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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #2181
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    John Dove
    Location: Road's End - Streets
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date:
    11.09.1994 (SUN)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “Regardless, I am in need of your help for a while. I have a first-aid kit, but my bag must have flown somewhere else. Can I ask you to look for it, please? For that matter, can you perform first aid? When you find the bag, be mindful of the bottle. It does not contain water. And you can take the leather notebook if so wish. It is yours in the first place, right?”
    "... Eh?"

    Mercedes blinked owlishly at John fro amidst her tears, watching as the boy pushes himself into a sitting position. It seems that his words take a while to register in her brain, as does the fact that he isn't dead yet... just on the death's door if nothing's done. Indeed, it must have been that the shock and the trauma of today has broken her mind to the point that she has hard time even acknowledging someone else's words, let alone work as someone else (not to speak of herself) instructs.

    But just as it starts to look like she is simply going to sit there, dumbfounded...

    SLAP!

    Mercedes West uses both of her hands to smack herself in the face, using sheer physical force to snap herself out of her stupor. And while her cheeks are red, and while her eyes are still full of tears, when she looked at John after this maneuver, there was once again focus in her stare. Once again she had found some sort of heading in her mind, and if something had broken in there, well... it could be talked about later.

    Instead...

    "A-alright, bag, first aid kit, got it... though, like... what the hell are you even doing with my notebo---" Mercedes shook her head as she jumped up from the ground. "Gawd, not the time for this. I mean, I suck at first and, like, don't know much about it but I can give it a try and...?"

    It was at that moment that Mercedes West realized the color of the sky too. Her jaw dropped as she stared up towards the clouds which were awash with waves of technicolor spectacle, travelling outwards like ripples from a point that seemed to be deeper, deeper into the forest. A silent curse came out of Mercedes's mouth when she saw it... almost as if she had half-an-idea what it could be. But whatever it was, it seemed to affect nothing else but the clouds now, so why was she so transfixed upon the sight?

    "... It's... not supposed to look beautiful..." Mercedes murmured to herself.

    Then, as if remembering again what she was supposed to do, the girl sprinted back to the road, her eyes scanning the area for any sign of John's missing belongings. The car nearby was still rumbling, it's engine on. That sight was definitely the clearest sign of hope today... a way to get out of this horrible town and the events that had transpired there. Just take the road and drive, drive without looking back, on the same road that all of them had taken to arrive here earlier this week.

    ... How could have things changed so much in a single week?

    Still, how long was it going to take Mercedes to find that bag? Judging by the sounds, she was running and walk all over the place without much success when it came to locating the first aid kit. And while she had been muttering encouraging words to herself for a while, now she had gone all silent. Only the sound of her shoes upon the asphalt road could be heard. They were hasty and they were panicked, but she still held herself together, until...

    Until...

    --- Her footfalls came to a stop.

    "John..."

    Mercedes said, her voice betraying a mote of horror in it.

    Then, kneeling down momentarily, she squatted down on the other side of the road from where John had flown and... lifted something up.

    Something familiar.

    Or rather... the ragged, tattered and broken remains of what had once been a first-aid kit.

    One that was completely useless now.

  2. #2182
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Road's End - Outside End's Mercy Hospital
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 11.09.1994 (SUN)
    Weather: Overcast


    "Do not mistake effect for a cause. I did not break anyone. I do not induce madness in anyone. I do not corrupt anyone. I do not make anyone go insane."
    Anna let out a contemptuous snort. It was clear that while the blonde woman’s strength might be worthy of respect to some, the raven-haired witch's actual estimation of her character was rather poor.

    “By your own words, you purposefully engineered this very situation by your actions, yet I’m supposed to consider you blameless?”

    “Fuck off, you old preening hag. You clearly have an individual will of your own, so instead of patronizing everyone and calling them children, you can act the goddamn adult you half-assedly pretend to be and acknowledge that this occurred due to your own shitty meddling.”

    "I am that insanity."
    Unfortunately, this was all Anna could manage to say before she was barreled into by a mass of writhing teeth and flesh, accompanied by a veritable shockwave of Odic Energy. Yet more bloody espers, of course. Dime a dozen these days around these parts, it seemed. Even as the beast’s fangs were biting into her flesh and pinning her down, Anna could feel her touch on her mind, flooding it with undeniable, supernatural, fear.

    The beast was twirling her around like a ragdoll, clearly aiming to bisect her with his teeth and end her life then and there. Another bout of nausea threatened to take over her senses, an echo of the scenery she had been forced to endure just moments ago.

    Some type of mental interference was at play. Though whether the beast was a physical manifestation of instinctual fear or just a mental delusion was irrelevant. Both circumstances would end up killing her anyway. She was on her last legs, brought to the brink of exhaustion by her previous fight in the hospital, where she barely scraped out with her life intact, only to be brought here to face off against this warped image of a woman. By all intents and purposes, any human with reason and sense would have already given up... and yet...

    And yet the rage burning in her chest refused to die out. Or perhaps it was more accurate to say that it couldn’t. It was as inalienable part of her as taking another breath.

    So the answer was simple.

    Anna’s eyes hardened with a cold calculating gaze as she took in the figure of Gabriela in the distance. Her body yanked around by the beast, the witch simply extended her arm towards the blonde-haired figure in the distance and clenched her fingers into a fist.

    Instantly, the air shimmered with physical force of mana and the familiar sharp scent of ozone.


    The figure of Gabriela Bahkauv suddenly lit up like a torch, her entire form wreathed in a blazing corona of flames that reached up to the very treetops, even as the ground beneath her feet was pulverized by streaks of metal that cleaved through the land like knives through hot butter.
    Last edited by Mellon; April 6th, 2020 at 05:59 PM.

  3. #2183
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel (Round 2, Turn 3)
    Location: Road's End - Outside End's Mercy Hospital
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 11.09.1994 (SUN)
    Weather: Overcast

    "Hmm? Fire and metal? What an interesting combination..."

    The inferno wreaked havoc across the forest, swallowing up the blonde woman whole. At the same time streas of liquid metal assaulted her, trying to cut her apart with the sheer intensity and sharpness they possessed. It was a veritable maelstrom of destruction, one conjured even in the middle of being thrown around by the colossal monster, a thing of immense proportions that seemed to have no rhyme or reason to its physical existence. Before Anna's glare, Gabriela Bahkauv disappeared completely within the two spells, consumed by the hellfires and wrought steel.

    But, as intensely as it had began...

    "--- Reminds me of someone I knew long ago."

    ... It came to a halt.

    The infernal flames began to billow uncontrollably and spiral into something, a specific point near their target. At the same time, the metal streaks of destruction were twirled around and sucked into some sort of vortex, becoming almost like strings of mithril-like yarn that drew pictures into the flames that shared their fate. Before Anna's eyes, her two spells were drawn into the tip of the staff wielded by Gabriela Bahkauv, concentrated into a twisting, whirling ball of silver and red, and concentrated into a shape that was no bigger than a baseball. With a cold smile on her face, the existence of the blonde woman was visible again, revealing she was unfazed and not nearly as badly damaged as she should have been. Sure, there were cuts in her clothes and the whiteness of her wardrobe had been signed, but...

    --- Why was she still standing so strongly?

    "An interesting trick. Assuredly destructive. Just like your personality. To yourself and to others. But here..." Gabriela Bahkauv spoke and raised her right hand again. "... As worthless as everything else."

    Then, with a simple move, she extinguished the ball of fire and metal, squashing it against her open hand and clenching it into a fist. At the same time, her red eyes focused once more on the girl that was being trashed about by the colossal monster. For a cold second or two she calculated something and then, fixing her posture and folding her arms across her chest, she simply nodded upwards with her chin.

    "Get rid of her."



    "###########!"

    The beast screeched like a lunatic.

    For a moment the G-forces again pummeled Anna as the monster that had her in its grips spun its head around thrice, the fangs digging deeper into her.

    And then, just as it felt like it was about to bite down on her deeper...!

    --- Anna suddenly found herself airborne.

    Thrown upwards, straight into the treetops, the raven-haired girl found herself clearing the tree tops as she shot straight up, body spinning around uncontrollably and without giving her any chance of orienting herself. The sky and the trees and the ground switched places with an ever-rapid rate, and while she spun, a streak of blood from her wounds formed a trail like a comet as she ascended towards the grey skies.

    And then, at 15 meters, she reached her apex.

    And what followed was the inevitable.

    That is, a fall straight down back to to ground.

    And a painful reunion with the ground.

    --- With the huge beast towering over her, about to strike again!





    [Hit! Gabriela Bahkauv: 10 - 5 = 5 Fire Damage (INT Defense)!]
    [Hit! Gabriela Bahkauv: 10 - 5 = 5 Metal Damage (INT Defense)!]

    [Hit! Anna Vandemeel: 14 - 1 = 13 Falling Damage (INT Defense)!]
    [Anna Vandemeel: Free from Restrained!]
    [Anna Vandemeel: Prone!]
    [Anna Vandemeel: Frightened for 1 Rounds!]
    [Anna Vandemeel: Entering Desperation Turns...]

    --> Round 2, Turn 4: Anna Vandemeel
    --> Round 3, Turn 5: Gabriela Bahkauv
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; April 7th, 2020 at 11:26 AM.

  4. #2184
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    John Dove
    Location: Road's End – Streets
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 11.09.1994 (SUN)
    Weather: Overcast



    …well, it is how it is.

    It is only in the madness called Pinefall where John’s tainted mind can be a boon rather than a burden. He is neither surprised nor bothered. Did She not say it before, that his death was already decided? Even if it no longer hurts, he understands that his body has reached the limit of his physiological function. Such are the rules of the hollow world, and he is powerless to break them.

    That does not mean he is just going to lie down and wait for the end, of course. That is not how John Dove works. Therefore, what is the next course of action? Really, by this point he can just do whatever he wants, right? Therein lies the question, though: what does John Dove want to do?

    Well, to begin with, there is the matter of Mercedes West.

    “Very well, then,” he says as he slowly pushes himself back on his two feet, ignoring jolting sparks of pain along the length of his bones that obviously are not really there because it doesn’t hurt. He promptly stumbles, body lurching forward along with a potent cough that fills his mouth with bitterness, but he manages to plant a firm foot ahead to remain standing. It is like a metaphor for life itself: it is very bitter, but you can only keep marching forward.

    “No point in crying over spilled beans, as they say,” he then adds in a voice so weak and flat even he can tell it carries no convincing power. Besides, who even says that, really?

    “As for the notebook,” John quickly continues in a purposefully stronger voice, the better to keep Mercedes’ mind busy and away from the fact he is literally dying on his feet in front of her. His hands reach for a handkerchief, at least to wipe off the blood and dirt from his external wounds. “Alexstrasza was interested in deciphering its contents, and I suspect she believed I could do so. She was right, but not for the reasons she had in mind.”

    It is easy to glimpse the fallen bag once he is standing, and John wastes no time in retrieving his sketchbook and Mercedes’ notebook out of it.

    “The text uses the Phoenician alphabet, but it disguises it by replacing it with the earlier Proto-Sinaitic script. Furthermore, it alternates between standard and reverse boustrophedon in the odd and even pages, respectively,” he explains while his hand idly waves the aforementioned notebook from side to side. “That is as far as I got, because the text is further concealed behind a Vigenère cipher, which needs a key I presume only you could know.”

    After that brief (and perhaps by this point unnecessary) explanation, John leaves the leather-bound notebook to its rightful owner. He then sighs and turns his eyes to the abnormal sky that seems to cover the entirety of Road’s End and its surrounding areas.

    “I was thinking of asking you to take over for me and drive to the Sheriff’s, but…” He shakes his head. “If they are not acting after all this, I don’t think there is any point in looking for them. Not that they would be able to do much of anything by this point. This town has been swallowed whole by the Turnside.”

    With that, he looks at Mercedes West’s excellent vehicle. Its engine still running is probably a silver lining to the cavalcade of tragedies this girl must have witnessed in this day.

    “Miss West, please get back in that car and leave. Just, follow that road out of this town and do not look back. I believe that is the best thing you can do right now.”

    Of course, the matter remains as to whether the darkness in this town will just let her leave, but John cannot imagine he could do something about that. He does not have the power to protect anyone. As for himself, there is nowhere for him to go. Not anymore.

    “It would be a shame for the world to lose your talent and your intellect.”

    He turns her back to the girl after that most un-John-Dove-like sentence. Perhaps this is his very sad attempt at “lightening the mood”. Perhaps this is the closest to an acknowledgement of the fact that he did not talk to her during the past week because professional liars make him nervous. Perhaps he is just fooling around now that there is nothing left for him to do. Perhaps he just broke in a new and different way. Perhaps this is the usual, lying John Dove, who would rather leave this girl with something like a positive opinion of himself, and guesses her physical attractiveness already has been praised to hell and back.

    It does not matter anymore. His attention is already set on his next and final plan. His gaze in set on the distant ripples in the sky, and on their apparent point of origin.

    Curiosity has a part in it, but there is something else pushing him in that direction. Something a lot simpler and more selfish.

    “If I cannot see the real colors of the sky, I’d rather see no colors at all,” he murmurs. “This…spectacle…”

    It does not seem a conscious action, but his hands are not idle, shifting and moving the weird panoply of items he has collected today to make them easy and quick to reach. This whole time, his eyes never leave the unnatural sky.

    “…it annoys me.”


    [John Dove – End of Second Desperation Turn]

  5. #2185
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Road's End - Outside End's Mercy Hospital
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 11.09.1994 (SUN)
    Weather: Overcast

    She was going to die.

    Anna knew it in her bones the moment when it felt like they would be shattered by the massive sky-bound drop. She knew it when feeling the teeth bite into her flank. Every fragment of both her mind and flesh screamed it at her. It wasn’t the first time she had felt like this. In fact, she had felt like this just a few days ago near that shitty gas station and many times before that. Somehow, she had always found a way to scrape through those times, even when it felt like hope itself had faded. For some reason, it didn’t feel like that would be the case for her this time.

    So why?

    Why was her spirit still roaring for some way, any way, to come out of this? Why?

    ???
    Silly girl. Didn’t you find out that answer already amidst that shattered sky? It is simply because of your rage. Your utter hatred for this world filled with meaningless injustice.

    Do you remember?
    You made a promise to yourself, no?

    If so, stand on your own two feet. It ill fits a miserable incarnation of rage, such as yourself, to die on her knees.

    The world around her snapped into momentary, inhuman, clarity, even as the beast above her was about to pulverize her to shreds.




    Anna's mind raced through thoughts like a train without breaks.

    Her spells were nullified too easily by something that wasn’t even an Arc Relic. Not even the faculty heads of the Zodiac Clock would be capable of doing something like that, that easily. Counterspell? No, she would have detected the residual mana. A resonance anchor? Impossible. That type of attention from the world itself could not be hidden by anyone, not even by this woman. What about her own wounds? Why was she not injured? Even if it felt like the fall shattered her bones, it did not. She was wounded, but not injured. And so was the shade in white. Her first impression would be to suspect an illusion or a mental attack against her senses like earlier, but even an external point of view from an outside source was fooled, so….

    Wait… the Odic energy…. That rain of blood… The calculations…

    An Effect Circle of all things?

    Had they been pulled into a world of her mental projection the moment they emerged from the hospital? It would make sense why none of her spells work correctly if the rules of the world were shifted. In fact, shouldn’t she be intimately familiar with something like this? It's not like the concept was alien to her, after all.

    It might still not work at all. In fact, it might work and she would still probably die, but…

    Be the change you wish to see, right? At the very least she owed this much to a shy boy who really couldn’t help but run to his mom when things went bad.




    Anna flipped herself backward on her feet with surprising agility, just as the bizarre beast's paws slammed down where she had been mere moments ago. After all, she might be at the door of death, but she wasn’t injured. It was her mind that was broken, not her flesh. And flesh willing, she would not see it end like this.

    Even as the monster in front of her shattered the ground in front of her like fragile glass, sending shockwaves and cracks throughout the clearing, she was already in motion. The massive beast’s balance was off for but a moment, an inevitable consequence of such a large motion. Anna could feel the gravel shift under her sneakers as she dashed forward, blood streaking from her wounds. A moment later, a quick sidestep adjusted her trajectory, allowing her to slip right along the side of the towering beast.

    And then she jumped into the air, right on the back of the towering monstrosity.

    In the inhuman moment of pre-death clarity she was undergoing, she could see it with perfect accuracy, her already nigh-supernatural senses driven to absolute and utter overdrive. The gap amidst the swirling mass of muscles and spikes below her, the gap in this monster born and driven from shadows of the heart. But that gap was really not what she was aiming at. Almost akin to rock in the middle of the road, the beast was nothing more but an obstacle. And it was never about the obstacles, it was always about the journey.

    And so, from the moment her foot had touched the back of the beast, she was already pushing of it, using it as a mere foothold towards her real destination.

    For a moment, she was floating through the air, rudderless.

    The sound of moving and clattering of steel echoed throughout the clearing, as a metal chain fired off from underneath her sleeve with unerring speed and precision. Latching itself to the treetops, it carried her momentum forward in an almost picturesque arc, swinging her through the clearing sideways at breakneck speeds, towards her true destination, even as the strings of blood from her wounds flickered in the air behind her. Her nerves screamed. This was too much. The magical energy she was channeling right now would tear her apart just as readily as any beast would. She of all people could not afford to go beyond her limits. She knew this, yet…

    It didn’t matter one iota as things were. The roar that echoed from Anna’s throat as she sailed through the air was almost primal, filled with equal parts anger, irritation, and concern.

    “GABIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!”

    As she landed on the ground in front of her the blaze burned in Anna’s eyes could only be called inhuman in its intensity. Before the shadow in white could even react, Anna’s hands clamped down on her, her fingers digging deep into those cape-wearing shoulders.

    “Wake up already, you goddamn fool!”

    With those words on her lips, Anna Vandemeel slammed her forehead down, headbutting Gabriela Bahkauv right in the face.

    As they both recoiled from the blow, both of their ruby eyes met. And yet, Anna did not see the woman in front of her. Profound, utter, sadness filled her expression even as her crimson orbs seemed to glitter in the light as they gazed at someone she couldn’t see, someone who didn’t seem to be there at all.

    A small, almost inaudible, whisper left her lips.

    “Are you really okay with things ending up like this? Is this truly the ending that you want?"

    And then, a stone, thrown moments ago from midair, fell down on the clearing, bathing the world in surreptitious azure shades.




    New Ability Revealed

    Hiiekivide Ring
    Rank: B
    Element: Wood
    Color: Blue (Abjuration)

    A type of ritual originally created to create and concecrate a “Hiis" - a sanctified holy site of Taarausk (also known as Estonian animism). These were key sites of worship for pre-christian Estonian paganism, but most of the legends and tales told about these locations are associated with nature spirits, elves, and other supernatural beings. This is because these locations, in reality, served as “gates” between “material” side of the world and the “spiritual” side, in a manner quite similiar to fairy rings, commonly seen in mythologies of Western Europe.

    When activated, this spell creates a replication of the users surroundings and “pull” all nearby individuals to the “spiritual world”. Additional information pending...


    Sarviku Varandus
    Rank: D
    Element: Metal
    Color: Red (Destruction)

    A spell aimed around shaping and manipulating various sorts of types of metal. In its most basic form, the spell is used to create high-pressure discs of different types of liquified metals. As it the spell usually requires a pre-existing source of metal to manipulate, Anna carries with her a long metal chain where each link is composed of a different type of metal. These links are then used to provide the necessary base ingredients to execute the attack in question. The chain itself can also be manipulated by the spell in order to act as a close-combat weapon of sorts (with identical attributes and damage as the ranged application).

    Additional information pending...

    Last edited by Mellon; April 8th, 2020 at 10:25 AM.

  6. #2186
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel (Round 3, Turn 5)
    Location: Road's End - Outside End's Mercy Hospital
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 11.09.1994 (SUN)
    Weather: Overcast

    The azure shone.Unyielding light opposing a nightmare.

    It bathed the battered and destroyed area of the forest within its glow, becoming a focal point that drew all the attention to it. Even the colossal monster, whose prey had given it the slip with the help of the steel-like chains that pulled her forward, stopped for just a second or two, staring at the light with clear question in its eldritch eyes. At the same time, the world started to warble and wane, the area around the two combatants grew dimmer and began to shine with a newfound illumination - almost like a different reality was trying to push itself into the forefront and take over from this one.

    And in the midst of it all...

    Underneath the sorrow-swept glare of Anna Vandemeel...

    The woman in white pushed her feet against the ground, lifted her head that had been thrown back from the force of the headbutt...

    ... And raised her eyes to meet those of the girl in red.

    ---------- Glaring through her with darkened fury.

    "You've grasped a truth, but only half of it. Your world does not help you here, amidst the nightmares of a wounded heart. There is no other world to escape to... because this is not the world you'd leave behind," Gabriela Bahkauv spoke, her words rumbling the clearing. "My child screams, for that's all he can do. And as he does, the world bends to his will. It is dragged into that infinite unconsciousness that all humans share, where now laws of reality, no laws of the Turnside, apply."

    The right hand was once again clenched into a fist.

    And in that moment... something horrifying happened.

    The stone that had been shining so brightly above them all, like a beacon of hope... was crushed in the maws of the great beast of insanity that barreled after Anna, letting out yet another screech that almost pierced the eardrums of anyone who heard it. The azure light died down, faded back into nothing, and once again the forest was cruel and dark. It was as if someone watching over this all, someone who was the root cause of this all, laughed at the scene of last bit of hope turning into ultimate despair. Like a sick twisted monster that had caused this hellish day, all these deaths and was now reaping its price in snuffing out even the last bits of rebellion.

    And right now, that something... was acting through
    Gabi Bahkauv
    Gabrieala Bahkauv
    .

    "Fury, hatred, sorrow, desperation... they are all my domain and where I am to be born in the heart of every human. How ironic, that you would strengthen yourself with me in order to defeat me. I would laugh if I were not besides myself with rage," Gabriela growled as she, arms yet again folded across her chest, took a step forward. "Look and search all you want, you will not find my child here. For I am his shadow, and I am part of him just as he is a part of me. This was the second great misunderstanding that caused your fall."

    Again, the maroon eyes focused on Anna.

    Again, the head nodded sternly.

    Again, the monstrous arm with its claws hungering was raised.

    But this time, it was not to wound...

    --- It was to execute.



    "And the first was..."

    The monster no longer screeched.

    It spoke.

    In tandem, in unison, it spoke with the blonde woman.

    Not with her booming, authorative voice.

    But with the voice of young boy, driven mad by the world and its injustice.

    To the point that it had led to
    her
    him
    becoming a nightmare.



    "That this was nothing..."

    The great claw descended, but this time with much more fury than before.

    There were no additional tricks this time.

    No, this was pure psychic energy made flesh, Odic Catastrophe that fell upon Anna Vandemeel in a world that was no longer its own self.

    After all, the woman, the monster, the boy... they all spoke the truth.

    Of what this had been all this time.

    Of what Anna had accidentally stumbled into.

    Of the danger she could not have possibly known about.

    And that was...



    "--- But a bad dream."

    The great claws descended and rend the flesh apart.

    Or did they really?

    In the end it was all the same.

    In a world of dreams, it didn't matter what was real and what was not.

    Illusions and nightmares... they hurt all the same.

    And given enough power, enough intelligence, they would be capable of killing those who were alive.

    After all...

    Hypnos
    Sleep
    was just the twin brother of
    Thanatos
    Death
    .

    And they both were mothered by the great
    Nyx
    Night
    that Anna had fought valiantly against.

    So, it made a horrifying amount of sense.

    To die within a dream was to die when awake.

    As her mind and its bastion were crushed with one, final, decisive blow of the monster, Anna Vandemeel knew this.

    Indeed.

    Death is not a hunter unbeknownst to its prey.

    And today...

    ... It had caught up to the Girl in Red.

    Like a Big Bad Wolf.




    [Hiiekivide Ring: Activation Conditions not met! Unable! to activate!]

    [Hit! Anna Vandemeel: 14 - 1 = 13 Melancholic Damage (INT Defense)!]
    [Anna Vandemeel Dies...]




    New Ability Witnessed!
    Gabriela Bahkauv
    STR: ? END: ? AGI: C WIL: ? INT: A EGO: ?

    Abilities:

    Animus Thanatos
    Rank: A
    Element: Melancholic
    Not an ESP that summons monster, but an ESP that summons, manipulates and creates nightmares. A total control of the surroundings and environment of those drapped within the dream, capable of causing physical harm and even killing targets within the nightmare. While in the nightmare, all damage targets INT Defense as it does not happen in reality, and with each usage, Gabriela Bahkauv is capable of dealing damage even if the "cause" can vary wildly - that is the way of dreams after all. Further information pending...

  7. #2187
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    John Dove
    Location: Road's End - Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date:
    11.09.1994 (SUN)
    Weather: Overcast

    "W-what... like hell I will!"

    It had been a noble thought.

    Sending Mercedes out, alone, in her car. Driving away from Road's End and the hell it had become in a course of a single day. Or, perhaps... this hell had been brewing the moment the First Class set foot on the soil of Pinefall High? Well, whatever the case, ensuring at least one of them survived and could recount what had happened to people in the know somewhere far away, somewhere safe... it was indeed a noble thought. It was also practical and wise. Even if the two of them could never truly find out or comprehend why today had turned out like it had, surely there were some people out there who could. From what John had heard, the world of the Turnside was vast, and there must have been some souls decent enough to care about this tragedy - to find out what had truly happened.

    But, even as noble and practical that thought was... it was immediately discarded by Mercedes West.

    Because instead of hurrying to her car, the actress jumped over the ditch and ran after John, reaching him in few seconds. It wasn't a hard thing to do, considering the state his body was in. And though Mercedes West looked like she wanted to physically stop John from advancing further towards the source of the unnatural technicolor light, his condition must have also been the reason why she didn't. Instead she aimlessly gestured with her hands, like she had no idea what to do with them.

    "N-now listen here! Like, c'mon! Stop it with the tough guy act and think for one moment!" Mercedes berated John, looking like she wanted to smack him over the head. "There's, like, nothing worth of seeing there! H-Hisa and Elise, t-they... they gave their lives just so I could get out of that place. And you wanna go back there? Gawd! I should just hoist you over my shoulder, and, like... like..."

    At this, John can only sigh. Of course, it is not like he would stop her even if he could or wanted to. But he cannot let go of the feeling that this girl's obstinacy, which normally most would find admirable, right now is only regrettable beyond words.

    As much fervor as there was in her voice, even Mercedes seemed to realize that she wouldn't have been able to do so, as much as she wanted. So, frustration clear on her face, she aligned her walking pace with John as the two of them trudged deeper and deeper towards the source of the wonder in the sky.

    For a while, for minute or so, the starlet seemed bereft of words - unable to properly convey what she wanted to. Instead, she simply had to watch as John dragged his battered body through the forest, towards the source of the light that still rippled like waves in the canopy of clouds. There might have been tears welling in the corners of Mercedes's eyes once more, but she pushed them aside with sheer spite that so naturally came to her. She might have shown weakness before, but when it came to someone else's life...

    ... She would crush that weakness.

    "... Gawd. Like, I'm not gonna let anyone else die today. We're getting you to a goddamn hospital if it's the last thing I do," Mercedes hissed, suddenly grabbing John by the shoulders. "So what if the first aid kit was, like, broken? We'll just have to be quick and not do something stupid like..."

    Suddenly.

    Her eyes went wide.

    "Like..."

    And who could blame her?

    After all, the forest they had been walking in...




    John Dove
    Location: Road's End - ???
    Phase: Night Phase
    Date:
    11.09.1994 (SUN)
    Weather: Overcast
    [BGM]

    ... Had suddenly turned into another place entirely.

    Dark shadows had grown over everything.

    The forest itself felt like it had lost all its vibrancy, even the measly one it had in the greyness of the overcast sky. What it had been replaced by was a foreboding darkness - one very much unlike the soothing moonlight that had followed John's Goddess. This was no gentle night that wrapped itself around those who were looking to rest or peacefully slumber, no... this was the kind of darkness where monsters roamed and old spirits hid in the shadows that blanketed the land. Where folktales of boogeymen roamed free and became reality, where there was no more sense of left and right as the forest swallowed you up whole.

    And it had all happened in a blink of an eye.

    The woods... had swallowed the two of them up whole.

    "H-hey, like... what the hell is this...?" Mercedes asked in a quiet voice, letting go of John and looking around them in a growing panic. "I-it was a day just seconds ago, so how... like, how are we here right now?"

    She turned around, eyes scanning the environment. Only... there was nothing to be found. Only dark night and its dark shadows, black that covered them like a veil that was about to be used to smother both of them. Yes, that's exactly how it felt. This night wasn't here by an accident or because of some sort of accident. Just one look at their surroundings told as much. No, this night...

    ... It was here to end them.

    Almost as if...

    As if...

    --- They were two only two remaining.

    "W-wait, gawd! What the hell was that!?" Mercedes suddenly whispered in a shock, pressing her back against John's so that nobody could take them by surprise. "I-I just... I think I heard..."

    "...this is why..." murmurs the boy after another sigh. "I am allowed to be a little cross with you for not listening, right?"

    She didn't think she had heard anything. The sound that rang from somewhere deep within the forest had reached John's ears too. It was... a crue laughter. A childish giggle of someone who was so very much enjoying what was going on right now. Someone stalking them in the shadows of this... whatever mirror-like version of the Ghostwoods this was. Someone moving in the trees with what must have been a face-splitting grin on their faces, watching and waiting... waiting... waiting for something to happen. For something else to happen. Almost like a scavenger or a hyena of some sort.

    But what was it waiting for?

    The answer was obvious.

    It was all too obvious at this point, even before John heard the sound of a leather shoe snap a dry branch on the ground as someone stepped out from behind the trees.

    "--------------!"

    Mercedes couldn't even let out a scream as the two of them whirled around to look.

    Her breath was lodged in her throat.

    And who could blame her?

    It was there... just like was to be expected.

    Right there.

    Between the trees. Standing tall. Looking at them.

    Without a body, without a proper existence... but still so very much there.

    It, he, stared at them both... because the end had come.

    But even in that non-existent stare, John Dove could sense one last piece of decency it had.

    It was waiting for him.

    For one question it would answer.

    And after that...

    --- They would no longer be the last two remaining.

    "So there it is," is what comes out of John's mouth. The End of the Road. It is not entirely unexpected that he cannot put a name to it, for it is not something as straightforward as Elaine or Ramalsaqr or even His Argent Mistress. The thought of moving closer, of trying to get a better look, never crosses his mind. Only that thing is allowed the privilege of action. John Dove can only open his mouth. If this thing is the author, the creator of this stage and the composer of this tragedy, then...

    "Miss West," John says, not allowing himself to look away from the Thing Without a Body. "I can only offer you my utmost apologies. The one standing right here, with you, at the very end, should be one you care about."

    So many thoughts. The Jews use crucifixion stakes as healing amulets, for example. Too bad he is neither a Jew nor can speak Hebrew. How about the castigation ceremony? If he performed the proper procedure, and stabbed this "Disembodied Man" with that stake, what would happen? Well, he is not an occultist, so he probably would just embarrass himself. At this point, he might as well...

    "Cesarina Feroce," he begins. "Subaru Iburi. The Coastrise siblings. Colton Davin and Inacio Ilusão. Xylia Pheme. Alexstrasza Lockhart. Ubon Sĕeklêun. Elizaveta Vyraj, and even more names I can't bother to remember right now, in Pinefall and outside."

    John Dove is in no way special. It is only circumstance that allows him, the worthless one, to stand here at the end. Not one who could come out with more cunning words, nor one with the power to fight back against inescapable doom.

    "Which was the tuning point? Which was the action or the inaction upon which this end was decided? At which point did the lives of those boys and girls lose all value to the likes of you?"

    That is the only thing he can think of. Because, right now, he is not thinking with that ever-rational mind of his.

    "Tell me, so I can hate you for it."

    Silence.

    Momentary silence.

    Then...

    --- In not so much as a voice, but as a thought.

    The answer came.
    Y_O_U__D_I_D__N_O_T__P_R_O_T_E_C_T__I_T_.

    I_T__W_I_L_L__N_E_V_E_R__E_N_D_.

    U_N_L_E_S_S__Y_O_U__A_L_L_._._.

    ._._._R_E_C_O_L_L_E_C_T__Y_O_U_R__C_R_I_M_E_.

    And there it was.

    The final question.

    The final answer.

    Nothing more could be expected anymore.

    Without waiting for another word, without caring about the scream that finally emerged from within Mercedes's lips, without giving them any time to prepare, the tall man in a well-tailored suit and without body to call his own stepped forward. He cleared the line of trees, and somewhere far away, the giggling and the cackling grew ever stronger, ever louder. Darkness fell upon them all, cast by the shadows of the mountains that rose near the town and wrapped it in a chokehold. The woods became alive with music and somewhere far away, curtains swayed.

    This was it.

    They both knew it.

    They had struggled as much as they could.

    But in the end... the game had been rigged against them all this time.
    T
    The fates had been twisted so that there could be no other outcome.

    As the Disembodied Man calmly walked over them... it all came to a close.

    Even the last thing that John saw before the sight of the Man filled his vision was nothing more than a tiny speck of hope, fighting against the dark.

    The sight of a hooded, floating figure deep in the woods who was staring at him.

    As if trying to give him hope.

    But alas.

    For this week, hope had died long ago.

    For John Dove...

    --- This was the end of the road.





  8. #2188
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    It was a morning so early it was practically night.

    Tuesday had barely given any time for Wednesday, and only the first echoes of sun's rays in the horizon had began to dispel the night.

    Far up above, seagulls were shrieking their usual siren song. They were hungry, and the ocean was full of fish. Indeed, back in the olden days, the town of Road's End had been a small fishing hamlet, but these days, after the logging boom, barely anybody remembered those times.

    There were few exceptions, of course.

    And one of them had just taken a sharp right turn from the asphalt road and down the sandy path towards the beach - End's Beach.

    This someone was local fisher named Suzy Marlin.



    A young woman who was much shorter than she liked, and who now turned her head towards the skies and the seas as she heard a distant, booming, low sound echo across the waters of the Pacific Ocean.



    "Lonesome fog horn..."

    Her musings were as quiet as the wind in the sycamore trees in this budding morning.

    While September had already begun, the temperatures had yet to drop terribly much. And while an accomplished fisher like Suzy, who liked nothing more than to whittle the hours away on a quiet, crisp morning with nothing but the waves and the silence as her company, had no problems with the cold or the wind, she still enjoyed that last bit of warmth that the year had to offer. Soon the autumn would be in full effect, and after that, the winter. Winters in Road's End tended to get surprisingly cold, and a small town like it was often snowed in almost completely. In those times, only the foolhardy quests of the Spade Queen traveled about, driving their expensive cars to their log cabins, all in the name of "outdoor life" that was as luxurious as it was ridiculous.

    But today Suzy didn't have to care about the guests from out of town, or even about the locals themselves. She had the ocean and the beach all to herself, and she was planning on using it well. Good four or five hours of fishing without anyone to bother her. Nothing but blessed peace and quiet and maybe a nibble or two on her fishing line.

    "...?"

    Perhaps it was these thoughts of peace that made her so initially surprised and wary when she, after descending the path all the way down to End's Beach, finally spotted something odd on the sands. Something black and plastic and flapping in the wind. It was covered in dirty, moist sand as if it had been rolled around and it had already made an indent in the beach itself, showing just how heavy it was.

    But that didn't worry her too much. She had seen people leave their trash on the beach before. Never a full bin bag like this, of course, but youngsters could be fools. And since bunch of teenagers had arrived to the town, some oddities here and there could be expected. No, what worried Suzy was the shape of the bin bag, like it had been stuffed with something large. And then there were those odd things poking out of it, like impossibly flaxen-colored seaweed.

    "---------"

    With cautious steps, Suzy approached the bag on the beach, her eyes peering into the direction of the thing. At the same time, she tried to stand on her tip-toes, cursing her own short height in her mind. A curious object like this certainly didn't make her want to approach it carelessly, but it wasn't like she was going to get good look from afar while she was five-foot-nothing in height. So, another step she took. And another. And another.

    All the way until she had reached the large bin bag...

    ... And realized what the "seaweed" poking out of the bag really was.

    "-------!"

    The fishing rod was dropped to the sand.

    The cautious steps accelerated into a run, but to another direction.

    Her breath was lodged in her throat.

    ... And about half a minute later, she was leaning against a public telephone while trying not to heave uncontrollably. Cold sweat was pouring down her forehead as Suzy, impatiently, listened to the empty tooting from the other end of the line. Her fingers tapped against the metal covering of the phone in a panicked rhythm, and her eyes were wildly scanning around the road and the beach far below, trying to see if anyone else was around.

    "Oh dear... oh dear..." Suzy kept muttering, feeling as if her heart was about to beat out of her chest.

    Then, after a time that was way too long, there was a familiar click on the other end of the line. Immediately the fisherwoman jumped to talking, without letting the person on the receiving end even get a word out of their mouth.

    "J-Jo? Jo, this is Suzy Marlin," the fisher stammered into the receiver, wiping sweat from her forehead. "Jo? Put Michael on the horn."



    ".......?"

    On the other end of the line, a somewhat puzzled-looking Johanna Cliff, the deputy of Road's End's Sheriff's Department cocked an eyebrow as she took her ear off the receiver and stared at it for a few moments. She and her boss had barely gotten to work, and as understaffed as they were, things weren't usually so busy this early in the morning. Nevertheless, Johanna had heard clear panic in the tiny fisherwoman's voice, and knowing how the young woman didn't really have guts to prank call authority figures, she shrugged her shoulders and leaned over the counter.

    "Boss? Boss you in there?" Johanna asked with a slightly raised voice, looking towards the direction of the file storage which had its door open. "Boss!"

    As if summoned by her last call, a tall man emerged from the storage room, coughing a bit as he waved dust off his face. The tall man had sharp, piercing eyes and a gait that reminded more of a soldier on a vacation than a police officer. Still, the badge on his chest announced his job as the sheriff of Road's End quite clearly. This man was Michael Kennedy, and when trouble came a-knocking in this bodunk little town, he was the one who often had to deal with it.

    "Hmh? What is it?" Michael asked, walking over to the freshly made coffee jug on the nearby table to pour himself a cup. "Something wrong?"

    "Mm, dunno. It's Suzy Marlin, down at the beach," Johanna answered, putting the receiver against her shoulder. "I'm going to transfer you to the new phone, alright? Not the old busted one. You know, the one we meant to have Tommy look at? The red one? Yeah, that one. I think I finally broke it last night when I was calling a friend, since the whole thing just stopped working in the slightest. So yeah, I'm not gonna transfer to that one. Because that's broken. And if I transfer to that, you can't hear from it."

    Sheriff Kennedy, who had raised his cup of coffee to his lips, stared wordlessly at his deputy - with the eyes of someone who had listened to this sort of chaotic, waterfall-like torrent of words many, many times before and had never gotten any better at understanding it when it started. Flushing a little red on her cheeks out of embarrassment, Johanna pointed with a pen towards the meeting room behind the glass window panes, and specifically one certain corner of it.

    "I-I mean... I'll transfer to the black phone. Alright?" Johanna stammered a bit, trying to avoid her boss's gaze.

    As the aforementioned black phone began ringing, Michael let out a curt, amused chuckle underneath his breath and took a swig of his coffee. At the same time he took brisk steps towards the ringing phone, and after setting the cup of coffee down, he picked up the receiver and put it against his ear. With his other hand he picked up the cup again, and took another sip.


    "Mornin', Suzy. Are the fish biting?" Michael asked with a hint of cheerfulness in his voice.

    However, that cheerfulness quickly evaporated, just like the taste of fresh coffee on his lips, when he heard the words that came from the other end of the line, spoken by the panicked young woman.

    "S-she's... she's dead, Michael. Dead and stuffed in a trash bag...!"

    Immediately Sheriff Kennedy set aside his cup and grabbed his hat from the rack. At the same time, his whole demeanor changed as he straightened his back, immediately adopting a more serious, professional countenance. It was an automated reaction, brought by years of service and seeing the worst that humans could do to each other.

    "Calm down, Suzy. Calm down and breathe," Michael said, setting his hat on his head. "... Where?"

    As he listened to the young woman's explanation, Michael's mind was already racing a hundred miles per hour, making a checklist of everything he needed. At the same time he listened to all the information he could gleam from the panicked Suzy's explanation, before she finally got to the end of it. Immediately afterwards, Michael nodded - more to himself than anyone else.

    "You stay right there, I'm on my way."

    And with that the sheriff put down the receiver and hurried to get his coat. In just a few seconds he was walking down the corridor leading to the front door while pulling on the coat with the same official insignias as on his badge. The only stop he made was at the reception, where he put his hands down on the counter and looked Johanna straight into the eyes. Immediately the deputy could feel something being off - she hadn't seen the man known as Michael Kennedy this serious in a long time.

    "Johanna, you suit up too and get Doctor Roslin with your car. Then, meet me up down at the End's Beach. Right in the shadow of the lighthouse. Oh, and bring the camera with you, we're going to need that," Michael explained. "And that means now, Johanna. We're in a hurry."

    The blonde deputy practically shot up from her chair, but at the same time, she couldn't let go of that curious nibble in her mind.

    "W-what's going on?" she asked.

    Michael, silent for a moment, averted his eyes and gazed out of the window into the blooming morning.

    "We've got a body down there," he finally, curtly, answered. "Not a word about this to anyone till I say so. We don't need the town in panic, especially after all the new arrivals. Just go get Albert from the hospital and get to the beach."

    And with that, the sheriff was out of the door, already halfway through to his jeep. Sirens blared up in the otherwise silent morning of Road's End as the car roared out of the yard of the Sheriff's Department, heading towards the town proper... and towards End's Beach in particular.






    "It's over here..."

    Some time later, once the sun had partially climbed up above the horizon, Suzy Marlin led a group of three down the same sandy path she had walked not too long ago. With her were Sheriff Kennedy, Deputy Cliff and Doctor Roslin, all who were silent as the grave and with serious looks plastered over their faces. The situation was... well, it wasn't unheard of in Road's End, but at the same time, it was certainly something nobody had wanted to happen. There were already too many dark tales in the past of the town, and the last thing they needed was to add another one to it - especially with this timing.

    However, these four were not the only ones at the scene. Watching from afar and with no intention of getting in the way of official sheriff business, two figures peered down at the beach from the road. One was an older woman with a cigarette on her lips, her brunette hair buffeted by the wind. Carrie Lakes had been on her way to her usual spot at Big Boy's, but this odd scene had certainly caught her interest... though she didn't want to stick her nose where it didn't belong. Same could be said for the redheaded young man, Zane Mitchell, who had been on his way to work. Zane had pulled his hood up to cover his head, keeping his hands in his pockets and staring grimly at the beach and the big trash bag that could be seen near the water.


    "You want forensics first, Sheriff?" Doctor Roslin asked, clicking his tongue at the sight as they arrived to the bin bag. "I'm not a total expert, but..."

    Sheriff Kennedy shook his head.

    "No, she's been in the water," Michael answered, rubbing his chin. "We better just take those pictures for now."

    The sheriff wasn't wrong. The whole bin bag was clearly soiled by water, and even now some last remains of it were slowly dripping out of the black bag. The bag itself was a sturdy one and had held up surprisingly well against the elements - though it had been propped up by the duct tape wrapped around it in numerous parts - even around the mouth of the bag. That last ring of tape had given out, however, and the mouth had opened... which was why locks of flaxed, almost colorless wet hair were poured out of it and splayed on the sand almost like some sort of seaweed. It definitely wasn't a pretty sight, and the two men could only imagine what they would find inside it.

    Most likely Suzy Marlin had made a wise choice when she had kept herself a good ten, twenty feet away from the scene itself, only taking quick glances towards that direction.

    "D-do you know who it is?" Johanna asked as she walked over to the bag, readying the heavy camera she was carrying. "I mean, judging by the hair it looks like a girl, so---"

    Michael shot a stern look at the blond.


    "Johanna, the pictures. Now."

    The deputy gulped and nodded hastily.

    "O-oh, right, right, sorry..."

    Doing as she was told, Johanna Cliff aimed the camera at the bag and started snapping pictures. She walked around the thing, trying to get in every angle as possible - from above, from the front, fom the back and from the sides. Finally she walked a bit closer to the black bag and squatted down, aiming her camera right at the mouth of the bag to try to get a better view of their off-white colour... but, almost immediately, she felt something churn in her stomach. The two men watching could see how the deputy's face turned the color of pale, and though she was fighting back, tears were beginning to form in her eyes. Heavy droplets of cold sweat fell down from her face, and Johanna gripped the camera so tightly her knuckles were turning white.

    "Oh no... Jo? Jo, leave the camera to me," Doctor Roslin hurried to interject before anything could happen, and helped the younger woman up. "Come on, Jo, deep breaths now..."



    "G-god... goddammit, I didn't, d-didn't mean to..." Johanna stammered, her voice cracked by uncontrolled sobs. "... s-sorry, I just d-don't know what, I can't... I can't control it..."

    Sheriff Kennedy, though looking like he wanted very much to be frustrated, pushed down that feeling and put his hand on the shoulder of his deputy in an effort to calm her down. At the same time he led her away from the bag and towards Suzy, who had perked up and looked like she was ready to handle things from here while the sheriff and the doctor dealt with the body.

    "Come on, Johanna... the same thing happened last year at Ramshack. This can't keep happening if you want to do this job," he admonished her, though while trying to soften his words. "Look... go get the stretcher from coroner's van, alright? Bring it back here, and we can get take it from here, okay?"

    While still sobbing quietly and rubbing her nose, Johanna nodded to the suggestion. Still muttering "I'm so sorry, Boss..." under her breath again and again, she started walking back towards the sandy path that led up to the road. Halfway there she was joined by Suzy Marlin, who put her arm around the taller girl's shoulders and quietly tried to calm her down.

    Meanwhile, back at the bag, Sheriff Kennedy took off his hat and glanced at Albert Roslin. The doctor looked sternly back at him, before glancing towards the corpse stuffed in the bin bag.

    "... Shall we roll her over?" the doctor asked.

    Michael didn't answer with words.

    He simply nodded.

    The two men knelt besides the bag, one on each side, and with gentle force they grabbed the bin bag and started rolling it, and its contents, open. The heavy, thick plastic bag made loud rustling noises on the sand as it turned around, moving the moist sand underneath it as it did. A oily, black crab that had been hiding within the disturbed sand quickly escaped from the chaos and skittered across the beach and towards the tall shadow of the lighthouse that loomed above them all on the tall cliffside. And thus, with a last push, the bag was turned around and the person inside it was made stare towards the sky again.

    For a moment, neither of the two men said anything. They could guess what sort of sight awaited them when they pulled down the mouth of the bin bag. Albert Rosling rubbed his chin, steeling his mind. While he had seen many things in his life as a doctor, a corpse was never any easier to meet, much less prepare to. Michael Kennedy, on the other hand, shook off any bits of nervousness in his body by running his hand through his hair one last time.

    Then, after sharing a silent nod with the doctor, Sheriff Kennedy reached down towards the bag and started pulling it down, revealing the person inside it.

    --- A person neither of them had expected.

    A person dressed in wet, tattered clothing, clutching a leather wallet. Person with her eyes closed as if she was simply in a peaceful sleep. A person whose flaxen, almost off-white hair had been soaked in the water and whose now colorless face was marred by sand that had stuck to it. Person who was clearly younger than any of the two men, and judging by her lithe frame, not more than a teenager. Teenager who had been practically stuffed in a black trash bag, yet looked as peaceful as if she had been sleeping in a comfortable casket.

    Michael Kennedy, without meaning to, cursed under his breath at the sight.

    "Jesus..." the sheriff muttered. "It's just a goddamn kid..."

    Meanwhile Albert Roslin had already moved to work. He knew that if he stopped now and took in what he was seeing, he wouldn't be able to focus on what needed to be done. Thus he slipped surgical gloves on his hands and carefully pried off the wallet that the girl was clutching in her hands. Surprisingly enough it didn't even take too much force. The squishy, wet leather of the wallet made it slip off her fingers even though rigor mortis had set in and the body was cold and stiff. With emotionless expression on his face, Albert raised the wallet so that both men could see it and, carefully, started peeling it open.

    Most of the things that had been inside, like paper bills and receipts, had been destroyed by water.

    Judging by the weight, some coins remained.

    Some coins... and a driver's license that one could see through the transparent pocket of the wallet.

    One with a picture of the same girl that was now dead between them... and with her name clearly on it.

    Sheriff Kennedy quietly shook his head, the growing sorrow of seeing someone so young dead gnawing at his heart.

    Albert Roslin, with similar emotions playing in his chest, looked at the girl neither of them recognized. Whoever she was, she was not one of the locals... but at least they now had a name they could call this mysterious girl with.



    "Elizaveta Vyraj..."

    The sun, though above the horizon now... felt awfully cold to the two men.








    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Your Room
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy
    [BGM]

    Suddenly.

    You awoke with a start.

    A vaguely familiar song was blaring out from somewhere that was not immediately clear. Your craed brain was sent into overdrive as your eyes shot open and all your senses were screaming at you for a moment. It should have hurt. It should have been dark. It should have been empty. It should have been nothing. Yet here you were, bloodshot eyes staring wide and panicked at a ceiling... ceiling that was both strange and familiar. Ceiling of a room you had spent a week in, and ceiling you had thought you would never see again. Yes, this ceiling... this was the ceiling of your room. But where? Oh, that's right, in the dormitory of Pinefall High School for Troubled Youth. Where else would it be?

    No. Something was wrong.

    This song was wrong.

    And when your momentarily crazed eyes shot a look to the wall with a calender and it... why was it marked only up to the date 06.09? Almost like it was implying today was 07.09. But what was impossible, right? That was impossible. That was absolutely insane.

    But... why was it impossible?

    Of course you knew. Because you remembered. You remembered all the way until pain and the emptiness took you and your heart stopped beating.

    Yet here you were, listening to the song that had woken you up on your first proper day at Pinefall.

    ... The 7th of September, 1994, to be precise.

    Yes, this was the exact same song as on that day.

    Almost like, almost like...

    --- The week you had experienced had been just a dream.

    Known NPC Locations!
    Pinefall High - Cafeteria

    • Gabi Bahkauv
    • Travis Gagnon
    • Subaru Iburi
    • Aleen King
    • Pyry Leijonamieli
    • Caleb Montjoy
    • Ramalsaqr Ramia
    • Alex Terrot


    Pinefall High - Field

    • Ubon Sĕeklêun


    Pinefall High - Main Building

    • Inacio Ilusão


    Dormitory - Kitchen

    • Sakura Tsukioka


    ???

    • Hwan Bin
    • Cesarina Feroce
    • Kean Loinnir
    • Souma Nubatama
    • Xylia Pheme
    • Mercedes West


  9. #2189
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    "I got idea, man~"

    “I WON'T LET YOU! I'LL KILL YOU BEFORE YOU KILL ME! THAT'S WHAT YOU GET!"
    ".draeh I ruomur a tsuJ"

    "I hear how ya all laugh in the woods."
    "?jaryV atevazilE ekil yltcaxe tsomla kool ehs t'nseod ...tuB"

    "This moonlight's making me mad."
    "?elihwa tser ton yhw os ,drah neeb evah tsum tI .xaler dna ,gnos ytterp a erahs ,knird doog a erahS .detivni neeb ev'uoY"



    Those backwards words passed through Colt’s ears, triggering a click. Then two more. A little switch flipped up, then down, then back up again. The pain in his head, his chest. Everywhere. All those places… where he had been shot. His leg and back, where he had been stabbed.


    "What the hell are we even doing here?
    ".wonk ot tnaw uoy gniht ehT ?reh ksa ton yhw os ,esoon s'namgnah eht tsap er'eW"

    "Bullets... bUlLeTs? Of course, bullets..."


    "HYAAAAAAAAAAAARRGGGHHHHHH!!!”


    Her lips were there. She was there. Her presence overwhelmed you. She took a deep breath... ------------------ And whispered who had murdered her into your ear.

    Right at the same moment as the blaring of the radio drew you out of your sleep, ripping the dream apart.

    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Your Room
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy


    “UUUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”

    The corpse belonging to Colt Davin came to life with a scream. His arms shot up from under the covers, trying to get out of the water, to fight the hands pressed firmly on his neck, holding him under. He tried to breathe and choked, flailing without sense in his bed until he fell off of it.

    On the floor, still fighting for the right to breathe, to live, he began grabbing at his chest, where the bullets had penetrated. He curled his fingers up and began to scoop invisible blood back toward his chest, like trying to pull himself back together, only to stop halfway. His hands turned to his face, grabbing at his right cheek. He tossed and rolled on the ground, hitting his head against the leg of the bed.

    That pain.

    The throbbing ache.

    He stared into space for a moment, processing that pain. Pain that could only be felt while alive. Pain, that which only the living can feel.

    He shuffled against the floor, toward the wall. The power outlet was beside him, the cord to his alarm clock and nightstand lamp plugged into it.

    The bullet in his chest ached and burnt at his thoughts. The gaping wound in his back pulsated a frigid pain. The pressure on his neck, of the fingers crushing his throat, put a stop to his breathing. The voice of his killer played on loop in his head, crying and screaming as she pushed him under the water to finish what she started.

    He looked up at the alarm clock.

    The longer he stared, the louder it became, the more its unending electric BEEP began to drown out all the other noises.

    6:02

    The digital digits read through the vibrations of the ceaseless alarm. With the last piece of his decomposing reason, Colt yanked the cord from the outlet.

    “I…” His voice came out like the croak of a dying man. He hadn’t realized it, but Colt was shivering. His teeth were chattering. There was no time to think about that. No time to think about the chill of the pool’s water, of the onset of cold as the blood left his body. He paid it no mine. The chitterchatter carried on, as did the pain in his face.


    Finding the strength to rise from the floor, Colt shambled toward the restroom. The memory of dying pressed down on him, every innervated nerve crushed under its weight. The body which was once again whole felt more torn apart than before.

    Standing in his bathroom, he stared into the mirror. In it he saw his face, unmarred. No blood, no hole. No pain, save for what lingered in the back of his brain. All of him, normal. Alive.

    The longer he stared at that reflection in the mirror, the more it began to hurt. His eyes began to twitch.

    “But, I. There was, I was. Shot, so much. Stabbed. Drowned. Murdered, killed. I shouldn’t… no, I’m not alive. I’m dead. Should be dead, have to be dead. It was just a dream. All a dream. A bad dream. None of it happened. I… I went to bed after talking to… to Pyry, Hisa and Inacio… Inacio, oh my God. Inacio, I brought Inacio with me, what happened to… no, no no no no! It wasn’t real. IDIOT! None of it was real, it was a dream. But dreams aren’t so realistic! They aren’t so elaborate. They aren’t so real and lifelike just like everything else that isn’t real, that isn’t normal. It wasn’t a dream, it wasn’t real. It was something else. Because something is wrong. Something is wrong with me.”

    He stammered out words, excuses. Explanations and reasoning, mumbling and repeating things to calm himself down in the same breath he accused himself of insanity.

    “… Why am I like this?”

    The man in the mirror asked the question, and the boy turned to him.

    The two’s eyes met. One, with his gaping bullet wound that devoured the right side of his face, waited in silence for an answer. With dilated pupils, tears welling in the corners of his eyes, the other stared back.

    “No.” He stepped away, his back hitting the wall. “No, I’m not like this. I’ve never been like this.”

    Colt’s back slid down against the tile wall, and he fell to the floor. The pounding pain rattled his head, and he clutched at it with all his might. Squeezing it as though he were trying to pop it with the force of his grip, the boy closed his eyes.

    “Just… why…”

    There was no answer to that question. Not from himself, not from the world, not from the girl he so vividly remembered being murdered by.

    He opened his eyes, and stared down at the silver locket laying on the floor, the familiar and comforting sight distorted by the tears welling up in his eyes.


  10. #2190
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    ---

    Alexstrasza Lockhart

    Date: 07.09.1994.

    Location:
    Road's End
    Phase:
    Morning Phase
    Weather: Partly Cloudy
    ---

    Black.

    Emptiness.

    Hey, God? Are you there? I'm dead, aren't I? Hah... I never accomplished a single one of my goals.

    Do I really have hopes? Dreams? Fears? Am I just a monster? Am I exactly what that bastard executioner of the Church accused me of being? Do I have anything I can truly call 'mine', beyond the facsimile of humanity that I wear like a silk veneer?

    Haha.

    Hahaha.

    Hahahaha.

    It's a joke. Life. It's not as if I asked for much. All I wanted was to be happy. To be human. To exist in a place where others were kind to me. To pretend, even for a second, that I had in my grasp that simple thing called 'friends'. That I experienced that far-off emotion of 'kindness'. What an insidious joke.

    Humanity is garbage. A trashcan of waste and refuse that can't be ignored. Even if I want to help them, to save them, how can I save garbage? How can I be redeemed when even in the eyes of one of God's chosen, I am irredeemable?

    Should I kill them?

    Should I kill them all?

    It's dark.

    I'm scared.

    I hate this. I hate it. Am I dead? Am I dying? My sins weigh on my spine like a hundred ton weight. I'm bitter. I'm so bitter I can barely stand it.

    I don't like people.

    They're full of flaws.

    They act badly.

    They're a cancer on the face of the planet.

    It'd be better if they didn't exist at all.

    I don't like being.

    It's too full of suffering. And evil.

    I'm surrounded by darkness and emptiness. I'm dying. I can feel it. I can feel water on my skin. Is it from the sky? Is it from my eyes? I can't tell anymore.

    Is it raining? I can't see anymore. It's so dark. I'm scared. I don't want to die. Please, don't let me die. Please! I'm trying so hard to be good! I'm trying so hard to be just! To be kind! Just... just give me a chance, and I'm sure I can change!

    It's encroaching on me. Red. It's all I can see. Red and black. Is... is this it for me?

    Don't... don't give me that! Seriously, is this all there is!? How is this fair?! I just wanted to be happy! Why are you making this so hard for me?!

    Cesarina...

    I...

    I'm really sorry I couldn't be your friend for just... just a little bit longer...





    My eyes open and my throat lets out a scream.

    There's a window shining through a room that I vaguely remember. Outside of it, lazy hills and a town that I don't know sits, idly under a swiftly rising sun. The clouds are light and fluffy in a crystal blue sky, and I feel tears brim in my eyes. My body shakes as I almost throw myself out of bed, my fingers flinching away when they touch the cool glass as I look outside, peering at a world that I know, I know, I had left behind.

    Is this hell?

    Have I descended to a hell that I can't escape from?

    I'm crying. I don't want to. I hate weakness. I hate feeling empty. There's an entire world of beauty and wonder outside, and I just sit here, and cry. It's a loud, heaving sound that leaves my throat, a laugh trapped inside of a sob.

    I'm alive, but I'm dead.

    I want it to end.

    Please, God, just let me die. You let me go already, right? Why do I have to exist again? If you hate me so much, please, why do I have to be here?

    I don't want to die.

    Right?

    I want to die.

    Right?

    I can't tell anymore. Life is meaningless and empty. The pain of existence is something so deeply entrenched in my soul that I can't let go of it. Pinefall isn't a place of happiness for me, it's a place of suffering. I just wanted friends. Peace. Happiness. Did I do something wrong?

    Is it okay?

    For me to exist, is it okay?

    I'm here again. I'm alive again. I'm crying, like a weakling. Honestly, I thought I'd had that beaten out of me.

    The road runs on endlessly, going to someplace I can't see, and I look around a room so spartan that it has no sense that anyone lives here. I hate this. I hate this more than anything. I should tear it all; this facade, this facsimile of human existence to shreds.

    Trust in others? What a joke. Everyone is as terrible as me, are they not? If I am a monster, then I must die. If others are monstrous, they should be allowed to live. This attempt, this facade at humanity I wear is a waste of my time.

    In this hell, where I must walk the same dreary steps under the same weary eyes, I don't give a damn anymore.

    I stand, my body moving through a bedroom that has nothing of meaning to me. My reflection passes me in the mirror.

    I smile. It's wobbly. It's not true. It's fake. I'm fake. I've always been fake, and lying about it.

    Or am I?

    What am I? Who am I? Am I a monster, or a person? According to the Church, I'm just another devil to be put down. According to reality, I'm useless. A waste of space. An empty thing pretending to be real. Mercedes was right. She's always right, isn't she? God, I'm worthless.

    But this is my reality, is it not? To live a meaningless, easily repeatable life. Wake up. Class. Exist. Read. Fight. Kill. Wake up. Class. Exist. Fight. Kill. Read. Wake up. Exist. Kill. Fight. Kill. Kill. Kill.

    I touch my reflection, looking at my own face in the mirror. The wobbly smile that was on my lips fades completely, a blank emptiness looking at my own reflection.

    I don't care about any of them.

    They all deserve to burn in the seven fires.

    I burn a smile onto my lips like a facade.

    Spoiler:

    ==> Cafeteria
    Last edited by Frantic Author; April 19th, 2020 at 04:51 PM.
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it

    #THELEGENDNEVERDIES

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


  11. #2191
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    "--- But a bad dream."

    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Your Room
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy


    And so, her eyes opened, filled with unquenching rage.

    It was burning. What was both past and future flickered past her eyes. The bedding was wreathed in crimson as the flames wrapped themselves around her like cloak. The beast spoke both with the broken words of a hollow boy. The shades, now counting more than fifteen shot what seemed like a sea of magical bullets at her. The corpse of the dismembered girl stood below the tree, covered in white, but the stench of blood was still far too evident. Ramia wasn’t there. Out of all the times to fla…

    Further.

    A small dinner with two brothers. She was walking down a lone road with Caleb. Future is a selection of states. To foretell destiny is to choose it. And the knight was a constant of unchangeable states. She was standing under the pouring rain, looking at the beach, looking at two of them, one close, one far. Even from this range, the silent threat from the bowman was clear.

    Further.

    She felt her body being torn apart by the massive greatsword. An echo of an echo. A dream within a dream. They were standing in a bar, talking to a snake. More than one snake there in hindsight. Or had she been mistaken all along? Ramia pulled her in in the common room, giving her no chance to leave.

    Further.

    She was at the store with Shane. She was in the middle of the woods, looking as Gabi was setting up his telescope. She was running along the path with Zane, the lighthouse standing in the distance, the syncamore trees around them. She was sitting on the beach, alone, looking at the stars. Peace was an illusion but one meant to be enjoyed. The class felt pointless and filled with inanities. A beach party? They were sitting in the cafeteria with Ramia, Elise, and… Gabi. She was in the bed and the speaker was playing...!

    The breath from her lungs exploded out in a massive gust, with the unintentional numen-infused gale scattering the flames on her bed almost as if they had been a bubble that had been suddenly popped. Both the door and the windows shook with the sudden force. And yet above….the obnoxious speaker was still playing…

    “…gahgh…ha…ha….” She was rasping, her breath ragged. “Ghe… “It feels like the very first time”… huh?”

    It felt as if she had been hit by a thousand trucks. Her raven hair kept swaying as she kept gasping and rasping, her lungs filled with fire, almost as if she had been drowning and was only now gasping for her first lungful of air. Some part of her mind told her that it had been because she had just come to this place and hadn’t fully adapted, but… her memories, all of them, told her that that simply wasn’t the case. The rasping subsided as the black-haired witch seemed to finally, finally get her emotional and physical state under control…

    “Haa… haa… haa….” Deep breaths. “What the… what the…. What the fuck?!”

    A premonition? Like hell. Nevermind having the necessary reagents or her finding digging through goat guts repulsive, she hadn’t even set up the necessary rituals for something like that! Besides, even if she wanted to, there was no way in hell any divination arrays would give her something like this. A cryptic omen or statement, that’s for sure. An immense feeling of déjà vu and a verse or two foretelling, perhaps. But an entire set of memories? Even those cooks at the Viewing Pool only saw fragments of the future and the future was always in flux. More a matter of probabilities than certianity…

    Just an elaborate mental manipulation? False memory implantation? A temporal leash? Were her experiences being sent backwards from the future? After her death? But the paradoxes… wait... Astrarium, the astronomical clock. The cyclical nature of planetary objects… had she been too late already? She couldn’t feel any traces of foreign magic in her, but if it came to something like the Seven…. No, it couldn’t have been. Both for her and everyone’s sake. The duration and magical energy would be too insane and the distortion between the town and reality shouldn’t have diverged to such a massive extent so fast…

    Enough. This is enough.

    Another deep breath brought with it the calm of mind, tempered by experience and forged by anger, that always before had felt like second nature to her. Aimless theorizing would solve nothing for her, except induce panic. In reality, things were no different than they usually were when she was hit by magic she had no understanding of. The scale and scope might differ, but the principle remained the same. Confirm your surroundings and build from there. She could hypothesize all she wanted when she had a full understanding of the situation. When in doubt, follow your routine. If there is nothing solid, make something. Even when it feels like you will break, that type of stability will keep you together.

    A blunted stab of dry humor ran through her. Good. It may have been blunted, but it was still there. Perhaps she felt worse than she actually was, if that was the case.

    Who knows? This might even be the afterlife. In which case, I’m sure to be in hell, for I hope no-one in heaven would torture me with this horrible wakeup music.

    Fifteen minutes later, after a quick shower, Anna walked out of her room and towards the cafeteria.

    The flame-burnt and ashen bedcovers that now blackened the surface of the single bed remained in the room alone, already out of the mind of the girl who had seared them to a crisp moments ago.
    Last edited by Mellon; April 19th, 2020 at 04:55 PM.

  12. #2192
    men are men; the best sometimes forget Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Your Room
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy

    Lucille wakes with a desperate breath that turns into a miserable sob. Her hands grip her bedsheets, knuckles white, as her head turns to scan the room in a frenzy. The song playing through the speakers barely registers, but what little does break through her fear-addled mind unsettles her to the very bone. She clutches her side, feeling for a gaping wound that isn’t there, and in shock she merely stays like that, transfixed.


    Slowly, her breath evens out and her hands stop shaking, but the guilt stays. It always does.

    “I’m sorry…” she says to nobody in particular. The dead cannot hear her. And she will not forgive herself.

    The nightmares had become less and less frequent—enough to the point where she argued vehemently against attending Pinefall until other issues came to light—but now they were back, more vivid and worse than ever. The only thing that was different were the contents. In an amusing enough way, it meant that she truly enjoyed being at Pinefall very much, if she could dream about it all being taken away from her.

    No, that wasn’t correct. The past still lingered.

    After all, in the very end, she couldn’t escape Michael’s shadow. Subaru’s ranting was burned into her ears, words sharper than any knife, carved into her very soul. How could she know him? He was long dead. Was it just her subconscious trying to torture her once again?

    Lucille does not know, so she mechanically moves to take a shower. The cold water does nothing for her nerves.

    She cannot tell if the unsettling feeling of familiarity is from the nightmare or not, but it is the same feeling that guides her to the kitchen. Her gut feels like Sakura is there, and Sakura is the only person she can really talk about these things to.
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  13. #2193
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Your Room
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy

    I…

    I was confused. As I was just lying there on the bed, staring at the ceiling, blinking.

    I died.

    I’m sure I did, it can’t have been just a dream. Something I’m too familiar with...but all of this just felt too real. It was too long, and so much happened for it to be just a dream.

    I looked around, and listened. It became obvious where I was, I was back at the dorms, in my room, just like it was at the start...And the music, it felt familiar, something that I’ve already heard before in this exact room, just a few days ago.

    I crawled out of the bed, and in front of the mirror - checking if I was still...I. But there didn’t seem to be anything off. Nothing that would imply that my body was somehow tinkered with.

    I was still myself...in a perfect shape, much better than how I was on...sunday?

    It all felt so surreal, thinking back. How everything that could go wrong went wrong on that day...How it feels like it was just moments ago when I was just...erased from existence by that guy.

    But then…

    Ignoring how weak my body felt all of a sudden, I walked over to my desk and after a bit of fidgeting around, pulled my notebook out of my bag. The notebook I’ve been carrying around all the time, taking notes of anything relevant or slightly interesting - or at least I thought that I did. The notebook was missing everything from the past school days - every last bit of information, anything from Gradient’s drawing to the notes I took back at the gas station were gone, but the notebook seemed perfectly clean and intact, as if I never even wrote those things in there, or anything at all since I got here.

    I rubbed my temples as I felt my heart throbbing in my head, threatening to make it explode any moment.

    It can’t have been a dream. But it’s also not...the same. It just wouldn’t make sense. An illusion, something that keeps me trapped here? But when, and who, and how would I not notice that?

    As I was about to lose my mind, something clicked in there - something that could make quite a bit of sense. Rosencrantz’s advice...Angelica’s circumstances, and how she could have been able to predict things...Are they part of this too? Did they predict all this? Did they know about sunday, and where things were going?

    What day is it today?

    Is...he okay as well?

    There was so much to theorize about - but there was something even more important. Something that could not wait, something that I had to confirm before anything would happen…

    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy

    All dressed up now, I made a beeline towards the cafeteria - borderline running, considering how much my bag was swaying along my side - and ignoring everything and everyone else, I made my way towards a certain person.

    “Hey,” I greeted him casually, even as I was holding a literal sea of emotions back inside, “Got a moment to talk? Someplace else, somewhere more quiet maybe?”

    I grabbed his arm, pulling him slightly - perhaps showing a bit too much of my desperation.

    But he was there.

    I could touch him. Feel his warmth.

    He was alive.

  14. #2194
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Colt's Room
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy


    Quote Originally Posted by Colt
    “Just… why…”
    Indeed, there were no answers.

    The world had no answers to give.

    Everything had become strange, everything had become unknown, and at the same time, everything had returned to something terrifyingly, nauseatingly familiar. This situation, this moment, this room... it was like he was the only one who didn't belong there. Like he was the only one who was out of synch with the world. Outside his door, Colt could hear other students waking up and heading to wherever they were going... though at the same time, here and there, he could hear something... louder? Wonder what that was about...

    In any event...

    The locket gave no answers.

    It was just a locket.

    The only thing it could do...

    --- Was to glimmer slightly and clink, as if something had touched it just for a moment.

    But then even that was gone...






    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High - Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy
    [BGM]

    The cafeteria was surprisingly rowdy by the time Alexstrasza arrived there.

    It seemed that some of the students had gotten the idea that by going there early, they might be able to get an extra-serving of food... which was a bit ridiculous. If you could praise the food at the Pinefall Cafeteria for something other than the taste, it was the size of the servings and the ability to refill your plate twice. It looked like Mr. Oceandrop had put quite a lot of money to making sure that the students were well-fed. Even today, other than the regular toast and assorted paraphernalia, there was a choice between porridge and fried eggs & sausages - with pancakes for dessert. If anyone went hungry after a breakfast like that, they only had themselves to blame.

    So, after getting her serving, it was time to find a place to sit down... something a bit harder to do than might've been obvious. After all, this was the start of a new school year and everybody was trying to get to the same table as those few people they knew... meaning that choosing your own place, on your lonesome, was an undertaking to be sure.

    Eventually, Alexstrasza was forced to settle for a table slightly away from the bustling center of the cafeteria with only one previous occupant... only to find that, at the same time, another person also sat down with their tray - a tiny girl wearing a rather magnificent scowl.

    "Hmh?" The previous occupant of the table said, munching on a sausage. "*gulp* O-oh, good morning! A lovely day, isn't it?"

    The one who was already sitting there was a young girl - almost as short as the other one - dressed in rather outdated garb of crimson and white and going in straw sandals of all things. She also had a rather tiny looking dog on her lap, one that was currently chewing on some fried egg and wagging its tail at both of you.




    New Character Met!

  15. #2195
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    ---

    Alexstrasza Lockhart

    Date: 07.09.1994.

    Location:
    Road's End
    Phase:
    Morning Phase
    Weather: Partly Cloudy
    ---


    "What do you mean, exactly?" I replied with a smile, stirring the food on my plate absentmindedly as I look at the girl across from me. I knew a girl, not so long ago, who wore an outfit like that. Who dressed the way this person did. But she had a different appearance, a different manner, and a different dog. Is this the same person, or is this just another way that I am to be tested? On my sins, I cannot deny - on my virtues, I have little. I am what I am, isn't that right? O' executioner of my mine, you truly do have a manner that I cannot ignore. Your nobility such that I am compelled to acknowledge it. "Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning in spite of any and everything, or that you feel good this morning? Or... is it perhaps, a morning to be good on?"

    I don't take a bite of food. It looks unappealing. Unappetizing. It curdles my stomach into knots, the appearance, the texture, the fragrance. I have no appetite for it. I have no desire for it.

    A memory.

    A neck, exposed. A laugh. A quenching of an endless thirst.

    I blank out my mind of the memory, smiling brightly at the girl sitting across from me.

    "You're Subaru, are you not? I remember you from orientation. You seem... different, though? Have you done something with your hair?"

    A different sort of orientation, really; an embarrassingly poor meeting with an embarrassing result and a terrible ending for me. If I have the opportunity to rewrite my past wrongs, then why should I not? Even if I care little to nothing for those around me, I can pretend. Like a character in a storybook, I can play my part until my eyes fall out. It's not that big of a deal for me to do such things.
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it

    #THELEGENDNEVERDIES

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


  16. #2196
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Prushka's Room
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy

    "...ow."

    With a start, the dream fades.

    Was it a dream? I'm in my bed, my eyes are open, and I'm staring at the ceiling of my room. The place I was before I opened my eyes is no longer the place I am. Thus, it must have been a dream.

    The forest, a dream.

    The hotel, a dream.

    My eye, a dream.

    Or was it? I don't dream like that. My dreams are full of more feelings than colours, more smells than sights. And that dream was-.

    A familiar song cuts through my thoughts like a spear through a child's heart.

    "..."

    I know this song. Half-remembered, but remembered still. When was it that I'd heard it?

    On that day, after getting slapped.

    "...ow."

    My cheek stings. Funny. It shouldn't sting. It should be gone. I should be crying in a pool of my own blood right now, but instead... it just hurts a little.

    I stand. I can stand. I can speak out loud. I shouldn't be able to do either of those things with a chest wound that... doesn't exist.

    Somehow, a sinking feeling pervades the pit of my stomach. One that brings with it whispering thoughts of possibilities too horrible to consider. And then, as if that was a floodgate, the rest of it comes rushing back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Myself?
    "The ghost of the lighthouse. Muse. Elizaveta Vyraj. The Girl in Blue. My brother. Your condition. Fyrtio and the lumber mill. The shadows in the night. The monster that ate my eye. And... Angelica's warnings. We should've listened to her. It might be too late already, but... no, it's not too late."
    "It was too late."

    What an idiot I was. What an idiot I am. It was far, far too late.

    My head pounds at me with new information, even as the song continues on. I need to stop. And think. And consider. And prioritize. And cry. And-.

    My stomach twists again into knots. Oh, I need to eat.

    After looking at my face in the mirror, examining the familiar black mark and the eye that shouldn't be there but is, I can only think of food.

    So, I leave. I step out of my room, as I did all those days ago...


    Location: Pinefall High - Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy
    [BGM]

    ...and sit down at a table at the same time as two girls, my tray laden with food clattering onto its surface. I need that food to think. All the painful stuff can come after I've had breakfast.

    "...morning."

    One of them, I recognize, and I nod to here as greeting. The other...

    Oh, yes. I recognize it as well. That irritating fake smile. If anything, it's become even more annoying than before. What was her name again...? Something Lockhart...?

    I couldn't remember last time, either...

    Well, I'm too irritated to leave. Then I'd have to find somewhere else to sit. Screw that. I'm eating right now. Even if it hurts to chew. Even if I have to stare at a stupid fake smile that looks like it's going to fall apart any second.

    ...come to think of it... I never asked, did I?

    What was behind that fake smile of hers.

    The carton of chocolate milk from my tray is deposited right in front of her.

    The girl whose face looks like an overripe banana stares at the girl with a plastic smile. In this moment, which of us is more disgusting? Hard to say.

    "...you had a rough night too, huh?"

    Whatever she's hiding, it's no good. So I'll drag it out. Even the most awful feelings are better than some sham meant to hide them.

  17. #2197
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High - Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “Hey. Got a moment to talk? Someplace else, somewhere more quiet maybe?”
    The hustle and bustle of the cafeteria seemed distant.

    Indeed, seeing someone alive who, just moments ago, had been dead was a... surreal experience to be sure. But if Hisa Momoi was feeling like walking a dream, with all sorts of emotions raging inside her, then the boy she had accosted in the line of the cafeteria was... just plain old surprised. Like he had no idea what was going on, or what he had done to deserve this surprisingy pleasure. Almost like a cat who had been given a some fresh meat instead of dry food and who was now trying to see where the trick lay.

    In other words, Pyry Leijonamieli looked very confused and out of his element right at this moment, with Hisa pulling him from his arm.

    "E-err... wait... erm, sorry, err..." the boy stammered for a moment, trying to collect his thoughts. "Hisa... Hisa Momoi, right? I remember you from yesterday. So, uh, err..."

    Why was he being so slow?

    No, wait, that look on his face... Hisa had seen that slightly pale skin and look of exhaustion once before.

    He was... he wa slightly hungover, wasn't he?

    "I... honestly, I'm really hungry right now, so could we talk while we eat or...?" Pyry started, but stopped. His eyes scanned Hisa's face and her expression, taking in how the girl looked, until finally, he started talking again. "... You look pretty serious. I... guess I can eat the breakfast in a bit? So, uh, lead the way, Momoi. I guess?"

    Still looking like he had no idea what to do with a girl suddenly accosting him like thi (and looking somewhat like he was afraid he had done something wrong) the boy put his tray back on the rack and gestured Hisa to lead on.

    And once the two had gotten a bit away from the crowd of the cafeteria, he folded his arms across his chest while walking and cocked an eyebrow.

    "So, uh... what's up?"




    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Pinefall High - Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy

    Lining up for the food had been a rather troublesome experience (thanks to just about every student being there) but eventually Anna managed to emerge from the chaos with her own tray of assorted food.

    Finding a place to sit was a whole different thing unfortunately - just about every table was half-full. Different friend groups were conversing with themselves while loners were emanating an aura that told that coffee would be thrown in the face of anyone daring to approach carelessly. So, to avoid a hassle, the girl in red just headed for the nearest table with an empty seat. It was, after all, only a breakfast - even if the cliched laws of youth movies told that where one sat at cafeteria was a sure sign of their rank in the social hierarchy of the school.

    "... Mornin', Anna," a familiar voice greeted the girl. "You look like hell. Didn't get any sleep?"

    Ramia grinned at Anna, though her own face wasn't better. She had a horrible case of bed hair and slight bags under her eyes told that the girl hadn't gotten that much sleep. She had also piled nothing but sausages on her plate, apparently planning on washing them all down with a cup of coffee so black it might as well been a black hole.

    "... hello," another voice, much more quiet this time, piped in.

    ... It was like a slap against the face.

    This was a person Anna definitely recognized. Even if the withdrawn expression and the slightly scared look in his eyes - like a deer in headlights - immediately told of someone who had no recognition of the raven-haired girl.

    Gabi Bahkauv.

    Of course it was.

    "Anyways, you came at a good time," Ramia said and winked at Anna. "I was just about to tell Gabi here about this one time I almost ate a scorpion that had sneaked into my burger."

    The husky-voiced girl chuckled, like it had been the best of jokes.




    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Kitchen
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy

    Even if the cafeteria was full, that might have been a better choice.

    For, as it turned out, the kitchen of the dormitory was a battlefield of sorts right about now.

    All sorts of assorted foodstuffs like tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce leaves, salad, butter, cheese, ham, chorizo, pepperoni, salami, tuna, shrimp, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and too many others to name had been spread around the room like someone was trying to summon the eldritch Oscar Mayer God of Overeating in a bizarre ritual involving breakfast of untold proportions. But even this chaos was not the worst part - no, it was the fact that something had been used to prepare out of this primordial sea of breakfast.

    There, on the kitchen table, sat a whole baguette that had been cleft in twain and stuffed so full and so to the brim with ingredients that it had ceased to resemble a bread and instead had taken the appearance of some sort of overgrown, mayonnaise-filled abomination train of taste and fats. Next to it was brewing, quite innocently on the stove, a kettle of tea that worked as a wonderful counterpart to the ridiculous sight, being so normal.

    And the reason for all of this, the one behind this culinary murder that Lucille now caught red-handed?

    "Oh, hi! What's up?"

    None other than Sakura Tsukioka, smiling from ear to ear at Lucille.

    "... You want one?"

    She nodded towards the gigantic sandwich and raised the butter knife she held quite menacingly.

  18. #2198
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Your Room
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy


    ---For awhile, a few brief moments in time, the dark-haired woman does her best to ignore the sudden song screeching over the intercoms.

    It's a truly valiant effort, a reflexive grab of her pillow to put it over her own head, the last desperate struggles of someone who hadn't been able to sleep well the previous night, and who was trying to hold onto that blissful state of unconsciousness now that it truly had her in it's grasp.

    But it's useless.

    A truly useless struggle.

    No matter how much she groans and twists, there is no convenient alarm clock for her to swipe into silence... Of course this is only natural, the alarm of a high school exists for the purposes of rousing the students, but just this once, just this one time, she wanted to be a bit lazy, sleep for just a bit longer, but...

    But...

    "Well... It wouldn't be my first choice for an alarm, but... Guess it works, right?"

    In the end, she forces herself to her feet.

    It's the only way to reclaim her usual energy after all-!

    Those who lay around lazily will do so all day, and on the first day of school, even if her body disagreed, she would not give into such base impulses-!

    "Odd dreams though..."

    At first, the young woman seems to be talking entirely to herself... There is no one obviously in the room with her, so it would seem like she's just articulating her thoughts aloud, but...

    A meow greets her voice.

    That of a tiny cat -a kitten really- doing it's best to adjust to the circumstances of their new home, and by that...

    "Morning to you too, Zee."

    It meant he was still hiding under her bed...

    Well, that was fine too, let him get used to it in his own time-!

    She stands, stretching as she heads automatically for unfamiliar showers, the land of delightfully hot water, soap and shampoo. Outside of that glorious promised land, lies a room adorned with video game posters -seemed like street fighter was popular-, a number of boxes that had still yet to be completely unpacked, and a desk, lined not just with a toolbox and scattered screws, but the deck of a skateboard that seems to have been recently disassembled and reassembled, a set of brand new wheels -for a brand new life- shining dimly in the morning light, and with that-

    -time passes.

    Eight minutes, give or take-!

    Liana Skye, 18 years old, steps out of the shower looking far more alive than she had been going in; the loose hair has been tamed, drawn back into a ponytail that really accentuates it's length, and the nightly t-shirt and jeans had been swapped for something that had required a bit more effort from her, although the silver bracelet around her wrist was the same as always, and-!



    "Okay-! Let's do this! Come on Zee!"

    ---A sudden eruption of energy?!

    It's a call to the cat to join her, however, it declines with a meow.

    "Zee~"

    This, is of course, met with a somewhat more -secretly stern in spite of the singsong tone- command, and-!

    Up the bed, onto her outstretched arm, and from there onto the right shoulder-!



    "..."

    A practiced routine, her achknowledgement of it's desire to never be too accommodating to it's owner, as cats are want to do.

    But everything is prepared now-!

    "First day Zee, so hang on-!"

    Yes.

    Grabbing her board as she goes, the tell-tale sign of wheels hitting the hallway shows that the young woman didn't plan on waiting till she got outside for that...

    Yeah.

    That was pretty normal too-!

    Of course today was a special day, first day of school and all of that... There were a few things she could do here, try to make better friends with the other students now that everyone wasn't dragging their heels tired, but first...

    Well, there was at least one person she felt she should try to see as soon as possible...

    Even if only to apologize for never really saying goodbye the last time she had been around-!

    Yes.

    That skateboard has a destination, and that destination-!

    Room 114.

    Wheels roll to a stop, a casual power-slide bringing it's somewhat show offy owner right to her destination, and-!

    "Cesy?"

    Two knocks on the door.

    Speaking as if she knows the person inside...

    "You awake yet? It's me, Skye! Remember?"

    The girl makes an honest effort to reconnect with an old friend...

    If she isn't here, well...

    Morning also might be a good time to go skating...
    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?



  19. #2199
    Progressive Shattering Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Your Room
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy

    My first hazy thought as I began to regain consciousness from dying was that… Waking up in hell felt too comfortable. I expect the ground to burn me awake or my bed to be made out of needles. Not that I was going to complain… Maybe I was wrong and I got sent to purgatory. So I finally opened my eyes… to a familiar room.

    “...What in the world.”

    I started to scan my situation. Apparently I fell asleep in my dorm room. Door blocked by the dresser. I was sleeping with my back against the wall with only a light blanket covering me. I had my preferred weapon right next to me... But it was in better shape than I remember it being. It was almost as if I devoted all of my resources into maintaining it. Which wouldn’t make sense as… I have… my… other… gun… That’s weird my other gun wasn’t out in a readily accessible area in case of attack… And it wasn’t in the bass guitar’s gig bag due to the fact that it was wide open to reveal the bass guitar and nothing else… My HK M4 disappeared as if it never existed. I didn’t have extra sights, suppressors, or even a single 5.56mm round. The sudden mystery of my excessively maintained gun only made me realize something was very very off.

    And finding out that my equipment was off caused a whole can of worms to open. Especially when I started to comb through my memories… I realized how much I messed up in hindsight. I know I did what I did so that I could stay frosty and make unbiased decisions during an encounter with the Turnside. However, I failed… But not only did I fail Aleen. I failed her when she needed me most. It wouldn’t surprise me if she was cursing and calling me a liar during her final moments. So much for promising to protect her… That’s when I noticed the date, September 7th, 1994. Our first day in class… And the night after meeting Muse. Was this that cryptic power that she mentioned? If that’s the case, then I believe she’s going to do some further explanations on why.

    If that’s the case, then I know what I need to do. I need to recreate the overall picture and work in the background to prevent the issues that will occur on Sunday. Or failing all of that, at least keeping Aleen alive. I can start that off by appearing in the band that occurs today and that starts off by meeting Inacio in the music room again.

    Despite knowing that I should redo everything perfectly, I couldn’t help but do a quick stop to the cafeteria to just confirm that Aleen was there. After that quick confirmation, I made my way to the empty Music Room and started playing the same song I played last time.

    [OST]

  20. #2200
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Your Room
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Partly Cloudy


    She awoke with a start, eyes snapping open and a rigid arm lashing out savagely into the dark, a rictus of pain and anger there on her face as if she'd been in a life or death struggle.

    She had, of course.

    Her heart beat like a drum, lungs working like bellows as feverish green eyes raced around the dark room, her left hand twitched and drew her wild eyes to it, confusion spreading across her face.

    "W-what?"

    Incomprehension, like she'd been cut out of a picture and slapped onto another, with no heed as to her out-of-place nature.

    Her right hand gingerly creaked out of the clench it'd been held in and moved to her chest, prodding and poking at the unmarred flesh.

    Like nothing had happened.

    The naggingly familiar electric guitar danced in her head as her brow furrowed and she sat up more fully.

    Foreigner again...

    Her abdomen twitched in phantom pains as she blinked blearily, hands coming up to massage her temples, grit teeth relaxing into a frown, brows furrowing.

    John, Ramia, the Moon itself, Cesarina's death, Sakura, Alexstrasza, 17...

    Had it all been a dream?

    It must have been lucid beyond all doubt, if it was, that slow creeping darkness at the edge of her vision...

    She shut her eyes for a moment, shivering.

    At the very least, it was more optimistic than most of her dreams.

    She hadn't eaten anyone, quite the opposite, in fact.

    Out of remembered routine and rote memory, her legs swung out and Elaine Winters shambled across the darkened room towards the vanity, fumbling at the light switch.

    With some effort from shaky fingers, the room illuminated, eyes squinting back in response, and then Elaine Winters met her reflection thoughtfully, blinking in surprise.

    Her hand came up and brushed at the bangs in her face, a regular curtain of golden hair framing her face, noticeably longer than it would have been.

    It would only be this long so soon if she had been struck by the Lunacy, which meant...

    'It feels like the fiiiirst time~'

    A blink, her mouth sagging open a small amount.

    Then a snort, muted chuckles, then open outright howling laughter, tears streaming down her face.

    "Man, fuck you, PA system," She said, mopping at her own face, "Piece of shit."

    Like the very first time, huh?

    How about that.

    Was this time travel? Prophetic dreams wouldn't affect her appearance so radically... Even if she did have them.

    She certainly hoped they weren't, anyway. Dreaming of your own rather pitiful death would be pretty sad.

    So, barring some outrageous synchrocity with her own physical body, which was doubtful, due to this (if her memory was correct) being the night of the New Moon, a reset seemed possible.

    Was a bit more to work with than Bill Murray, that's for sure.

    Right then, right.

    Well, first thing's first, may as well make herself presentable, see if she can't get the phantom taste of bodily fluids and silver out of her mouth.

    Bleh.

    Then probably do something about this hair, hmm?

    Probably a ponytail would do nicely, she should have some elastics around somewhere, at least a rubber band, because she brought that deck of cards with her...

    Her limbs moved through the routine that'd been practiced for far longer than just one week, the taste of mint filled her mouth as she brushed, eyes thoughtful.

    A fight for pride, hrm?

    Well, she didn't hear any bells, did she?

    Heh.

    Over the lengthy canines, the molars, the incisors. Brush, brush.

    Means that the fight's not over yet.

    Danny's still out there.

    One more shot.

    She took a breath, spat, then rinsed, shutting her eyes as she did so.

    One step at a time, like always. Don't run off half-cocked.

    Stay on target.

    So Dan was asking about the Disembodied Man, alright, and apparently the janitor, Jake, might know something, 'ccording to Tommy, anyway.

    Tommy Horse, native blood, Rosencranz said something about them, didn't he?

    She paused, reaching for her hairbrush to try and tame the ever-growing unruly mane that crawled out of her scalp.

    Brush, brush.

    That nasty brother-fucker's little song had some stuff about the local spook too, 'a Tree of Yew', kindling to burn.

    She paused, swallowing down bile.

    Like Cesarina's body on Sunday Morning, almost felt like yesterday.

    In a sense it was only a few hours ago.

    This is complicated, so best to keep it simple.

    Brush, brush, brush.

    Focus on what you can control, don't take anything for granted. People are going to be people, all you can dictate are your own actions.

    Elaine swept her hand up, twirled and twisted, then fed the pilfered band up, tied it tight, then let her new ponytail hang loose.

    She fidgeted with her bangs for a moment, prodding irritably at a particularly stubborn cowlick, then blowing huffily at the hair in her face.

    Well, whatever.

    Hat's going on anyway.

    Nice comfy shirt, warm blue jacket, nice stylin' hat, to break the mold, and lastly...

    She eyed an innocuous-looking scarf hanging in the corner of the room.

    May as well, play the part well enough.

    What was that thing they said on that show she watched?

    It's like, uh...

    Oh, right.

    "Henshin!"

    She snickered a bit to herself, then nodded decisively.

    Good enough for today.

    Let's see, now today, she was out on the track, wanting to work up a good sweat for the week, never quite got out to the same intensity, but met up with Ubon, and John.

    John...

    Her mouth twisted a bit.

    Maybe don't go out there, then.

    So, where else, she didn't want to run into Ramia or something, for as far as she knew, they had no beef with each other, whatever it was that had set her off so bad and wanted to gut-shoot her a couple of times.

    With silver!

    Very rude!

    But yes, she wasn't in the mood to go wrangling snakes this morning.

    But she was hungry, that's for certain.

    Maybe meet with Hisa later, they'd gone out and met with that Rosencranz guy, maybe she could pique her interest with some Disembodied Stuff.

    Hm, look for Jake or hit the kitchen to make something up real quick.

    Well, I've got a bit, could probably do both.

    Kitchen first, then.

    What's the worst that could happen?

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