievous fox, replied. "Heck, they might be even closer than we think~"

    Glancing past the corner, Elaine could see a surprising, perhaps even a bit confusing scene laid out before her. She saw Elise, one of the people she had been thinking about looking, standing there with her back covered in mud - almost like she had been laying there on the ground. No, scratch that, judging by the spot on the muddy, rain-beaten ground, she had definitely been laying there. And opposite of Elise was a young man Elaine had never seen before... one with a violet hair and a smile that almost screamed of a trickster-like mentality. And while the young man, probably not much older than Elaine herself, seemed to be having loads of fun, Elise didn't exactly seem to share this sentiment.

    "Ooh, right, now it comes back!" The young man suddenly exclaimed, clasping his hands together. "That young lass... I certainly did see her! Right when I approached this place from the woods - trying to be all sneaky-like, you see. Well naturally, she got a bit suspicious of lil' ol' me, but I figured I could talk her down and explain I wasn't here for any trouble - at least to lovelies like you lot! Well, she didn't exactly seem to be in the talkin' mood - got all uppity and miffed at me, too!"

    The young man shrugged as if talking about a bad day at the DMV.

    "I swear, cussed at me about my spiritual presence bein' all wrong and other strangest oddities. Well, I couldn't rightly continue like that, so I had to put her and the pooch in a time-out," the young man continued with a bit of a chuckle. "Oh, and don't worry, that's nothing too bad - just make them cool off a bit and see if they can't listen to reason afterwards~"

    The young man spread his arms like someone caught with their hand in a cookie jar, as if going 'Ah well!'

    Still... what was he talking about? A girl and a pooch? Subaru and Tonkori? And what did he mean that he put them in 'time-out'...?

    ---!

    Suddenly, Elaine's eyes were drawn to something strange.

    Up there, at one of the pine trees right next to Elise, she saw something... strange. A figure. A figure wearing a red raincoat, tangled up in the branches like she had been chucked there by a particularly burly baseball player.

    ... There was no mistaking that mess of a hair, though.

    --- Subaru Iburi, unconscious but still breathing, was caught up in the branches of the pine tree right above Elise.

  5. #4045
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    John Dove
    Location: Avery’s Dinner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “…maybe you can try following Inacio to the bar? It would take some particularly back luck to have a repetition of last night, especially with this rain.”
    Inacio let out a sheepish laugh at that, rubbing the back of his neck.

    "Yes it would be, huh? Though considering how this week has sometimes felt like it has gone, maybe another kick for good measure from the Gods of Irony wouldn't be unthinkable?" He replied. "I mean, I can perfectly see Mr. Hatou staking out the bar now that he has seen us there, hoping to catch more misbehaving students ready to mingle with the locals with the help of alcohol."

    Considering how hyper-vigilant the P.E. teacher had been last night, maybe there was some truth to that. Not to mention that whatever he had been there for, it certainly didn't seem to be just to ease off after a hard day at work. Rather, he had been meeting with those two Air Force suits... and they had been discussing some rather strange things, as Ubon had relayed to John. Laying a trap to make sure that last night wouldn't repeat again wouldn't be unheard of - maybe he'd want to nip the problem right in the bud.

    ... Though, what was the problem, exactly? What had he been up to, and why was he so keen to make sure the students didn't hear?

    More questions to add to the ever-growing pile.

    "Hm... unkind world, huh?" Caleb, who had been silent for a moment, murmured. "I guess I can't faul her for that, even if she comes across as abrasive at times. And it's probably not her fault that she keeps traipsing in my dreams..."

    Aleen nearly choked on her milkshake when she heard that.

    "W-wait, what!?" the bluehead asked, leaning closer in almost accusing way. "You've been dreaming of Anna, Caleb?"

    The artist, looking like he didn't exactly know the reason for this outburst but sensing he was still on thin water nonetheless, raised his hands as if to signal surrender.

    "Err, not in any untowards sense, I promise. More like... I've been seeing moments that never happened - like memories that aren't real. Does that make sense? It's like I'm sometimes watching a 'what if' of my own life when I dream..." the rose-haired guy explained, pulling his beanie further down on his head. "It... honestly makes little sense, but it's still vivid enough to make things awkward. Doesn't exactly make for a good rest."

    While Inacio and Aleen simply looked at the artist with some confusion, Ubon's reaction was slightly different. She glanced towards John and raised her eyebrow, almost as if asking if the boy was thinking what she was. Indeed, having flashes of memory from what felt like another life, and especially in dreams... it certainly sounded like something John had experience of himself. Though in his case, the whole deal was far more vivid than just few dreams here and there.

    Still, while he had read that question from Ubon's eyes, there did seem to be another inquiry hidden in that gaze. Or rather, it was also clear from the slight anxiety on her face as well.

    The girl was simply worried since John's mood had been swinging from one end to another in rapid succession, and though she didn't put it into words, it was clear that she wanted to ask:

    Are you okay?

  6. #4046
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen - Cocktail Lounge
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Colt nodded silently at the hefty warning. A darker, colder face, which faces out into the stars. If Lenore is the Near Side of the moon, would that be the Far Side? A part of her that he had never seen… a violent impulse that may not spare even him. What would she be like?

    He buried that curiosity as the topic got back on track.

    “If there are more hands in the kitchen then this gets awfully tough, it’d be one thing to just handle Dot, but I’m not sure where to even begin with the rest…” Colt thought back, lightly biting the inside of his lip. “I guess one piece at a time then.”

    The boy glanced at the sleeping girl. The one who had shown him through the forest, that knew him, but clearly was not part of this other side of the world.

    “This town has a nasty history. If there are people hatching plans left and right, they’ve been doing it for years now. And I doubt it’s a coincidence that my sister’s life ended here, years ago.”

    He spoke those final words with a hint of bitterness. His eyes made it clear that he didn’t enjoy saying such things, nor was it a pleasant exercise to think about them. Colt couldn’t easily place why it hurt, like a needle thrust into his chest, beneath his skin, to think about it. The memories he had of her were gone; sealed by the one in front of him.

    Perhaps it was just the knowledge that he had no past, no present, and no future with the sister he never knew.

    “You mentioned her, right? Remington.” The boy turned to the vampire, to his guardian of years past. The ward that had kept him safe through fire and smoke, loneliness and confusion, and even his own recklessness. “You made a promise with her, something that keeps you from telling me everything. But what can you tell me?”


  7. #4047
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    The already dark day was growing darker still, I noted as I paced quickly through the downpour.

    Thankfully, I had my nice big coat to keep out the worst of the rain, but as always, the ever-present rainfall of the northwest was implacable in its demands.

    I was, once again, thoroughly wet.

    I could tell this thanks to my as-always keen sense of smell.

    The stereotype is annoying and almost as depressing as my mindset when I'm in a particularly foul mood.

    You know, like now.

    Rain never did help my attitude, dark skies lead to dark moods, I was told once, and it was as unfortunately true as ever.

    Hm, did rain lead to bad mood, or, in a collective spirit, did the universal downturn of the collective mood then, in turn, lead to an upswing in rain?

    An interesting thought, to be sure.

    Hm, perhaps it is a self-reinforcing loop, but then, some people like rain, and even then, there is a large amount of statistical data (and I could, in fact, affirm this with self-reporting) that rainfall is beneficial to a good night's sleep.

    Well, if we take these facts and align them with the most accepted theorem of the Trinity Self, which was later more widely popularized by the dick-focused mother-lover Dr. Freud and his id, ego and superego theories.

    This, of course, being the Body, Mind and Soul trinity, which personally I had presumed had some linking to the Holy Church and the Catholic idea of the Divine Triumvirate.

    To digress, perhaps the depressive effect of the rain lead to a loosening of the soul to mind and body, allowing it to flirt amongst the edges of the collective unconscious and the realm of dreams? Or, reciprocally, did the Soul's desire to return to origin manifest in a wide enough scale to effect the weather and create conditions for its own chain to be loosened?

    Something to think about, maybe write a paper one day and some basement dweller in the Pentagrammon might eventually wipe their ass with it, source it in a far more academically popular paper, and take all the credit.

    Academia, how terrible.

    Was this all a method to try and focus my mind on something inane to entertain myself and not deal with my churning gut as I considered my options going forward?

    Probably.

    Assuredly, even.

    But it was entertaining.

    At the very least, it shouldn't take too terribly much brainpower to sniff out (haha) Subaru, with her own little raincoat and her little companion's own wet-dogness.

    Well.

    I was not incorrect in this assumption, I thought quietly to myself, having listened to a jabbering lizard-brain thought to duck behind a nearby wall as I approached the sound of voices.

    Thankfully, this time seemed to go a bit better, probably due to the campus grounds not being some rusted old stony pile of badness which was probably super out of code.

    Probably.

    I peeked out a bit from my vantage point, frowning at what I could see.

    Elise, the voice I had recognized, looking a bit muddy, like she'd been lying on the ground, why?

    Was she one of those weirdos who were all about 'getting back to nature'?

    But she had on too much clothes to be one of those Adamites...

    Hm.

    Things to investigate further later.

    Moving on, the guy there with her was a real suspicious looking type.

    I definitely got the distinct impression that this guy was a real weasel, one of those sneaky-beaky types who liked to dance around all 'ohohoho but what if I did do thaaaat~?'.

    That being said, he didn't necessarily feel like an enemy.

    Not yet, at least.

    That could change, given the third member of this scene I had come across.

    The small red raincoat and the form ensconced within lay tangled in the branches above where the mud-coated form of Elise stood.

    In addition, I noted a small tail poking out of it.

    There's number four.

    So, thankfully, no one was dead.

    Still, if his statement was accurate, he did apparently put them up in that tree.

    So, consider what evidence I have, what's the best path forward.

    Hmmm.

    I suppose I should try to not start a fight.

    I took a few steps out from behind my corner, hands in my pockets and hood nudged back a touch, so as to not leave my face cast in shadow.

    "Seems ta me that knocking some people out and throwin' them up a tree is a bit more than a 'time-out', mister," I drawled, slouching onto the scene.

    "Not to mention with that slinky demeanor you're presenting it's not like you do much to make yourself not suspicious."

    I leaned gently up against a wall, affecting a lazy demeanor as I nodded at Elise.

    "Of course, you're also going out of your way to arch your spine to look taller, thinking maybe that'll impress her or something? Weird way to go cruisin' for ladies, my guy."

    I shrugged.

    What did I know?

    Maybe mud-coated girls were in this year.

    I mean, those two dunderheads were fond of their 'dirty magazines'.

    Maybe this is just taking it literally?

  8. #4048
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolai Lazbin
    "Hmm... you're right. If things are so bad that we are already running out of time, then I definitely should act fast. I should make contact with Miss Vandemeel, determine the exact nature of what's going on, and prepare what appropriate defenses I can. Oh, though, speaking of which... I know it's a shameless thing to ask from people I've just met, but could I trouble you a bit further? It would help me out a lot if, once I've located Miss Vandemeel, if you could act as an intermediary? At least for the start? As said, Miss Vandemeel won't probably be too fond of me - not only because of my job description, but also… Well, the history between Estonia and Russia - or rather, Soviet Union - has been a turbulent one. And according to reports from Kyöpelinvuori, Miss Vandemeel has been quite vocal about her hatred and ire towards my countrymen because of it. If either of you were to explain the situation to her first, it would most likely clean up the air enough that she and I could have a civil discussion afterwards... I hope. Let us hope, for all our sakes, that her nickname 'Miss Myself-Righteous' is greatly exaggerated and she does have a good head on her shoulders.”
    “I can’t act as an adequate intermediary between you and Anna. I know who she is, but I never said that I was friendly with her to mediate between you two... Especially since you’re starting with a solidly negative reputation.”

    I deny his request immediately. I’m not fond of making promises that I can’t keep. However, I can always send him to someone else to mediate between the two. Caleb Montjoy hasn’t been around her this week… But Ramia Ramalsaqr might be able to help him. Also I’m not positive on introducing him to Anna Vandameel immediately. So it would be best to have someone else to serve as a road bump to him despite our time shortage.

    “You can try looking for Ramia Ramlsaqr. She’s friendly with Anna. She might be your intermediary unless you think you can handle it, Sakura.”

    I doubt it unless Sakura forgot to mention that she/Hisa Momoi were also friendly with Anna Vandemeel. In that case, it’s on her to see mediate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolai Lazbin
    "Oh, and speaking of which... could the two of you explain to me in more detail exactly what is ailing this town? I might be a humble abjurer, but perhaps there might be something in my repertoire that might help in this case. My speciality is the containment and sealing of supernatural phenomena, after all. Depending on how things are, I might be able to help out in this crisis... though if it's scientific in nature, then I certainly don't have the necessary knowledge myself. And perhaps we should do it while we walk? If time is of the essence, we should not dally in this forgotten place for long. Getting to the town is the first step."
    When he asked what was wrong with the town… He probably hasn’t been in town long because even on a few days in town in my first week, I saw signs that there were several issues with the town. The more I interfaced with everyone else who was aware of the loop and their allies, the more I realized how messed up this town was.

    “In that case, you can talk with Sakura about the town’s issues. I think she knows more than I do about the town’s various issues. However since you mentioned you were good at containment and isolation of supernatural phenomena… You could always look into the town’s lighthouse and contain a ghost called Michael Lowgate. While he seems benign and harmless, he has a silvery tongue and aimed to betray one of his colleagues when he was alive. Now that he’s dead… Apparently he intends to ruin said colleague’s life even more.”

    I step out of his field of view and say one last thing.

    “Go ahead and start making your way into town. I’ll catch up to you. I have something I want to do first.”

    I do have something to do. Well... Not specifically here. But I did want to do something else. Namely just keeping overwatch between Sakura and Nikolai Lazbin. He may seem harmless, but I’m still not sold on a sole investigator stopping a time fracture if his specialization is what he says it is. And until I see more of his abilities or get close enough to see into his head. Either way, I’m not letting him see me again until our RoE are both inhibited due to the town.

  9. #4049
    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
    Weather: Rain


    ...Are you kidding me?

    Certainly, the young woman had done her fair share of poking and prodding at the statue outside, responding to the feeling that it was out there moving around with words designed to bait it into doing something, anything, to prove that it was something more than just a statue that happened to offend every sense she had, but...

    When she sees it, she finds herself staring at the outside.

    Actually fell for it huh?

    Or did she fall for it's trap?

    Acknowledging it's existence too much was potentially dangerous, it seemed to want the attention, and-

    Quote Originally Posted by Auntie
    And if you see someone watching you from the Ghostwoods, pay it no mind and act like you don't even notice. That's the best course of action, yes..."

    -this wasn't the Ghostwoods exactly, but they were all around this place...

    So did that same warning apply here?

    Considering the circumstances, it was almost certain that Dot was the one stalking her in Muse's clearing, if she could get out of the Dream World whenever she wanted she would just do so right? Instead of doing the entire song and dance of terrifying the town first?

    But the statue itself could be a symbol... Maybe Dot could manipulate it...?

    No, not maybe, the damn thing moved...

    She could see the evidence right there... She was crazy in quite a few ways, but she wasn't the sort to just see things... Should she confront it now? Destroy it now? It'd have one less potential terminal if she just tears it to pieces right here and now, but that would be difficult to explain to the people around here, especially with the methods available to her, and...

    ...Tch.

    She shifts in her seat slightly, considering reaching for the strange metallic cylinder in her pocket; the familiar weapon is there, just waiting to be called upon, but...

    I'm not at full power either...

    That fact is also true.

    If she does engage... It'd be at half her capacity at best.

    Considering how much this Dot was talked up, that may be a mistake...

    You normally confront the 'final boss' at full power right?

    ---In the end, she forces her body to relax.

    She looks away.

    She'd been warned about a scenario similar to this by a fae only a few hours ago, ignoring those warnings tended to go poorly for the one that did it...

    So don't look at her.

    She might be able to move a statue, but surely she can't get completely out of the Dream World whenever she wants... And if she can and wants a fight, well...

    She can go ahead and punch through that glass first.

    But she won't.

    Just like in the dreams, she'll just hide away out of sight and act tough in a world where only her powers work, creeping around outside like some cheap slasher villain...

    ---The more she thinks about it, the more she wants to destroy it right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne
    "Just what the hell did Bossman experience back in the day to build up the monstrosity anyways...?"
    "Well he was military right? Might have seen some things during his service..."

    She leans closer to him unconsciously, reorienting her focus towards everyone else at the table as she tries to return to a more normal state of being, putting herself between him and the window in the worst case...

    "But cards seem fine I guess, although we'd need a table away from the windows so no one uses the reflections to look at hands..." She laughs, "Might be too late to get Sierra to play, seems like she might know how, but maybe we can drag your boss out? Ask him a bit about it?"

    She smiles.

    Doing her best to ignore the thing outside...

    "He might just tell us, right?"

    Her eyes move to Fio, who is continuing to stuff herself with treats, and...

    "...You really like those cookies, huh?"

    ...she can't help but finally comment on it.

    Thankfully she had put a few away for Sierra earlier...

    "You haven't been skipping meals have you...?"

    Anyone else see it...?

    ---She's not sure if she wants them to or not... She hadn't had actual allies in a long time, but...

    Risking herself was fine, putting others in danger was...

    Less so.
    Last edited by Airen; April 26th, 2021 at 05:18 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?



  10. #4050
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    So she lost it in a cougar attack, huh...



    "Darn... another miss, huh..."

    It's disappointing. Sure, Ahti was a longshot, but I really thought someone living in Road's End might know what I was talking about. Dot's supposed to have left her mark on the populace, so I figured a local missing their left eye would've had it devoured. But I guess cougar attacks just happen. Billie seems like the type to get into a fight with one for fun.

    "Sorry, weird question, I know. I've been asking everyone I see who wears one about it. It's probably dumb, but..."

    Hold on, my instincts scream out, just as I'm about to accept that this was a bust.

    "But..."

    Wait a sec. Now that I look closer... that's definitely not a natural reaction. I mean, I know Dot has been around here for a while. She perfectly fits the Grinning Monster from Beatrice's story. And Muse said she might be leaving her mark on people. There's no way a local, especially a bartender who's been here for years, wouldn't have heard anything. So there's only one explanation.

    Billie, you're trying to protect people from something bad, aren't you?

    My fingers tighten around my arms.

    Ridiculous. Who decided that? One person shouldn't have to hold back something that awful on her own. You think I'll just leave it be?

    "...but I'm not gonna give up." I nod, both to myself and to her.

    I get it. You don't wanna just talk about the town's dirty laundry to any kid who asks. Probably, if you had a traumatic experience like that, you wouldn't go around sharing it. You'd make something up to hide it. To make sure no one else got involved. So no one else loses an eye. But I'm already involved. It's too late to back out now.

    "This is gonna sound dumb, but I had a dream, my first night here. A dream about myself... having a dream. Like a dream in a dream. And in that dream, the one my dream self had, she saw this spooky lady. She was also wearing a patch, a real frilly one. And then that spooky lady, well... she kinda..." I hold one hand over my left eye, and make a chomping motion with it. "And then the dream in the dream ended, and the dream me, the one who had the dream, woke up... missing, uh... That. Y'know." Chomp chomp chomp. "And then that dream ended and I woke up."

    Maybe that explanation could've been made less confusing.

    "Anyway, don't think it was just a dream. I mean, I might be in Pinefall, but I'm not crazy. And while eyepatches are cool, I'd rather not get one now. Maybe when I'm a bit older. So that's why I'm asking everyone I meet who's got an eyepatch about it!" Like you, Ahti. You doing okay up there? The drink getting to you? If you need to go to the washroom just say so, okay?

    "Gotta squash that dream and make sure it doesn't turn into a real thing. One of my classmates mentioned a 'Jack Pinkerton' guy at the country club who's got one too. Probably gonna be a while before I end up there, but... well, know anyone else that fits that description?"

    Gonna be tough to get in. Seems like a place for adults. But I'm sure I'll manage it. Never thought I'd end up in a bar, but here we are, so anything's possible.

    But you understand, right, Billie? I'm not gonna leave this alone.

    So... it's fine. Don't try to stop it by yourself. Sometimes you need to turn and face the horrible things in life head-on.

  11. #4051
    approaching euthymia Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Mercedes's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    You shouldn’t hold on so tight, Lucille thinks, the minor tension making it somehow harder to fall asleep. Still, she can’t bear to pull Mercedes’s hand off the hem of her shirt, so she lets it be. We’ll part eventually.

    She wonders if she can keep that promise. Being asked to live is a tall order when you’ve grown up expecting you’ll burn out. Is it disappointing, if she breaks it? Was it just a foolhardy promise that she never should have made in the first place? All for the sake of preserving Mercedes’s fleeting happiness. She’s too weak.

    If only people understood they’d be happier without her.

    But they don’t, so she wonders if she will have to go through this again and again and again, trying to crush Sakura and Mercedes’s opinions of her until finally, she is successful and reviled for it. It hurts her too, watching them believe in her.

    Michael’s all the proof they need she is someone you can’t put your faith in, and it is a sin for her to keep deluding people into thinking otherwise.

    Lucille awkwardly puts her hand over Mercedes’s, a lie of comfort as she gently squeezes the other girl’s hand, to tell her that she will be there. More awake than ever, Lucille stares at the ceiling, her thoughts dragging her into the familiar abyss she can’t ever seem to escape from.

    She’ll sleep eventually. Her mind will wander to something that will force her eyes shut—and once in the darkness, she can let it overtake her, like waves to the shore.

  12. #4052
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Quote Originally Posted by Shin Hsan Kra
    "I swear, cussed at me about my spiritual presence bein' all wrong and other strangest oddities. Well, I couldn't rightly continue like that, so I had to put her and the pooch in a time-out. Oh, and don't worry, that's nothing too bad - just make them cool off a bit and see if they can't listen to reason afterwards~"
    Shin Hsan Kra confirmed her fears. She was right, Subaru and Tonkori would never abandon her alone in the rain without a good reason. Subaru and Tonkori weren't there when she woke up not because they'd left, but because they'd been removed from the scene.

    "In a time-out?" asked Elise worriedly.

    If Subaru got bad vibes from this guy, I'm inclined to trust her assessment… Dammit! Subaru and Tonkori got hurt watching over me while I was basically sleeping and didn't do a thing to help them. Well, at least I've still got something in common with the Elise-Marie Pelltier from before in that I also fail to do my job. Eugh.

    Elise's still aching brain ran through a series dire possibilities of what Hsan Kra's definition of a 'time-out' might entail, all while desperately trying not to think of all the people she'd failed that night, until she heard a familiar voice speak up nearby.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine Winters
    "Seems ta me that knocking some people out and throwin' them up a tree is a bit more than a 'time-out', mister."

    "Not to mention with that slinky demeanor you're presenting it's not like you do much to make yourself not suspicious."
    Elise turned to the source of the familiar voice and spotted Elaine, leaning on the wall by the corner of the main building. Elaine nodded to her and she nodded back.

    "Throwing them in trees?" muttered Elise as she glanced up and noticed a figure in a familiar red raincoat tangled up in a nearby pine tree, and exclaimed, "Subaru!"

    I'm pretty sure I can get her down safely from there… thought Elise as she looked up at Subaru worriedly, If this is Hsan's idea of a 'time-out', I really hope Vier doesn't find out what his 'naughty corner' is like.

    She turned her attention back to Hsan Kra and crossed her arms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine Winters
    "Of course, you're also going out of your way to arch your spine to look taller, thinking maybe that'll impress her or something? Weird way to go cruisin' for ladies, my guy."
    "Hm. While I appreciated the help up earlier, Hsan Kra, I can't say I'm terribly impressed by guys who throw my friends into trees."

  13. #4053
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    "..."

    There was an interesting weight to the actions Vivienne could take here. As Orion had pointed out, having this standoff in the middle of the Library when literally anyone could walk in at any moment was... not exactly ideal. However, preceding the desire to remain discreet and avoiding collateral damage to public places, was Alex Terrot's safety -- and Orion could still be a threat to it. Or possibly, Vivienne's paranoia was simply being excessive, and the 'handyman' that had gotten rid of Alex was someone different than this 'genuine' helper of Barney's. Or Alex may have gotten herself killed in a totally different way via an investigation gone wrong as well!

    Ultimately, there was no way to properly tell, the only thing Vivienne had to work with now was guesses and prophecies that may have already been invalidated. Cause and effect, etcetera...

    Still, to trust an armed person that doesn't appear to be very honest about their intention and nature would be a mistake, thus Vivienne elected to not drop her guard and watch the situation unfold with care...

    .. or perhaps that she's elected to do even more than watch on, as one could tell by her donning a venetian mask.

    The atmosphere around her suddenly changes the moment she puts the mask on, and the emotionless lips form into a smile as she turns around and looks at Alex for a moment, giving her a silent nod as to wordlessly reassure the journalist that 'everything is going to be fine.'

    Hopefully.

    But now to play on the tension that has been built. Vivienne now speaks totally different from before, with renewed life and vigor in her words, intonation alluding confidence but still... having a degree of restraint as to not appear overly smug. A voice that does not belittle, but rather tries to open an avenue of dialogue by putting everyone at ease. The confidence is just there to keep credibility.

    "Now now, let us not get too hasty Miss Anna. While I do agree that there are many details that appear suspicious about our good friend Orion here, being so rude to him might not make him very comfortable in divulging his true nature and reasons to us, good keepers of Road End's safety. After all, we are aware of things we should not know, I take? A previous week might have made us rather grumpy, like waking up on the wrong foot after having the worst of nightmares..."

    It is indeed, an individual totally different from Vivienne Bianchi now speaking, with not a speck of the previous, emotionless girl left to be seen.

    "I must applaud your cool headedness in dealing with the rather fiery temperament Anna has, Orion, and while I sympathize with being show an excessive amount of hostility while one is nothing more than a guest, there happens to be a reason why perhaps I am... not trying my hardest to appease Miss Anna here.
    You see, let us pretend that hypothetically, someone was aware that there was an Assassin running around that would be after a certain reporter's life... would it not be natural for the former to be mistrusting of mysterious individuals, especially if said mysterious individuals played hard to get and showed that they were armed?"


    She pauses for a moment, giving some time for Orion to process what she has told him so far, and perhaps to not bother them too much with her monologuing though... it would appear that this outspoken lady is not done yet. Indeed, after a silence in which she gave a good look at Anna, Ramia and Orion, the masked woman resumes her speech:

    "Now, would you not give us a helping hand here Orion? As you are aware, Road's End is a cesspool of the Turnside, a Nexus that has attracted all kinds of people from different walks of life. This very room is proof of it, no? Now, I am certain that it would be lovely if you could help us a bit and be more transparent. Who knows, it could be that we have some more knowledge that you aren't privy of? Anna there does appear to have run into people that both of you have a... 'disagreement' with. Wouldn't it be nice if rather than bickering and being stand offish we simply partook in... jolly cooperation?

    Please... be a sweetheart and help us out.

    Ah, but of course... I can't guarantee what Anna might do here if you get on her bad side even worst... I am just Mademoiselle Terrot's assistant after all, and my main objective is to keep her safe! Heh."


    What did they call that again... good cop... bad cop?


    Wiseup!
    Item (Mask) - Persona of the Other Self : Anima / Animus
    Rank: B
    A mask crafted to resemble the Colombina masks from the Carnival of Venice, but possessing details in its design that allude to a Roman Theater Mask. It is focussed on representing the acting, theatrical part of masks, albeit it also has the ability to channel the Greco-Roman god of Arts’ abilities. Vivienne’s personality becomes rather bombastic and extremely expressive when she dons this mask, talking in a rather grandiose fashion, perhaps becoming quite overbearing for some -- but isn’t that the nature of the old-fashioned stage actor, to speak with a booming voice and expressing their body language at their fullest as they stand upon the stage, all eyes set on them?
    Confers the Soul Elemental Strength, but also gives the Phlegmatic Elemental Weakness.
    Grants Persuasion and Deception Skill rank equal to Occult Rank as long as it is worn.
    Gives access to the Spells: [Alter Ego], [Blessings of Eleutherios] & [φιλία].
    Can be used to cast the equivalent of 18 Charge Limits before requiring repair.
    Last edited by Ayakashi; April 26th, 2021 at 06:52 AM.

  14. #4054
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters & Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Elise
    "Hm. While I appreciated the help up earlier, Hsan Kra, I can't say I'm terribly impressed by guys who throw my friends into trees."
    In response, Hsan Kra, who had been watching Elaine's sudden appearance with a momentary interest, made an exaggerated and theatrical mimicry of as if being hit by an arrow to the chest. He clutched his front, staggering backwards, and let out a mock-groan that hid a barely contained giggle within it.

    "Ah, egads, mayhaps my attempts at comin' across as a dashin', young, mysterious stranger have backfired upon me!" the young man replied, dropping his shoulder and now miming a fake sense of disappointment. "Alas, it was - perhaps - not the best time and place to goof off, considerin' what had just transpired... but hey."

    Almost immediately, he perked back up and winked, tongue sticking mischievously out of his mouth.

    "You can't blame a lad for tryin'~"

    In all honesty, getting a grasp of the true character of Hsan Kra was like trying to grasp water in your fist. You might be able to get few droplets to stay, but most of it simply flowed away without leaving anything but the hint of moisture behind. Even Elaine, who had managed to peg his type a little bit and read his body language, realized that the man now changed his attitude like leaf dancing on the wind - all the while retaining that lilting accent and an attitude that seemed mostly just amused by the current situation. Amused, even though he had clearly just went and hurt friends of the two people in front of him.

    "That being said, callin' me straight out weird is just uncalled for, Miss Mysterious Beauty," Hsan Kra continued, aiming those narrow eyes at Elaine. "Not that I can really deny it, but still... it's certainly not nice! Not when I've had nothing but sweet words of praise for your friend here! Just straight out crampin' my style is quite awful, and speaks of a personality that rather clashes with those enchantin' looks of yours but... ah."

    With worry appearing in his eyes, Hsan put a hand on his face and pursed his lips as he looked at the blonde girl.

    "... Perhaps it's not a default attitude you have, but a result of a harsh day? You certainly seem like you've had your fair share of troubles today. Apologies then, if my actions have offended."

    --- Again, it was odd. After all, that apology just that now... it truly felt genuine.

    But, before the two girls could think about it any further...

    "M-Miss Peltier... Miss Winters...!"

    A struggling voice, spoken through the haze of someone trying to claw their way out of unconsciousness, cut into the conversation. Three pairs of eyes snapped towards the pine tree nearby, and saw Subaru's face peeking from within its branches - the girl trying her best to stay awake, even if it made her look like she was about to black out at any second. Her already messy hair was full of pine needles and her clothes and her raincoat was covered in mud, but at least in that moment, that few seconds, her eyes managed to regain a bit of her usual spark.

    And with that push of power, she wheezed out a warning.

    "B-Beware... that man... he is a danger... a clear and present danger... a practitioner of Vāmācāra!"

    The tiny girl grit her teeth together, managing to point towards Hsan with her finger.

    "---- He is... a dugpa!"

    In response, Hsan Kra's smile wavered ever so slightly, but for some reason... a long shadow seemed to have cast itself over his eyes. Hand still on his face, he gazed up at Subaru in the tree, and seemed none too amused despite his expression.

    "Well... speakin' of utter rudeness and uncalled for terms..."




    Anna Vandemeel & Vivianne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Library
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Orion let out a chuckle and bowed his head respectfully to Vivienne's direction.

    "Mm, I'd say you have a point there. I'm not a fan of conflict, believe me, and I see nothing that could be gained here by enganging in it - if anything we're all bound to lose something if we come to blows," the young man replied without missing a bit, still holding his knife in a relaxed way, not even gripping it properly - as if showing that the weapon was just, well, for show. "And in all honesty, the idea of some being able to work with some people who share my... disdain for those two certainly sounds pleasant. If that's an option on the table, sure, let's go with that."

    But then, his eyes moved towards Anna, and the blatant display of hostility she kept showing, the arcs of prana flitting between her fingertips and the tell-tale sign of ozone hanging in the air. The young man watched her for a few silent seconds, before heaving a little sigh and dropping his shoulders - almost like he was a bit disappointed. With that, he turned back to Vivienne while wearing an apologetic smile.

    "Still, I'm not sure how plausible that option is. Our third wheel here seems awfully keen on turning this into a bloody deathmatch - one that would most likely get your 'employer' involved as well," Orion spoke and nodded towards Alex, who was watching everything that was going on with wide, fearful eyes - especially Orion and Anna. "Sure, maybe I overreacted a little bit by arming myself, but I'd like to think that I had a good reason, you know?"

    He chuckled a bit at that, sounding almost leisurely despite the tense situation.

    "Before I even knew what was happening, someone else had launched a volley of knives towards something invisible - invisible enough to get a drop on me - and then, in retaliation, another person tried to cast a spell that tried to do something not just to me, but to you as well. Sorry if this sounds blunt, but that would get anyone worried for their safety," Orion continued. "It's convenient to point fingers at me since I'm the one currently armed, but if anything, I'd say I'm showing considerable restraint here. After all, I already was attacked. That spell simply failed. Just because the bullet misses doesn't mean I wasn't shot at."

    Ramia, who had been watching the whole situation from the sidelines, directed her glance at Anna. While it was clear that the dusky-skinned mercenary was as wary as her friend, she still seemed to be analyzing the situation rather than engaging in the brewing argument. But what she tried to signal with her eyes... Anna couldn't really make out. Not right now, at least.

    "Oh, and about me not being transparent or divulging enough? I'd like to remind you ladies that so far, I'm the only one who has divulged anything,"Orion continued, still with a stoic smile on his face. "I'm not sure in what sort of world you live in, where you can drag a person into a confrontation like this, demand he spills the beans, and then accuse him for being suspicious - and still claim the moral high-ground - but from where I'm standing... it's you lot who are the most suspicious ones in this room. So save me the tirades, you've no leg to stand on. Or to keep up with the religious quotes... practice what you preach."

    While the words themselves had held a little more barb in them than before, especially towards Anna and her belligerent demands, the young man was still keeping more or less cool head. Indeed, after staying this, he rolled his shoulders a little bit, made eye-contact with both girls, and then slowly - clearly showing his intentions - dropped the weapon on the floor.

    "But alright. I'll be the bigger man. So for starters... two things."

    Still keeping his hands in the air, he raised his right index finger.

    "One. I'm not in the habit of killing people without reason. Much less acting like an assassin. But if you really want to judge me based on a vile stereotype, then sure, go ahead - be my guest."

    And then, Orion's eyes snapped back to Anna.

    "And two. Make no mistake, I never lie when I speak with women," he said with conviction, absurdly sounding serious for the first time in this conversation. "So when I say I've developed quite crush on this maiden here, yes - I'm serious about it. And when I say that despite your aggressive behavior you've got quite the looks, yes - I'm also being serious."

    Those blue eyes narrowed.

    "Doubt anything else about me that you will, but never doubt my words to the fairer sex."

  15. #4055
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    I frowned steadily at the man complaining about me messing up his groove like a mildly aggrieved fratboy at some college bar, but I kept my mouth shut for the moment as I steadily continued to take in information.

    Vāmācāra.

    Well, while that term certainly cast certain aspersions on his character, just lingering to one particular side of the spectrum, while it may make you somewhat unpopular with the established norm, doesn't necessarily make you a bad person.

    By itself, at least.

    That, accompanied with the distinct theosophical context of her usage of 'dugpa' allowed me to gather certain information about what he did, though of course, it wasn't necessarily reliable.

    It would not have been the first time little Subaru had gone off the handle and accused people on slanted evidence, but she had not given me any reason to doubt her.

    Yet.

    So, we shall proceed with the gathering of information, sussing out exactly if I'm in need of putting boot to ass.

    "Well, Mr. 'Red Cap', you certainly seem to be the mischievous type, at the very least," I said, lazily, "But I'm trying not to be the assumin' type, it's gotten me in a fair bit of trouble in the past."

    I folded my arms, tilting my head speculatively.

    "Weirdness aside, you're looking to be an interesting fella, accusations of black magic, some of that good old tantric stuff, bein' a bit of a shady character sneaking around a school, coupled with some spiritual what-not being weird, and seems our dear Subaru went and took a shot at you."

    There was clearly some information I was missing, obviously.

    Though, to be certain, I was one of the last people to go jabbing about left-hand path stuff, considering the healthy bit of nasty things I liked to cart around with me.

    It might make her hair curl.

    Granted, it'd be difficult to tell, most like.

    Still, though, let's maybe de-escalate and focus on the facts.

    "That aside, you do have to understand what all that makes ya look like, yeah?"

    I made an understanding expression, I could certainly empathize with some harsh assumptions made about me, for one.

    "I get that it's probably just some mistaken identity, just a good dude with some stuff that happens to look on the shady side, I get you. Even if you are sneaking onto a school campus and macking on muddy girls."

    I didn't even bother addressing the compliments thrown my way.

    Even if I did appreciate them.

    "But I'm sure we can sit down and talk this out, Mr. Lotus-guy, just a simple misunderstanding that can be corrected with some good words, yeah? Like why you're hangin' around up here, for one?"

    I smiled charmingly.

    Given the connotations of the lotus flower, I doubted he was an 'evil for evil's sake' kind of gentleman, but you didn't have to be one of those types to do some real nasty things.

  16. #4056
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Avery’s Dinner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    This is good, John whispers in his head. As long as he can keep his mind busy, he will not stop to think back on what happened in that mysterious space. On the John Dove who confronted Ultravania. As long as he is engaged in anything else, he can sustain the meticulous, comfortable, ten-years-old lie, and delay the inevitable for a little bit longer.



    “True enough.” It is thus the usual John Dove who responds to Inacio’s comments on Mr. Hatou. “I admit to some relief that he did not bring up the matter to us today.”

    Cherry pie and milkshake? Well, we young people can still digest that with little issue, I guess.

    The usual John Dove, however, would not let such idle thoughts on Aleen King’s eating habits reach the forefront of his mind.

    “Yes, I guess ‘abrasive’ does describe Vandemeel,” John admits, scratching his forehead for whatever reason. “Furthermore, her life’s circumstances thus far likely convinced her that she is more ‘mature’ than most of us here at Pinefall. Whether this is actually true or not is mostly irrelevant.”

    Anna Vandemeel’s mental age is most certainly above high school level. She is like a grizzled war veteran looking down on the foolish high-schoolers and on how ‘easy’ they’ve had it, as if the rest of humanity is diminished and therefore owes her something for not having fought the same battles as her.

    The conversation evolves in an unexpected direction—Aleen’s reaction notwithstanding—, what with Caleb Montjoy’s surprising revelation. Ubon’s reaction is predictable, but John does not respond immediately. There is too much to ponder before giving any sort of response to a bomb like that. He cannot just take this at face value. John’s urge towards lackadaisically accepting everything conflicts with his careful, overly reflective personality.

    On one side, based on the assumption of honesty, John Dove has to examine whether Caleb’s visions are indeed dreams as he claims them to be (would this make him an ESPer unaware of his abilities?). The alternative is that he remembers the events of the previous iteration, but reduced them to dream-like visions through the ultimate form of denial. This is a very unlikely possibility—at least to John, whose memories of the previous iteration are so vivid he could not possibly dismiss them.

    On the other hand, the alternative is that Caleb Montjoy’s words are a constructed lie. Perhaps he actually remembers the loop, but he is using this dream thing to lure out others who remember, for reasons either good or nefarious. However, John already has a considerable list of “people who remember.” If Caleb does indeed remember, would that not have come out by now? Why would Caleb start doing this only now, three days after the clock turned back? In any case, this is also an unlikely possibility, but John remains wary and careful.

    He is powerless, so he cannot make the mistake of underestimating the Turnside.

    “Let me tell you about this classmate I had,” he starts. “He claimed to suffer regular bouts of déjà vu, which made him realize that he often dreamt things that would happen to him at some point in the future. They were small things, like ‘he would play this or that game at the arcade’, or ‘he would stop at McD’s on the way home and buy this particular item in the menu’, or ‘he would wear a specific set of clothes for a certain event’.”

    He chuckles.

    “You can see what I am getting at? They were self-fulfilling prophecies. Having already dreamed those events, he was unconsciously predisposed towards reproducing them in reality. What I am trying to say is that dreams have power over those who dream them. I am not talking about mysticism or the occult; it is just common sense. Even if they are strange visions created by our minds while we sleep, they come from us, and therefore have meaning to us. Our minds create them for a reason—perhaps our unconscious mind trying to communicate with our waking selves.”

    John twirls the fork in his hand as he speaks to Caleb.

    “Awkward and uncomfortable as it may be, perhaps it will do you good to speak openly about these dreams. How vivid, realistic, and detailed are they? Are they a regular occurrence, or something that happened only once and left a strong impression?”

    Like, let’s say, on the night of Tuesday leading to Wednesday.

    “Is there some pattern to the events you see? Are they peaceful or violent? Dramatic? Outright nonsensical?”

    John shrugs.

    “The more details you can remember, the better, of course. Who knows? Perhaps one of us has dreamed something similar lately. Now would that not be interesting?”

    With that said, John glances to the side, to regard the tanned girl and her anxious expression. Not being one of ‘those who remember’, the expressiveness of her look is incongruent with the expected magnitude of Caleb’s revelation in her mind. Something else is bothering her, and John Dove can make a confident assessment of just what that might be.

    Ubon does belong to the Turnside, so she deserves at least a warning, if not the complete details. Nothing more but what she needs for her safety.

    “You. Girl,” he says almost rudely before planting a hand on her crown of her head. “If you have time to worry about me, put that effort into making less of a mess while eating.”

    Sliding that same hand down to Ubon’s opposite shoulder, John pushes the girl now wrapped in his arm closer to him, so he can speak words solely for her.

    “There is a man in the furthest booth. That guy is bad news; avoid him if at all possible. And don’t worry about me; I am fine. I will be fine.”

    For a certain definition of ‘fine’. John Dove will break himself, and remake himself, at his own pace. Unless the cruel cage of the Turnside trapping him decides to take matters into its own hands.

  17. #4057
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Manor
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    “Well, I don’t know about Angelica. In hindsight, I never actually got around to asking about that,” I answered Pyry with a small shrug, “But in my case, it can’t have been anything but a coincidence. There’s no way they could have known when I was...well, it was a completely random place and time. But does it really matter, anyways?”

    I was hardly one to put too much thought into things like destiny or fated encounters and events. It was easy enough to explain things like that in hindsight, but really...the world is not as simple as that, is it?

    Lost in my thoughts for the moment, my eyes wandered on to Allene and Sakura - former just getting more and more excited regarding the revelations, while latter seemingly getting more and more embarrassed. I watched absentmindedly for a few moments, before Sakura’s words snapped me out of my stupor.

    “Let her be excited. It’s not like something like this happens every day, is it?” I said as my lips curled into a small smile, “Besides, ninjas are nothing to be embarrassed about. Quite the opposite I’d say, even if the occupation might be showing its age in our modern world. Regardless, it’s quite intriguing, for sure.”

    More than that, I was quite certain that there were not a lot of people who could call themselves a church inquisitor ninja maid.

    “Still, about the crystal…”

    Picking up the object in question, I raised it closer to my eyes to give it a better look, something that I couldn’t quite get earlier while things were still heated up.

    Though, my eye was still not a microscope. While I could look at it all I wanted now, I could hardly see what I would have needed to see to confirm my suspicion.

    “The way it interacts with the light makes me think of photonic crystal structures, but I can’t really confirm that without a microscope or something. That said, what I can tell is that it’s artificial, and that’s already weird by itself. 3D photonic crystals are hardly something that anyone can manufacture this precisely. It would require some rather advanced technology, not to mention some - probably - rather expensive equipment. It eliminates just about any single individuals and probably most of the magical side from the possible candidates, though…”

    With that in mind, and with what we knew so far about the situation here, I could only really think of one thing.

    “Remember how involvement of the military and the government seems to come up regarding so many things? If something, then they could easily fund a project like this, and by the sound of it, they were connected to Indrid too somehow, so…”

    I probably didn’t need to elaborate further. The question regarding all this was just...Why?

    Still, while that was sinking in, another thought occured to me. My eyes were back on the crystal - and after a few moments of attuning, its form slowly started fading, becoming transparent, but it seemed like there wasn’t a lot more to it, except for...a tiny hole, like a narrow tube, reaching from the core if it towards the tip of the teardrop, filled with something that reminded me of mercury as it constantly morphed and moved around. However...the mechanism itself too was way too small for me to be able to tell the details. Still, it felt familiar for some reason, even if its microscopic scale and intricate working made it seem more...advanced.

    “It seems to have some...inner mechanism too,” I said as I cleared my throat, “Something that seems to manipulate some sort of a fluid in a small tube inside of it. Reminds me of some things I can make. Small, artificial, fluid based ‘minds’ that I can work with my ability, and act as sort of a trigger, or operator for other mechanisms. This also might be why I could sense them properly in the first place.”

    Pausing momentarily, I put the crystal back on the table, and scratched the back of my head awkwardly;

    “I have no idea what’s what here though, or if it even has anything to do with that principle. Most importantly, I have not the slightest clue how it could interact with imaginary beings. But if it’s just solely a symbolical anchor, then it feels overly complex.”




    Hisa Momoi (Sakura)
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    “E-explain, uh…”

    The doll’s smile faltered momentarily as it glanced at Vier, then Nikolai with what seemed to be mild panic and exasperation. Then, its glance turned upwards, to one of the holes on the roof and out towards the darkening skies.

    During the last meeting with Elise and Vivienne, Sakura already explained how lengthy and complicated explanations were a pain, and how it certainly lacked the energy to go through with such things for too long.

    This, after it already had to entertain Vier for a good part of the evening now.

    Not to mention that all of a sudden, Vier just wants to conveniently excuse herself from the discussion. The doll was quite convinced that there was no ‘something’ Vier had to do first. They came here for Fyrtio, but she was certainly not here, so it was unlikely that she actually wanted to do anything. She just probably wanted to hide again. Or maybe go back to the town on her own.

    “W-well, some things we can explain, but it’s a long story, and there are lots of things. If you want a proper explanation, you would have to talk to us...Err, to her. She can do the explaining herself if she wants to. She is better at it, anyways.”

    Who was it even referring to?

    With a sigh, the doll waved goodbye to the place that, despise what it was, started feeling rather comfortable. A lot more comfortable than what awaited them outside once more, especially since the rain was not letting up for a moment. Still, it set its tiny legs into motion, and followed Nikolai out the building and towards the forest.

    “A-anyways, the issue to begin with is that this place just seems to be filled to the brim with the supernatural,” Sakura spoke up again once they got into a comfortable pace, “Just about any kind you can think of. Things that should not even come into contact with one another, and yet they are all here. A single occurrence is usually enough to cause huge problems, so what’s to be expected when they all appear in a single, small town?”



    Last edited by Cheetose; April 28th, 2021 at 07:12 AM.

  18. #4058
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen - Cocktail Lounge
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Lenore's gaze grew distant as she gazed down at her glass. Somewhere in there, in that liquid, that cognac she faced, memories of a time long since gone - at least by human standards - still existed Out of reach for Colt, but still, perhaps, fresh for her. For beings like her, time was measured in a whole different way, so something that had happened over a decade ago might as well have been yesterday. But as Colt had said, just because she did remember didn't mean she could tell of those memories. Some sort of promise had been made on that day, between a monarch of the moon and a young girl named Remington.

    Eventually, the vampire took a simple swig from her drink and let out a tiny sigh.

    For just a moment, she seemed far more fitting her body than her usual presence was.

    "... 'Tis a tale from long, long time ago... or, mayhaps, not so long. Time doth work differently when you become a concept of sorts, such as myself. It ceases to be strictly linear. Nevertheless, 'twas a long time ago, at least from mine perspective, that I made a promise. A promise to a certain... person. He knew what I was about to become, what would happen to all of us who were present at the time, and asked me to use mine fate to safeguard children I could see. Children who were in danger, who had no hope, and who were within the reach of my light," Lenore spoke quietly, softly. "And thus, I did. It became one of the rules of my manifestation. If my moonlight reached the tears of a child whose life was... well. Whose troubles were insurmountable, I would appear to bring them to salvation. 'Twas simple as that."

    A pair of crimson eyes turned to look at Colt, and while it was not pure pity that he could see reflected in them, it was something similar. A certain sense of sadness, one felt by a being who was not a human herself, but could relate to a part of that existence. A reflection of humanity in many ways, but still someone who could never fully put themselves in their shoes.

    An alien sense of sorrow, if anything.

    "Yours was one such case. Or rather, the fate that intertwined both you and your sister, moppet. 'Tis mayhaps not my place to speak, but your birth parents... were not respectable humans. I speak no ill of the dead, they have their own beliefs to answer to, but let us simply say that your childhood was not a happy one. And the height of it was that blazing inferno. It was there that the conditions were all fulfiled, and I was made manifest," the vampire continued. "I descended into a wreckage of a burning building. 'Twas... a starting place of many faiths, one could say. Not just you lost something to that fire, youngling. Nevertheless, as I stepped into this world, what I was greeted was the sight of thine sister, cradling you in her arms. Wise beyond her years, I think she knew on some level... some instinctual level... what I was."

    Another sip of cognac.

    "Thus, 'twas a simple thing she asked of me. To seal away the memories of what led up to that fire, and of your childhood, and to safeguard you until you were strong enough to take on this world on your own," she concluded the tale. "And the price she paid... well, 'tis a thing known only to me, and to her. 'Tis not something for others to know. Not even you, moppet."

    In those words were a certain sense of finality. The being before Colt would not budge about this, nor would she reveal anything more.

    "And that is all that I can reveal to you."




    Vier Wolff
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "A concentration of Turnside in the midst of the normal world...?"

    Nikolai frowned at the idea. The two of them had started on their way back towards the town. While Vier had stayed behind, the young man had respected her decision and simply offered a polite little goodbye and a modest wish that they could talk again when the time was better for her. It was starting to feel more and more like that while the girl had plenty of suspicions about him, Nikolai himself hadn't even realized that Vier was being doubtful. If anything, it was like he thought they had had a very pleasant conversation and he was looking forward for more.

    Honestly, for someone with such a grim job description, he felt naive beyond belief.

    Were his abilities just so well-suited for his tasks that it balanced everything out?

    "That's certainly... troubling. A large concentration of Turnside and its effects requires a sense of normalcy to balance it out, or the scales tip too much and the World will have a violent reaction. Think of it as... ah. Well, if you continue to pour water into a glass too much, eventually it will overflow, right? And that is when the waiter is called in a restaurant, and they have to clean things up. Unless, of course, they saw you doing it on purpose, in which case, after doing it enough, you will be removed from said restaurant. In this case, the sense of normalcy would be the glass, and Turnside would be the water. So for more water, you need a bigger glass," the fair young man explained. "Therefore, larger cities - for example - allow larger concentrations of Turnside, but here? In this small rural town? If things are as you say, I wonder why nothing has overflowed yet... and why the World has had no reaction yet. Maybe someone has added a 'lid' of sorts to the glass. But even in that case..."

    The look in the man's eyes grew a bit darker, like his anxiety and worries were growing by the minute.

    "Too much water would eventually rupture the whole glass. And that's something we certainly want to avoid. The people of this town do not deserve being caught in our troubles and machinations."

    Yes, it was a bit of a surprise that whole Road's End wasn't cracking at the seams at this point. Wherever one went, more and more connections to the Turnside seemed to appear, along with more and more trouble. In ways it almost felt like the Turnside was overshadowing the normal reality at this point.

    So what was it that kept the lid and the glass from breaking even though a whole lake's worth off water was being jammed into the glass, fish and all?

    "Oh, right. Excuse me..."

    As if suddenly remembering something, Nikolai muttered few more words under his breath and drew a few symbols into the air with his hands. Suddenly, the doll named Sakura realized that the rain above her had stopped falling unto her - just like it had done with Nikolai. It was as if there was something gently redirecting the droplets away from the two, keeping them relatively dry.

    Nikolai smiled gently.

    "A bit better, is it not?" He asked, before gesturing for them to continue. "Now then! Shall we be on our way? I'd be interested in meeting this person you were talking about too, and if there really is a malicious ghost abound, I might have something that could perhaps work on them... and then there's the case of Miss Vandemeel as well."

    He pulled up the collar of his jacket and faced the forest.

    "Much to do, much to do..."


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

    Vier Wolff & Hisa Momoi: Friendship Rank Raised!





    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "You haven't been skipping meals have you...?"
    Fyrtio froze upon those words, as if suddenly realizing that she had been far less focused on her whiskey than the cookies set upon the table. The grey-haired woman, having been halfway there to get another one, slowly lowered her hand and rather robotically leaned back in her chair, trying to act like nothing at all had been going on. Then she quietly coughed into her balled-up fist and tried her best to remain as strict and stern as she usually did... though she couldn't hide the faintest hint of blush that had appeared on her cheeks.

    "... I may not have had time for a dinner today," Fyrtio admitted. "There was... much to be done, and not too much time to do it in. Therefore, I figured it would be best to focus on instead of things that I could do later. Prioritizing is the key, after all."

    Hawthorn, upon hearing this, rolled his eyes at Liana - almost like asking: "You see what we're dealing with here?". The man than downed the rest of his tea in one go and levelled a bit of a glare towards the one-eyed woman, clearly hyping himself up for some old-fashioned admonishment. Indeed, it didn't seem like this was the first time something like this had happened, and most likely it would not be the last time either.

    "You know, I think we'd rather avoid a repetition of the time when you actually collapsed since you hadn't eaten in days," the man said, brow furrowed. "Would it kill you to make sure you eat at least one proper meal per day? Or rather, it will kill you if you don't."

    Fyrtio, not exactly capable of looking anyone in the eyes, instead stared at her feet and mumbled a response.

    "... I'll try my best."

    Somehow it felt that despite her promises, the woman would most likely do it again.

    "Well... anyways. If we're doing this, I guess we might as well go get the bossman, then," Hawthorn said, rising up from his seat. "You coming, Lia? Since you were so interested before. Figured I'd make the introductions at least, even if he thinks he's too busy to hang around."

    While the man was about to head off, aiming towards wherever the office of Sierra's father was, something caught Liana's attention before she could response. While neither Fyrtio nor Hawthorn had realized that something was going on at the window, Ferguson had stayed mostly silent. Of course, he hadn't watched the window either, so the reason might have been different, but... it was at that moment when the girl realized exactly what the agent was staring.

    He was staring at his glass of whiskey.

    Or rather, the reflection on his glass. The reflection that showed... a certain window.

    --- A certain window and the shadow beyond it, visible in the garden.

    Now his silence seemed to hold a different type of meaning.




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

    It was like someone had flicked a switch.

    The air at the bar had grown... silent. A creeping sense of disquiet settled within the building, and those at the counter could practically feel it. Carrie had stopped drinking and instead gazed into her glass, Xandra was slowly keeping an eye on Prushka and how the situation developed, Ahti had tensed up and was probably getting ready in case something happened.

    And Billie...

    ... She simply started drying another glass.

    A glass that was already dry.

    "The thing with dreams, kid, is that they're only as real as you let them be," the bartender spoke, her usually jolly voice now having grown serious. "A nightmare is a nightmare, and it'll only be something else if you allow it. A self-fulfilling paranoia. The more you think about it, the more you worry, and the more real it becomes, until you can't stop. Psychosomatic symptoms are a real thing, kid. It's best not to worry yourself over something that you already woke up from. After all, once you wake up, anything that happened before that becomes nothing but a dream... nothing but figments of your sleeping mind."

    The words were spoken with enough stern finality that the message was clear. Billie would not be discussing this further, and she would not be divulding more information. A speech such as this served as a gentle warning... a warning to back off, and to divert oneself from the path that they were setting themselves on. A sign to tell them to turn around and return where they came from.

    It was a roundabout way of the bartender telling Prushka that she was trying to peek somewhere she was not supposed to.

    "Jack's past is his own. Whatever the reason for his scar, that's something only he knows... and it's none of our business. Same with anyone else in town. They're under no obligation to share them with us. And even if they were, knowing won't do you any good. Just like the reason for my missing eye. I say it was a cougar attack, and that's the only truth you'll hear from me," the bartender continued quietly, but with power in her voice. "So, kid... just let dreams be dreams. Don't go digging around to make them real. Otherwise..."

    Suddenly.

    Prushka felt it.

    The sort of silent intensity that made any human naturally flinch under the pressure.

    All coming from the glare of the single functional eye that Billie Boulders had.

    It was enough to make even Ahti's hair stand up.

    "... You'll wake up something in the process. Something you'll regret."




    John Dove
    Location: Avery’s Dinner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "F-Fweh!?"

    As some people at Pinefall had already noticed, Ubon Sĕeklêun made the most wonderful noises when caught off-guard or embarrassed. In this case, it was somewhere between a flustered yelp and a whistle, making her almost sound like some sort of tropical bird. And indeed, considering her cyan hair, the redness that overtook her cheeks when John Dove pulled her closer certainly matched such animal's coloration. Too bad the boy couldn't really appreciate the chameleon-like pigment-change that he had caused... though the others around the table certainly could. Aleen could be heard gasping in surprise, while Caleb and Inacio exchanged surprised glances... before grinning like a couple of doofuses.

    Well, some misunderstandings were certainly abound here.

    "J-Johnnie...!" Ubon stammered, trying to keep her voice low so that others wouldn't hear. "I-I'll watch out for the guy, sure, b-but you're making others think strange thingies 'bout us if you do stuff like this! H-Heck, you're gonna make me misunderstand stuff, for realsies!"

    With that, the flustered girl squirmed out of John's grasp like a live eel, and scooted a bit away so that she could shield herself with a plate full of pie. Digging into it with her spoon, she shot an embarrassed glance or two towards the boy's direction, before muttering something that sounded an awful lot like:

    "... Uu, you're total super dummy..."

    It seemed that a new title had been bestowed upon John "Super Dummy" Dove.

    Inacio, watching this all transpire, chuckled and reached for his drink - only to find it empty. After flagging Mrs. Walker down for a refill, he turned towards John with a slightly raised eyebrow, accompanied by a warm-yet-mischievous smile.

    "Well well... I guess we're not the only ones having quite the week," he said warmly, before looking at Caleb. "Though other things aside, John has a point here. You never spoke of those dreams, even to me. How are they?"

    Caleb, looking a bit miffed that the delicious topic dangled in front of them as a distraction had been set aside to return to the matter of his dreams, shoveled some more cherry pie into his gullet before finally coming up with a grunt of a response.

    "Hrm... they're a bit vivid. I had the 'biggest' one couple of nights ago. I dreamt... about being on a walk with her. And we talked about things. Things that... well... I wouldn't usually talk about with just anybody," the artist admitted. "After that night, though, they've been just bits and pieces there, and I think I forget most of it before I even wake up. Then again..."

    He shrugged.

    "It's hard to say what you forgot if you can't even remember in the first place."

    Judging by the looks of others, it at least seemed that Caleb was alone with these 'prophetic' dreams of his.




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

    "Inner mechanism..."

    Pyry repeated the word, and all those present descended into deep thoughts, eye focused on the crystal that was the cause of this confusion. Pyry was half-glaring at it, most likely thinking this from the perspective of a mage. To him, as he explained, interdimensional projecting was a subject that was esoteric as magic was to the common folk. Therefore the dangers of it must have been at the forefront of his mind. Sakura, on the other hand, looked to be less hostile against the item, but even more intensely curious. Unlike the boy, she was more firmly rooted to the human side of things, so while she probably had no idea about the details of the technology needed to create something like that, as a pure-blooded human she must have had less apprehensions towards unknown technology.

    And as for Gradient... she was wearing a strange sort of frown, like she was having a staring contest with the crystal itself.

    "... If the government is involved with this, and if they're involved with Indrid Cold as we heard, maybe we should make that our next target?" Sakura asked, finally looking at Hisa. "There's been murmurings around the school that some people connected with both the government and the military are present. And if these crystals are around... that can't be a coincidence, can it? Especially since they're one of the top candidates for a complicated project such as this. I mean... I think you're right."

    The girl poked the crystal on the table with her finger.

    "If you just wanted a symbolical anchor, something much simpler would do," the brunette continued. "Maybe the mechanism inside has to do with how the Black Mass themselves appear, or maybe it's to do with their dual nature of simultaneous elements. Nevertheless... we know jack about these Eyes and Indrid Cold herself. If we had something more to go by, then maybe... but that would probably require spying on those government people, or interrogating them. Or..."

    A wry smile appeared on Sakura's face and she tapped her forehead while looking at Hisa.

    "Perhaps your specialty?"

    It was certainly a possibility.

    "Other would probably be researching the crystal further," Pyry added, nodding towards the item. "You said you'd need a microscope or something, right? We have some at the science classroom, but who knows how powerful those things are. Some other science-related people in town might have better ones, of course, but do we even know someone like that...?"

    The boy was about to say more, but suddenly fell silent. His eyes were focused behind Hisa, and as the scarred girl looked into that direction... she saw Allene sitting there, her hand slightly raised like she was a student in a school, wishing to ask a question. Soon all the eyes were on the blue-haired girl. She blushed a little at the attention, but then gathered herself and continued with some determination in her tone and eyes.

    "U-umm... the thing is, I think Josie's done some research on military-related matters. From what I hear, Road's End used to be practically isolated from the US jurisdiction back in the day, and military people weren't even allowed to set a foot in. That changed some time ago, of course, but I think the topic interested her enough that she's been doing some digging into it," the girl explained. "And... oh! Gosh, how did I forget! There might be something useful here too! After all, the person who kept the US government out of this town, Howard McLampet..."

    Allene spread her hands, gesturing towards the room they were in.

    "This used to be his study! I'm sure that if he wrote something down about it all, it would be somewhere in here!"
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; April 28th, 2021 at 10:12 AM.

  19. #4059
    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
    Weather: Rain


    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne
    "Well... anyways. If we're doing this, I guess we might as well go get the bossman, then," Hawthorn said, rising up from his seat. "You coming, Lia? Since you were so interested before. Figured I'd make the introductions at least, even if he thinks he's too busy to hang around."
    "Ah, wait a second-!"

    ---In the end, the situation has her reaching out for the man's hand as he moves to leave, grasping at his wrist with a firm determination that surprises even her...

    ---Was it because things suddenly felt dangerous? Like she was afraid the statue might try to do something to him if he got out of her sight? Wasn't that just paranoia on her part.

    She isn't sure.

    ---Her nature is that of a guardian, handling things alone is the best way to make sure no one gets hurt, but...

    For some reason it feels like maybe she can say it, maybe she should say it, yes...

    It's not just Thorne of course...

    She had meant to tell him basically everything tonight, and that would remain unique to his case, but...

    ---Scottie had seen it.

    He had seen something, it was in his nature, if there was a truly observant person here it would probably be him, not only that...

    ---Everyone will have to leave the club eventually, in which case, if the statue is an active threat, they would be in danger, so...

    Letting him know about it might be the safer route?

    ---She's not sure.

    There's danger in all the paths, but...

    ---A part of her likes this camaraderie, so...

    "Before we go, I wanted to show you some things I found at the school the other day."

    It's said in a chipper voice.

    Not her strongest cover-up, but a precaution taken to avoid the ears of the thing outside...

    She digs in her bag with her free hand, producing the McLampet pencil case she had found in the abandoned section (and had even used a few times during class) as well as a few sheets of paper and pens...

    "Also, Sensei, I'll take responsibility for you, okay?"

    ---Before stating something ambiguous.

    In the worst case, she can undo the agent's memories so...

    It's a risk she can take.

    Not knowing might hurt him more at this point, now that he's seen it, he's the type to investigate further on his own... Add in that he's almost seer-like in nature from what she can tell, and well...

    Keeping him close may be best, for a number of reasons...

    "Now everyone look at this... It's uh, buried beneath my homework..."

    ---She's gotta be subtle in her physical movements,

    Writing makes it less obvious, so...

    In broad strokes, on that paper, she writes:

    Spoiler:
    THIS MAY SOUND CRAZY, BUT I ASSURE YOU I'M NOT THE TYPE TO SEE THINGS.

    THE STATUE HAS BEEN LISTENING TO US TALK FOR AWHILE NOW.

    POSSIBLY POSSESSED.

    DOT SEEMS TO BE THAT SORT OF THING.

    IT'S MOVED POSITIONS IN THE GARDEN. DO YOU SEE IT TOO SCOTTIE?

    DON'T PANIC.

    AUNT DOROTHY SAID TO IGNORE ANYTHING STARING AT YOU FROM THE GHOSTWOOD, SEEMS LIKE AN ISSUE WE'LL HAVE TO DEAL WITH AT SOME POINT. TONIGHT MAYBE?

    THOUGHTS?

    SHOULD WE JUST IGNORE IT INSTEAD?

    IT'S LISTENING TO US AND WATCHING ME, SO DON'T GIVE IT ANY MAJOR REACTIONS. STICK TO WRITING. KEEP SMALL TALK GOING.


    "By the way, you can keep the rest of those cookies Fio. I'd rather you not randomly collapse somewhere, and cookies are pretty portable, so consider it a health gift!"
    Last edited by Airen; April 28th, 2021 at 04:38 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?



  20. #4060
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    It's like someone flipped a switch.

    The atmosphere in the room changes. Because I just poked a sleeping bear. Something that is not supposed to be disturbed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billie
    "... You'll wake up something in the process. Something you'll regret."
    The large woman's stare says more than her words ever could: Don't go there.

    I stare back for a few moments. Matching her gaze with my own unspoken promise: I'm going there.

    But... I avert my eyes first. I reach for the switch and flip it back.

    "Well when you put it that way... right! Sorry, Billie! Sorry, Carrie! I totally got ahead of myself and made it all awkward!"

    I bow my head as an apology. Right into the counter. Was it always that close?

    "Ow-! Ugh... gotta remember this 'social etiquette' stuff... Of course it'd be weird, in normal society, to go around poking into people's secrets like that. Over something as silly as a dream, too. Especially as a newcomer who doesn't know the corner store from the police station. Probably just gonna make people angry if I keep this up..."

    It's that part of society I always hated. Why hide? Why let it fester? Why not share your happiness and pain with others? Why close off your heart? Why do you adults always do this?

    Looking at her now... I'm sure Billie has a good reason to hold this door closed. Even if she'll never say why. Besides, I'm doing the same thing, aren't I? If it'd been the me of a week ago, I certainly wouldn't be backing off. Or caring about not ruining the mood. Or wanting to not be disliked by two awful adults. I'd have pushed and pushed and pushed and when the door was shut I'd have called her awful for closing it. Saying I'll leave it alone, even though I have no intention to do so... it's awful, isn't it? Or is maybe not that awful after all?

    Maybe this is the 'why' I was searching for.

    "Definitely wouldn't want to wake up anything scary."

    My reflection, twisted by the curve of the glass, stares back at me from within the bottle of dark cola. One of its eyes blinks. The other is swallowed up by the distortion.

    "And if it's already awake... I'd rather put it to sleep for good."

    I grab the glass and drain the rest of it. Until the reflection is gone.

    Today I've run into lock after lock. Things that shouldn't be poked at. Warnings to stay back, to not pry. Answers held back from me. But it's inevitable. Every door will be opened. If not from my side, then from within. The secret can't be contained forever. It mustn't be. If you hide it, it'll just grow and grow and become the monster in your closet.

    "I'm gonna be in this town for a whole year after all. Wouldn't want it to be a year full of bad dreams."

    This door, too, won't open. So I'll just have to find another.

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