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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #3721
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Road's End - Streets
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    I frowned out the window as I took in the others' tales.

    "More damned vampires? Every time I kick over a damned rock, there's more of them, they're like roaches, but smugger," I complained, "At least I'm fairly certain the Ramshack one was almost definitely trying to draw attention to itself, being so obviously a vampire killing, that's the sort of the thing that brings the Christers banging on your door."

    Wonder if that's why so many of them are here too?

    Why couldn't one of them be an Anglican like old Uncle Jeb? A Protestant or even one of the damned Ruskies would be fine.

    Nope, just a bunch of shithead Catholics chomping at the bit for an Auto-de-Fe.

    Just my luck, huh?

    Go back to the 16th Century where you came from, hell, go back to the 13th.

    I continued listening as Anna gave her commentary, frowning at her recollection of the hospital on Sunday, rubbing at my chin.

    "So that might've been why it was all locked up on Saturday Night..."

    Dr. Satel...

    Should I have busted inside?

    And girlie being all trussed up inside, not too surprising, but it does beg the question how she got out.

    Still, breaking something that can't be broken?

    No such thing truly exists.

    As all things have been formed, so too do they end.

    One of them has been broken, this has been proven.

    You just, y'know, shouldn't.

    "Well, technically that part's called jumping," I opined on Ramia's last statement, "I think most people can do that, just gotta know the concept."

    Except, of course, people who can't move.

    I even saw a legless guy jump once, which was a strange mixture of sad and impressive.

    "Should really be Six Unbreakable Rules, though, yeah? Cause of that guy who broke entropy, whichever of em it was. Not going to attribute it to some rich nancy boy who dedicated his entire life to being the naughtiest little scamp and wrote a whole poem featuring him rimjobbing the Christ," I grumbled.

    Fuckin' Crowley.

    What a nerd.

    Wasn't even good poetry, either.

    Was apparently a pretty good mountain climber, though.

    It's all stupid anyway.

    Moving on from that little tirade...

    I cleared my throat.

    "Anyway, give me a half-decent excuse and I can probably talk my way into the hospital no problem," I twitched a shoulder, "That or just fake some IDs and get in that way, I've probably got something buried in a box somewhere, Lord knows there's already one spook hanging around, that Ferguson guy. Maybe hustle up the road crew and cover my bases, I already know a couple of people are interested in poking around that joint."

    Plus, if I'm wanting to dig into it, it's better to be tonight, before they go all weird on Saturday Night.

    Also when people start going crazy and being a bunch of idiots.

    Speakin' of which.

    "Y'know, I actually have something of interest about those Air Force spooks, at least, I might."

    "I did some digging around the other night while I was waiting for the paint to dry, and figured out something more applicable for the 'MAFB' on the girl's ID Card than McChord, rather, the shuttered weirdness nest of old Montauk on the other side of the country."

    Sheesh.

    "Kidnapping of specialists, children, wormholes, time travel, psychological research, faked moon landings..." I grinned, "Talk about some good shit there. Especially that Time Travel one."

    Granted, I don't have anything resembling solid knowledge on that place, barring, of course, my perusal of various, ahem, articles of reliable literature on the subject.

    Also half-slurred ravings by weirdos on late-night radio shows during cross-country drives, but ehhhhh...

    "As for DDS, John," I frowned, "That was something on girlie's ID Card too, I don't know anything about what it could really be, but SDD is 'Shared Delusional Disorder', Folie à deux, if you prefer the français. Heh, maybe DDS is the opposite or something.

    "Anywho, it's when psychiatric problems, delusions, particularly, become contagious, mostly between close family members. Supposedly, the military's got some kinda chemical weapon that might cause it, though it all probably got shut down during the big downsizing about five years back."

    "So," I shrugged, "Could be related, might not be, she does seem to have a nerve agent in her system though, so hey."
    Last edited by Mormarth; April 1st, 2021 at 08:17 PM.

  2. #3722
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Flight 305 hijacking suspects…

    Dan Cooper. Dark hair. Impeccable manners. Striking face.

    … Vietnam veteran?

    The gears in Colt’s head were clearly turning. A certain conversation, a long-winded story, played back in his thoughts when he heard the phrase ‘Vietnam Veteran.’ A certain man with dark hair, who possessed impeccable manners, who had a striking face, who told him an old war story from Vietnam.

    A man with eyes equally as dark as his hair. One with a strong, if not slightly terrifying, but certainly handsome as well, face. Who spoke calmly, deliberately, respectfully, with dignity befitting his station and role.

    A man who fought in Vietnam.

    Who opened a school in rural Washington state, who knew the area well enough to be on dating terms with a local.

    “And he’s pretty dang rich too…” Colt muttered his musing under his breath. “A mysterious philanthropist billionaire chock full of secrets…”

    The boy rubbed his chin, tilting his head down.

    “Nah… it’s gotta be coincidence.”

    After all, there’s no way Mister Oceandrop would be Dan Cooper.

    Huh?

    Oceandrop… Dan Cooper…

    The boy fell silent, his hand frozen stiff under his chin, his brows furrowing as those names echoed in his head.

    Dan Cooper. Oceandrop.

    He shook his head left to right, as if to convince himself he was just grasping at straws. The whole notion was absurd.

    It’s absurd but… so is everything else happening in this town.

    Barney said what could be called a goodbye, smiling all the while, but Colt didn’t so much as glance up at him. His eyes were locked onto empty air, staring vaguely downward.


  3. #3723
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi & Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    And with that, the strange morning came to a close.

    Barney, whose jovial goodbyes were returned with a far less enthusiastic ones, awkwardly shuffled away from the campus grounds. Eventually only his colorful raincoat could be seen slowly jogging down the unkempt asphalt road that led to the town of Road's End proper... though whether he was going there, or to the graveyard, or to any of the dozens and dozens of mysterious places around was unknown to everyone but the strange reporter himself.

    Jake, rather satisfied that the man had eventually left of his own volition, said goodbyes to the group as well. Apparently he had some janitorial duties to attend to, but knowing the man, well... it was hard to say if he was going to actually do anything.

    The rest of the group had to eventually disperse too - or rather, head towards whatever they had planned for this day. The chimes of Pinefall's clock tower informed that the classes were about to start, and whether or not they were about to attend the class, it meant that they'd have to get a move on. Plus both Colt and Hisa had a person they needed to pick up before continuing.

    --- That is, both Ru and Tris who were awkwardly standing around the entrance of the main building, almost like kids waiting for their guardians to come pick them up.

    Still, even as they left, and even as the questions, answers and theories that came up this morning weighed heavily on their minds, something could be felt even over that. Even though Colt was still wracking his mind with the strange possibility that had arisen regarding the infamous Dan Cooper hijacking, even as Hisa's mind still lingered on the possibility of what the truth about the Girl In Blue was... they both felt one other thing.

    The gaze in that photo.

    The gaze of the possible Girl In Blue.

    That wicked, mysterious smile...

    ... Almost like it had been now staring at them from the shadows. In the corners of their eyes, where they could never properly catch it.

    Watching, waiting...



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


    Colt Davin: Friendship Rank Raised!






    Hisa Momoi: Friendship Rank Raised!



  4. #3724
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "... Mm. Describe this friend. As much detail as possible.... My handsome bro will draw a profile picture. So sit down and get to talking. I will brew some tea in the meanwhile. Is jasmine okay? Hopefully it is. It's the only one we got... Someone stole the chamomile…"
    I looked at the strange items that were scattered throughout the room. It went from various objects that were usable to my knowledge such as the Hasbro Oujia Board and the EMF meter made from an old walkie talkie… However things took an outright bizarre turn such as the coaster tarot cards and what I can only assume to be a holy water dispenser squirt gun? Was this normal for all non-Turnside investigators? Or was this bad by even amateur and non-organizational standards…

    “Jasmine tea is fine… You really don’t have to, Rachel said my coworker and I could grab something from the hotel’s kitchen.”

    As I said that, I started making my way towards Jayesh Omkara as Kajal Omkara went away to start brewing the tea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "--- Tell everything. All physical details you can remember. And all mental ones as well. Leave nothing out," Jayesh adviced Vier with his deep voice. "I will create a depiction of this friend based on that. That is the first step."
    I took note as he started looking at me as I approached the chair he was gesturing towards. It was unusual since it went from my torso to my legs and then stopping at my thighs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    “... You carry yourself well.”
    “Thanks?”

    I wasn’t sure on how to take Jayesh Omkara’s comment as I sat down in front of him. It didn't seem perverted, but something was noticeable to him that I wasn't quite sure about. Moving on... I decided to take note of his… instruments. Pencils, sketchbook, and then water colors? I never expected for him to be an artist and a martial artist… Granted I never knew him outside of the two times I’ve met him, but it feels kind of ridiculous to see my ex-kicker casually asking me to sit down so he can draw someone.

    “As for describing my friend, I can do that. Just keep in mind, I haven’t seen her in the past four years so my description might be a little off. Well... She’s ethically German. She’s about my age. Maybe a little older. She has long silver-grey hair. Green eyes. As for what she’s wearing...”

    I paused for a little bit when I hit what she was wearing. Something that Lobo the King of Currumpaw said last time that could potentially be her. That silver-haired gun user he was describing… I can’t imagine there to be many of them around here...

    “Last time, I saw her… She was wearing a green army type of jacket over a blackish one piece jacket. However, I was told that she might have been wearing something similar to a goth rave or something? Might even be wearing an eyepatch to fit in even better? I kind of lost contact with her in Sweden...”

  5. #3725
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Hmm..."

    Jayesh let out a thoughtful hum as he continued to sketch the picture according to Vier's description. More than a few times the young man stopped his hand, frowned, and then scribbled something more furiously as if to erase some sort of mistake he had made. All the while a kettle of tea was being brewed on the trail stove, with Kajal sitting right next to it and staring at it intensely, as if doing so might have made it ready faster. Of course, that was just nonsensical. If anything, a cold stare like that would have just made it harder for the water come to a boiling point.

    "Hnn... something doesn't add up," Jayesh suddenly said, slowly scratching the side of his head. "There's a quite a bit of difference... military style clothing at one point, goth rave attire and an eyepatch at another...? This is less about the change in one's wardrobe and more in the mentality..."

    Suddenly, his head swiveled towards the bespectacled girl.

    "My beautiful sister - do you think people can change their fashion so much? Even if some time has passed?" Jayesh asked. "In the first place, do ghosts change their clothes?"

    As deadpan as ever, Kajal turned around to face her brother and promptly flashed a thumbs down.

    "No way. Ghosts don't have clothes to begin with," she replied curtly. "Not to mention that difference... it sounds like the difference between a professional and one who tries to be professional. It's been in, right? Black leather, black clothes, black sunglasses and lots of rave-ish music. That doesn't sound like a soldier at all. Or a military nut. Hmm..."

    Kajal's eyes appraised Vier in turn, taking in both her choice in attire and the muscles in her arms.

    "... Let's go with military nut."

    Jayesh made a sagely nod in return.

    "Military nut it is," he replied, turning back towards Vier while starting to prepare the watercolors. "Is that all? What about personality? Likes? Hobbies? Grudges? Specific reasons to haunt some place? Prophetic dreams or out-of-body experiences which has led you to the ghost? Reason why she would be haunting Road's End? After all..."

    The young man narrowed his eyes at Vier.

    "... If you last saw her in Sweden, shouldn't she be haunting the village of Borgvattnet? Why would she be here in the first place?"

  6. #3726
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Vivienne accepted Alex's invitation, deeming it most suitable since not only would it not seem weird that she'd talk to Alex while standing, but the two of them talking to each other at a level eye height carried an intrinsic egalitarian mindset -- a duo having a discourse on equal ground, neither of them inferior or superior to the other... that was the ideal set up for this exchange.

    Even so, Vivienne was here for more than just some information exchange, was she not? Alex's blue eyes, similar to Vivienne's own, stared at her in a similar, yet different fashion, but it reminded Vivienne of a certain conversation she had had on the previous evening... perhaps it was merely foreshadowing this moment that was to come?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Terrot
    "Now then... Mademoiselle Vivienne Bianchi, if I'm correct? A darling of le grand écran, just like Mercedes West. Only, unlike her, your star has all but faded these days. I've been informed about you. The fact that you're here means that Xeni has failed when it comes to you, I take it. Hopefully you haven't done anything stupid relating to her. I'm perfectly willing to call the police. After all, while we may be partners in crime, we do look out for each other."
    "Xeni did not fail... she made no mistake. If the situation wasn't so outlandish as it is right now... then there would be no way for me to have figured the situation before it was all too late."

    Indeed, Xeni Techne nor Alex Terrot had made a mistep, their ruse was simply defeated by the benefit of someone who had knowledge they shouldn't have. Hindsight is a powerful thing, isn't it?

    "I did not harm her, rest assured... though I do not know what her course of action will be now that... she has been found out... but I have no intention on exposing your secret to the rest of the class, though some people who have the same goal as I do may... already know. There are... many perceptive people in our class, or perhaps I could say simply that they are well informed."

    She did tell a few people about the fact that Alex Terrot was using a doppelganger, but these people were also those that had memories of the previous loop, thus were quite likely to assist her in solving the 'problem' that was at hand. Except for Liana Skye of course, but there was something that felt special about her, even though she didn't remember. One of these 'replacements', wasn't she?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Terrot
    "So the question is... how can I help you, Mademoiselle Bianchi? --- And let's keep this short if possible. I'm waiting for someone."
    "Well... this may seem strange but I would like to... offer my assistance to your investigation. In some way, you could say that I was tipped off to your and Xeni's secret by... yourself.

    ... have you seen or heard of the movie, Terminator and its sequel, Mademoiselle Terrot?"


    ... with how she behaved nearly machine-like often, the parallel Vivienne Bianchi was trying to paint between her arrival to help Alex and that certain movie was... quite a thing. Of course, she was not made of iron nor did she have a toned and well-chiseled body like a certain Austrian actor. That was to be expected... but a certain Hawthorne in contrast did fit the bill for such a casting. Life had a strange sense of irony sometimes.

  7. #3727
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "Hnn... something doesn't add up. There's a quite a bit of difference... military style clothing at one point, goth rave attire and an eyepatch at another...? This is less about the change in one's wardrobe and more in the mentality… My beautiful sister - do you think people can change their fashion so much? Even if some time has passed? In the first place, do ghosts change their clothes?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "No way. Ghosts don't have clothes to begin with. Not to mention that difference... it sounds like the difference between a professional and one who tries to be professional. It's been in, right? Black leather, black clothes, black sunglasses and lots of rave-ish music. That doesn't sound like a soldier at all. Or a military nut. Hmm..."
    I considered interrupting them and trying to fix the misunderstanding a bit more… But I wasn’t sure if this would derail them further and make things more difficult for me to find Zieg. Also the point of us not wearing obvious military clothing outside of combat or operations is to cause people to not notice us… In fact, it only came down to the lack of funds and my own sense of clothing on why I had my current clothes. I just wasn’t as fashionable or as outgoing as Zieg to really make the more attention grabbing outfits work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "... Let's go with military nut."
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "Military nut it is. Is that all? What about personality? Likes? Hobbies? Grudges? Specific reasons to haunt some place? Prophetic dreams or out-of-body experiences which has led you to the ghost? Reason why she would be haunting Road's End? After all… If you last saw her in Sweden, shouldn't she be haunting the village of Borgvattnet? Why would she be here in the first place?"
    I thought it over for a little bit. This was a broad range of things...

    “Personality… Well, she was the more sociable person between the two of us. She was bright, quick-witted, and tended to rely on her gut feelings a lot. As for likes… I guess she always liked sweet things, singing, and coffee. She always could make a good coffee no matter where we were. Rain or shine, blistering heat or freezing cold. Always a good cup… Unlike mine. Hobbies… Let’s go with socializing and our military thing. She could probably dismantle a gun blindfolded if you let her.”

    I had to chew over the grudges section a little bit. It’s not like I can outright admit to them that we deserted in the middle of a mission and made it appear like we’re MIA by killing everyone involved in the mission.

    “Grudges… She didn’t particularly like our military group even if it let her travel all over the world. Why I got led here… A muse in my dreams told me that a brother and sister so that I could find her again. I guess whether she’s dead or alive.”

    I paused a little bit at the end.

    “As for why she could be haunting here instead of Borgvattnet? Probably because I’m the one who nearly died in Sweden so that she had a better chance at living. So maybe that might be why there’s a dissonance in what I’ve last seen and what I heard she might be wearing more recently. I don’t know when she died… Or even if she died at all.”

  8. #3728
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Unfortunately, I do not have much time for movies. I do know a little bit," Alex Terrot replied curtly. "A tale of a post-apocalyptic world and robots that travel to the past in order to either ensure it or avoid it. Should I take this as a hint, then? Are you supposedly one of these fantastical 'metal men' in the same manner as Xeni is? That would certainly explain your lack of emotion..."

    A hint of a humourless smile appeared on Alex's face as she took a sip from her cup of coffee and set it down on the table. Then she fished out a pack of cigarettes from the breast-pocket of her sleeve and lit one up, bringing it to her lips. While Vivienne saw no brand on the package, there was a strange scent of herbs or some other plants that spread with the cigarette... and it clearly wasn't the usual alternative either. This smelled... stinging?

    Like medicine?

    "Knowing how you Turnside-types operate, that would serve as wondrous enough explanation - especially when you hint at me myself being the cause of our little ploy being exposed," Alex continued, lowering her voice. "Unfortunately, Mademoiselle Bianchi, I've learned enough - like the fact that time travel, and its usual forms as displayed in fiction are, even in your world, fiction. So I wonder... can you spin a tale that's convincing enough? You said that you wanted to help my investigations, after all."

    Then, like someone had flicked a switch, Alex's dry humour faded away and a hint of steel appeared in her gaze as she stared through Vivienne. It was like she had laid an unsheathed dagger on the table, as if to remind the girl that there was little trust here - at least at the very moment.

    "... After all, I can make a guess as well. If you were uninvolved, you'd have no reason to help me. Ergo, I can only imagine that you'd gain something by being part of my investigations. The ones who would gain most currently would be... yes," Alex spoke, carefully studying Vivienne's body language. "The very same therianthropic cult that I've been hunting down, the ones who have been the muscle of the McLampet family for quite some time now. Meaning that you could be either one of them, or a spy they've hired to keep tabs on me and my progress."

    Taking a drag off her strange cigarette, Alex let the smoke billow out and encase the table they were sitting at, and then watched... waited... almost as if studying whether or not Vivienne would have a reaction of some sort to it.

    "Then again, I haven't seen you interact much with Elaine Winters - the other assassin they've sent here to Road's End. So tell me..." Alex asked, narrowing her eyes. "What exactly is your story...?"

    In her actions, in her words, in her eyes it was clear as crystal...

    ... Alex Terrot trusted no one.




    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "I see, I see..."

    Jayesh continued sketching, or rather, started applying the watercolors to whatever he had sketched. At the same time, he continued to hum and grunt in an agreeing way while listening to Vier talk. At the same time, the tea kettle finally whistled its sing-song tune that the water was ready, and the sister of the duo started prepping a cup of jasmine tea... a cup which was plastic, bright pink and adorned with pictures of bunnies. For some strange reason.

    "So, in other words, she was the popular one of you two? Social, capable, quick-witted and better fashion sense, and with a fierce streak of independence? Hmm... right, right. Let's add a bit of inferiority complex directed towards her here too..." Jayesh continued, speaking some rather rude things as he did - almost as rude as a kick to the head. "And you don't even know whether she's alive or not? Hmm, well, in that case a séance is out of the question, wouldn't want to call any impostors..."

    While the brother worked, the sister finally arrived to Vier with the cup of tea and practically shoved it into her hands.

    "... Here. Jasmine. It's pretty good, from yours truly."

    Was it possible for someone to look both deadpand and smug? Answer was yes, because Kajal was doing exactly that at the moment.

    "That being said... if you think she might be here, and alive, why don't you go talk to the police? Or, rather, the sheriff? They've got a whole bunch of files. From freeloaders around town to missing person cases," Jayesh asked, lifting his eyebrow a little. "You wouldn't need to listen to dream muses - though we appreciate the free advertisement. You should thank this dream muse. But yeah. Seriously. For missing people, contact local law enforcement. Much easier. Less messy. Our stuff is... rather messy."

    Kajal, upon hearing this, struck another weird pose and pushed her large glasses up her nose.

    "It's not 'messy', my handsome bro... it's called 'high-octane action'," she immediately retorted. "Stuff that Hollywood movies are made from."

    ... What even was this argument?

    "... Oh."

    Mid-pose, Kajal seemed to suddenly have some sort of revelation as she snapped her fingers and pointed finger-guns at her brother.

    "What about her? She might know. She's good with this sorta stuff," the girl suggested. "She's a military nut too. Likes all those goth-rave clothes. She even wears fashionable eyepatch or two. My handsome bro, we should send her to her. That's why this muse probably mentioned us. Since we know where she lives."

    Jayesh, his brush stopping mid-stroke, pointed a single finger-gun back.

    "--- Oh. You're right, my beautiful sis. In order to find this gun-nut, military-nut, gothrave-nut, eyepatch-nut, we should send thunderthighs here to see the biggest gun-nut, military-nut, gothrave-nut, eyepatch-nut in the town," the brother replied. "I'm sure she knows where others like her are. Heck, they maybe go to raves together. Though... there's a distinct lack of raves in this town."

    With that, Jayesh finished his brush-stroke and turned the sketchbook around so that Vier could see... and she was suddenly faced with a picture of an amateurishly drawn grassy meadow. There, a caricature of her, drawn in a strange, squished artstyle and colored rather wildly, was trying her best to keep standing while another person - this one with silvery hair, fancy clothes and smug expression sat on her shoulders like some sort of miniature tyrant. The details were surprisingly close to the actual people involved, and Jayesh seemed to have quite the instinct when it came to predicting people's looks but... what was up with this scene of Vier carrying her much fancier-looking friend around like some sort of footstool?

    "Anyways. This person could help you. This black spandex-and-leather-and-eyepatch-wearing, gun-toting, scar-faced, abs-and-muscles, silver-haired, grim-looking, soldier-like lady," Jayesh concluded. "Her name is Fyrtio, and she's currently living at the Spade Queen Country Club."

    ... Wait a minute.

  9. #3729
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    As Jayesh Omkara answered affirmatively towards my description of Zieg, I noticed his sister, Kajal Omkara, brewed the tea calmly and placed the tea into a bright pink, plastic cup that looked like it was for kids. Maybe this was one of the few cups that they had? It probably was because they wouldn’t make their guest drink out of such a childish cup… Even I could tell how much of a social faux pas that was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "So, in other words, she was the popular one of you two? Social, capable, quick-witted and better fashion sense, and with a fierce streak of independence? Hmm... right, right. Let's add a bit of inferiority complex directed towards her here too… And you don't even know whether she's alive or not? Hmm, well, in that case a séance is out of the question, wouldn't want to call any impostors..."
    I looked at Jayesh Omkara with surprise after he openly mentioned me having an inferiority complex. I understand that I wasn’t a paying customer, but shouldn’t you keep that little bit to yourself?! Or at least try to hide it a little instead of openly insulting me like you were reporting the weather! While I was having that thought, Kajal Omkara finally brought me the tea she was making. Maybe things were going to go back to normal with this…

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "... Here. Jasmine. It's pretty good, from yours truly."
    “Thanks...”

    On second thought, I think I know what they have such shoddy equipment and seemingly no business. I’m not even sure if I want to drink this Jasmine tea… But I have to if I want to come across as a polite guest…

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "That being said... if you think she might be here, and alive, why don't you go talk to the police? Or, rather, the sheriff? They've got a whole bunch of files. From freeloaders around town to missing person cases. You wouldn't need to listen to dream muses - though we appreciate the free advertisement. You should thank this dream muse. But yeah. Seriously. For missing people, contact local law enforcement. Much easier. Less messy. Our stuff is... rather messy."
    If only it was as easy as placing out a missing person’s report. If I did, I’m sure it would give away the fact that the 410th was in fact alive and that would get a lot more attention that I would like considering that there’s an assassin looking for Zieg and potentially me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "It's not 'messy', my handsome bro... it's called 'high-octane action.' Stuff that Hollywood movies are made from."
    “I would have to agree with your brother… Actual operations aren’t as clean as Hollywood likes to depict things. It’s a bit messier. Also I have my reasons for not contacting the police… You see as… runaways we don’t exactly want to go back to our original residence.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "... Oh. What about her? She might know. She's good with this sorta stuff. She's a military nut too. Likes all those goth-rave clothes. She even wears fashionable eyepatch or two. My handsome bro, we should send her to her. That's why this muse probably mentioned us. Since we know where she lives."
    Looks like I’ll get to meet that person Lobo the King of Currumpaw described after all. It’s funny since last week I said I wasn’t associated with them nor did I plan to associate myself with them. Yet here I am this week…

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "--- Oh. You're right, my beautiful sis. In order to find this gun-nut, military-nut, gothrave-nut, eyepatch-nut, we should send thunderthighs here to see the biggest gun-nut, military-nut, gothrave-nut, eyepatch-nut in the town. I'm sure she knows where others like her are. Heck, they maybe go to raves together. Though... there's a distinct lack of raves in this town."
    Jayesh Omkara eventually turned around his drawing to me… And I found it to be interesting. While the grassy meadow wasn’t worth noting beyond the work of an amateur, the accuracy of Zieg was almost too uncanny to be true. I would almost say that Jayesh had seen her back then if that’s the case. Well the clothes weren’t exactly right, but they did fit what Zieg seemed to want to wear at the time. The only thing I had to complain about was the fact that… It seemed like I was Zieg’s personal servant. Maybe she treated me like her little sister at times, but I didn’t exactly mind that too much since she typically was right. However, at the same point in time, she has her faults like being impulsive, reckless, and overly optimistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "Anyways. This person could help you. This black spandex-and-leather-and-eyepatch-wearing, gun-toting, scar-faced, abs-and-muscles, silver-haired, grim-looking, soldier-like lady. Her name is Fyrtio, and she's currently living at the Spade Queen Country Club."
    “...Fyrtio was it?”

    I had to hold back being overtly happy once I heard that name. Because Fyrtio was Swedish for the number 40 and if they didn’t just randomly named themself after a number. It had to be Zieg or Specialist #40 of the 410th Fireteam. I’m glad that I listened to Muse because if Fyrtio is indeed my Zieg then at the very least, I’ve accomplished my original reason for being here.

    “So she’s at the Spade Queen Country Club. Is there a good time to meet her there or should I just wing it until I find her?”

  10. #3730
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Of course, it was rather quite hard to not have heard of some of one of the most influential movies of the 80s, as well as its astounding sequel that came out at the beginning of this decade. Alex had clearly heard of it, and knew about its synopsis... and she drew an interesting parallel between the movie and the explanation that Vivienne was going to give Alex for what had happened so far. Of course, understanding something is different from accepting it, as Vivienne knew.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Terrot
    "Unfortunately, Mademoiselle Bianchi, I've learned enough - like the fact that time travel, and its usual forms as displayed in fiction are, even in your world, fiction. So I wonder... can you spin a tale that's convincing enough? You said that you wanted to help my investigations, after all... but I can make a guess as well. If you were uninvolved, you'd have no reason to help me. Ergo, I can only imagine that you'd gain something by being part of my investigations. The ones who would gain most currently would be... yes, the very same therianthropic cult that I've been hunting down, the ones who have been the muscle of the McLampet family for quite some time now. Meaning that you could be either one of them, or a spy they've hired to keep tabs on me and my progress.""
    "Fortunately... most of the information you are relaying to me are news... but as hard as you scrutinize me to verify the truth behind my words... I am afraid it will be... impossible to read me Mademoiselle Terrot. My soul was broken, my personality... sundered... which you may understand why now I... am an actress no longer."

    Indeed, all Alex Terrot would find with her scrutinizing is that the girl before her truly acts like the 'metal men'. Her movements are robotic without any of the tell tale animated liveliness one would find in a normal person. Not only that, her eyes bear more resemblance to surveillance cameras than an actual human's. Quite a problematic individual to scrutinize for body language or any emotional hint...

    "But... I believe that you too can speak the language of... logic. Logic and deduction... they are important to find the cold hard truth... in this world where a veil is pulled over every mystery... aren't they?"

    But how far could emotional logic and emotionless logic bridge one to the other? It was time to find out.

    "I cannot factually present to you the evidence that I am here to help you.... That I cannot deny.... but.... you would have to wonder as well if someone who came to impede your progress... would simply present such a surreal story to you: 'that on a different version of this week, Alex Terrot is nowhere to be found come Saturday. Having been informed by a fellow classmate Ramia that Alex is spending most of their time at the hotel... a certain Vivienne Bianchi heads there to check up on how the friend she's promised to help a few days ago is doing. Vivienne meets up with Prushka who was also planning to have a stay at the hotel... and they both decide to visit Alex... but all that they find is an empty room... with the fruits of Alex Terrot's labor. Though it is impossible to gleam all of the information at hand... they are able to make out things like you highlighting possible irregularities about the Mac Lampets, there being no issues from the Gazette before the 70s...

    ... but most importantly, is the question written as the cornerstone of Alex's investigation... 'who killed the Girl in Blue'? -- you mention something about a man who has a picture of said Girl... and that Alex Terrot will meet him at Ghostwood."


    She pauses her story, and takes out her venetian mask from her puffy coat, putting it gentle on the table as to show it to Alex.

    "I could have come here and worn this.... Disguised myself as Xeni.... Charmed you into helping me... but I am doing none of this... because while infiltration is something I can do... I am not trying to spy on anyone here. I am trying to convince someone that I... want to help them..."

    Vivienne takes the mask and puts it on momentarily speaking as if a totally different individual.

    "Does this girl not sound much more convincing when she is wearing this, dear? You must understand, that what is formless accepts a new appearance, a new shape the most easily! In a sense, she is not so different indeed from your friend, from Xeni~ But here she is... rejecting this persona and appealing for your trust as a blank slate."

    Indeed, one could not tell that it was the same person that had been speaking moments ago behind this mask, for her speech is filled with life, as is her body language. It emanates confidence, charm, and a subtle presence of jest. It is indeed a charming persona, one that helps people feel relaxed, yet maintains the shadow of commending gravitas as to constantly move others not by sympathy nor empathy, but rather by charisma. With that, Vivienne puts away her mask, and returns to her 'normal' speech.

    "I do not know who you have a meeting with... perhaps it is that man, that will arrange for a meeting with you at Ghostwood... If it is, I would advise you to pretend as if anything that just occurred never did in the first place."

    Vivienne seems to search for something else from her coat... Alex Terrot on the bus would know what it is, but the Alex Terrot here most likely does not know about it. Perhaps Xeni had told her about it... perhaps she didn't -- but this was the only way for Vivienne Bianchi, as she truly was, to currently convey what she truly felt.The quiet girl flips open her trusty sketchbook, and presents Alex with... quite something.

    The Drawing
    How mysterious.

    "Oh. I forgot to add... we couldn't investigate... because we were all killed on Sunday... but perhaps it was a bad dream... or perhaps something else really is pulling the strings and... helping us to avert this terrible fate. There are many shadows looming over this town... and the Mc Lampets cast one of the larger ones. If we can solve it... it may help us come closer to understanding what is happening..."

    Though the information was interesting, the fact that she casually mentioned that they all died on Sunday was... perhaps a little bit chilling. But then, what did one expect of someone who lost their emotion?

    What a cute, if crude drawing, however.

    Most cute.

  11. #3731
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Ubon..."

    She's gone with the wind, huh. Even though it's raining.

    The ozone left behind in her wake, the stray particles in the air... they smell bittersweet. Not because things didn't go well in the cafeteria, but rather...

    "You still don't want to show that part of yourself, huh?"

    Because it seems she really is afraid of it. Of us seeing the Ubon that she is ashamed of.

    Well, it's fine. For now at least. One day she'll be comfortable enough to show it. That day doesn't have to be today, though. Today's already a bad day.

    Retreating from the rain, I go not to the cafeteria, but back to the dorms. Specifically, to my room. I only make a short pit stop at the kitchen to return what I'd borrowed... and also to sprinkle some of it onto the plate of eggs and bacon. A bit too much, maybe. Hopefully Ahti likes his food spicy.

    Quietly, the door to my room creaks open. I leave the plate on my desk, covered in clear foil so the smell doesn't wake the sleeping cat boy up. He's so tired he probably won't get up for anything short of the end of the world. Frankly, I'm about to drop myself. But there's no time to sleep. Not yet.

    I leave a note next to the plate, in my usual handwriting:

    "Might be busy this evening, someone asked for help at the hospital."
    "I wanted to ask you about Pyry, but might not get the chance."
    "Going to try for that box of information the paper mentioned."

    "Will drop by after class is over. Let's talk again then."

    With that, I leave... but not before digging one last bandana out of my backpack and tying it around my forearm, under the sleeve where no one will see it.

    I focus my Odic Energy on the cloth.

    Couldn't think of anything else, so... it'll have to be this way.

    Dread. Confusion. Stress. Despair. Guilt. I pluck out the rotten feelings from my past two weeks of memories and strain them through a filter. It's not difficult; there's way too much as is. More than is healthy. But I only need a part. Just the bit that manifests physically. That grabs your heart and squeezes. That makes your blood run cold until you shiver. That twists your stomach into knots and pulls tight until it aches and you can't eat. That feeling is what I need.

    It settles on my arm. A mass of malady much like a curse. But it's just an emotion. The same as self-confidence. The same as hope. I won't feel it immediately. Need to give it some time, lower my mental defenses... the first symptoms should manifest in an hour or so, and end an hour after removing the cause.

    I walk towards class, hoping to see Gabi there before I have to excuse myself.

    But I don't expect to.


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

  12. #3732
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Vier
    “So she’s at the Spade Queen Country Club. Is there a good time to meet her there or should I just wing it until I find her?”
    Kajal shook her head.

    "... Have to be lucky. That woman... she's searching something. Like a blood-hound. Digging all through Road's End. What was that place again...?" She replied, before turning towards her brother with a tilted head. "... Button? Rotterdam? No-pan? No, I don't think that's it..."

    Jayesh, who had set the picture to the nearby nightstand now that it had been finished, was in the middle of cleaning up the watercolours. However, he frowned a little to his sister after her suggestions.

    "No. She was searching for Wodan. Or Wuodan. Or Wuotan. Or Wōden. One of those. Didn't make a lick of sense, but that's what she was after," the brother replied, before looking at Vier once more. "But yes... my beautiful sis is right. She's all over the place. Usually sleeps the mornings there though. Only comes out during the evening and night. Avoids people a lot. Especially local law-enforcement. Doesn't want to be found out. Has paid top-dollar to use the back door. Also..."

    For a moment, the young man frowned.

    "... She's rather high-strung. Paranoid. Jumps at shadows and sees enemies everywhere," he continued. "Both real and not. She talked a lot about a one-eyed woman who ate her eye... though, she was drunk back then. We've only met few times, but she likes to be drunk. I think it helps her sleep. So... be careful when you question her about your friend. She might take it the wrong way."

    Kajal nodded sagely at that.

    "Indeed. And that's when bullets start flying."

    It certainly sounded like this Fyrtio person - whether or not she was the one Vier was looking for - could be troublesome... perhaps approaching her should be done with certain finesse and in a careful manner. Nevertheless, at least there was a clue of some sort to follow, for now. Muse's prediction had more or less come true, but only time would show if it was really what the scarred girl was looking for, or yet another dead end.

    "That being said..."

    Suddenly, Kajal's voice rang out clear, and after sitting on the bed, she peered closer at Vier - her eyes practically shining behind her oversized glasses.

    "... We've helped you now. Just like your dream muse told you. So..." She paused dramatically, and struck yet another pose - pointing at Vier while twisting her own body strangely. "... Now it's your time to help us."

    Jayesh, hearing that, gave a grave nod.

    "Indeed. We scratched your butt. Now it's your time to scratch ours."

    ... That sounded a bit wrong.




    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Alex Terrot barely paid any mind to the drawing. If anything, she gave it a once-over with her eyes, then disregarded it completely.

    In that, it was quite easy to start seeing the differences between Alex Terrot and Xeni Techne, even if the latter had emulated the former almost perfectly. The mannerisms, the tone of voice, even their body language was identical... but there was something lacking. Whereas Xeni Techne had, ironically enough, brought some humanity to her play, with Alex Terrot... such a thing was lacking. This girl felt like she operated on a scale colder than those around her, with logic and rationality being the driving force behind her actions. In that sense, Xeni Techne would get even a little goofy regarding Vivienne's pictures, while Alex Terrot... just passed them over as unimportant.

    "... Well, at least you're not a werewolf," the reporter finally said, glancing at the smoke of her strange cigarette once more. "Which leaves more questions than answers, if I'm honest. Were you a spy like Elaine Winters, it would have been easy enough to chalk up your knowledge of my room to having simply broken into it - and now using this insane tale you have to justify your knowledge. Of course, I can't rule out the possibility that you're working for them despite not being one yourself - that leader of theirs knows how to break women. Would explain your emotionless state as well. That or you're just a stalker of some sort, sniffing through my room and now trying to worm your way into my good graces."

    After taking a hit off her cigarette, the girl blew out another cloud of stinging smoke and flicked the ashes to the nearby ashtray. Then she fixed her eyes properly towards Vivienne, glaring at her in a way that once again made it clear she was studying her every move - keeping an eye on the tiniest changes in facial expressions or body language in general. There was no trust here, and Alex Terrot made it clear that there was none. In other words, she was suspicious and didn't even try to hide the fact.

    "Still, let us entertain this thought for a moment. I certainly haven't heard of any man who possessed a picture of the Girl In Blue, but today's meeting That Man might have changed things. Perhaps he'll be the one to inform me, and later one I will go make arrangements to get this picture. Then, come Sunday, I'll be gone... I take it this means I've been killed or something? And then, before you can investigate further, you're all killed on Sunday. So, riddle me this..." Alex said and frowned. "... Why would you get involved in this thing again? Last time it led to your death. In other words, the logical thing to do here would be to search for a way to not die, to buy yourself more time. But instead you're plunging headfirst straight back into the scenario that killed you. That makes no sense."

    There was a hint of harshness in her tone of voice, almost like she had been calling Vivienne an idiot for doing what she had just described. And perhaps she was. Although Alex was now at least willing to talk about the possibility of Vivienne telling the truth, she didn't seem too thrilled about it.

    "You've now spoken a lot about what happened in this 'other week' of yours, but you've yet to give me a concrete reason why you want to help my investigation. In other words, I'm talking about your actual motive - the fact that your whydunit is completely missing," Alex continued, snorting a little bit. "Oh, and before you answer, just so you know - don't rely on that 'being broken' malarkey too much. Stunted as they are, I can still see the hints of your microexpressions. The involuntary ones."

    For just a moment, a cold smile appeared on the girl's face.

    "... Which is why, in fact, that speaking-with-the-mask-on thing you did sounded far more fake than and unnatural than what you're doing right now."

    With that, she delivered a strange sort of observation.

    "--- So? What is the reason? Why are you so keen on worming your way into my investigations?" Alex Terrot pressed again, eyes watching Vivienne like a hawk.

    However, at that moment, Vivienne felt something else...

    ... Something strange.

    Like a sixth sense, she was almost sure she heard someone chuckling in the distance. And when she switched her gaze out of Alex, slightly to the right, and focused on the far end of the dining hall, she saw...

    ... Someone.

    Someone familliar.

    Oddly familiar, but someone she couldn't place her finger on.

    And that person was just standing there in the doorway.


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

    Standing there, and smiling unpleasantly.

  13. #3733
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "... Have to be lucky. That woman... she's searching something. Like a blood-hound. Digging all through Road's End. What was that place again...? ... Button? Rotterdam? No-pan? No, I don't think that's it..."
    ...None of those things have anything to do with each other. Also if it was Rotterdam, she would’ve been in Germany… No...pan? Something about that word just sounded off because it didn’t seem like she was talking about ‘no pans’ being available.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "No. She was searching for Wodan. Or Wuodan. Or Wuotan. Or Wōden. One of those. Didn't make a lick of sense, but that's what she was after. But yes... my beautiful sis is right. She's all over the place. Usually sleeps the mornings there though. Only comes out during the evening and night. Avoids people a lot. Especially local law-enforcement. Doesn't want to be found out. Has paid top-dollar to use the back door. Also..."
    “I guess I might have to meet her at the back door then… ”

    Wuotan? As in Odin the Leader of the Possessed and Frenzied? Why would she be searching for Odin here of all places? As far as I know, this place didn’t have any known reasons for him to have a presence here. A natural presence at least… There could always be some Odin worship from a small group out here, but this still doesn’t answer why she would be investigating it… What happened while I was gone…

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "... She's rather high-strung. Paranoid. Jumps at shadows and sees enemies everywhere. Both real and not. She talked a lot about a one-eyed woman who ate her eye... though, she was drunk back then. We've only met few times, but she likes to be drunk. I think it helps her sleep. So... be careful when you question her about your friend. She might take it the wrong way."
    Things sounded normal about being paranoid and worrying about who is our enemy… While I have the convenient ability to be able to tell people’s intention quickly and accurately depending on the means, Zieg… doesn’t. Her ability while useful in combating the turnside… Isn’t useful for evading types like us who are neither fully Turnside or fully normal. She would have to trust her gut on everything without me to balance her which might not always work out… Then I hear about someone eating her eye. Even if Fyrtio isn’t Zieg, whoever did that needs to be neutralized.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "Indeed. And that's when bullets start flying."
    I shrug that off nonchalantly.

    “As long as we don't end up in an extended firefight, I'm sure it'll be fine. And well if it does turn into a firefight... Well, I've done my fair share of those so I should be fine regardless. Let's just hope it doesn't come to that.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "That being said… We've helped you now. Just like your dream muse told you. So... Now it's your time to help us."
    ...I don’t like where this is leading. I haven’t liked this entire process at all, but the way things were heading that feeling rose exponentially higher.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "Indeed. We scratched your butt. Now it's your time to scratch ours."
    That phrase has a wrong word in it… It’s supposed to be back not butt. Also I’m starting to get a bit concerned with how you first called me thunder thighs then started using butt in that particular instance. This feels especially weird since last week you kicked me and then promptly ignored me.

    “...Uh I guess that’s true. But I can’t promise anything until you tell me what I could help you with?”

    ...Please be something I can actually do. I actually don't want to do anything potentially risky now that I know this information.

  14. #3734
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Terrot
    "Oh, and before you answer, just so you know - don't rely on that 'being broken' malarkey too much. Stunted as they are, I can still see the hints of your microexpressions. The involuntary ones... Which is why, in fact, that speaking-with-the-mask-on thing you did sounded far more fake than and unnatural than what you're doing right now."
    Alex Terrot could either be telling the truth or bluffing. After all, this was all in response to Vivienne laying her cards down on the table -- Alex had not shown a single one of hers, thus she could simply be making use of the knowledge she had acquired to increase her own stakes and lower Vivienne's. It was natural after all, for someone as meticulous and thorough as Alex to try to gain the most from some mysterious self-proclaimed 'benefactor'. How much can you get away with? Are they even of worth to you? Still... to perceive emotion in something as broken as Vivienne required a particular set of abilities or skills. Could be that strange thing which Alex was smoking? Vivienne had no real clue about that for now.

    "It is good then... that I did not resort to more unusual means. Still... the fact that you could see emotions where most cannot... if I could feel it, then perhaps such a thing would bring me a strange sense of happiness... alas there is none of that."


    Nothing, unfortunately, only logical processing of the situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Terrot
    "--- So? What is the reason? Why are you so keen on worming your way into my investigations?"
    "Because if something is causing this 'repetition... I am quite certain that there is a method to this madness... part of the method would not be letting anyone escape -- someone is playing a game with us here... and I think that we are not the first ones to join it. There are others that have been stuck... in this 'prison'... I've found a note possibly written by... a certain 'Doctor Satel'... that may indicate that more are trapped in an ever repeating cycle. Perhaps you may have... heard of him in your investigation?"

    Before continuing, she presents the paper that had appeared out of nowhere in her hand, back when what either was a ghost or a psychic projection spoke with her. Speaking is a rather amiable interpretation of what happened back then.

    "... I am not alone. Other classmates also 'remember' the other week. I've been trying to encourage others to set up a 'network' with trustworthy people so that... we may be able to do something about the coming... 'problem'. If someone seems to know more than they should... it could be because of that..."

    She pauses for a bit, looking up as if in though, reflexional on why she is doing this truly. Not only had Alex asked her, but Vivienne was now asking it to herself properly. It only seemed logical when she thought about it, but if she took a few steps back, it shed some light about the impulsive nature one could attribute to Vivienne's pursuit of Alex Terrot's investigation.

    "... trust?"
    she mutters, thinking of how she trusted Muse's words without fail, even though Muse herself had never presented any form of solid evidence that she was a benefactor, rather than another individual pulling the strings of puppets from behind the scenes. It was convenient how she also seemed to communicate to the others that remembered... albeit as a different entity than the Muse that Vivienne knew. It's as if she was working on something similar to a 'feeling'... to an 'intuition'.

    But was it really where Vivienne's original drive came from?

    This is where one could say in hindsight, that the driving force behind Vivienne's Bianchi determination to help and save Alex, was not from the fact that assisting or helping Alex would lead to a certain breakthrough in understanding what the hell was going on at Road's End, though that was a possibility -- rather there was indeed, an unusual sentimentality attached to all of this, one that may have instilled some regret in Vivienne Bianchi, if she could feel any, for having come here instead of looking for someone else.

    --Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies -- Xeni Techne
    Namely, a certain promise, as informal as an agreement as it was, to help Alex Terrot and becoming a Wattson to her Sherlock. That was on the first day of their meeting, wasn't it?

    And there was more than that.

    "... A promise I made to someone else. Your 'partner in crime.' It is a very irrational thing... for someone that is logical. Perhaps this is also the irrational part -- the part of me that does not like to leave problems unsolved... a long time ago... I always liked happy endings... for the logical mind... a happy ending is one where an answer has been found to every question... but as you know... that is still rather idealistic... so often we have to settle with a little bit of truth... and quite a bit of lies. It annoys you doesn't it?"

    Lies truly are the worst. Nothing more than... lies.

    "In the end... I came here hoping to find a cure to my illness. Hope is illogical, we both know it... yet do we still not harbor it to a certain degree...? I cannot have a 'normal' therapy if... all of this is bothering me. And did I not say it before? The Mac Lampets cast a large shadow over this town. Shedding some light on them will... very likely reveal at least some of the causes of our trouble."


    Then, she notices it. The stare of something, someone that shouldn't be here. It does not bode well that this presence is here monitoring them -- that much she can tell instinctively.

    "... I think there might be trouble... excuse me... "

    Having told Alex that there may be trouble looming ahead, Vivienne quietly stands up and walks up to the figure who has arrived. Ignoring them would do no good, since it is clear that Vivienne has caught their attention -- instead, confronting them and trying to figure out what they were after was... most likely the best option. There was no reason to run yet... was there? Learning what they were after, was logically the optimal course of action here.

    Clearly no one would stir trouble up in the middle of Owl's Nest, during broad day light... right?

    The 'previous' Sunday might have something to say about such bold assumptions. Always expect the unexpected.

  15. #3735
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "..... There's a phrase."

    Out of nowhere, the atmosphere in the room suddenly felt much more serious. No, not just that. Vier could see in the eyes of both Jayesh and Kajal that they also had grown more serious - almost as if the weird and practically goofy noisiness from before had been shoved into the closet for the moment. The sister of the group, quietly sipping on her own cup of tea, walked over to the window of the room and pulled aside the curtains. There, the grey skies were sill emptying themselves over the town of Road's End, constant rain battering the grounds outside.

    She adjusted her glasses a bit.

    "--- Yeah. A phrase. We're both looking for it, or rather, the one who said it. Both our clients, Jack Pinkerton and Josie McLampet, said it. It had been told to them by the spirits we're searching for," Kajal spoke. "To him, by the girl who he saw here twenty years ago - the one who left a mark unto him that will not go away. To her, it was left by her late husband. And both think it's a clue."

    Jayesh, still sitting on the bed, had finally put away the drawing and painting equipment. He leaned against his thighs with his elbows and steepled his fingers, gazing over them at Vier as if studying her reactions.

    "We're pretty sure it's important, too. After all, we also hear it - here and there. It's like a whisper passing through the town," he continued. "Something in it makes us uneasy... makes us feel there's more to it than we initially thought."

    He nodded to himself.

    "That's why we want to find out what that phrase means," he explained. "That phrase being..."

    Now, both siblings turned towards Vier, and in unison, they spoke out a phrase.

    A phrase that, for some reason, sounded oddly familiar to Vier... even if she didn't know why.

    But it was like she had heard it somewhere before - maybe in a previous life.

    Or maybe in the next.

    That phrase was...

    "It's raining on some other day."




    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Footfalls on the carpeted floor.

    Hurry in her steps.

    Eyes locked onto the unpleasant, smiling individual.

    Vivienne Bianchi hurried through the dining hall, not even realizing that Liana Skye and a certain FBI agent had already left - and that most of the customers had done the same. There were only few people left including herself and Alex Terrot, but that didn't even cross her mind. Instead, her focus was completely locked onto the sight of the strangely familiar girl, with black, silken hair and deep ruby eyes - the girl staring at her from the distance. She made her way towards her, beelined towards her target, unsure of whether or not this would be trouble or not. After all, while nobody should be stupid enough to start a fight where civilians were present - in broad daylight nonetheless - even the rules of the Turnside had become twisted in this place. Twisted to a degree that it was hard to trust anything anymore.

    And finally she reached her.

    The strange, yet familiar, girl.

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

    She said not a word - not a single thing. She didn't even let out a sound. Instead she just continued to gaze at her, the two girls being at a perfect eye-level. No, not just eye-level. Now that Vivienne was this close, she realized it... this girl was exactly her height. There wasn't even a centimeter of a difference. More than that, up close like this... there were other strange details too, that stood out. Like the spacing of her eyes, the delicate yet soft nature of her features, the shape of her body... while the clothes might have been different, it was all so... so familiar.

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

    The girl sneered at Vivienne.

    Looked down on her.

    The quiet girl could read it on her face quite clearly.

    She was mocking her.

    No, not just mocking her.

    A single word could be read from that haughty gaze...

    ---- Weakling.

    Yet, even when she twisted her face like that, in a way that Vivienne never could have, it didn't feel strange or unfamiliar. It might have been an unknown expression to her, but at the same time, the face that did it was so, so familiar.

    Almost like it had been h---

    "... Just what are you doing?"

    Suddenly, a voice from right behind her pulled Vivienne out of her strange trance of silence that had fallen between her and the unknown girl. As she looked over her shoulder, she saw Alex Terrot standing there, arms crossed and with a dubious look on her face. It was as if the reporter was confused about this sudden interruption in the conversation. Almost like she didn't see why Vivienne had left the table in the first place. Almost like she didn't see the other girl, who...

    ... As Vivienne turned around, she saw something that further expanded her confusion.

    It wasn't a person.

    No, it hadn't even been the doorway out of the dining area.

    This was... a full-body mirror, set to the back wall of the dining hall. And the only person staring back at Vivienne from within its reflective surface was herself.

    Like there had been nobody else there in the first place.

    Just Vivienne herself.

    "... You know, you speak of hope, truth and promises, Mademoiselle Bianchi. But those are all just words at this stage. Nothing more than lip-service from where i'm standing," Alex Terrot continued, continuing the previous topic. "I don't know anything about this supposed repetition, or about this Dr. Satel, so unless you can actually give me some solid proof that you couldn't have gotten otherwise, I can only chalk it up to your delusions. Not that I actually care. If you were useful, you could believe what you want. But that brings up the question... what can you offer me regarding my investigations?"

    She narrowed her eyes at the quiet girl.

    "Do you know anything I don't of the McLampets? Maybe about the Halloways? The connection they have to Spokane Air Technical Service Command and their friendship with Nathan Farragut Twining? What about a man named Isaiah Kincaid or his deceased brother, Daniel?" Alex shot one question after another with an intense focus. "Or maybe you know something about the Oceandrop Program? Something useful? I admit, I have yet to look properly into our little school. Or maybe..."

    She held a purposeful pause.

    "... You know something about Patient Zero?"

  16. #3736
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Road’s End – Streets (Inside Elaine Winter’s Car)

    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    “Reduction and isolation. It’s like the Laws of Thermodynamics. You can play around them within a small, isolated system—I mean, that’s how a refrigerator works. It is natural for warmth to travel from hot things to cold things. The other way around is unnatural, but a refrigerator can do it because it is isolated from its surroundings, and the unnatural process is fueled and sustained by energy from a source external to it.”

    “The same may apply to these ‘Unbreakable Rules’. You may not just break them anywhere, anytime, but one might be able to set up a smaller, isolated system in which you can twist the rules just enough to transform it into a small space in which an unbreakable rule can appear to be broken under specific conditions.”
    The boy had a good head on his shoulder, that much was sure. That, coupled with his compulsive knowledge of the occult made it that he was quite good at conjecturing and pasting over the cracks that did exist in his knowledge. Or he could formulate a hypothesis at least, based on what he knew.

    And when it came to the supernatural, a half-cooked hypothesis often got you close enough. Most of the time, the supernatural aggressively defied categorization and dissection. That was what made mysteries mysterious, after all.

    Most likely the only reason John Dove was not already a mystic was not due to his occult knowledge being lacking, but rather because he hadn’t come across the correct type of information.

    “You see? You can put two and two together when you’re not actively sabotaging your own sense of self-worth.” A small chuckle echoed out Anna, even as she let out another puff of smoke. “You are more or less correct.”

    “Indy is also correct that it's an insane endeavor. Most of the world is formed based cognition of those that observe it. In our case, the largest and the most influential group of “observers” on the planet is mankind. In Plato’s allegory, the collective understanding of Mankind could be considered as the “prisoners” who interpret the shadows on the wall created by the light of the Fire.”

    “Mankind’s observation of the World is what gives it shape and power.”

    “In the allegory of the cave, the Unbreakable Rules would be something completely outside the system. If the allegory is written down, then the Unbreakable Rules would be the paper it is written on.”

    “A fundamental “structure” that is necessary for the World to even exist and function reasonably. To even understand the shape of these rules is… difficult. It isn’t really something you consciously question. Before the Rule related to the resurrection of the soul was broken, no one coherently questioned it. And once it was broken, awareness of it filtered down to others.”

    “Finding what these rules even are is the first problem. The second problem is that the World actively attacks those who attempt to break the Unbreakable. It will bring the full weight of reality down upon them. Best to think of it as an amplified form of the same power that causes magic to wane out once the inherent mana present in the spell or the ritual is spent. It will crush any manifestation of the supernatural with overwhelming force. Unless one possesses almost godly levels of collective numen, it will be impossible to actualize even the tiniest of miracles, never mind attempting to break one of the fundamental concepts of creation.”

    The oppressive form of the World or the “common sense of Mankind” was something mages had been forced to come to intimate terms long ago. When it came to this particular topic, no other faction knew more than they did. It was the very reason they were forced to squirrel into their cubbyholes, to begin with.

    “But this common sense of the world is not omnipotent. And perhaps, more importantly, it is not omnipresent. If it was, there would be no space for the magical and the miraculous to even exist, after all. In a way, it is this same principle that allows places like the Ecliptic and the Glass Palace to even exist in the first place.”

    “Since mankind’s observation is what gives shape to the World’s capacity to enforce things, fooling the observations of others is the best way to do this.”

    “You slowly, and over time, shift the cognition of a community. Lies within lies, rumors within rumors. You make it diverge from the common sense of the world.” The smoke released from Anna’s mouth moved in an unnatural arc, forming a perfect circle in the air in front of her. “When the supernatural becomes the commonplace explanation for things for most people here is when you make the World’s capacity to become aware and react to this, impotent.”

    “Towns like this are perfect for something like this. More isolated, the better.”

    “You’ve already heard whispers of it around in town, right? The Ghostwood is haunted by the curse of the dead natives. A ghost playing the harmonica at the lighthouse. Missing heiresses and a man without shape whose appearance heralds death and destruction. Secret government conspiracies and corpses drained of their blood.”

    “Who can tell what is fact and what is fiction, right? Kinda exciting, no? Feels like anything could be possible in Road’s End, after all.”

    “It is easy to get lost in the mysteries of this place and, make no mistake, these mysteries are important. But what is also important to recognize that the way this place differs is not because of the existence of the Turnside, but rather of its cognition amongst the people here.”

    “There are more tales in this place than there are eyes to see them.”

    “The Turnside is present in many, many places in this world, but it is extremely rare that it announces itself this openly. And it almost never does it persistently. It does not seep constantly into the “upper side”, unless it's being propagated to do so by design. What is important here is not only the stories being told, the rumors circulating, but also where those rumors are coming from.”

    Who is telling the stories in this place?”

    “Who is the person who whispers into the ear of the local newspaper columnist or some local TV anchor to cover all this nonsense? Whose loose lips let loose all these rumors on “vampires” and not just dismiss it as a random roadside murder like any other?”

    “Well, there is some inevitable leakage into the outer world, of course. Even this town wouldn’t be a perfect closed system. The World, being robbed of its direct methods of engagement, would try to influence events and bring in factors and individuals that would “fix” distortions like this.”

    Others often used metaphorical examples evoking literature here. “Like protagonists of a story who arrive at the nick of time to save the day!”, for example. Anna herself always found that to be… distasteful. The world itself wouldn’t care one lick whether it was a hero or a villain who fixed its distortions. A sea of corpses was just as likely of a solution as some heroic act of salvation.

    Whether they, for example, were such elements or simply factors introduced by the creator of this locked room to introduce even more rumors and whispers, was a question all in its own.

    “Well, if that doesn’t work out, it will try more overt methods. Lynchings, wars… whatever it can use. In the end, if it's desperate enough, the World might set off a nuclear war, should it serve its purpose of safeguarding the underlying principles of existence.”

    “It really doesn’t care in this regard.”

    Just like mankind at large, the World was an amorphous blob, devoid of any meaningful moral characteristics outside of its prime directive of self-survival.

    “Though on a side note…” Anna’s eyes turned over to Elaine. “It is interesting that you bring up folie à deux, Winters, considering the topic. Have you ever wondered what would happen to the common sense of the world if one could manipulate how people observe the world in a directed manner? Instead of hiding from the awareness of the world, one can directly force the supernatural on the world by forcing all of those “local observers” to see just what they want.”

    “A chemical like this could be distributed throughout a number of places in this town, should one want to. Water systems. Local food products and produce. Depending on the type of chemical one could even release it airborne in an area to induce paranoia and hallucinations in others. “

    “Can you think of any day or event in the past where several people acted erratically, almost as if possessed by something?”

    The Estonian witch gave a small shrug, though her eyes were deathly serious.

    “Well, you wouldn’t even have to act so overtly. This country has cloning capabilities, right? All this Syllable Porridge nonsense or whatever. If one can make… let's say a thousand clones in an isolated facility somewhere, they might be able to force a particular understanding of the World onto this place without ever needing to convince anyone here.”

    "Their brute force of collective observation could easily override whatever counts as "normal" in this Town."

    “For example, they could force or allow the Turnside to manifest without a lick of intervention from the outer World. Free of the façade and its repercussions on them."

    "Or it could be a dozen other things." A grin, though utterly lacking in humor, played on Anna's lips for a second. "As said earlier. Anything could be possible in Road’s End."
    Last edited by Mellon; March 4th, 2021 at 09:58 AM.

  17. #3737
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "..... There's a phrase. --- Yeah. A phrase. We're both looking for it, or rather, the one who said it. Both our clients, Jack Pinkerton and Josie McLampet, said it. It had been told to them by the spirits we're searching for. To him, by the girl who he saw here twenty years ago - the one who left a mark unto him that will not go away. To her, it was left by her late husband. And both think it's a clue."
    If the atmosphere didn’t drastically change, I probably would’ve joked about their favor being too easy if all they wanted me to do was look into some phrase that they’re investigating. That and the people who said it seemed to have a connection. Jack Pinkerton was probably the “Jack” Aleen was trying to meet up with. Also Josie McLampet… I had a strong suspicion that Aleen was related to the McLampet family. Whether she was the daughter of the eldest son or the youngest son was something I wasn’t exactly sure of… With both of them saying those words… It was suspicious.

    I saw Jayesh Omkara place away his drawing and his drawing equipment as he studied me closely. Depending on what it was, I would have to watch my reaction… If it incriminated Zieg and I… I can’t let them know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayesh Omkara
    "We're pretty sure it's important, too. After all, we also hear it - here and there. It's like a whisper passing through the town. Something in it makes us uneasy... makes us feel there's more to it than we initially thought. That's why we want to find out what that phrase means. That phrase being..."
    I watched as the Omkaras said the phrase at the same time.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Omkaras
    "It's raining on some other day."
    At first, the phrase sounded familiar. But as I combed my memories on why it would be familiar… I couldn’t remember anything. If it was the case of me erasing my own memories… I feel like I would’ve remembered it once we looped since somehow Muse managed to bring my erased memories back… So in that case then why did that phrase sound familiar…

    “It sounds familiar… But I’m not sure why it does. I don’t think anyone has said that phrase to me before… But for some reason… It sounds familiar. I’m guessing you want me to return with any information I hear about that phrase? If that’s all… I can do that. But I can’t promise when I might return with some.”

  18. #3738
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    "..."

    It would appear that it had already begun. Well, she knew it had begun since the beginning of the week, but for some reason the effects were much more notable now than before -- change in the timelines, or perhaps was this all part of the multi-layered machinations that were happening at Road's End? Owl's Nest either didn't lend itself to having a particularly benign effect on its locators... the owner, while already having a foreboding presence that left Vivienne quite wary about him.

    Now was the time of explanation, and perhaps simply trying to appeal to the emotional core of Alex Terrot. Indeed, approaching her without any 'enhancements' to Vivienne's bland Persona was a bit of a gamble, seeing how emotionless people often found it quite hard to make an impression of others. This may have been the over optimism of Muse infecting her.

    "Due to my condition I can sense strange presences sometimes... mirrors are often said to be the doorway to another world."

    Sometimes, to your own inner world.
    lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies truth
    But there was no need to dwell on this. A 'false' alarm was better than a real threat being there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Terrot
    "... You know, you speak of hope, truth and promises, Mademoiselle Bianchi. But those are all just words at this stage. Nothing more than lip-service from where i'm standing. I don't know anything about this supposed repetition, or about this Dr. Satel, so unless you can actually give me some solid proof that you couldn't have gotten otherwise, I can only chalk it up to your delusions. Not that I actually care. If you were useful, you could believe what you want. But that brings up the question... what can you offer me regarding my investigations?

    "Do you know anything I don't of the McLampets? Maybe about the Halloways? The connection they have to Spokane Air Technical Service Command and their friendship with Nathan Farragut Twining? What about a man named Isaiah Kincaid or his deceased brother, Daniel?" Alex shot one question after another with an intense focus. "Or maybe you know something about the Oceandrop Program? Something useful? I admit, I have yet to look properly into our little school. Or maybe... You know something about Patient Zero?"
    Ah yes, the true usefulness of Vivienne Bianchi, of the ex-actress that once hoped to of happy endings, of the girl who could once communicate emotion and stir up the spirits of others via merely acting, yet who could hardly convince anyone of anything now that she had become devoid of emotion. What could a pile of useless garbage as her provide to the ever so thorough and inquisitive Alex Terrot? Well... perhaps...

    "I know many things... but wherever they pertain to your investigation is up to you... though... if there is a person that has gathered the most clues concerning what you've been investigating, it must be Mademoiselle Alex Terrot herself, no? Few have the luxury to have a double stand in at the school... let alone focus all their time on their desired endeavor.


    I can tell you a few things, wherever they are rumors or fact, it is up to you to decide... things like the Lowgate family being Physicians to the Mc Lampet family until recently... of the web that is formed when one notices that most of the influential figures in Road's End... all served at Spokstane. Not only Mc Lampet and Halloway, but Pinkerton as well... a certain Barrett... and a Bianchi.
    Thanks to Liana.

    I can also tell you... of Patient Zero and the Girl in Blue being the same.
    Thanks to Xeni.


    I can tell you of the King of Curumpaw, of Lobo, a tragic dog on a leash, set loose upon those that would 'inconvenience' his master... and that you were possibly one of his victims on that day, though I could never confirm.
    Thanks to Prushka and Vier.

    The list goes on.

    That Xylia on 'that week before' was liquified, perhaps in a very similar fashion to the hearts of the Mc Lampets... That the Mc Lampets appear to have a connection to a certain 'Disembodied Man'... That the Oceandrop Program was named Miskatonic before having its current name. That the 'last class' had a similar fate to the 'current' one, with entire sections of the school, such as the second floor being locked off and having mysterious clues...

    Thanks to Hisa and Elise.

    ... but it is not my knowledge that I mainly offer.

    I never was an informant after all.

    I mostly gather information because I use it for something else.

    Namely, put them to sleep.

    Eternal Sleep.

    The knowledge I've garnered and the network of informants I have access to comes alongside as a bonus... but the main benefits of me joining your Mademoiselle Terrot...

    ... is simply the luxury of having a bodyguard.

    You don't want to die, do you? When obviously there is something out there watching you. Though Assassins are meant for killing, not protecting, it is better to have something, than have nothing at all... would you not agree?"

    It would be unfortunate for Alex Terrot to disagree. Very unfortunate.
    From the interact that they had, Alex Terrot struck Vivienne as someone that while having suicidal ideas and objectives, was not a suicidal person herself. As much of a contradiction that was, it was a feeling. But would she really go there? Ask for proof that Vivienne Bianchi was more than some lunatic girl?

  19. #3739
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel, John Dove & Elaine Winters
    Location: Road's End - Streets
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "A closed system where the cognition of the humanity is shifted so that it allows possibly breaking a new Unbreakable Rule..."

    Ramia frowned at the thought - no, not just frowned. The mere idea looked like it made her blood boil. To a person with memories older than those around her, memories of times long gone and of centuries that passed by, one life-time after another, it must have hit differently. The idea of reaching beyond the constraints that even the Turnside had to operate under, to encroach in a territory that was even more untouchable than the rest... it made her seethe. Though she kept in check, the idea raised a fury in her that was visible through her eyes.

    "... Whoever it is, the fool doesn't know what they're messing with. The only rule more ironclad than the Seven is the one that bounds them all," she said, before reciting a mantra that was like a gut-reaction to the researchers and philosophers of the Turnside. "'There shall be no Eighth.' Even a child should know that. If what you all posit is true... then the danger in this town is worse than I thought - worse than even the artifact you carry, Dove."

    With a sigh, Ramia lowered herself back into the car and let her head hit the headrest. She let out a long sigh, rubbing her temples in a way only a person who had started to properly work their mind could.

    "You can say what you want of him, Winters, but The Wickedest Man in the World is nobody to underestimate. A mad genius that straddled the line between the Turnside and the real world... he and his company, those we think might be responsible for breaking the Rules, are the worst sort of opponents we want for ourselves. We're talking about people that can be counted in the company of Count of St. Germain, Nicolas Flamel, Madame Blavatsky, Joséphin Péladan, Dion Fortune... no, it wouldn't be too far to include figures like Mage-King Solomon and Son of Incubus - Merlin, to that list. If our opposition is someone of that caliber, then... we really have our work cut out for us. Especially if that person has managed to find a way to avoid the World's wrath..."

    Having said that, Ramia paused and pondered something for a moment, taking stock of the people in the car with her eyes.

    "No... perhaps that wrath has already been incurred. To have so many people see through the repeating week... I wonder," she murmured. "Is it truly just a coincidence? Or are you - those who remember - just the nudge needed to foil this plan, whatever it is...?"

    She left that question hanging in the air, having no answer to it even herself.

    The awkward silence left after that question was eventually ended by Ramia herself, as she closed the car door behind her and patted the driver's seat, as if telling Elaine to start up the car once more.

    "Well, whatever the case... clones, chemicals, rituals or Moonchildren, it's clear that we have to do something. And it may be just the remnants of my alchemist mindset, but in cases like these, it all begins with dismantling the smaller parts that make up the whole experiment. If the parts don't work, then the whole thing falls apart. There may be fail-safes of course... but I think we're starting to have an idea what to tackle, and what things may be connected to each other," she said. "I'll... try to figure something regarding the artifact. Something else. If we can find the moroi and squeeze information out of him, all the better. But aside from my initial plan, or handing it back to an immortal creature, it all comes down to symbolism, really."

    The eyes of the mercenary glanced towards John.

    "Become Isthar and be saved from the Underworld, or find another way to defeat Venus - the morning star - itself," she spoke quietly. "Whatever the way, it's something that we need to figure out. Because as it is right now, it's yet another part of the whole, I feel, that accelerates our deaths - perhaps to the point that they all happen within week."

    Having said that, she turned back towards Elaine.

    "That being said, since we have lot to do, it might be best to get going, eh? We can talk shop more during the drive, and decide the best plan of action. But as things stand, it's best that we do something... anything... to try to rock the boat we're stuck in," she said with a hint of her usual grin. "In other words, act on something we can and try to make a difference when compared to the week you guys experienced previously."

    Judging by that face, maybe, just maybe, this talk and the vehement disagreement to her plan had touched the mercenary a little bit... enough to reconsider her plan of sacrificing herself.

    So, at least something was achieved - the life of one person saved.



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

    Anna Vandemeel: Friendship Rank Raised!


    Elaine Winters: Friendship Rank Raised!


    John Dove: Friendship Rank Raised!





    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Vier
    “It sounds familiar… But I’m not sure why it does. I don’t think anyone has said that phrase to me before… But for some reason… It sounds familiar. I’m guessing you want me to return with any information I hear about that phrase? If that’s all… I can do that. But I can’t promise when I might return with some.”
    Jayesh, hearing that, nodded.

    "That's alright. We'll be here for a while. If you hear about that phrase, what it means, who said it, anything at all... come tell us. You can either call. Or send a letter. Or come physically," he said, locking eyes with Vier. "We don't mind. You're awkward, but otherwise decent. We don't mind awkward people. So come if you have information... or need more help."

    It was a... compliment, perhaps? Well, at the very least, this meeting had definitely gone better than the one in the previous week. Instead of being introduced to the flat of Jayesh's foot, Vier seemed to have made good enough impression on the siblings, if they were willing to invite her to come again in case she needed help. Or at the very least, Jayesh was. His sister had a bit of an odd look in her eyes as she stared Vier through her glasses, but it was nothing malicious. Just odd. Perhaps something that could be ignored... perhaps.

    "Still. You wanted breakfast, right? You better hurry," Kajal said, gesturing Vier towards the door. "If you don't, they'll take the delicious pancakes and maple syrup away. And cereal is not breakfast. It's cow-feed. Especially if you add milk. Then it's... double-cow."

    ... What was she even talking about?

    Still, it seemed that Vier was now politely being encouraged to head out. The conversation was more or less done here, and they were right - if she wanted to eat before work today, she would have to be quick. And since the idea of cleaning the hotel with nothing but jasmine tea to fill her stomach was quite vexing, even Vier realized that some food might have been a good choice.

    Though, as the two girls were walking towards the door (Jayesh having returned to watching Jeopardy), the bespectacled sibling stopped at the doorway. She opened the door slightly, but at the same time leveled yet another odd look at Vier.

    An odd look and... was that a pout?

    An actual pout shining through that deadpan face?

    ... Why did she look so much like a bunny when she did that?

    "You know..."

    Kajal started with a low, quiet voice - so quiet that even her brother wouldn't have heard it.

    And then, she narrowed her eyes at the scarred girl.

    "... Don't get cocky just because my handsome bro likes your thighs."

    What.

    "I'm still not convinced about you. Or your thighs," Kajal added, pointing her fingers at her eyes and then at Vier's. "So... I have my eye on you. Just so you know."

    She repeated the gesture several times before finally opening the door enough that Vier could exit.

    ... What a weird pair of siblings.



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

    Vier Wolff: Friendship Rank Raised!







    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

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

    For a moment, Alex Terrot stayed silent.

    Judging Vivienne.

    Weighing Vivienne.

    Measuring Vivienne.

    Taking in what the quiet, emotionless girl before her said - all the possible rumours and bits of information she had come across at the town of Road's End thanks to the many people she had, in a hint of irony, formed a bond with. The cold eyes of the reporter, that almost felt like they forced themselves to see nothing but the logical paths the life laid out for her, were studying those same micro-expressions that she had talked about before. Whether or not it was all in her head, or something that actually existed, that even Vivienne could not know... but whatever Alex Terrot saw, it seemed to bring her to a conclusion of sorts.

    One she, eventually, put into words as well.

    "A web formed at Spokane, spanning the influental families in and out of Road's End, all tied to the McLampets who have within their reach people with ties to the Turnside. A Disembodied Man who is intricately tied to their history. Families Lowgate and Kincaid. And then, a school that apparently carries the name from a book written by a man driven mad by fear of the unknown - a name of those searching that same unknown," Alex spoke. "A school that now resides in the same place that was the host to the mysterious and tragic Pinefall High Massacre twenty-one years ago. A tale of a similar fate awaiting us, foretold to you. And then, a warrior with an unknown master who is after those who snoop around too much..."

    The reporter folded her arms once again and rubbed her chin, finally averting her eyes from Vivienne. Instead she stared at the full-body mirror and her own reflection in it, the reflection of a person driven by something close to an obsession, or perhaps a peculiar form of madness, to find out the truth... truth that, perhaps, only mattered to her in the long run.

    Gazing into that person's eyes seemed to steel her resolve.

    "... Some of these things I know. Others I don't. So, at least you've given me something new, Mademoiselle Bianchi," Alex finally continued. "... And if nothing else, the fact that your name is tied to these people at the control of Road's End is something I can't overlook. Fine. Fine. I'll... allow it. If for no other reason than to keep you close so I can question you further. I'll have you help me and answer my questions, and once I know more... I can say whether you're deluded, an enemy, or worst of all... telling the truth."

    With that, Alex Terrot turned around, spinning on her heels. She looked as if she was ready to head out somewhere, and perhaps she was. The drive and fire within her eyes had flared up once more, and the spirit of that truth-seeker she was had been set ablaze. New plans were forming in her head now that Vivienne had been added into the equation, and new maps were drawn in her mind.

    Yet... it certainly felt different from the other week. Having come to an agreement with this Alex Terrot felt more like a business transaction... a business transaction where the other party was constantly on guard in case there was a dagger gunning for their back.

    Nothing like the
    Xeni Techne
    Alex Terrot
    that Vivienne had known.

    Indeed, it was easy to see just how different these two girls were.

    "... However. I won't ask you to be my bodyguard."

    Alex's voice suddenly rang out again as she glanced Vivienne over her shoulder.

    "In all honesty, I don't need one. I die if I die - in search of the truth. You can protect me if you so wish..." she said, before clicking her tongue. "... Just don't expect me to thank you for it. After all..."

    With that, she started forward, heading towards the reception area of the hotel.

    "--- I already died a long time ago - when that man got his hands on me."



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

    Vivienne Bianchi: Friendship Rank Raised!


  20. #3740
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    Location: Pinefall High - Classroom
    Phase: School Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain
    [BGM]

    "... In a similar manner, literature can also be used as a puzzle presented to the reader - an intellectual game of sorts, where the author presents the reader with a framework within which to solve the puzzle presented. This can take many shapes, of course, but the most famous perhaps is the role that detective fiction played in history of literature. To be more specific, the questions of: 'Howdunnit', 'Whydunnit' and 'Whodunnit'. Indeed, the so-called Golden Age of Detective Fiction flourished from 1920's to 1950's, in a time where society still considered murders such as these 'intellectual game'."

    Just before lunch, the First Class of Pinefall found themselves once again listening to the lesson of Lewis Redd - though this time instead of English or other languages, the class was mostly about literature and its history. Specifically, he had picked the topic of today to be intellectually challenging literature, and at some point, the topic had swerved towards the subject of the so-called 'fair-play mysteries' - the ones he was talking about right now.

    Indeed, the topic did fit the unkempt teacher with the unlit cigarette between his lips. In a way, he practically looked like one of those gruff detective-types that appeared in such stories. There was more than a hint of Philip Marlowe in his demeanor, and he certainly sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

    "The 'whodunnit' fiction was seen as a game of sorts played between the author and the readers. The author would present a set of clues from which, in theory, it should be possible to deduce the culprit of the murder. In addition, they would usually clearly mark the spot where the culprit was about to be revealed so that any aspiring armchair-detective could stop and think of their answer before the real truth was revealed," Mr. Redd continued, before flashing a wry grin. "... Of course, a game is only as fair as the one making the rules, and sometimes these authors weren't as smart as they thought. Something that may seem obvious to the person writing it is hardly so to the ones reading the same text, as we all have our own subjective takes on the information we process. When the genre began to boom, many lesser writers began to employ cheap tricks such as unmentioned twins or mysterious medicine that didn't really exist in order to 'appear smart' and trick the readers."

    With a bit of a chuckle, Mr. Redd sat down at the desk and shuffled through the collection of books he had brought with him. From within, he picked two specific books and showed them to the class. While a surprising amount of people were not present (something the teacher had even commented on with a disappointed frown), those that were there were treated to the sight of a strange blue cover with what looked vaguely like a house depicted there, and a cover with a table, a lady and a telephone. As for the titles, the first book was called "Crooked House" while the latter was called "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd".

    "Even the best of the business, namely Agatha Christie, couldn't resist some twists that many saw as cheap. Heck, if one were to go through the whole catalogue of her works, they would find quite a few books of that nature. Of course, even that cheapness can be questioned. There's 'cheap' cheapness, and then there's an intellectual twist to said cheapness. Take for example..." Mr. Redd lifted another book, this time one named 'Murder on the Orient Express'. "This one. Sure, the twist in the end can be seen as underhanded by the author, but as a whole, it actually comes off quite brilliant. Indeed, much of the way we view these twists depends on the presentation and if the author understands the why a certain misdirection and red herring is counted as underhanded. If they do, they can actually tie that back into the story and make even a cheap method feel properly intelligent... as long as they have, in some way or another, prepared the reader for it."

    With that, Lewis set the two books back on his table and picked up a third one. He stood up from his desk and walked over the first row of desks, handing the book over to John Dove. As the boy got a look at the book, he realized that the title of it was "And Then There Were None". He motioned the boy to inspect the book on his own and then hand it backwards so it would circle around the class. While that was being done, the teacher himself sat at the edge of his desk and folded his arms, absent-mindedly chewing on his unlit cigarette.

    "Of course, at some point there was an attempt to ratify the official 'rules' of detective fiction, of the fair-play whodunnit. These rules would mean that the reader could be assured that certain cheap methods and underhanded red herrings would not be used, and there would be some standards to which the tale would adhere to. Especially the Detection Club, which even Agatha Christie belonged to, stuck by these rules," Mr. Redd continued. "That being said... can anyone name the person who made these rules? And the rules as a whole? Or, well... perhaps it's a bit of a trick question. There are two sets of rules, each made by a different person. However the other one was much more famous, and more in-line with the aims of the Detection Club."

    Then, with a smirk, the teacher nodded towards the book that was being passed around.

    "For bonus points, give me examples as to how 'And Then There Were None' adheres to said rules," he added slightly mischievously. "Consider this your possibility for brownie points since so many are playing hooky."


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