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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #4541
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "So it's better she doesn't. There's no happy ending to be found here. Just bitter, cold reality. That's what decided it."

    The more Nevada said, the sadder he seemed. The flash of lightning in the window cast bright, blue light that revealed a glimpse at what was in the shadow of the man’s heart. Regret, sorrow, guilt, anger. Perhaps like a mirror, Colt saw something else in there. A reflection, or perhaps a projection.

    It looked like fear.

    He knew fear, recognized it. Colt had been surrounded by it, gnawed at by it, consumed by it. This town is a giant stomach of a beast known as fear, and he is a morsel churning in its belly, trying to give it an upset stomach, fighting it from within to the very last second.

    Putting on a brave front, putting on a cold and unfeeling front, putting on a pained front, putting on an embittered front… all just tools to hide what was beneath. The source of so many other emotions that a man doesn’t want to be seen having.

    "Still... are you saying you got the other one killed, then?"

    The cold question froze Colt solid.

    “W… wh-“

    The implication hung in the air, and to it Colt failed to stammer out a small response.

    "Or don't you simply call her that anymore? Because that'd be rather hypocritical. Especially since you forced Remmie into the deal by going to rescue that person, even though flames had swallowed her up."

    Amber eyes stared silently as Nevada’s one eye narrowed. The words in his throat, the breath in his lungs, froze solid.

    “Your younger sister, that is."

    The lump of frozen air in Colt’s throat began to suffocate him. Without realizing it, he had stopped breathing. His brain was spinning like a tornado, normal tasks the body should automate were on pause. He stared, vacantly, back at Nevada.

    His fractured recollection of that night a decade ago played in his mind on repeat. But now that he knew that there was more, he saw the holes. His brain tried to fill them in but a power beyond him had sealed them away. The memories cut away and fell apart in pieces, cigarette burns surrounding his peripheral vision. He was no longer reliving a moment in his life but rather watching an edited collection of events planted in his head.

    A warm, wet sensation reminded Colt where and when he was. The boy peeled his eyes away from the flickering movie on the screen, his breathing resuming. Colt reached up and rubbed his chin, a trickle of blood dripping down from the lower lip he had bitten down on.

    Sparing a glance at the red on his finger, Colt exhaled deeply.

    “Tell me everything you know about her.” Plainly, he made his demand. “This is the first I’ve heard of a little sister of mine. You already know my memories were taken from me. I don’t remember her… not at all. The fact that she even existed, her name, her face. Nothing.”

    He looked back at the blood on his finger again. He had a family; it was small, and he fit oddly into it. It was a family that went beyond blood. He was happy with that.

    But that didn’t mean that he couldn’t want for more. There was someone else out there with this blood, the same as his own.

    “I’m tired of people assuming I know, that I remember. You’re the first person to understand that there are things I don’t remember, that I’m not allowed to remember. So just… just tell me what you know. Anything and everything.”

    He rubbed his lip again.

    “… Please.”


  2. #4542
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Quote Originally Posted by Zane
    "... Who's that?"
    "That would be Tris," answers Liana. "She was with Colt and Cathie when they came to the clinic yesterday. Knightess. Strong enough to break backs with hugs."

    The sight of the knightess standing on the rooftops wasn't too strange in and of itself, as unique as she was Tris was still a Knight and a knight taking up a defensive post on a castle is just an expected sort of behavior. Throw in the fact that they were clearly late when it came to picking her up, as well as the fact that they (although really Colt) hadn't been able to call to check in with her and well...

    People get antsy.

    "Nice girl though," she unbuckles her seat belt, eyes turning from the front window to take another glance at those behind her. "I'll get out and check with her - make sure everything is clear here, then we can carry Jack inside."

    The backseat seems like an uneasy sort of place. A young girl silently clinging to her unconscious father and an older woman looking around with the eyes of a paranoiac, as if expecting someone or something to just come charging at the vehicle through depths of an ever-worsening storm.

    Can't blame her...

    Heard the deaths started around now last time around...


    In a town as dangerous as this, having someone constantly on the lookout for an ambush was useful, after all, in her experience...

    Those are the ones that tend to be good at it.

    "We're almost there, Sia."

    To Sierra, she simply smiles softly and reassures her once more in a soft but warm voice. There's not much else she can do for the girl beyond what she's already doing of course, but the urge to soothe those in pain was a strong one in Liana...

    Like looking after younger siblings.

    "Dorothy's a good doctor."

    It was true.

    "Although while we're here you guys... It's probably best to just use first names or nicknames."

    Not that she thought Dorothy would do anything bad with anyone's true name (she was the most lenient fae she had met in a long time really) but it was still best to be cautious with these things.

    "Auntie isn't dangerous, but she's definitely the type to play pranks."

    It's not like her habit of giving pretty much everyone she met a nickname came out of nowhere after all...

    There were reasons for the habit beyond affection.

    Leaving it at that for now, she steps out into the storm, torrential rains again battering against her natural barriers, light of the body replacing the light of extinguished headlights in piercing the growing darkness.

    The sight of the now-familiar house is different in the storm, rain spattered windows scattering reflections to nothing, swaying trees casting strange shadows in the face of flames both hot and cool, yang swirling into yin and back again in time with breathing that wastes no movement.

    Sign that her own body was already priming itself for possible dangers.

    Not because of the house.

    But because the house hasn't been reconfirmed as a safe area just yet.

    "Tris!"

    She calls out, her movements a cautious but graceful glide towards the house, intent on knocking on the door, but also on letting the woman on the roof know she was approaching and was friendly.

    "Is everything fine here? Aunt Dorothy home? I've brought a few people back with me, most of them uninjured, but I got one wounded man I need to carry inside."
    Exodus (Complete)

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

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

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

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

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




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

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

  3. #4543
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    “Vier”
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    In ideal conditions, a person who sets up the same shelter and dakota fire pit would be sufficiently hidden from external observation and comfortable in even this raging storm. Especially when you can see the storm coming from a mile away, when you’re proficient with the appropriate tools. However, I started everything late. I didn’t set this shelter preemptively due to my priority being to neutralize Hawthorn. I didn’t have the appropriate tools to create this shelter either. While I can always substitute knife work with Turnside strength, I couldn’t easily replace an entrenching tool or shovel with my hands. Especially in less than ideal conditions.

    But I persevered. I let the pine needles poke into my skin as I cleared the spot for my fire pit. I dug with my bare hands. The tunnel I was creating would keep collapsing over and over again. I wasn’t digging into solid, compacted dirt. I was digging into loose, wet dirt and mud which would be sufficient once the fire hardened it. However, until then, I have to work quickly with my wet tinder.

    “…”

    I was moving my limbs rapidly to cause as much friction on my tinder. How long was I rubbing this stick into the tinder? Seconds? Minutes? Hours? I ignored my aching body to keep doing it. Until I saw a spark. A small, little thing that threatened to extinguish itself. If I made a more normal fire, this little spark would’ve already died.

    “Haaa… Haaa…”

    I blew gently into that little spark. This little spark won’t go gently into this darkness. It just needed a little nurturing. If it disappeared, then all I would have to do is start over. Again and again. At the very least, it would keep me preoccupied until the storm subsides. Once I got the fire going well enough to leave alone, I looked outside.

    Darkness. Just darkness. I didn’t see the forest outside my shelter. I didn’t see the rain drenching everything in sight. That view didn’t change even when I enabled my VISR to see in low light conditions. Remembering last night, I immediately decided to assume my senses were being tampered with. I didn’t hear or sense anything that could be changing it, but if someone tampers with all of your senses at once… Of course, I wouldn’t notice anything. Whatever was affecting me typically do it one of two ways. One, either it did subtly while I was working on my shelter. Or two, it did it so suddenly under the cover of the torrential rain that I had no opportunity to notice.

    Of course, knowing how it affects me doesn’t solve the immediate issue of me being under something’s ability. So I was going to tackle my issue in the simplest way possible. I was going to attempt to cancel out the ability by running a similar ability on myself. If it doesn’t work, then keep working on it until something breaks. Me or the ability. And I don’t plan on dying here.

    Wise-Up!
    Vier Wolff

    ESP
    Name Rank Description
    Manipulation of the Five Senses A A rarely used ESP by Vier. This is mostly used when Vier needs to control all five senses of a target to either sneak past it or severely weaken it. Vier personally dislikes using this ESP as it is more taxing than just using Manipulation of Sight, Hearing, or Touch.


    [Choose a target within 50 meters. The target is subjected to a INT Protection contest versus Shatter Score of 14. Upon failure, Vier can freely manipulate their senses, such as making them experience herself in another location or erase herself from their senses altogether. It is also possible to grant fitting status effects. This ability has a Duration of 5 Rounds.]


  4. #4544
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel & Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Mitchell Residence - Outside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    To the pits with your large, yet surprisingly fit body Anna! Yet again, I cannot see but a thing! But the words I hear imply some most dangerous things about what is about to occur - such as that the people here are, to be frank, quite nice in comparison to the third-rate magus we had chosen to murder horribly. Dearest Potemkin, is this how I look to you at times!? A-Am I actually r-really... r-rather...!?

    I looked down and poked at my stomach worriedly, but it didn't do anything in reply. The burdens of being trapped in a vaguely-immortal body, after all - it is hard to change that which cannot be changed by its very nature. Looking back up, it seemed Anna had been invited inside. I could smell something wafting through the air, and it looked rather warm in there... I shivered, glancing at my rather flimsy method of dress. Perhaps, rather then cold-blooded, could I be... No, Potemkin would have mentioned such a thing a long time ago if she had such suspicions! But Potemkin always lies! A-And worst of all... Potemkin is an idiot. And she's me. Th-that means... Then that means-!!

    P-Potemkin are we... Are we perhaps... Rather stupid...?

    I bit my lip, tapping my foot impatiently. See, this is why my plan would have been far superior. There is scarcely a second to think when you are burning buildings to the ground.
    Last edited by Frantic Author; May 2nd, 2022 at 07:06 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.


  5. #4545
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Mitchell Residence - Outside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "I-I just said she was cool and all! That's right, cool!"
    Anna let out a surprisingly warm chuckle at the younger boy’s sudden bout of self-consciousness, before taking a step forward and playfully rustling Shane’s hair, with a teasing grin on her face.

    “I’m cool, huh? Well, you sure got good taste, dontcha, kid?” Anna gave the younger boy a quick smile. “Well, I’ll be sure to get you a cool jacket and some tapes of Guns and Roses at some point and we’ll see if we can instill the proper punk mindset in you.”

    “Not a word of this to your brother though. I swear that guy is too straight-laced about these things at times.” The Estonian girl gave a small shrug and her eyes twinkled with hidden mirth, even as her words went down to a mutter. “Besides, I kinda wanna see how he’d react to this...”

    "A-anyways, hey! What's up, Anna! My bro didn't say you were coming today!"

    "If he had, I doubt he'd have called these two bozos to come over... ugh..."
    “Aah, don’t worry about it. Maybe I misunderstood things from my end as well?”

    Well, the general situation was still a bit… confusing. Could Lockhart have been wrong? On one hand, the girl was… eccentric enough to literally misinterpret everything, but… No. The conviction in her blonde classmate's voice had been real when she had suggested that merely mentioning her name would set this “Lane” off his rocker. The question then would rather be why Zane would call this supposedly violent member of the Turnside to protect Shane. Either they were just acquaintances or…

    There was that dreamcatcher as well. I guess I should have suspected, but…god, sometimes I wish people in this place weren’t somehow involved in this mess.

    As for this “Chester” guy…

    For some reason, he gives me the same vibes as that Yozora creep. Too… at ease and too slick by a country mile. Not the same kind of slick, but more like… too adaptable. My arrival didn't throw him off his game even for a second.

    "During the call he asked us to keep an eye on his lil' bro too, so here we are. Y'know, make sure he doesn't burn the house down and all that."
    “Oh? How do you guys know Zane? Are you co-workers on one of those gigs of his?” A silent sigh escaped her lips for a moment. “I swear that guy’s killing himself working all those side-jobs of his. Well, it's not as if I don’t sympathize, but…”

    "I just finished setting up the NES in the living room and we've got couple controllers if you wanna tag in. Plus there should be some hot cocoa left. Despite his looks, Lane's pretty handy in the kitchen."
    “Sure, I don’t mind.”

    The Estonian girl wholeheartedly accepted the invitation thrown her way and stepped into the foyer. A moment later, she was removing her completely soaked yellow raincoat. Another memory that seemed to almost perfectly overlap with her memories of last week… but in somewhat different circumstances and in a different company. Having hung her coat on the coat hanger, she turned back towards the pair standing next to her.

    “Right. Why don’t you guys go and start the game, I’ll go grab some cocoa, wash my hands, and then I’ll whoop the ass of whoever wins the first set?”

  6. #4546
    for me, there is (you) Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High - Old Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    “Broken,” is what escapes her mouth. Listening to Xeni’s description of events, she can only feel pity for both her and the person who used her. Was that devotion, adoration, like her own? Blind and all-consuming? Her mind briefly flickers to what it would have been like if she had gone to the lighthouse, spurred by Caleb’s drawing. “It’s not right to treat people like that.”

    Actually, now that she’s thought about it, was that coincidence? Or had Michael been influencing them from even on the bus?

    Her thoughts are interrupted by Xeni pulling out a lollipop (is that sanitary?) and, in the lobby, there was both Kean Loinnir and Hwan Bin. An odd pairing, but both were a part of the Turnside. Perhaps some nightly excursion had set them on a path together. Or maybe, it’s just something mundane. Lucille has no idea which she would prefer right now.

    "Uhh… What's up?"
    “Trying to get dry,” she plainly responds, but the annoying light of teenage curiosity burns brightly in her eyes. “And you two? Something the matter? I've got time to spare.”

    It’s fine if Xeni goes on ahead. If she’s been impersonating someone, she probably knows where her room is, and on the off chance any thievery does occur, well, she has means to put a stop to that. If the girl wants to watch her meddle, fine with Lucille too.

  7. #4547
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---


    "Grrrrrr..."

    There is some part of me that acknowledges we have completely left behind the laws of the real world.

    "Rrrrrrrrrrrr..."

    That part of me knows what should have happened here. The girl known as Prushka should have been torn to bits.

    "Rrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaa..."

    That is not what has happened. She is alive. Because in Ahti Jalopeura's world, she is strong. In his world, she won't lose to something like this.

    "Raaaaaaaaaah-!"

    That part of me has been shunted away. I have left behind rationality and common sense, just as the world has. Acting on feelings alone, Prushka summons forth the strength of a hero to tear apart the bonds that hold her.

    "-aaaaaaAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!"

    Unfortunate.

    Those tendrils of darkness cannot be overcome by her.

    I must recognize that. Because while Ahti's will governs the world around us, my own will still holds a say. His voice in the back of my head whispers 'you can break out of this'.

    "Hah... hah... hah..."

    My own whispers back 'no I can't'.

    It's obvious. Even expending all my strength and screaming like a madwoman, I won't be able to break these chains. Because even if this world believes I am strong, the truth is that I am very very weak. Ahti has known me for a few days. I have known of my limitations for over a decade. His world cannot brush away the fact that my muscles never developed properly. He cannot erase that this is a child's body. I spent years up North training my heart out, only to finally, at the end, reach a level that could best be described as 'a wimpy teenager'. It is a reality I have had to make peace with.

    "Hah........ that's... a neat trick you got there..."

    Doctor, you said we Espers carry our own reality with us. That we overwrite the world everywhere we go. That might be true; I am forcing my weakness upon this world that wants me to be strong.

    It's rather selfish, isn't it? And frustrating. So, damned, frustrating.

    Here he is, counting on me, and at the last second I'm letting him down. Just thinking about it pisses me off.

    Hisa's probably doing just fine on the other side, isn't she? Ah, it's infuriating.

    I can't stand it. Losing to the world is fine, but there's this little selfish part of me that says...

    That there's no way I'm gonna lose when it comes to him.



    "DESTATIIIIIII!"


    Something else shatters.

    Not Ahti's knife.

    Not the tendrils of darkness.

    Not the frozen ocean.

    No, it is my arm, leaking out feelings, which finds its own Arche turned upon itself, breaking apart into a million pieces, leaving in its place a phantom limb of pure id holding together its shape through pure self-determination.



    It's not enough. The rest of me is trapped. Those tendrils are made from pure fear. Destati can't invert them.

    So I just have to-.



    They melt away. Like ice cream under the summer sun, the darkness falls apart wherever it is touching my body.

    "Wha-?"

    I can't do something like that.

    While I'm paralyzed in confusion, darkness descends upon me once more, and-.



    It is sliced in two by a jet of water from below, sharp enough to cut through diamond.

    What's going on? Where did - is it Hisa? Did she break through the other side?

    No. It can't be her, because-.



    A mighty fist that cannot be blocked or parried blasts open a path.

    Pure strength and speed. But I know this movement. It isn't my fist that did this. Not Hisa's, nor Pyry's, nor Ahti's.

    It's you, isn't it?



    Right. Of course.

    We're in Ahti's world. So you're just visiting, aren't you? From mine.

    I can't see you, but it looks like...

    I can't hear you, but it sounds like...



    "..."

    Of course, Snow. I'll beat him up real good for you, too.

    I pick myself up off the frozen surface of the lake.

    Through my mind's-eye, the memories of twenty six children stare at fear itself.

    We are together. There is nothing here to be afraid of.

    Striding calmly towards the darkness, I gather my Odic fury.

    Feelings will surely open a path. No matter how he concentrates, no matter what he throws at us, there is no way it will reach.

    If the opponent is just an old sentiment, then my own memories, leaking out through Destati, will be more than enough.

    "Pay attention, doctor."

    There is only one thing left to do.

    "We animals of the Turnside have something to tell you."

    A weak girl, who could never accomplish anything on her own, forms a fist once more.


    Last edited by Bloble; May 2nd, 2022 at 01:05 AM.

  8. #4548
    Elise Marie Pelltier
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Billie suddenly leaned in close, with a grin on her face.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billie Boulders
    "That being said... What's up with the eye-game you two keep playing? Something I can help you with? Should I throw the guy out?"
    "Guh- uh..." stammered Elise as she quickly glanced towards Travis and then back to Billie who loomed dangerously close, "He's-he's a friend of mine-"

    Are we still friends? We've barely met this week. Acquaintances? Classmates? People who attend the same school and once crossed paths while breaking into a hospital at night?

    "-from school. Nothing you can help with, I'm-I'm going to talk to him later. We're just surprised to see each other here. That's all. You don't need to throw him out. At least, not for my sake. Not in this weather anyway. It's storming out of Thor's butt out there."

    It was an very satisfying and accurate expression.

    Don't let Ms. Boulders throw you off course here. She mentioned something important.

    "Wait. You used to be a student at Pinefall too?" asked Elise excitedly as she sought desperately to pivot the discussion away from the subject of Travis, "What was it like back then? Jake described it as being pretty empty when he was a student, but I'm sure it was much busier when you were there."

    Wait. There was something else.

    Elise's eyes widened and she gasped.

    "Wait, wait. Our principal's first name is Daniel!?" exclaimed Elise, "I was starting to think his first name actually was Mister."

    No way. Wait. Could Mr. Oceandrop actually be that Daniel?

    Her mind whirled as she considered the information Sakura had relayed to her the night before when she stayed in her room, while her room was on loan to Samuel. About what she and Hisa had overheard while they eavesdropped on that reporter's interview with Beatrice.

    I'm sure other townsfolk would have recognized him if he was Daniel Cooper, but given that he'd be tied to a subject no one wants to talk about, they might be more than happy to play along with the Mr. Oceandrop persona.

    "Our principal has such an air of mystery about him! How do you know him? Does he frequent Big Boy's too?" asked Elise.

    She spared a quick nervous glance towards the door, half-worried that Mr. Oceandrop might suddenly appear and catch her drinking.

    He can't catch you here right now. He's disappeared from reality, remember?

  9. #4549
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    I watched as the mountain rose out of the sea and into the sky, until it loomed over the waters below like a steady, black giant. A cold and coarse addition to the scenery, something that fit in quite nicely with the rest. Yet, it was so different. The exact opposite of what the doctor was claiming.

    "Keeping yourself at a safe distance from the depths of the ocean isn't taming it, or understanding it," I said calmly as my eyes lingered on the mountain for the moment, "Claiming so sounds rather arrogant."

    That was the problem. Instead of getting closer, they pushed things further away. Instead of understanding and acting upon that knowledge, they just tried to make sure never to get into contact with it. What is he basing his claims on, then? How can he tell that this undefeatable base of theirs wouldn't just collapse after a single bad turn of events?

    It was also interesting, looking at it from a different perspective. The way he talked about it, it clearly wasn't just a perfectly natural formation. It must have been like our manor, infused with the pieces of some mythological object, except that...You can't exactly just build a mountain atop something like that. So somehow, the feat sounded more impressive. Not that I really knew what exactly made this mountain special - while I recalled Pyry mentioning something about it, it seemed like it was all built around Finnish tales and myths. Things that I was hardly familiar with.

    Not that getting rid of that mountain wouldn't be excessive, whatever the case.

    And it only seemed to get worse.

    Between the monstrous fish being impaled by the mountain, the memory of the doctor barely caring about having half of its body gone and the mountain slowly growing what seemed to be roots of some sort, it was easy to tell why this world was so fascinating, but also quite nightmarish. A sight such as this would rarely ever occur in the real world, even for Turnside standards, so I could only wonder how far the boundaries could be pushed.

    "Well, isn't that troublesome."

    The roots growing at the foot of the mountain suddenly shot out in all directions, coiling towards and under the dark surface of the sea at a rapid pace. It was hard to see where they were headed, but much easier to figure - like a hundred spears flying through the air to mercilessly skewer its enemies.

    Far too many to comfortably deal with. Even with the amount of control I had it would have been too difficult to take care of every single one individually, and even if I could stop all of them at once…That would merely be delaying.

    However, retaliating would be just as problematic with the source being the mountain. I had to deal with the doctor instead, while making sure that the roots aimed at me would not reach their goal. Mindscape or not, getting pierced by those would not be too pleasant, especially since we’re present here with more than just our minds.

    Still, to achieve that…

    “What is this progress towards, anyways?”

    I move my hand across the air in front of me, then it falls to my side again. At the same time, the sea comes alive, as many of the creatures lurking in the shadows start moving much more actively. Even through the impregnable darkness I could feel them gliding through the water, the countless eyes locked on me as they approached faster and faster.

    “What was this goal, which needed such dubious steps?”

    Just as fast as the roots approached, with each beat of my heart getting considerably closer, and at this point it was just mere moments before they would reach me.

    My eyes close as my dress starts glowing more brightly, no longer just a dim light in the depths of the ocean anymore. Like a sudden burst of power, it shines so bright that it illuminates everything from the bottom of the sea to the top of the skies, tinting everything with that azure glow for just a moment. A moment during which the hundreds of creatures, large and small, graceful and near outlandish all became visible. A fleeting moment for which all those mysteries were shed light to.

    It lit the dozens of roots, and even more fish, their ravenous appetite quite evident from their eyes, their hundreds of razor sharp teeth eager to bite into something, all just a second away now. But my attention was elsewhere. And as the light faded, and I opened my eyes…

    I was gazing down at the doctor from where he was just a moment ago. Gazing down at him, as he was standing where I was, just a moment ago.

    Then, the second that felt so long now passed.


  10. #4550
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Before Colt's desperation, Nevada's gaze was... downcast.

    Like he regretted dredging up this sliver of hope from the murky void that had been left in place of the boy's memories.

    "I..." He paused, clearing his throat with a painful sound. "... I don't know much. Remmie wasn't very talkative about her past. Or what had happened afterwards. All I know is... that on that night, something terrible happened. It might have been because of something... someone. A scarlet woman, as she described her. Wreathed in flames. And those same flames swallowed your whole house. Remmie was late in returning home, she had sneaked out. And when she saw the house, consumed by the blaze... she rushed in. The only ones she was able to find were you two, collapsed in the hallway. Your younger sister... had been swallowed by the fire. And you had tried to drag her out, only succumb to the poisonous air on your way out."

    The crackling of the fireplace felt louder, brasher, more cruel. In its echoes, Colt could almost hear the sound of a house groaning and warping under intense heat of supernatural fire that was never meant to be. Smell the ash and soot that would forever stain him, as well as the odor of charred flesh that his mind could only approximate... but which felt all too familiar.

    "You two were the only ones she got out. Unlike her, you had been claimed by the poisonous air. And thus, in the rubble of that burning house, she made a wish to the moon..." Nevada paused, for once sounding like there was anger in his voice. "... And the moon answered. It took its price, as moon is want to do, but it saved those who were there at that time. Using your memories, her time... and whatever it claimed from your sister, it was able to save your lives. Power for power. Boon for sacrifice."

    Another paused, this one punctuated by a small sigh that escaped the older man's chapped lips.

    "... Remmie knew she couldn't stay. Or so she said. So she made sure that you two got to a hospital, and then... she left. To here. To Road's End," he continued. "Why, she never explained. But I don't think she did it without purpose. Either she figured she couldn't stay with you two. Perhaps the scarlet woman was after her in the first place. Maybe she thought she could do something about the price the moon claimed here."

    The single functioning eye narrowed in a way that made it clear this was a question Nevada had been wrestling with for years upon years.

    "Or maybe it's because of what she said, one night. Not long before... we were separated."

    Without finding an answer.

    "--- 'Blood always yearns to return home'," he quoted, staring straight at Colt. "Those who've been touched by Road's End will always find their way back here... no matter what."



    Of course it didn't work.

    Why would it? Her senses were working fine. It was her own mind that was slowly eroding... or perhaps not? Perhaps it was just the world around her that had finally responded to her wishes. So, no matter how much she kept adjusting and resetting her own senses, her sight, her hearing, her smell, her touch, her taste... it all amounted to nothing. The darkness persisted. It was just her, the underside of her shelter, and the feeble little flame sputtering in the muddy, wet ground. A tiny ember about to be doused by the torrential storm raging all around her. Even if she couldn't see it, she could hear it. Like an echoing, pounding hearbeat next to her own.

    So, what's next? Will you try to shoot the darkness, Vier? Take one of your ever-trusty guns and feed the shadows with lead until something gives?

    You know that's not gonna work either.

    Neither will throwing the battering ram of your mind against it either. After all, there's nothing there. You can see it yourself, can't you? That's just darkness. Void. Nothing.

    Maybe another survival skill could help you out? Or a military tactic that you're so proud of? Or perhaps you've got one more high-tech gadget that you can rely on. Those will surely save you from this predicament, right? That's how everything in life is, isn't it? Every problem can be solved with either a bullet or something out of a soldier's handbook. Those are the best, most useful choices capable of solving every situation and bad turn in your life, right?

    Isn't that right?

    Being a soldier has made your life infinitely better, and every choice you've made as one has always been 100% right.

    After adopting the mindset of a one, you've become a perfect human, and you've never made any mistakes anymore.

    Even now.

    Just look, the shadows are slowly creeping inn. They're now starting to surround that pitiful, useless little firepit you've made to choke out the last bits of your light.

    But that's just how it should go, right?

    Because you did everything by the book, and that means the answer is correct.

    It's just the world that's wrong.

    Not you.

    --- Never you.

    Well, even if the world is wrong, you've got one thing to console you, don't you?

    You finally did it!

    Hey, congratulations!

    You finally got what you really wanted.

    You're all alone.

    Nobody else.

    Just you.

    And solitude.

    --- Now choke on it.




    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    Darkness convulsed.

    It writhed.

    It gathered en masse.

    And it fell upon the memories carried by the girl with lightning in her hand.




    However, no matter how it tried, the darkness could no longer reach her. Ability after ability, memory after memory, answered in kind. Where there was a reaching reaching, a strand of darkness, there was another one of the 26 to repel it, to drive it back. To open a path to the girl who carried all those memories with her, shouldered the past that they all shared. The shadows may screech and roar, but that's all they could do any longer. They were left as impotent beasts, melting remnants of the trauma that tried to drag her with it to the bottoms of the mind's depth, to the murky pit of self-loathing and fear that existed at the heart of everyone.

    But the girl was untouchable. Each time she was threatened, yet another ability flared up - one not of her own making. No, it was a protection from the past, just like the enemy before was pain from the past itself.

    And in the storm of raging shadows and flaring spirits, the girl walked forward.

    Step-by-step.

    Gathering momentum.

    Gathering speed.

    Soon, she was no longer walking.

    She was running.

    She was closing in the distance.

    And the remaining deific lightning within her sang a joyous chorus. As if it knew what was about to happen.

    Like the sword knew it could once more taste blood.

    The already short distance between the girl and the doctor was reduced to nothing.


    --- And before she knew it, she was standing right before him.

    "........................ Tch."

    Doctor Utujoutsi's beautiful, smiling face was marred with what could only be fury, though it took the appearance of a mild annoyance. But no matter how he, it, tried to hide it, the truth of the emotion could not be hidden from the one before him.

    "This is why I can't stand you creatures of the Turnside..." He growled as his arms, already having been melted into nothing but shadows, rose up for one last attack. "... Lording over humanity with gifts the World or others gave to you. We already grew past that since the Dark Ages!"


    The right arm moved.

    It snaked like water, grew larger, became a whip and aimed itself at the neck of the girl before him. A whip of elongated darkness, ready to sever her head from her shoulders and to sent the separated parts of her careening into the void of space.

    But as the second, stretching into eternity, began catching up with time again...


    --- A young, slender hand rose to stop the whip in its tracks.

    Hand belonging to a young boy with silver hair and blue eyes.

    Hand that caused the attack to become nothing at all.

    Hand which made the shadows to turn into gases and evaporate with mere touch.

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

    The hand of someone whose disappearance had started this all.

    And the doctor?

    His face warped

    --- With fury.

    --- With hatred.

    --- With disgust.

    It became a mask of insanity that had always hidden deep beneath the mask of kindness and peace he portrayed.

    "You stand in the way of humanity's future! Our progress!" The monstrous, warping form of the memory roared. "Unless all of your kind can be brought to heel, you'll drag us back into superstition and barbarism that we've barely left!"

    He surged forward, like a screeching madman.

    "--- Humanity ill needs your arrogance, false gods of yesteryear!"

    But even though the darkness was fast...




    --- The hand of lightning was faster.

    A single strike.

    That's all it took.

    A touch against the surface of the shadows that were moving like water.

    From there, the deific lightning of a chief god ripped through what remained of the warped memory of the doctor, coursed through it and shredded it apart with the fury of the heavens, from a time long past. It was like watching the very building blocks of the shadowy creature be ripped apart and melted away, becoming nothing but fragments, then dust, and then, nothing. Even the blood that had existed before as black in was turned to nothing to gas and left to evaporate. Even the tendrils that had been burning with their absolute cold were raked into ribbons and disintegrated.

    Even the face that had been roaring of righteous vengeance and duty was shattered like glass, never to return again.


    Thus.

    Almost as unceremoniously as he had appeared.

    The form of Doctor Johannes Utujoutsi... was dispersed. Made into nothingness by the hand of the 26 people that opposed him.

    Wind blew across the frozen sea of cosmos, catching what little remained of him.

    And as they did...

    ".............. Or something like that. Hah."

    The last remnants of the memory's whispers brushed by Prushka's ears.

    "I wonder....... was I as good a villain as my real self would have been?"

    And then they were gone.

    The memory was no more, even though the black wall still remained.

    Which meant there was only one thing left...

    ------ The great pillar in the distance, imprisoning the moon and guarded by the serpentine manifestation of their chains.




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    "What-------------!?"

    It happened too fast for him to react.

    For a projection of the mind, an illusionary memory himself, making himself appear somewhere else should have been easy, almost trivial. Time and space were hardly as constraining here as they would have been in reality. However, even so, it had become a living thing. Or rather, it had started emulating the real Doctor far too well. Had it been a formless thought, a raging trauma that had no physical shape, it might have escaped. But now, it was limited by the form it had chosen. It had become the doctor to both twist the knife deeper and to apply salt to those wounds - to intimidate and to give itself a way to mock its opponents.

    And that was its downfall.

    Because in the form that it currently inhabited, it was far too slow to react in time to the impossibility that Hisa had employed. To understand that an illusion was the same as the truth in this mindscape, that there was really no difference between the two. In that sense, one could even say that it had been chained even more by the form it chose, by binding itself to the understanding that the real Doctor had... or how Pyry and Ahti thought he did.

    Indeed, the chains here existed to bind this trauma more than they ever did its opponents.

    --- It was chained by its lack of imagination.

    --- It was chained by its set ways of logic.

    --- It was chained by its physical limitations.

    --- In other words, it was chained by its arrogance, more so than anything else.

    "Espeeeeeeeerrrr----!!!"



    With a furious roar, Doctor Utujoutsi spun around and pointed his amorphous arm towards Hisa. It warbled and turned into a singular strand of darkness that shot out, bulleted trough the waters and headed straight for her head, intending to skewer it on the spot. The madness in those eyes, now open, felt like it reflected utter hatred for what she was. Not who she was, but what she was. For a moment, Hisa was able to sense something else hidden deep within this last, desperate attack of her enemy.

    If Pyry and Ahti had understood him correctly... he was a man terrified by the supernatural. What it represented. How much more powerful it was than a regular human. And most importantly.

    --- How it threatened the growth of humanity as a whole.

    And those feelings were all condensed in this one attack that tried to kill the girl on the spot, at least take her with him.

    "!!!!"

    But it was too late.

    The arm that had been pointing at her disappear, ripped apart by a fish that collided with it at the speed of sound. The strand, whip of darkness warped, it's trajectory became misaligned, and as it closed in the last bits of distance between itself and the girl...!


    --- It only struck a cut into her right cheek, passing by her head without her even having to dodge.

    After all, her eyes were focused into the distance.

    Distance where, in a cacophony of destruction, copper roots and monsters of the unknown collided together, ripping apart what little remained of Doctor Utujoutsi's body.




    And in the aftermath...

    ... The only thing that remained was silence.

    After a collision which shook the ocean and the mountain, after the roots and the monsters had torn themselves apart by crashing towards the same spot, rending apart the half of a man that had been caught in the middle... nothing remained. No roots, no monster, not even the man. Or the memory. The oceans may have been dark and the waters may have been lightless, but there was still a singular star of blue, of azure, shining within that void-like expanse.

    Hisa gazed upon the battlefield and the destruction she had wrought.

    And even though a trickle of blood streamed down her face, she had emerged victorious, even against odds that would have seemed absolutely insurmountable in reality.

    But this was no reality.

    This was the mindscape of the two lions. Which meant that the rules truly were different here.

    "To progress is to leave ignorance behind."

    A sudden whisper of a voice cut through the silence.

    As Hisa's eyes snapped to where it was coming from, she saw something just as absurd as what had happened just moments ago.

    The body of the memory was already gone. There was nothing there anymore.

    --- Only a fragment of what remained of its face, like someone had torn a piece of painting canvas out.

    It floated in the void ocean, smiling darkly.

    "It is to illuminate a path towards the future. Not as an individual. But as a species,"
    the remnants of Dr. Utujoutsi spoke. "And Turnside opposes that progress. Gods, heroes, monsters... we've left that behind as a species to carve our own future in the stars. We can't be allowed to be dragged back into that darkness. We need to go towards the light. Not run from it."

    It gazed at Hisa, even as it started to disintegrate.

    "Our fury is an answer to your arrogance, esper. We, who cannot protect ourselves from you must do all it takes to ensure our future," it hissed. "Humanity ill needs gods such as you to trample over us as you please."

    Nothing remained but the colourful eyes anymore... but even so, the voice still echoed.

    "... But you are being trampled over by a god as well. Know this, esper. That, I believe, is the true nature of the trap you've been caught. You are in the eye of a beholder. And that beholder... is a deity. His amber eye gazing down upon you."

    A laughter danced on the waves.

    "Hah... yes. I think that's what he would have said."

    And with that, as simply as that...

    ... he was gone.

    Leaving only the azure star to rule over the waves.

    Still... the black wall yet remained.

    There was one more thing to do.

    --- The great pillar in the distance, holding the sun as its hostage.

    And the serpent manifestation of chains coiling around it.

  11. #4551
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    "Not all with powers unthinkable to you are out there to trample you over," I said quietly, much to myself as it was impossible for the doctor to hear now, "There certainly are beings like that. Mayhaps even the ones keeping us hostage here. But some are just looking for peaceful acceptance, to have a future where they are not condemned for what they are."

    I let out a little sigh as I shook my head slightly, my eyes gazing blankly at the aftermath of the battle in front of me.

    It was inconveniencing how quick he was to adamantly believe that his perspective, his theory was right. To not even consider otherwise, to default to the necessity of conflict, to so vehemently believe that anyone slightly different from him, from humans is a threat to their existence, despite them not being so different in the first place. Disregard the powers just for a moment, and they are the same thinking, feeling beings.

    So blinded by hatred, focused on dealing with a made up problem that should not be there in the first place...Almost as if it's him sabotaging himself, straying from the future that he so desires. It's pitiful, to have a goal that could almost be respectable, only to try to achieve it through all the wrong ways.

    In the end, if I really wasn't so different...Then was I like that too, blind to so much more that was there to my reality? But then...

    "No time for that." I mumbled to myself again, to break myself out of my reverie.

    There was no reason to go down that trail of thought, especially not now. We are not done here yet. Besides...Nothing could redeem the doctor, not in my eyes, considering what he has done to Pyry and many others.

    With a swift and steady motion of my hand, the scenery shifted back to how it originally was, with the only reminder of the fight being the bright blue star up in the sky, surrounded by many others once more. That, and the shallow cut on my face, with the blood that was slowly drying up and preventing more from escaping the small wound.

    The sudden peace and stillness certainly helped to calm my mind as well, to erase the turmoil that was slowly settling in within just like how the tranquility of this cosmos was interrupted by such a violent clash.

    With another sigh, one much more out of relief than frustration, my eyes turned towards the pillar some distance away, and settled on the serpent that was still coiled around it.

    Then, I took a step towards it.

    Was it going to put up such a fight as well? Will I need to beat it too, to finally free the sun, the soul prisoned behind it?

    Then, another.

    Well, that was likely the only way.

  12. #4552
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    The darkness fades.

    Without the malicious force staining it, the glass sea is allowed to be beautiful once more. A lonely place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Utujoutsi
    "I wonder....... was I as good a villain as my real self would have been?"
    I reach up towards the invisible sky. The glistening sparkles that will swiftly fade into nothing brush through my outstretched fingers. I capture them before they can fade away completely.

    "Humans never are. For all their awfulness, they aren't so simple as to be defined solely by it. If Johannes Utujoutsi is still out there, we'll see him again."

    Until then you'll stay within Memoire, phantom of fear. I'll never forget your scent. You, who by merely existing, turned human into beasts. Both others, and yourself. There is no way we will leave you alone.

    We will certainly find the remnants of Jukola and put them to rest properly.

    Yes, we...

    Turning back, I look for them. The childhood memories that offered aid against terror.

    They are not here, of course. They never were. The past is a refuge that only exists in the mind, and now is no time to wallow in it. The great serpent beckons. The moon awaits.

    "...thanks, everyone."

    Do you see it, Ahti? Do you understand? When they're supported by others, even a weakling can become a hero.

    With one hand on the wall, I walk along it, towards the lonely mountain.

    Hisa is on the other side, isn't she? I can't imagine her losing, so she must be walking alongside me. With us divided by Utujoutsi's last gift, there's not much way to know.

    "Are you going to play nice, Mr. Serpent...?"

  13. #4553
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Maid
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Barney's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    The maid lifts her face up as Yozora-san implores her to stop being so apologetic. She looks up at him with tear-filled eyes, and a slightly bruised forehead. He can hear a very quiet whine escape from her closed lips, a sound caused most likely by fact that she is trying to now make any more noise or escalate her crying, but is unable to fully reign in her emotions.

    "I-I don't officially work here... this is just a temporary thing... but maybe I could make it permanent! If.... if only I wasn't so clumsy... maybe I'm really hopeless...."

    Wherever her attitude could slump further into self-depreciation, it was hard to tell, but the girl was clearly depressed. Perhaps someone who was trying to make a living and thought she could get a job here?

    "I uh... came through the window... after nearly slipping down from above. Heavens, I thought it was really the end of me! I should have thought better than trying to go catch that headband of mine..."

    She pats the white ornament on her head, a piece of fashion seldom found anywhere other than in maid outfits. Quite fashionable, and rather cute. It has traces of the nicely pleated frills the likes of that headwear should have but the the water has caused the fabric to become all droopy, presumably causing most of the frills to lose their form. The rest of her clothes have suffered a similar fate.

    Presumably, she was at a balcony or window above... and the wind blew her laced headband out. She in desperate folly tried to catch it, and stumbled over, nearly falling down two stories should she not have had the luck of... grabbing on to the window ledge? That seems to be what happened -- Orion can look the marks on her hand, quite reddish from supposedly having received a fairly strong impact recently. The maid in fact, opens them and shakes them, as if they've received quite the shock and are hurting her! Perhaps the adrenaline is running out?

    "Uh.. I-I will leave immediately sir... I must be bothering you... God forbid that a member of the staff catches me with you in this state this is... i-indecent! I really am shameful! Oh how terrible of me! I am so sorry!"

    And there she goes again, albeit she is repeatedly bowing to him instead like a broken swinging door, going up and down, up and down. She is rather good at it though -- even if she is repeating the same motion, the idiom 'bend like a stalk of rice' is being followed very precisely here. Her movements are.... nearly machine-like, so precise they are. How strange.

  14. #4554
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "O-oh... Liana...?"

    Sounding quite unlike her usual cheerful self, Tris turned her eyes towards the approaching girl. Now that Liana had gotten closer, she could see that the blonde knightess was absolutely soaked to the bone, meaning she must have been out here for a while. And judging by how she shivered a little despite clearly trying to keep it down, the cold had gotten to her. Slowly, like gathering some momentum in her bones again, Tris turned around and eventually jumped down to the muddy grass, stumbling a little as she did.

    "I... y-yes. 'Tis fine. Lady Canseliet art now treatingeth some other... patients that arrivedeth here, sent by Lady Momoi," Tris explained, vaguely gesturing towards the door. "But I thinketh she art more or less doneth. Thou shouldeth get thine wounded inside, away from the rain."

    She hesitated for a moment, torn between her knightly duties and whatever was eating her, and...

    ... Eventually the latter won.

    "B-but, Liana, um... what art... going on? The town, it hath changedeth. The two who cameth, one of them toldeth he wereth kept prisoner by some nefarious group. Then, after waking uppeth today, I can no longer feel presence of U-Salem..." She said, look of confusion and worry clear on her face. "Not only that, but mine sword... it felteth strange today. Not itself. It art like... things are getting odd. Very odd."

    She glanced around the yard and the people who were emerging from the cars.

    And immediately, the worry in her eyes deepened.

    "Liana..."

    She spoke quietly.

    "... Where art Colt?"



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

    "R-right! On it!"

    Looking rather excited, Shane jumped to the opportunity and raced towards the living room like a young boy enticed by video games only could. Chester chuckled at the sight, sounding rather warmly amused. As he did, he opened the door to the bathroom, fished what looked to be a dry towel off of a nearby rack and threw it over to Anna that she could dry herself. After that, he stretched a little bit himself and started towards the living room himself.

    Though halfway there, he stopped and turned to look at the raven-haired girl over his shoulder.

    And he smiled.

    "Thanks. Lil' guy was starting to look pretty down in the dumps since his bro didn't show up," CC said, sounding like he genuinely meant it. "We were trying our best, but eh... neither of is really used to stuff like this. I mean, we've known Zane for about a year now. Came to the town thanks to our jobs and hit it right off with the guy. But that don't mean we're the best people to babysit his brother, even if we don't mind doing it."

    A somewhat awkward laugh escaped his lips.

    "Eh, guess what I'm trying to say is that it's good there's someone here who seems to know what they're doing? Something like that, anyways!"

    With that, and a jaunty whistle, CC headed towards the living room himself, disappearing around the corner. This left Anna to walk over to the kitchen to get the hot cocoa that had been previously mentioned... and when she arrived, she came across a scene most bizarre. The guy that Söörik had been describing earlier, the one with the fancy jacket and scarlet red hair was sitting at the table, sipping on cocoa of his own and working on a... crossword puzzle?

    Yes, it looked like a crossword puzzle that came with today's newspaper.

    Too bad he seemed to absolutely suck at it, jamming multiple letters in each square.

    Not to mention...

    --- This guy absolutely reeked of a Turnside danger, despite doing his best to act nonchalantly.

    "... 'Sup."

    So said the guy apparently known as Lane.

    A person with zero subtlety.

    ........

    ......

    ...

    Meanwhile, outside and in the rain, the yard had gone silent (aside from the noises of the storm) as Anna headed into the house. Zhou and Stephanie were still hanging back, and this meant that Alexstrasza and Ramia were still hiding in their respective spots... while being pelted by the rain and screamed at by the howling winds. Eventually the blonde vampire could see how the branches of the nearby tree rustled, and the face of the dusky-skinned mercenary popped out between the leaves.

    There was a worried look on her face.

    "... So, now what do we do?" Ramia asked, her voice somewhere between amusement and a sigh. "Guess infiltration was successful but..."

    She frowned.

    "--- Anna is absolute garbage at video games. Or rather, she doesn't even understand what they are."

    Uh oh.



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

    As Lucille shot a curious question at the two boys, it seemed that Xeni was content with hanging back and watching the events unfold. Or rather, she practically hid behind Lucille, as if she considered walking past the two in her own form far too much of a hurdle to attempt right now. And while Hwan shot a confused look at the candy-eating girl, Kean seemed to recognize her from last night - and realize that if Lucille was with her, things must have been more or less alright regarding Xeni.

    Which, of course, left them with the topic of what the two boys had been arguing about.

    "Uhh... well, it's nothing too important, really," Kean started, scratching the back of his head. "In all honesty, I think we're all at a point where our paranoias are getting the best of us, that's all. Not to mention he can handle himself."

    That made Hwan cock an eyebrow.

    "You really think so? I mean, he is creepy, but..."

    In response, Kean grimaced.

    "I... I suppose you have a point," he admitted. "But even so..."

    This wishy-washy argument seemed to be getting on the white-haired boy's nerves a little bit, as Hwan let out a groan and slapped his forehead. Then he shot a glare at, for some reason, Lucille. Those magenta eyes seemed to be studying her intensely, almost reminding the blonde girl of the Week That Never Was, and how he had studied her back then before accepting her deal. Though now, instead of cold calculation...

    ... Was there something else mixed in there as well?

    It was hard to say.

    At least his gaze was a bit... softer... this time around.

    "Ah, alright, fine. So, Goldilocks, get this..." Hwan finally relented. "We went to try and talk Inacio into joining our merry little group. No dice. Guy's up and vanished, more or less. Not in the common rooms, not in the kitchen, and we even jogged over to the main building to see if he was there. Nope. So, that thing's a bust, and does raise the question where the hell that guitarist ran off to. But while we were over there at the main building..."

    Kean, seemingly agreeing with this decision, nodded.

    "--- We ran into Souma Nubatama. And he looked... almost excited, for some reason," the Irish boy explained. "And he didn't really explain why. Just muttered something nonsensical and ran off to who knows where."

    Hwan grimaced.

    "Yeah. And right now we were debating here whether we should go look for him or not, since we were supposed to meet up with John," the Korean boy added. "Only, the thing that Souma said... can't help but to be bothered by it a little bit."

    It was easy to imagine. After all, Souma Nubatama was good at bothering people, intentionally or not.

    "Mhm. He said he 'had realized something' and that he 'wanted to see if he was right'. We thought it was the usual Souma nonsense but..." Kean left those words hanging in the air for a moment. "... After everything that's happened, it still bothered us afterwards."

    "Yeah. So now we don't really know whether we should wait or go or what," Hwan added. "If only that John would show up already..."

    Perhaps the world had a sense of irony after all.

    Indeed, while the two boys had been talking, focusing on Lucille...

    ... Behind them, John Dove had made his entrance, managing to overhear just about the whole explanation.




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

    "Ahahaha, yeah, 'Mister' would suit him much better these days!"

    Billie roared in laughter after hearing that.

    "He wasn't always such a prim and proper guy, but the way he transformed himself when he was away... well, I'm not surprised that most haven't put two and two together, even at Road's End," the bartender said, still grinning wildly. "But yeah, his first name is Daniel. 'Dan' to his friends... if he had any! He was plenty older than me so I don't remember too much of him - only that he joined Pinefall in some faculty position right after I graduated. I think he was the one pushing for those renovations during our last few years too!"

    Looking like some good memories of those times were flooding back in to counter whatever bad things she had reminisced of earlier, Billie smiled and leaned back, folding her massive arms across her chest. Her one good eye gazed out of the window, into the storm outside, like she had been seeing through those clouds to a time that was already long gone.

    "Eh, back in my days, it was perfectly normal high school. Sure enough, the class that came in after my gradution was a bit... special, I feel, but before that? Just a normal rural high school, no ifs or buts," Billie explained. "Back then the students attending came from here and all around the nearby areas, so as you can imagine, it was pretty full! Hence the dorms too, lots of out-of-towners. But, well, things changed and things happened, the town started dying and eventually here we are - both the town and the school."

    Although her last words were a bit wistful, Billie punctuated them with another grin and a wink towards Elise.

    "--- Though it's nice to see that there's life back in the old school once more, don't get me wrong!"

    He chuckled warmly once more.

    "I think that's part of the reason why Daniel started up the whole project... maybe? I dunno," she added. "The old boy doesn't really visit here that often. Not a drinking man, I'd wager. I think he has a... thing for pie, if you catch my meaning."

    The huge bartender wiggled her eyebrows at her own little joke.

    Meanwhile, as Elise gazed at her drink... her reflection was doing the same.

    Wiggling its eyebrows.

    Only, it wasn't her usual reflection... but that of the demon inside her.

    That blonde, blue-eyed version of herself.

    Who seemed absolutely amused.

    [Hah! Oh wow...]

    LBJ let out a mental whistle.

    [I don't think I've EVER heard someone lie as smoothly as this woman does!] The demon cackled. [Almost everything coming out of her mouth is a lie!]

    Wait, what?

    [Or, well... not a lie per se. She's just letting truth slide off of her like water against rocks.]

    ......... What?




    Maid
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Barney's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Uhh...?"

    The confusion on Orion's face seemed to just grow.

    "Through the window... after slipping... trying to catch a headband...?" He repeated, scratching his head with his index finger and trying to put the pieces together. "So, uh, you're a temp who was cleaning above, lost her headband thanks to the wind, then climbed out of the window to get it back and..."

    The absolute, stunned silence was only cut by the sound of the maid's constant up-and-down movement of apologetic bows. A silence that was practically stupefied, like someone had went and uppercutted it below the belt. The look on the young man's face was quite similar, to the point it was hard to say whether or not he was actually believing this fantastical tale, or was ready to explode at the maid because of how absurd the whole thing was.

    And in the end...

    "W-wha..."

    The result was...

    "What..."

    ... The former.

    "What the hell sort of idiot do you have to be to go climbing the hotel walls in a storm!?" Orion exploded, looking like he wanted to shake the maid by her shoulders. "That's like asking to get killed! Seriously! God knows I've done some stupid stuff in my life, but that just takes the cake! No headband is worth risking your life over! Just one slip and fall and you won't be hitting the window below, you'll either hit the rocks or the river and that's it - end of your budding career in cleaning services!"

    It was actually somewhat refreshing to see the blue-haired man loose his cool so badly.

    "Just get out already and make sure I don't catch you climbing out of any more windows!" Orion continued and pointed his finger at the door. "If I do, I'll be marching straight up to the owner to tell what sort of morons he's hiring to his staff! So stop apologizing already and git! Git!"

    So had the towel-wearing young man spoken. And indeed, it seemed that the maid's way out was now without any obstacles. She just had to leave the room and she'd be in clear waters, to plan her next move and how to proceed from here.

    But as she took a step towards the door...

    "Excuse me."

    A sudden voice echoed in the room. A voice that rooted both Orion and the maid in place.

    A voice emanating from the man who had been
    snoring
    meditating
    on the floor. Indeed, they hadn't heard his sounds for a while now, had they? Not since the maid had taken her current form.

    Which meant...?

    "Just one question before you go, young miss," Barney Keyhoe rumbled as he lifted his eyes and adjusted the sunglasses on his face, causing them to glint. "Miss..."

    His eyes pierced straight through the young woman.

    "--- Are you really a maid of this place?"




    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    The distance is vast.

    Normally, walking all the way to the massive pillar would have taken hours.

    But just like the rest of the rules of this place, they are a far cry from reality.

    So, before she even knew it...

    --- Prushka had arrived to the root of the pillar.

    What stood before her was a mass of painted stone, some sort of glacial erosion or rock that stretched towards the heavens. In it, many paths and tunnels could be seen, like an internal spider-web of empty spaces forming within it. Outside, the clay-based paints formed intricate patterns of hues, like wings of great beasts stretching towards the heavens with the massive pillar as their sky. Within those colours danced figures of odd, humanoid shapes, falling stars, great birds and underwater leviathans, spears and swords, lyres and drums. It was a depiction of history of a world far away and long gone. But that was not important. No, what was important was the thing hidden within the caverns of this pillar, the pale light streaming from within the holes.

    --- The Moon Imprisoned in Stone.

    Being this close, Prushka could now see it clearly. It wasn't the moon she had seen in books or television, with a surface of soft rock and sands. No, this was more like a sphere of light, softly glowing in the night sky, as ephemeral and wispy as a ghost itself - or perhaps the eye of a goddess. It hung there, surrounded by darkness, resembling a mirage painted upon a tranquil lake more than anything else. But even as peaceful as it looked, one thing was clear... the moon was imprisoned. It had been chained within that pillar, and it could not escape.

    And neither could the figure floating in the center of the moon. The curled up figure of a young man with countless scars and a white mane.

    --- Ahti was there, so close she could almost reach him.

    Though before she could even attempt, Prushka finally saw it move. The great shape above her unfurled and stretched. It descended downwards, bringing forth its great head, one that would have dwarfed buildings. The reptilian eyes were primal and cold, but also full of wisdom - and now they stared straight at her. Indeed, this ancient beast, taking a shape out of the myths they were all so veiled in, descended from the pillar it had coiled around...

    ... And settled itself right before Prushka, to glare her right in the eyes.




    A World Serpent of its Own Kind.

    It stared straight through the girl before it.

    Its eyes unknown and its wisdom slithering.

    A representation of the chains that bound the young man imprisoned by his instincts.

    And as it glared through Prushka, she could hear a massive voice - yet nonetheless a soundless voice - inside her head.




    I AM THE SENSE THAT GUIDES HIM.

    I GIVE HIS RAGE A LOGIC, GUIDE HIS FURY AND CONTROL IT. WITHOUT ME, HE HAS NOTHING TO DIRECT HIS ANGER AGAINST. WITHOUT ME, HE HAS NO ONE TO TELL WHICH PATH TO TAKE.

    AND YOU WOULD TAKE THAT AWAY FROM HIM? WHAT DO YOU GRANT HIM IN RETURN? INDEED, WHO ARE YOU TO EVEN DECIDE?

    HOW CAN YOU KNOW IT IS WORTH IT?

    --- I HAVE A FIRM GRIP OF THE DARKNESS WITHIN THIS YOUNG LION'S HEART.

    WHAT DO YOU EVEN MEAN TO HIM?







    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    The distance is vast.

    Normally, walking all the way to the massive pillar would have taken hours.

    But just like the rest of the rules of this place, they are a far cry from reality.

    So, before she even knew it...

    --- Hisa had arrived to the root of the pillar.

    What stood before her was a mass of painted stone, some sort of glacial erosion or rock that stretched towards the heavens. In it, many paths and tunnels could be seen, like an internal spider-web of empty spaces forming within it. Outside, the clay-based paints formed intricate patterns of hues, like wings of great beasts stretching towards the heavens with the massive pillar as their sky. Within those colours danced figures of odd, humanoid shapes, falling stars, great birds and underwater leviathans, spears and swords, lyres and drums. It was a depiction of history of a world far away and long gone. But that was not important. No, what was important was the thing hidden within the caverns of this pillar, the pale light streaming from within the holes.

    --- The Sun Imprisoned in Stone.

    Being this close, Hisa could now see it clearly. It wasn't the sun she had read about or seen pictures of when she was younger. There was no roaring fire of plasma or coronas stretching out from it's brilliant surface. No, this was an orb of golden light, like a flame in itself, one that was set upon the heavens in ancient times to bring life and light to the lands below. A gentle yet powerful sign of regal authority, unquestioned in its rightful place among the heavens. Yet, it too, was now chained - trapped in the pillar of stone with no way out, unable to escape.

    And neither could the figure floating in the center of the sun. The curled up figure of a young man with a peaceful face and a golden mane.

    --- Pyry was there, so close she could almost reach him.

    Though before she could even attempt, Hisa finally saw it move. The great shape above her unfurled and stretched. It descended downwards, bringing forth its great head, one that would have dwarfed buildings. The reptilian eyes were primal and cold, but also full of wisdom - and now they stared straight at her. Indeed, this ancient beast, taking a shape out of the myths they were all so veiled in, descended from the pillar it had coiled around...

    ... And settled itself right before Hisa, to glare her right in the eyes.




    A World Serpent of its Own Kind.

    It stared straight through the girl before it.

    Its eyes unknown and its wisdom slithering.

    A representation of the chains that bound the young man imprisoned by his instincts.

    And as it glared through Hisa, she could hear a massive voice - yet nonetheless a soundless voice - inside her head.




    I AM THE SENSE THAT GUIDES HIM.

    I SPUR HIM TO ACTION AND MAKE HIM WHOLE, DRIVE HIM TO PROTECT OTHERS AND GIVE HIM COURAGE TO SACRIFICE SELFLESSLY. WITHOUT ME, HE HAS NO ONE TO TELL WHICH PATH TO TAKE.

    AND YOU WOULD TAKE THAT AWAY FROM HIM? WHAT DO YOU GRANT HIM IN RETURN? INDEED, WHO ARE YOU TO EVEN DECIDE?

    HOW CAN YOU KNOW IT IS WORTH IT?

    --- I HAVE A FIRM GRIP OF THE DARKNESS WITHIN THIS YOUNG LION'S HEART.

    WHAT DO YOU EVEN MEAN TO HIM?

  15. #4555
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    Finally standing in front of the tall pillar, it was hard not to notice all the small details on it. The engravings and paintings of heroes and depictions of myths, covering it from the bottom to as far as I could see up, making it so much more than just a slab of stone that it seemed to be from further away. Then, within the stone, there was the 'sun' as well, containing Pyry's soul deep within it. The treasure that we were here to rescue - but from which the large serpent still separated us.

    The serpent that neither lunged forward to attack nor stood still like before, but instead, lowered its giant head, so that its voice could boom powerfully inside my mind.

    To speak words that felt very much fitting for a serpent, a snake, a poison to the mind, one that spoke blatant lies and madness with enough confidence and power to shake one's own beliefs.

    But I could only smile at its words, my blinkless stare coming close to boring a hole straight through its head.

    Those words were spoken in an attempt to protect itself, after all. It knew the fate that awaited it, that it would fall and turn into nothingness by my hands even if that was the last thing I've done in this world. It was just trying to save its own existence. Was it to have feelings, then such words likely would have been born out of fear.

    "You are not guiding him. You are merely forcing him to do your bidding, whether he likes that or not." I spoke up, feelings of disgust faintly visible in my expression, "He doesn't need you. He does not need anyone to tell him what to do, because he can, and has the right, to decide for himself."

    My fingers curled into a fist at my side, the pale knuckles becoming even more white while more and more odic particles started swirling around it;

    "That freedom of will is what I came to grant him, and while I'm certain that a void will follow in your stead, that's nothing that can't be filled, and nothing quite as toxic and malignant as your presence here."

    But rather than just lingering in the air aimlessly, they were slowly taking their place, giving form to a weapon that was manifesting in my hand.

    "Not that I need to explain myself, or bargain with a tumorous parasite in the first place. Especially since as a resident of this place, even if an unwelcome one, you already know the answer to your questions."

    And as the weapon was manifesting, and the things I even bothered to consider saying to the serpent were running out, I prepared myself to strike.

    "What will it be, then? Are you going willingly, or will you choose the painful and difficult way?"

  16. #4556
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Quote Originally Posted by Tris
    "O-oh... Liana...?"
    "..."

    Different.

    Tris sounds different, no longer cheerful and peppy, a shivering figure that is slowly losing to the torrential rains sapping away at her natural warmth. It's a state of being that draws just as much of Liana's attention as the words the knightess speaks, draws even more attention than the words in some ways, as eyes travel up and down that shivering figure as it leaps to the ground below, a barrage of the usual mother-like impulses battering away at her brain as she stands enclosed in her aura of flickering silver flame, a mystical lantern in the depths of a storm that has driven this town to reclusion...

    That hides the darkness coming to try and swallow them all up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tris
    "I... y-yes. 'Tis fine. Lady Canseliet art now treatingeth some other... patients that arrivedeth here, sent by Lady Momoi," Tris explained, vaguely gesturing towards the door. "But I thinketh she art more or less doneth. Thou shouldeth get thine wounded inside, away from the rain."
    ...Lady Momoi?

    "Momoi? Do you mean Hisa?"

    It's the only Momoi she knows, although with all the hidden family members the Pinefall kids seemed to have it wouldn't shock her to find out it was an entirely different Momoi... But putting that possibility aside she's still not quite sure how to feel about that girl, Hisa struck her as particularly set in her ways and sort of judgemental, which made communicating with her rather difficult, but she didn't think Hisa was a bad person, so anyone she sent here was probably safe enough...

    Probably.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tris
    "B-but, Liana, um... what art... going on? The town, it hath changedeth. The two who cameth, one of them toldeth he wereth kept prisoner by some nefarious group. Then, after waking uppeth today, I can no longer feel presence of U-Salem..." She said, look of confusion and worry clear on her face. "Not only that, but mine sword... it felteth strange today. Not itself. It art like... things are getting odd. Very odd."
    Although this business with a nefarious organization holding people captive was perhaps a clue she could follow up on... While she was starting to get the feeling that a bunch of secret organizations had their fingers in this town, last night seemed to be the night this Einherjar Group was up and about taking care of their business, and they were a group that really piqued her interest, not just because of what they had done to Jack in the name of using a bunch of high-schoolers as bait for some sort of probably evil monster, but also the name of the group was...

    A bit too familiar to her....

    Not just in the Norse Mythology sense either-

    Original Unit Designation... Einherjar Project...

    -although considering all the Norse motifs in this town and the upcoming doomsday, it felt a bit like they were heading down the path towards a hypothetical Ragnarok, still... While her mind does divert for awhile to consider all of these things, her eyes remain on the girl in front of her, one who had struggled to open herself up to help from the outside, to put down the portrayed invincibility of a knightess and admit that someone was eating her up inside, and in response to that courage...

    "I don't think the town has changed... So much as it's just showing it's true colors now."

    She decides to respond to the girl's concerns as honestly as she can as she finally gives into certain impulses, a mix of mother-like concern and guilt driving her to place one hand on the other girl's shoulder, flickering white flames moving to gently encircle the shivering girl as well as herself, sharing the heat of a mystical lantern in the storm. "Road's End is a dangerous place, some Einherjar group tried to kill Jack last night and someone else tried to drive everyone at the club crazy. So if you're feeling like things are getting strange, it's not just you... Bad things are definitely on the horizon..."

    There's no purpose in lying to her about it.

    If someone chooses to confide in her, then she will respond as genuinely as she can to the sentiment... Of course the complete truth is rough, the subtext of her conversation with Zane pretty much declared that she (as well as everyone else) fail the upcoming trials in one way or another, her own personal timeline wouldn't be out-of-sync with Zane's otherwise, but...

    "But we'll figure something out. Gonna try and have a big meeting with everyone in a bit where I can go into more detail, there's a lot of things I think everyone needs to know before we really do too much more..."

    She smiles here, wanting to assure the girl that things would be alright even if maybe they wouldn't be, although that smile quickly becomes a scolding line of sorts...

    "And I think you need to spend some time somewhere warmer... Look at you, letting yourself freeze out here in the cold in just a cloak for protection? This is how people get sick, you know?"

    She can't help it.

    She'd done her best to suppress the fussy mother aspect of her personality up until now, but it finally breaks free as it always does, a gently scolding tone erupting in her words, although when Tris looks around, when the others finally start getting out of the car...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tris
    "Liana..." She spoke quietly. "... Where art Colt?"
    "...He should be in the woods, with a classmate of ours."

    She can't lie about it.

    It's a topic the raven-haired woman had known was inevitable from the start, from the moment she had wandered back from her mission to retrieve Jack only to find out that those that had decided to chase after Thorne had not returned from the trip. It's a situation that looks bad, even without the bizarre supernatural nature of the Ghostwood, getting stuck out in the woods in the middle of a storm was asking for trouble, even more so when chasing after a vampire that didn't seem to hold Colt in very high regard, but...

    "She's a special forces sort of girl, so I think they should be alright as long as they stay together... But he did slip out of my sight in the end, I have to apologize to you for that..."

    In that regard, she had failed as a knightess.

    Failing to save Jack would have been just as bad of course, the reality being that this town kept shoving her in between a rock and a hard place, but now that she's being confronted with that reality again, well...

    Flickers of guilt do return.

    Guilt that she hadn't been able to perfectly solve all the problems, as irrational as she can now acknowledge such a thought to truly be, that such an entity would be a savior rather than a hero and thus completely and utterly inhuman, well...

    It's also not so easy to shake that guilt.

    The compulsion to be
    The Original Sora
    perfect
    never is...

    "We had... Quite a night of our own last night, and three of my friends vanished on me this morning..."

    She grimaces, gaze turning from the knightess to those getting out of the car. A quick nod of her head towards them, then another towards the door, acts as her sign that they should start moving towards her now, and then...

    "But we'll figure something out."

    She repeats the earlier sentiment.

    "Colt seems to be protected by the Moon, so I don't think she'd let anything happen to him in the worst case... But he's a resourceful enough guy even without anyone's help, so he'll be fine."

    That's what she believes at least.

    "In the morning we might be able to find the Ranger and fetch him from the woods, but a lot of... Other problems are popping up too... I'll have to explain those later though..."

    Only wanna have to give the time loop speech once...

    And then she remembers, she had missed one little thing in Tris's words...

    "As for your uh... Relic acting weird? It's an Arc Relic, right?"

    She'd never actually seen it.

    "I was never a very good mage, so I might not be of any help... But maybe I could take a look at it? If it's a sword-type, it might just be acting up because it's uh... Target is near. Like a dragon slaying sword reacting to the presence of a dragon? Something like that? And this U-Salem... Maybe you just can't sense him in the storm?"
    Last edited by Airen; May 5th, 2022 at 02:52 PM.
    Exodus (Complete)

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

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

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

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

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




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

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

  17. #4557
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "I-I see..."

    Tris wrapped her arms around herself.

    "... Then I shalt not worry. Thou art righteth. Colt art a smart lad, and very protected," she said, trying to sound hopeful. "Nothing foul shalt befall him, I doth agree. I shalt not worry."

    But she definitely worried. The way she squeezed her own arms with her fingers was a telltale sign of that.

    Burdens of anxiety seemed to be piling up on the shoulders of the blonde knightess, and considering how different she was from her usual cheerful self, it was taking a heavy toll on her. The rain and the cold did not help in the slightest, since as Liana noticed when she touched girl, the latter was shivering... properly shivering. She must have been standing hours on that rooftop, waiting for her friends to return.

    But hearing from no one.

    "And, well... thou maybe art right. There art times when U-Salem art hidden from mine senses. Mayhaps this art yet another of those cases," Tris finally spoke again, before instinctively touching the handle of the sword on her back. "A-as for mine sword, yes... I think thoust would calledth it an 'Arcana Relic'. One meanteth to fight against draconic serpents, yes, though... wouldst there really be'eth such a thing nearby?"

    She glanced towards her weapon.

    "... I know not. S-still, if thou wantest to taketh a look, we may do so inside," Tris continued. "Thine comrades seemeth to have made their way insideth alreadyeth..."

    And indeed, Zane and Jayesh had already carried Jack through the door, with Sierra following right at their heels. Fyrtio was doing a check around the perimeter of the house, though she would most likely go inside right afterwards. Meanwhile Cathie, Kajal and Aleen looked at the house with some curiosity and trepidation, but followed everyone else soon enough, meaning that it was just Liana outside anymore.

    Well, Liana, Tris, and the woman who had opened the door for them and gestured them inside.

    A woman - a fae - who was now leaning against the doorway with a raised eyebrow.

    "Well now..."

    Dorothy Canseliet said to Liana.

    "You look like you've been toyed with by a malicious thought."



    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm
    [BGM]

    Eventually, The Car - Steed Among Steeds - came to a halt at the small rest stop at the foot of the path leading up to the lighthouse.

    And one thing the four girls could agree on was that taking that car and driving over here was perhaps the best decision they had made that day. The torrential downpour coming down from the gunship grey skies and the howling winds rocking the trees were nothing to scoff at. It was like the skies themselves were mashing the town of Road's End around, the pine trees and sycamores were groaning under the tremendous force. Just like during the Week That Didn't Exist, it was the type of weather that made it easy to understand why people of old had believed in deities and demons.

    In a way, it made Elaine's right arm ache.

    Or perhaps it was the scenery that lay before her.

    Destroyed shed and outhouse, a disintegrated picnic table, scored earth and cracked asphalt, and signs of both mundane and supernatural powers that were a veritable smorgasbord of evidence that a Turnside battle had been fought here only a handful of hours ago. In fact, it was slightly funny how different the place looked now in daylight. Or rather, in stormlight. Gone was the dread of the night and the summoned ghosts, and instead, it all looked so... old. Tired. Grey.

    Beaten by the rain.

    "Geez..."

    Ubon muttered as she watched the area through the windshield, sitting in the front with Elaine.

    "What the heckaroonie happened here?"

    Both Subaru and Sakura chuckled awkwardly at that question, the latter even jumping to chance to change thet topic.

    "E-erm, speaking of which... you mentioned something about a ghost, yes?" The older brunette asked. "I take it this is a different person than... Michael?"

    Memories of last night flashed across Elaine's mind.

    Her arm hurt more, but just for a moment.

    "... Is that them, up there?"

    Looking where Sakura was pointing, Elaine was able to shake off the aching feeling and concentrate on the view, just fast enough to catch the sight of a familiar flaxen hair in the windows at the top of the lighthouse.

    Looks like the old coot was home after all.




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    As reptilian, as primordial as the face of the serpent was, the dark, amused smile on its face was clear. It reacted with no fear even as Hisa threw its words right back at its face, nor did it seem anxious about the weapon of psionic energies forming around her hand. But it was not as if the creature, the manifestation, was so self-assured and arrogant in its victory. No. In a sense... it did not seem to care. After all, it was no real mind, nor even a memory of one like Utujoutsi had been.

    No, this was a personification of a mindset - of orders and instincts instilled into Pyry, the thoughts that chained him to his duty.

    In that sense, it was more inhuman than anything Hisa had ever faced before. Somewhat ironic, considering it was born of a human psyche.

    So, instead of preparing for a battle, the serpent smiled dryly.


    FREEDOM OF WILL. IT IS INDEED A VOID. A VOID DEEPER AND MORE TERRIFYING THAN ANYONE CAN EVER IMAGINE.


    It's animalistic eyes twinkled in the starlight.


    DO YOU FEEL THAT HE IS PREPARED FOR IT? A MAN WHO HAS, FOR MOST OF HIS LIFE, KNOWN NOTHING BUT DUTY AND THE ORDERS THAT GUIDE HIM? IF YOU ARE TO RIP THAT AWAY FROM HIM, WILL HE BE ABLE TO SURVIVE? WILL HE EVEN WANT TO?

    I AM, IN PART, HIS GREAT COURAGE. MAKE NO MISTAKE OF THAT. WITHOUT ME, EVEN HE WILL FEEL FEAR WHEN IT COMES TO PROTECTING OTHERS - WHEN IT COMES TO SACRIFICING HIS OWN LIFE. WITHOUT THAT UNBREAKABLE COURAGE, WILL HE EVEN BE THE SAME MAN AS HE WAS BEFORE?


    The snake narrowed its grand eyes as it pushed its head closer towards Hisa - so close that they could almost touch.


    WILL YOU EVEN CARE FOR HIM ONCE HE LOSES IT? HE MAY BECOME SOMEONE YOU MAY HATE... SOMEONE YOU MAY LOATHE. AND YET, ARE YOU WILLING TO TAKE THAT RISK? WHAT IF HE WOULD BECOME SOMEONE YOU WOULD HATE?

    THAT IS THE TRUTH OF OUR FREE WILL. IT WILL ALLOW ALL OUR WEAKNESSES TO SET THE STAGE WITH OUR STRENGTHS. WITHOUT ME TO HOLD THEM AT BAY, HE WILL FACE THEM FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE.


    This was venom, pure and simple. A toxin in Pyry's mind. But in that sense... it was easy to see that it held no malice on its own. Sure enough, it had been created for terrible reasons, and to enslave the person it existed within, but the venom itself... it was no more than a tool. Perhaps barely sentient, even in this world. So, in a way that could be only described as amusingly ironic, it held none of the opposing will that Utujoutsi's memory had.

    No. Looking into those reptilian, primordial eyes, Hisa was able to sense it.

    Even with this booming voice and these dark words... the serpent was curious.

    Genuinely curious as to what her answer would be.

    Not to test her, and not to rebuke, but because... it simply wanted to know what would come after - after it stopped existing. It had already accepted its own destruction. Thus, it only wished to know what would come after.

    Would the outcome be destiny's cruel irony?

    Or perhaps, was there light at the end of the tunnel?


    WILL YOU GRIP THAT DARKNESS IN MY STEAD? WILL YOU THEN FEAR IT?


    What a strange thing to ask.


    OR WILL YOU ACCEPT IT?


    ... And what a strange thoughtform indeed.

  18. #4558
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    Before me stands a massive pillar - the prison of heroes.

    Wrapped around it, around the moon slumbering in its cell of legend, is a great wyrm.

    It unfurls, slowly, scales sliding past each other like tectonic plates. The air parts and pushes as the serpent's massive head descends, resting upon the frozen lake. Its empty eyes stare coldly, reflecting within them a tiny blonde gnat.

    Then the serpent speaks.

    "...what do I mean to him, huh?"

    What a question to open with. If you ask so forcefully, there's no choice but to answer honestly.

    So, in all honesty...


    Ah, geeze, such a frustrating one to end on!

    "It'd be nice if Ahti liked me the same way I liked him... but with his preferences, anything romantic is a pipe dream. Maybe he thinks of me as a friend, or sister? I'm more of the big sister type, but if he saw me as a little sister that'd be fine too. Then again, we haven't known each other for that long, so it might be that none of those work either. Worst case scenario..."

    What would the worst be, in this situation?

    "For now I'm just a meddler. An annoying brat who gets under Ahti's skin."

    That'll do. And that's all you're getting, Mr. Serpent. It's embarrassing enough admitting all that out loud in front of a giant monster, let alone with Ahti watching from up there. Because he is watching. Even if he isn't awake to respond.

    "He won't get anything in return, by the way."

    Almost forgot about the rest.

    "I'm here to plunge Ahti into a awful world where nothing makes sense. Where you don't know right from wrong and your feelings lead you down dead ends. And of course, there's no one to tell him what to rage against. He'll be flailing around aimlessly without you, that's for sure. Like a child thrown into the deep end of the ocean."

    When you put it that way, I almost sound like the villain here. It's the truth, though.

    "If he needs someone to be angry at, I'll be right here." Like a lighthouse in the storm. "And there'll be others. Friends and enemies who'll help him find his way."

    I stare up at the great serpent, crossing my arms.

    "Whether it'll be worth it or not... why don't you ask Ahti? He's only one who can decide that. Even if he's unsure and scared of the unknown, that's still an answer he chose for himself, not one you picked out for him. A-and while you're at it, ask him what I mean to him, too."

  19. #4559
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Quote Originally Posted by Auntie
    "Well now... You look like you've been toyed with by a malicious thought."
    Simple words.

    Spoken by a familiar fae leaning against an open doorway, her chocolate-colored hair framing an all too curious face. Her words are finally the thing that drive Liana's eyes from Tris, the sight of the shivering blonde knightess the sort of thing that activates every maternal instinct the raven-haired girl possesses, even as those instincts also silently struggle to figure out the right things to say, to comfort someone who was clearly being slowly buried under their own anxieties in a way that was very familiar to the taller girl, but...

    "...Auntie..."

    In the end...

    "Yeah... It was probably something like that..."

    She is able to answer Dorothy first.

    She hadn't intended on telling her about it, the idea of possibly spreading such a thought to others was contrary to her nature, even if it meant that she had to take the brunt of the damage from it. While she hadn't been able to save Nora last night, the lack of symptoms the others were showing were a good thing, a sign that it was probably just picking up that knife that had caused her thoughts to be poisoned by some sort of outside force and that the others were thus safe from it, but...

    "I... Didn't have a very good night last night... Not a great morning either... You were right about the Club, lots of shadows."

    Tired.

    For once, her voice actually sounds as deeply tired as it is... It's not like she wants to make a habit of showing weakness of course, in her own opinion she had shown cracks in her image far too often to others and yet that same strange sense of sentimentality, the same feeling that had her calling Dorothy things like Auntie and actually meaning it affection-wise, like a young woman that had latched onto someone that reminded her of her mother, an older, relatively caring maternal figure, well...

    Perhaps it's only natural a chink in the armor remains for such a person, fae or no fae.

    It wasn't impossible for her to consider such beings as family, after all...

    Sora had been part fae herself.

    "Guess it's not a good sign that you can tell just by looking at me?"

    She had figured some sort of damage had been done to her last night, even more once she had picked up the knife and fallen for Nora's insidious trap, but the actual depths of that damage weren't a thing she had considered up until now, all her attentions from the moment she had woken up until right these last few instants going towards taking care of people that weren't herself. Those people are safely inside now for the most part, so the slight flicker of unease that shoots down her spine at the thought of the horrible mental violation she had suffered and what it might mean for her long-term is...

    Finally done for her own sake.

    A bit of self-sympathy.

    Self-worry.

    "How much damage did it do?"

    She blinks here, suddenly remembering the other aspect of where she is, and...

    "You though..."

    A hand comes to gently rest on Tris's head for a moment, a reassuring smile and the imparted warmth of silver flames working in tandem to convince the other girl it was fine to head on inside of the house.

    Didn't want anyone else to worry after all...

    "Go ahead and go inside, waiting outside for us in the rain was super cute... But you really need to warm yourself up some. Even Turnside Members can catch a cold, you know?"

    "I'll be in in a little bit."
    Last edited by Airen; May 6th, 2022 at 09:48 AM.
    Exodus (Complete)

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

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

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

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

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




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

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

  20. #4560
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    For a moment, all that could be heard was the quiet whirring noises of the odic energy around me as I contemplated the serpent's words. I wasn't even sure why I listened to it, or considered answering any more of its questions in the first place. And yet, something inside nudged me in that direction, the answers already forming in my mind before I could even truly decide.

    "You are underestimating him, and more than that, you fail to value emotions and everything tied to them correctly."

    As I spoke, I let the muscles in my arm relax for a moment, even if the weapon I was holding did not dissipate yet.

    "There's nothing respectable about blind courage, no matter how great you make it. It's not even courage at that point, but just a simple forced mindset to make him do what others and you want him to do."

    After all, that's what they wanted him to be. A mindless weapon that does not ask questions or has doubts, just does what it was created for.

    "Because without fear, there is no courage. It is what gives it purpose. Fighting down your fears even to just take a step forward speaks of courage magnitudes greater than unthinkingly throwing yourself in harm's way regardless of how dangerous the situation is. But more than just making courage whole, it makes a person whole. Fear, and all those weaknesses and negative emotions are the most important parts of one's being. The lows of the bad are what give the highs of the good, the contrast is what makes you realize their worth, what gives them basis. The presence of those weaknesses is what drives one forward and inspires change, and without them, one would be even more lost and aimless."

    Such a state of mind would only lead to stagnation. 'Perfection', the lack of fear, frustration, jealousy and all those other things one would call undesirables and signs of weakness would only make one too content. Even if they would be flawed to their core, nothing would instill change because those shortcomings would never be realized in the first place. Nothing would give them happiness or satisfaction, because if that's all there is then it could hardly stands out from the rest, and would just blend into a constant that would be impossible to evaluate on an emotional level.

    "So maybe he won't be the same, but he will be complete, because the void that your existence has caused and what you will leave behind will heal. Even if he will feel fear, that's only right. Maybe it will make him contemplate his own safety as well, instead of jumping into danger to protect anyone in a way that no sane being should ever do."

    The tone, and the emotions behind my words changed. No longer was I just talking about my own perspective and thoughts about about a certain topic, a standpoint that could have very well been wrong, even if I believed in it. Something that was entirely down to subjective opinion, that could be interpreted in countless ways. Instead they were words spoken with an unshakable belief, undisputable facts that no one could convince me otherwise.

    "I would never hate him because of that. His courage was never too important to me to begin with - if something, it just made me worried for him, because it only made him suffer more in others' stead. But I fear that even once you will be gone, his stubborn heart will be filled with just as much courage, so discussing a hypothetical scenario is all for naught anyways."

    "Still, that darkness is not for me to get a grip on. That would simply be me replacing you in your role, which is wrong, no matter who stands behind it. Most I can do is help him on his path to tame that darkness and make it his own, and to ease his burden until he can accept it."

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