Topic: Everlasting Wanderers  (Read 11582 times)

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Esifex

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Everlasting Wanderers
« on: September 30, 2009, 07:33:46 am »
Nomads from Kaetir, Acied Nearl - pronounced 'Uh-seed Nehrl' - and Sara Treffhr - that's Sara Treffir - are two companions who travel together at all times. Literally and metaphorically, where one goes, so does the other. Each relies on the other; this relationship is less powerful than love, but much more honest. Of course, it helps that they do in fact love each other, in a complete and pure fashion.
Gensokyo is nothing at all like Kaetir, the land they call home. What shall they do, how will they fair? Who will help them, how will their powers be recieved?




Acied ran. As he ran, he sang to himself. It wasn't a joyous tune - in fact, he was mostly tone-deaf and would never admit to calling it singing. He needed it, however; without music, his magic was useless.

He sang without joy. It wasn't to celebrate anything; he was confused, a little angry, and mostly upset. Confused because he had no idea where he was. Angry because the adrenaline was still coursing through his body. Upset because he wasn't fast enough to keep Sara from getting hurt.

Sara was draped onto his back, wearing his duster. He was in no shape to be wearing it, and if he had been when he shifted, it would've been absorbed into him, and Sara would be exposed to the elements. With the jagged gash across her shoulder, he wanted her to be as safe and contained as possible. The best place for that was on his back while he was shapeshifted, and he was in a half-man, half-wolf form. Rather than his simple tunic and pants, he was now clad in a thick coat of fur over powerful muscles and a thin layer of fat to keep him warm in the night.

Not only did his altered shape give him the extra strength and endurance to carry Sara and run with her, but it sharpened his senses. The dark of night was no longer as oppressing as it had been, and he could hear and smell things around him that were previously undetectable with normal human ears.

He interrupted his own singing for a moment - his magic would sustain itself long enough for him to check on Sara. "I can smell humans nearby. I'm taking us to them, they can tend to your wound." Sara nodded against his back, careful not to irritate her shoulder.

"Are you sure you don't want me to sing for you?" she asked, halfheartedly reaching for the harp slung over her unharmed shoulder. Acied allowed a look of concern to plague his partially-canine face.

"Listen to yourself, your voice is already hoarse. I don't want you to stress yourself, or go into shock or anything like that. I don't know what causes shock but the less things we do that's likely to cause it the better. Just rest for now," he growled. He had no room to talk about hoarse voices - he was barely able to force coherent words past his fangs and muscular jaw, and his vocal chords had been changed by his transformation.

He felt it begin to slip, and continued his singing. The concentrated scent of humans was getting stronger, and he could see torchlight ahead.

               *                           *                             *

Keine found herself on top of a flat roof. As she often did on nights surrounding the full moon, she had been aimlessly wandering about the village and flown to a rooftop so she could observe the stars.

Since night had just fallen, she was contemplating turning in for the night. She still had a few nights until the full moon proper, but the sheer amount of light reflecting off the lunar entity was still strong enough to give her an extra dose of power and pull her hakutaku traits to the fore. It also made keeping an eye on the village easier, especially on cloudless nights.

Movement to the northwest brought her focus away from her rooftop and back to the village. Breaking from the line of trees and loping down the path to the town proper was a wolf youkai.

Keine lifted herself into the air and flew towards the northern gate. Rather than advertise her presence by staying above roof level, she sank down closer to the street and let the wolf escape her line of sight. It was a double-edged sword, of course; she couldn't see it, and it couldn't see her. However, most youkai seemed to be rather single-minded when it came to the hunt.

Sure enough, the wolf began to bay, and Keine knew that it hadn't changed direction just by the sound.
She pulled out a long scroll - still rolled up - with one hand and gathered the necessary energy to prepare a danmaku barrage with the other hand. With a practiced flick of her wrist, the catch on the scroll came free and it unraveled.
Contained on it were many lines of incomprehensible squiggles. To a hakutaku, however, it was a cipher necessary to interpret a set history. Whipping it in front of her so the scroll curled open and presented itself to her, she traced her other finger across the middle, forming a seal on the history. No humans had even been, or would be, harmed while the seal was active. Youkai would forget about the existence of the village while in it's proximity.

She wouldn't let herself be called Guardian if she didn't do her job thoroughly, though, so she continued to the gate.

The wolf was still baying, and it was still closing in on the town.

What? Is it resisting the seal? Keine glanced at the scroll; the seal was intact and it was properly woven. Perhaps this youkai was stronger than she'd anticipated, or maybe it wasn't intent on harming anyone in the first place. In a rare occasion like that, inhuman youkai had wandered the streets and explored the village, harassing no one and eventually meandering away again.

Even if that were the case, this wolf youkai was making quite the ruckus, and it was late. The human villagers would be roused from their sleep. Keine advanced to the gate to ward it off.

She realized that the wolf wasn't just howling to howl; it was repeating something.

"Nerao! Nera~o~"

How strange. A talking beast. Keine formed a single danmaku bolt in her open hand and loosed it away from the village and across the wolf's path.

The wolf skidded to a halt and spun past the slow-moving bolt before continuing towards the town.

"Mhril lebanakis! Kuhnyl mokinanidad nerao!" it growled at her. Keine blinked in surprise; when it had dodged her danmaku blast, she saw that it wasn't using it's arms for balance, but had them looped around the legs of a human on it's back.

A pale face rose up and looked across the wolf's shoulder at her before dropping back against the fur. Keine let the danmaku magic fade away and gestured into the village.

"I'm afraid I don't know what you're saying, but come inside. I know it's urgent or you wouldn't be so noisy," she said, pondering just how moonsick she'd gotten. She knew perfectly well there was a language barrier but insisted on talking to it anyways.

Don't harm him, please! He just wants to get help for my wound, a girls voice intruded into Keine's mind. The mysterious body on the back of the wolf had turned its face up again to look at her as the pair lumbered closer still to the gate. It was a young girl, pale of skin and with rings under her eyes to give silent testimony to the lack of sleep and strain her body was going through.

"How are you talking to me?" Keine wondered out loud as the wolf youkai sauntered up to her and stopped galloping.

The wolf youkai flattened it's ears against it's skull before grumbling again. "Nerao gidabiyt Sara nepulh tellanajung. Elu neriaum hatar."

Before Keine's eyes the wolf began to melt. At least, it seemed as though the canine parts were beginning to wither away and vanish as a puddle after a sunshower would. In it's place stood a young man, dressed in obviously foreign clothes and looking very weathered.

The girl on his back continued to look at Keine. "Denketzig." Thank you, the voice in her head said.

Keine gestured and led the two to her villa.



So, what happened? During the night, a youkai managed to get the drop on the two of them as they wandered their way through the Forst of Magic.
Acied is a Magus, and his magic allows him to shapeshift his body into whatever he can imagine, provided it has ears. It's necessary for him to hear music to sustain his magic; all Magi on Kaetir have their own unique conditions for unlocking and activating their magic.
Sara travels with him to play her harp and sing for him, and she is telepathic. This allows her to communicate across language boundaries, as thought is abstract and contemplates in ideas and actions, not words.
However, being in an alien environment can be very taxing, and they were both weary by this point from forcing themselves to stay awake. Before Acied could manage a shapeshift, Sara was attacked and wounded in the shoulder.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 08:34:30 am by Esifex »

Esifex

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Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2009, 05:31:48 pm »
Acied is blessed as a Magus. His magic is shaped by his imagination, which can be incredibly powerful. Unfortunately, he is a nomad, and as a wanderer isn't much of a scholar. While very well learned about the Gods of Kaetir and political statuses, he doesn't know of many useful shapes to shift into beyond utility and combat forms, as he never settles down and gets acquainted with local lore. He has shifted into forms similar to dragons so as to carry Sara through the air, but would never dare risk it without her and her harp giving him proper music.



Keine pushed the door aside and led the two strangers in. The shapeshifter youkai was still carrying the younger girl on his back, and Keine knew better than to try to offer to carry her a second time. The fierce determination in his eyes told her that wouldn't be a good idea.

She was unaware of his need for music - since he had reverted back to a normal human form, he'd been mostly silent upon realizing that they spoke different languages. He'd grunted when the girl said something to him, after she'd spoken into Keine's mind. Other than that, and a few words between him and his charge, he kept to himself. Keine was hoping to hear more of their language; the more she was exposed to, the better the odds were that she'd be able to pick up a correlation between one she knew and the one they spoke.

As he lowered the girl to the floor carefully, Keine turned to him and made the most widely accepted sign for 'my name is...' - she chucked a thumb at her chest. "Keine," she stated.

The man looked at her for a moment, then mimicked her. "Acied." He pointed to the girl; "Sara."

Keine nodded. She turned her attention to Sara, now. With only a small groan of protest, she was able to get the duster off of the girl, and she spotted the blood seeping through her blouse.

Keine looked back up at Acied, and gestured to the door. She pantomimed running by pumping her arms, then cupped a hand to her mouth. "Doctor," she said, acting as though she were shouting it many times. Gesturing as though to say, 'bring him here,' she shooed Acied.

Before leaving, however, he knelt next to Sara. "Jibenung feleri, Sara. Mileb eyut." Sara closed her eyes and tensed, and he quickly ran two fingers against her bloodied neck. With a small token on his fingers, he nodded to Keine, then left.

I wasn't bitten. It was done with claws. I haven't looked at it myself because it hurts to move my head. We've been in the forest for a few days now, very little to eat. The girls voice once again crept about her mind. An interesting trick that was.

Keine was then more concerned for Sara than before, with this new information. A bite would've been bad, as saliva would've guaranteed an infection. A slash with claws was no better, though. Bits of dirt, leftovers from past meals, any sort of thing could be lodged between the claws and left in her flesh. To compound it, she was starting down the path of malnourishment. Her body would be weakened towards fighting it off.

Keine cut away Sara's blouse from the neck to the side, peeling it away from the damaged flesh.

Well, the good news was, it wasn't deep, and very little muscle was damaged. Rather than tearing at her arm, the beast that attacked them must've swatted her aside.

A simple strike of a flint was all that was needed to start a fire going, and she soon had a pot of water on to boil for some cloths. The doctor would bring his own, but if she were ready before Acied got back, she'd do her part to clean the wound.

Keine paused. The doctor would bring his own, but he wouldn't bring any food for the hungry youths. She set the strips of cloth aside, not putting them away just yet, and instead went to retrieve some herbal tea leaves from her kitchen.

When she returned, Acied was back at the door, looking outward and panting lightly. He gestured for haste and stepped inside, ducking to the side to get out of the way.

Instead of the village's human doctor, Eirin Yagokoro stepped through the door, beige bag in hand. Whatever she'd been doing in the village at this hour, Keine had no idea, but she welcomed the expert hands.

"What's going on, Keine? I can't understand a word he's say-" Eirin cut herself off as she spotted Sara on the floor, arm covered in blood.

Without a further word, Eirin set the bag down next to Sara and got to work. Acied watched as syringes, bandages, stitches, scrolls, and vials were taken from the bag and put to use.

As she lifted a syringe and prepped it for use, inverting it and flicking the excess air out of it, Acied twitched. He lunged in from behind Eirin and snatched it out of her hand.

"Eiber tejun, wekht opiliar. Ien ien, opiliar," he said, shaking his head and holding the syringe away from the collected group.

Eirin glared up at him. "I don't take kindly to my medicines being taken away from me," she said to him.

Keine shook her head. "He has no idea what you're saying, and he has no idea what's in that syringe. Do you have a spare? I have an idea."

"Of course. I always carry everything in triplicate."

Keine nodded. "Right, then." She turned to Acied, and took a single step towards him. She gestured to the syringe he held, then pointed at Eirin.

"Okay, take the spare out, but don't do anything with it." Eirin did as she said, keeping an eye on him. Acied seemed distraught that she had another one, but didn't move towards the lunar physician.

Keine pushed her sleeve up. "I suppose now would be a good time to actually ask what's in that syringe, and if it'll have any adverse affects to a hakutaku."

"It's a simple antibiotic. No ill-affects."

"Good," Keine nodded, then poked her finger into her arm. She then presented the exposed arm to Acied and gestured at him.

Rather than accepting the invitation to inject it into her, first, he simply relaxed and then handed the needle back to Eirin. "Opiliar."

Eirin took the syringe and deposited her spare back into the bag. "I'm going to assume that means 'sorry'. Don't do it again."

The rest of the treatment went with no incident. Keine realized the water had started to boil and began to prepare the tea.

"It's a simple herbal brew, good for calming nerves. They haven't eaten regularly for a while now, so until I can get some proper food prepared, would it be a good idea to give them some? And, would you like a cup?"

Eirin shook her head. "If they haven't eaten, the worst thing you can do is give them tea. It'll just start their metabolic processes up and they'll get even hungrier. Wait until you can make something - something simple, like a rice gruel or a few slices of bread - for them to eat before you give them anything more exotic than water.

"And how do you know they haven't eaten?" she asked.

Keine pointed at Sara. "She's telepathic. Thoughts transcend language; you should know that. Their names are Sara and Acied, by the way."

Eirin looked down at the girl in front of her. Sara had grown incredibly pale, and hadn't opened her eyes in a fair amount of time. Neither Eirin nor Keine had heard anything from her, vocally or mentally, for the past few minutes of the cleansing and dressing treatment.

"So, she communicates with her mind. Do you think we should track down that Hell Maiden? The one with the Third Eye?" Keine asked.

"I don't think so. After some rest, and then after some food - in that order, by the way - she'll be fine. As for Acied... well, I've never seen him around here before, and I don't recognize the language he's speaking..." Keine blinked. Eirin was, by her own admission, positively ancient. If she hadn't experienced something, then it was totally foreign.

"But, you'll be fine letting them stay here for a bit, wouldn't you? They're human, and I don't imagine they'd take kindly to the Eientei rabbits wandering about. Neither would the rabbits take kindly to them."

Keine shook her head. "The girl is a telepath and the boy is a youkai. From the magician's we've seen around, I don't recognize either of their powers. I'll check with Hieda and see if anything like this comes up, but they're not human. It'll take a lot of integration to get them to stay in the village."

Eirin looked down at Sara, then back up at Acied. Acied uncrossed his arms and blinked in confusion, but Eirin shook her head and he relaxed.

"Where did you come from, if not from Gensokyo..."



Sara has no outstanding abilities, compared to the people of Kaetir. Telepaths, telekinetic talents, and magus are commonplace on their world. Any one ability is not exclusively of the others; Mentalist Mages are a common occurrence as well. However, Sara is not one of them. She only has telepathy - her mental acuity doesn't include telekinesis.
However, she is a talented musician and carries a harp, which she knows full well how to use - both as an instrument and as a bludgeon. Concealed within the arch of the harp is a small catch, from whence a tiny dagger can be drawn. This dagger sees more use as a tool than a weapon.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2009, 08:22:43 am by Esifex »

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Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2009, 07:07:17 pm »
I gave this a quick read because you read mine~

I am interested, but the character seemed a bit... wikipedia'd? It seems you drag on explaining a lot more on after-character-intros and well, let's just say OC's name is a bit unorthodox, perhaps good, perhaps bad. I liked it in a fashion this is easy read, it has some degree of plot ahead and I think it wins quite a bit, will be reading on.
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Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2009, 07:47:06 pm »
For me, the Devil is in the Details. If I have everything established beforehand, it won't seem like an ass-pull when suddenly I have him shapeshift into a dragon and stomp on people, or he shrinks down to the size of a cat to get out of ropes or something similar to that.

Also, in my story, the planet Kaetir is governed by a cabal of Gods who are in charge of keeping the people placated. Since magic on Kaetir can be incredibly powerful, or perhaps let someone control limitless numbers of minds, you need to have a higher power to answer to. And to make sure these Gods aren't mistaken for someone else, they pick their own names. Said names are usually really weird, so you don't mistake the God of the Air for 'James, the guy who lives down the way'. James doesn't sound the same as Lozenreald. Of course, this is kind of defeated by Acied and Sara's generation, because everyone is anming their kids after the Gods name. Thus, Acied is named.. Acied!

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2009, 11:05:38 pm »
Acied and Sara are not related to each other. They met when Acied graduated from the Maging Guilds. It was there that he was taught of the efficiency of taking a wolf-man form for shapeshifting; one of the original reasons he left the service of the Maging Guilds was because of their repeated attempts to conscript him to a Magus Enforcement sect, and that they refused to acknowledge the potential his magic had beyond combat.



Acied had parked himself against the wall of the room that Sara was laid out in. He sat there cross-legged from the time Eirin packed her materials back into her bag and left till Keine had returned the unused tea leaves to her kitchen and offered him a glass of water. He took it with a nod and another word from his odd tongue - she assumed it was 'thanks' - and continued his vigil over Sara's unconscious form. Keine noted that he had covered Sara's exposed chest while she was out of the room, something that hadn't occurred to Keine or Eirin.

Rather than put the boiled water to waste, she decided to use it for cooking. Leaving it over the heat, she placed another pot over the water and began to steam some fish for the two youths.

While she was tending to the double-boiler, she looked back over at Acied. His head had drooped slightly towards his chest and one eye had fallen shut. The shadows under his eyes were much more prominent now then ever before.

"So," she called out to him. He straightened up slowly and screwed his eyes open.

"Iybenet nipoloi. Opiliar."

Keine nodded. "I know we can't understand each other." She blinked. That was probably what he'd just said. "That's not what I was after, though. I know you're hungry, and she's going to need something to eat when she wakes up. I'm not going to season it, though, because I don't know if... oh, why am I even talking..."

Acied snickered at her expression when she gave up, and loosed a single laugh.

Sara grunted at the noise and rolled onto her uninjured side, curling into the fetal position. Acied had focused immediately on her when she fidgeted, then promptly relaxed as Sara went to sleep.

Keine prodded the fish before covering it, then walked over to Sara's side. The hakutaku pulled the duster atop her, and picked up the harp that was lying next to her.

The youkai stared at her, suddenly alert.

"I'm not going to break it, and if I wanted to steal it from you I would've done it before you'd rested." She slung the strap across her shoulder and secured it against her forearm, then plucked experimentally at it. Acied frowned.

Suddenly, Keine staggered. Sara was clutching at her leg, glaring with unfocused eyes.



Only because Acied keeps in contact with his parents (while on Kaetir) is Sara aware of anything about his past. Otherwise, he keeps it mostly to himself, never volunteering information, but answering honestly if Sara should ask. Sara returns the favor by explaining only what he's curious about.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2009, 06:12:43 am by Esifex »

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2009, 11:07:08 pm »
Acied typically has a mustache and (short-trimmed) goatee, and shoulder-length hair. Brown hair and eyes. He is lean, but not muscular, because he always shape-shifts into something with stronger muscles than himself, rather than developing muscle mass of his own. He is flexible and athletic enough on his own, however.



Keine widened her stance to stay upright. "Hey!" she called out.

Sara blinked and looked up at her. She reached up with her injured shoulder for the harp; Keine pulled the strap off her own arm and handed it down to the girl.

"Denketzig..." Sara mumbled before curling up around the harp again.

Acied snickered some more, and Keine glared at him. He tipped his head in apology. He pushed away from the wall and sauntered across the short distance between him and Sara before plopping down on the futon next to her.

The drowsy youkai gestured at the harp, waving his hand around lazily.

"Ebelipt nek kukkuto aper dannobutan. Epiclesis nephirlhim rakukaja, oper Sara nipu tet hilodo."

He placed one hand on Sara's forearm, patting it lightly while pulling the harp from her grip with his other hand. One of Sara's eyes crept open and looked at him, and she rolled over further and cuddled against him.

It was clear that Acied was either incredibly tired, or completely lacking in talent. The most he could coax out of the harp were simple chords and non-melodic tones. While plucking at it, he continued to talk to Keine.

Listening with half her attention, Keine returned to the doubleboiler and checked their dinner. It was an enigma, their language. But as long as Sara recovered, they'd be able to communicate without having to venture to Hell and back. If there was no way to return them from whence they came - she'd have to track down the Yakumos, see if Reimu had mastered her new powers enough to help - Keine would probably be the one to teach them English.

Once she was satisfied with the fish, she portioned it out and dished it onto some plates. "Sara, Acied, wake up. I have food for you," she announced. She was certain Acied knew - just because they didn't speak the same language didn't mean he couldn't smell.



Editted to make room for RiG's altered storyline. This is happening in the 5 years after RiG 3 ends (Yukari declines reincarnation after death and Reimu moves up into her old position as a Gap/Boundary Kami)
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 01:45:51 am by Esifex »

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2009, 10:42:49 pm »
I promise the story will stop dragging on now.



Sara rolled upright, blinking lazily as Acied handed her the modest plate of fish. Before he sat down again, he tore a bit of the fish he had apart and dropped a few more bites worth onto her plate.

Keine hadn't portioned any out for herself; she was going to wait and see if they wanted any more after their first servings, so she sat and let her mind wander a bit.

"Eh..." Sara blinked at the fish before her. She pushed at the chopsticks on the plate with her finger, not knowing their purpose, before simply picking up one of the torn shreds Acied had given her and popping it daintily into her mouth.

Keine smiled. She reached over and plucked the chopsticks up off the plate; Acied mimicked her, picking them up off his own plate and splitting them apart. Without waiting for any further instruction, he speared a chunk of the fish and wrestled it into his mouth.

Smiling at the youkai's efforts, Keine demonstrated to Sara how to properly hold the sticks and picked up a bit of fish with them. Sara nodded and took the sticks back from her, and began eating quickly. Acied still hadn't looked up to see how it was done, and had taken to sitting with the plate in his lap and a chopstick in each hand.

Sara and Keine laughed at him, and he looked up and blushed when he saw the sticks in Sara's hand with a piece of fish secured between them.

                  *                        *                  *

The next few days found them without incident. Sara regained the full use of her arm, and had begun to play her harp to while away time. Acied made himself useful in other ways, helping out with manual labor, retrieving tools, working in fields. He never shapeshifted in front of the villagers, though.

Keine had let them sleep in the antechamber to her house, and occasionally Acied would join her as she made her rounds through the village.

One such day, the maid of the Scarlet Devil Mansion passed through to make a grocery run. Keine walked alongside her, making smalltalk, while Acied trailed behind them.

Sakuya wasn't oblivious to his presence. "I'm sure you're aware, but we're being followed." She chucked her thumb at him, though shielded from his view by her body. He was an unusual sight, wearing a duster in the afternoon sun, and was making no attempts to be inconspicuous.

Keine nodded. "Yes, that's Acied. He came through the village a few days back with his companion, a girl by the name of Sara - and before you ask, no, not Shinki's Sara. They'd been wandering through the forest when Sara had been attacked, and Acied brought them to me for treatment. Yagokoro was in the town that night and dressed her wounds, but had no luck communicating. They speak in a foreign tongue, alien even to Eirin."

Sakuya stopped and turned halfway to face him. Acied wasn't looking directly up at them and thus stopped short just outside of arms reach. He nodded at the silver-haired maid.

Keine pointed at her. "Sakuya." Acied nodded again and smiled. "Minyenya savut Acied Nearl. Itsibina natzu mitou."

Sakuya cocked an eyebrow at him. "Hmm. Ich heiße Sakuya Izayoi. Ich deinen und gehorcen mein dame, die Scarlet Devil, Remilia."

Keine blinked in amazement at her. "You know their language?"

Judging by Acied's confusion, though, she didn't. "No," Sakuya said, "It's just another language I know. Maybe he would've been able to recognize it, or draw correlations between his tongue and German..."

The hakutaku nodded. "Good idea. I'll see if we can get anyone else who's bilingual to meet with them. Otherwise, we have to rely on the girl to translate for us."

Sakuya glanced at Keine as they continued their walk through the village. "There's another one, but she can translate? Haven't you had her help teach each other our respective languages?"

Keine shook her head. "The girl is telepathic, like those Hell Maidens. However, instead of just being able to pluck thoughts from your head, she seems to do it in reverse. She shoves her thoughts upon you."

Sakuya's eyes widened slightly before she regained her composure. "Do you think she could be using this to influence some of the people around her? Is she a youkai?"

Acied had turned his attention to a market row, and was looking further down it. He had stopped paying attention to the cadence of the hakutaku's conversation with the maid, and his mind was wandering.

Keine locked eyes with Sakuya. "They're both youkai. The villagers don't know; Sara can understand the people around her, including myself. I've told her to tell Acied to keep their abilities secret for the time being.
"The night of the full moon is tomorrow. When I transform, it'll be news to the both of them, and I'll have Acied accompany me. As long as I'm alongside them when they reveal their abilities, the villagers will follow my lead."

"Or they'll turn on you. Not likely, but, you know. Always a downside to something."

Keine grinned. "That's unusually negative of you... but, yes, you're right. However, I'm certain the villagers won't mind. I've already informed the elders and the adult men - they know there will be a bit of a show."

The maid grinned in return. "I think I'll make sure to be here for that."



Not so fast, Yuugi-boy... you've activated my PLOT CARD! holyshititsactuallyprogressing.

Bonus points if you read Acied's introduction to Sakuya aloud. Once you've worked it out, say it kinda quick. I just felt like having a little bit o' fun with that line - as the language barrier starts to crumble, things like that will happen more often.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
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Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2009, 01:54:53 am »
Apologies for the delay. I've been busy jobhunting and running from interview to interview, and in addition to that, my birthday is this Saturday.

Also, I get the sneaking suspicion not many people are reading this :C



Sara took a deep breath. The evening air was cool and fresh, and unlike the cities on Kaetir, the village didn't have a bustling nightlife. She enjoyed the calmness that sank upon the village when the sun set.

Full nightfall was just a few minutes away, now. The day had been an odd one; Keine had locked herself away in her room and inquired that Sara remain at the house while Acied make the rounds through the village. Through Sara's telepathy, Keine was able to instruct Acied on what to do and what to be on the lookout for. He was to bring anyone who looked to be upset or disagreeing with each other back to her house, where she'd mediate.

However, the day had been slow and uneventful, like all others. The only sounds in Keine's house besides Sara absently plucking her harp were coming from Keine's room. The occasional scratch of a pen on paper, or a fold of cloth on cloth. Sara thought she may have heard Keine leave her room to get some tea; she had her back to the house proper, but reached out with her mind and confirmed it. Keine seemed preoccupied with something.

As Acied was finishing the rounds through the village and coming back, a silver-haired woman strode up to the yard and listened to Sara play her harp. When she noticed Sara had spotted her, she smiled and waved. Her thoughts betrayed no emotions besides simple entertainment from the harp. Sara offered a warm smile in return.

Acied came along the path and spotted the silver-haired woman. "Hello, Mrs. Sakuya," he waved at her.

"Conhi sheewa, Acied sou han," Sakuya replied.

"You know her?" Sara asked Acied as he sat next to her. He grunted. "Met her yesterday while following Mrs. Keine around." He scratched at his chin. His facial hair had progressed past stubble and was becoming rather scraggly. He'd have to ask Sara to ask Keine to ask a village for a razor to clean himself up.

"Keine wants you to get a pair of lanterns and light them, and when the sun sets completely we're supposed to climb on top of the house. There's a ladder propped up alongside the wall that'll let us get onto the roof. Sunset looks like it's only a few minutes away."

"Yeah, I reckon it is." He continued to scratch his chin, and listened to Sara play her harp. Deciding to forgo the Sara-Keine-Villager chain, he turned to Sara. "Hey, pick it up a little, play a proper song for me, wouldja?"

Rather than say anything or nod, Sara simply did as he asked and began to let a flowing melody issue forth from her fingers. Sakuya smiled pleasantly at the music picking up, and began to subtly nod her head in time with the harp.

Acied tapped into his magic and shifted. He only manipulated his hand, turning it into a wedge of hardened and sharpened bone. This he quickly scraped along his neck, shearing the stubble off. After just a few passes his neck was clean, save for a small patch of a chin-beard, and he waggled his hand to get the hairs off. Sara blew a raspberry at him. "That's gross. Both the shavings and your hand."

He heaved a sigh. "I've done weirder things, you know that." He flicked his wrist as he released his magic, causing his hand to return to a more normal form.

Across the yard, Sakuya blinked. Did something just happen? I thought I saw... She dismissed it.

Acied rose to his feet and stretched his arms out. "Right, then. Lanterns and roof. Anything else?"

"No, but don't you think that's a bit weird?"

Acied scoffed. "She's locked herself in her room, doing God only knows what. Obviously something weird is going on. But we owe her for helping fix you up, so we can't exactly do much beyond what she tells us. And, you know it'll help if we stay in their good graces; they're the first humans we've come across, and for all we know they may be the only ones we have around us for a long time. There's no good to be had from alienating or suspecting them of some kind of trickery. For all we know, it's just some festival that we're helping to set up."

Sara stuck her tongue out at him. "Yeah, yeah. Lanterns are in the den."

Sara, let me know when the two of you are upstairs and have the lanterns hung. I'll have more instructions for you then I'll be right out.

Yes, ma'am, Sara replied. Keine had learned that if she thought while talking, Sara could be at the furthest range of earshot and still know she was talking to her.

Only a few moments later, Acied returned holding the two lanterns and a flint. "Ready? Night has fallen." He gestured out the door with the lanterns.

Sara rose to her feet and pulled the strap for her harp over her head, following behind Acied. She didn't immediately notice that Sakuya had slipped behind a tree and vanished, although something felt off. She dismissed it and followed Acied to the side of the house, where she set the ladder against the wall and scrambled up. Acied followed in a more subdued fashion, more concerned with balance than speed.

Sara called down to Keine in the house below. We're ready. Acied is about to light the lanterns and hang them. What else did you want us to do?

Keine's mind rippled with amusement. I want you to broadcast to the village, or at least as far as you can reach, to summon the villagers here. I've already told many of them to come but I don't know how many will. A mysterious voice speaking in their minds should be the selling point.
After you've called them here, have Acied shapeshift into something obviously not human. We're going to tell the villagers about the two of you.


Sara paled. I had a feeling we were unusual amongst you. I'm afraid for their reactions; what if they think we're not human?

Keine only laughed in reply. Sara swallowed nervously; Acied didn't notice, as he was busy hanging the lamps and lighting them.

Keine, please. We owe you and we don't want to fight, but we will defend ourselves. We're not playthings for -

Keine cut her off. I wasn't laughing at your concerns, I was laughing at the thought they wouldn't be used to non-humans. Don't worry, I'll be right out shortly after I hear your broadcast. I'll be right next to you guys, you have nothing to worry about.

Sara frowned and poked a string on her harp nervously. Rather than arguing it any further, she cleared her throat for Acied's attention. "She wants me to call the villagers here, and when they've all gathered, you're to shapeshift into something obviously not human. Make a show out of yourself, apparently. She'll be up to join us to make sure the villagers aren't offended."

Acied nodded. "Right, right, I can do that. Just in case, I'll do something strong that can fly. If necessary, I can draw them away from Keine's house and come back for you."

Sara's frowned was etched deeper into her face. "I'm more worried about myself. Apparently the villagers are used to monsters - they'll probably just deal with you later and come after me first. From what I understand, there aren't many telepaths around here. They aren't received well; the people will get suspicious that I'm spying on them."

"Psh. You don't, and isn't it hard for you to do that?" Acied guffawed.

"Mentally, yes, but visually I can see anywhere for miles and miles. And even though you know I don't poke into peoples' minds, they don't. Suspicious people always think that when they find out you're telepathic; they're afraid you'll figure out their deepest darkest secrets, and then of course they immediately start dwelling on them. I almost can't help it, if I don't focus on something else."

Acied lifted her chin up slightly with the crook of his finger. "Spare your worries and your tears. I want to get back home, too. But, you have no idea how worried and afraid I am. If you get too worked up, I have no idea what I'll end up doing. We can't afford to panic right now. Let's just do as Keine says and see what happens, shall we?"

Sara stuck her tongue out at him, and he plucked at it quickly before she yanked it back. "Alright, then. I'm calling the villagers."

As Sara was welling up her concentration, Acied looked around. From atop the house, he could see almost several hundred yards in every direction. "Where'd Sakuya go?" he wondered aloud. He turned around and saw Sara was focusing intently. He cursed and squeezed his eyes shut, forcing every bit of imagination, attention, and cognitive thought to the forefront of his mind.

Being at such close range to Sara when she made wide-range communication was occasionally painful. He had no idea what the conditions for the headache-inducing brainwaves was, but he knew that if he focused he could resist it - if it even came up.

Sure enough he felt as though he'd just been clubbed in the temples. He blinked stupidly as Sara's voice plowed through his mind.

A summons to all who hear this! The Mistress of the Kamishirasawa Residence requests your audience, in regards to those she houses. Come one, come all!

Sara's eyes rolled back into her head and her shoulders sagged. She didn't collapse - she'd done this many times before.

Acied rocked his hand against his head to try to clear the confusion. He reckoned Keine had gotten a surprise when she felt it, and the villagers would be looking at each other now, asking if they'd heard that or said something.

"C'mon, love. I'm going to need that harp of yours, but you've probably got a minute or two before everyone gets here. Take a breather."

Sara sneered at him. Rather than quipping a non sequitur at him, however, she just nodded and sat down, blinking repeatedly.

It was in fact a few minutes before everyone had gathered. The small crowd that had formed at first was a little curious. Acied could hear them murmuring to each other, and one pointed into the house proper. He assumed that Keine had left her room and was moving through the house. He turned to Sara.

"Hey, hon. What's Keine up to? Can you track her?" he asked.

Sara nodded lazily. "Anything else you want to make sure I can do? Perhaps, eat, or maybe play my harp? You could always make sure I can stand on my own, you know."

Acied pointed at her. "'Ey. No need to be a smartass."

Sara, have him transform now. I can see the crowd; there're enough of them there.

She looked up at Acied. "Hey," she called for his attention. He helped her upright and she began to play her harp.

A few of the people looked up at her playing her harp. Many of the villagers had seen her wandering the village the day after her arm had been mended, harp slung over her shoulders. That she could play it came as no surprise, either, as many people passed by Keine's house and heard her as she whiled the days away on her harp.

Some of the audience were still looking into the antechamber of Keine's house, and Sara heard the door swing open.

"Ohwe, sihazt cheynj dyet. Nome unliyt?" one of the villagers inquired.

What do you mean, she hasn't changed yet? Sara thought to herself.

She couldn't ponder it, however. Acied had decided to shapeshift at that moment, capturing the attention of the crowd, and calling a more important facet to her attention; she needed to start singing now for him.

His duster had changed colors, taking on the appearance of long black plumage, and gray wings sprouted from his shoulder blades. His arms became slender and long, and his fingers bled together until he only had three on each hand. His legs lengthened as well, stretching and warping about until his ankles were located halfway up where his calves normally were. He was now an almost fully avian avatar, but still had broad shoulders and an almost-human head - his cheekbones had elongated forwards, giving his head a more streamlined shape. He was by no means handsome anymore.

As the crowd began to point and mutter to each other about him, he rose off the roof by kicking off the roof with a powerful beat of his new wings. He took to the skies, and a few villagers cooed in awe.

Keine strode forth from her house, declaring with a voice that commanded attention, that held absolute presence. It grabbed hold of Sara's focus, and she found herself singing Keine's words in her native tongue.

"This is now the first time you have seen them transform from human to what they truly are, as it is also the first time that they have seen me show my other side. Let no harm come to any on this night, under my blessing and my order!"

Keine strode into view from the roof and into Sara's view. Sara looked down at her and noticed the distinct lack of her typical squarish biretta atop her head. A few other things started to catch her attention; as the moonlight crested from her house and hit her, her pale blue hair began to shift. It wasn't as though it was growing rapidly and pushing the blue out of the way, as it wasn't even moving. The illusion of motion was caused by the pigment changing - her hair had turned into a deep green color.

Keine reached the front of the crowd and turned back to face Sara and Acied as he circled around and hovered behind the harpist. "Behold! I am just as inhuman as you are. I am Hakutaku!"

Before their eyes, Keine's body underwent a subtle and yet unmissable change. Most prominent were the two horns now curling from the parietal plates of her skull. Amongst the other changes were her muscles suddenly growing lean and refined.

Caused by her own motivation, though, a scroll had appeared in her hand, produced from her pocket. She clasped her hands around it, then pulled it open with a flourish. A small chain bound to either end of it allowed her to whip it around, forcing it to unravel rapidly. She pulled it past her torso in one direction, and with her other hand, she ran a finger along the middle of the paper. Where her finger touched the paper, a blue glow issued forth, fading only moments after the contact. Because of the spinning scroll, however, the trail etched a blue line through the dim moonlight. Altogether, it was a pretty impressive trick.

"You are welcome here so long as you harbor no ill will. Your signature on this scroll will mark the history as such - you shall do no harm to those who wish none upon you."

Keine locked eyes with Sara and Acied, grinning up at them under her now-green hair, crowned with a pair of horns curling about.

She beckoned them down.



The dialogue of the villagers (and Sakuya) is meant to be read aloud. In text form it looks foreign, but because I'm rapidly running out of creatively foreign sounding words to actually replace English, I'm going to have spoken dialogue rendered phonetically. It's trickier than it looks.

I will keep the words I've established thus far as they are, though. (Opiliar as sorry, nerao for help)

Keine stayed inside to keep the light of the full moon off of her all day; seeing as how the moon can be out during daylight hours, she didn't want to risk premature transformation and ruin her big reveal. XD
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 02:00:28 am by Esifex »

Alfred F. Jones

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Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2009, 06:00:57 pm »
The dialogue of the villagers (and Sakuya) is meant to be read aloud. In text form it looks foreign, but because I'm rapidly running out of creatively foreign sounding words to actually replace English, I'm going to have spoken dialogue rendered phonetically. It's trickier than it looks.

I was raised on Redwall. I am no stranger to the use of the Funetic Aksent. Yay for incomprehensible mole dialogue, burr aye.

Anyway, I am now following this, because it sounds intriguing. Too bad I keep mistaking Mademoiselle Treffir for That Other Sara. orz

I can't wait to see what Keine has in store~

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
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Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2009, 07:24:36 pm »
LhB will be on a slight hiatus while I get internet set up at my new apartment. I am still working on it, however - I have a word document going with the next full chapter and at this point half of the next written up already.

As a forewarning - I'm using RiG's storyline as a basis for mine. I've already discussed with Mima about this and we're sorta-kinda discussing how it's gonna turn out with his portrayal of Yuka, as well as his characters Haru and Kikaryu, including the situations after RiG3. Go give it a read if you haven't already!

(Yes this means I have to go back and change Keine's reference to Yukari. I'll do that later when I'm not bumming the internet off my friends' computer.)

Esifex

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Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2009, 06:33:26 am »
Still currently bumming internet, but now I have a copy of the story to properly post.

By the way, I got it to 8 pages.

Esifex casts Wall of Text! It critically hits!



Keine has just revealed a scroll on which she's transcribed a version of history that will be enforced by her power if Acied and Sara agree to it. The two outsiders have just revealed their shape-shifting and telepathic powers, respectively, to the villagers. No one seemed too alarmed at first.



Keine flicked her wrist, causing the opposite end of the scroll she held to hop back up into her open hand. Holding the catch against her palm with her thumb, she held her hand up to stall Acied and Sara from moving.

"Perhaps I should share with you - flight isn't all that uncommon in Gensokyo." Sara blinked as she interpreted it.

Before she could ask, however, Keine had lifted off the ground and was hovering level with the roof upon which they were standing. Sara was still surprised by her horn-pull, and the fact that her hair had gone and changed color of it's own volition.

Acied had stopped hovering behind Sara and touched down just behind her. In her surprise, Sara had stopped singing, but was still playing the harp by reflex. He didn't know the limits of his magic, how musical something had to remain before he'd start reverting back to his human shape. He wasn't about to risk losing his wings in midair and falling to the ground to much amusement from the villagers.

Keine alighted upon the edge of the roof in front of them. She presented the scroll to Sara, letting her read it.

Unfortunately, her telepathy only worked on thoughts, not print. She pointed this out, and Keine flipped the scroll around. Acied craned his neck a little to try to look over it, and view the script.

Sakuya looked over Keine's shoulder, and pointed at the scroll. "Nht rieti gnin hahk ootahk hu? Thahtz nu."

The collected group of youkai on Keine's roof jumped at Sakuya's sudden appearance, but Keine calmed immediately when she noticed it was Sakuya. "Aht ai done tithe ynk thuheigh wilapre shihaytsat."

Sakuya chuckled. "Gomen," she apologized.

Sara looked up at Acied. "Did you see her come up here?" Without looking down at her, he shook his head.

"She left the yard without a trace, too. I think she might be a Magus." His voice was much deeper than normal, harder to understand.

Keine had straightened the scroll out and was letting Sakuya read it over her shoulder while she narrated.

"The basis of this scroll takes power in history. The past is a defined history, the present is the experienced history, and the future is the history yet to be shaped. Our actions today can predict the shape of the future, but we may never be certain of what we will do. The Hakutaku understand this and know that with the right guidance we may set the future on the desired path. With exemplary teamwork and cooperation, the future will yield to our will. If you would help us to cooperate, we can secure your protection, and the protection of our villagers. Will you?”

She spun the bottom of the scroll around, presenting four lines that stretched the width of the scroll. The topmost line had a loopy scrawl of script above it – presumably, this was Keine’s name. “Sakuya?” she prompted.

The silver-haired woman held her fist up. Clenched between her fingers were three pens, fanned out, probably drawn from the pockets of her traveling coat. She rolled her knuckles, causing them to roll forward and present themselves to the two Youkai.

Acied shrunk down to his regular shape, straightening upright to accommodate for his shifting center of gravity. Sara stopped playing and let her harp hang to her side as she reached for one of the pens.

Will our own script be enough to work your magic? We don’t know how to scribe in your alphabet. Sara thought at Sakuya and Keine both.

They looked at each other and blinked. Keine shrugged. “Try it. So long as it is your identity that you are putting down, history will do as it’s asked.”

Sara plucked a pen from Sakuya’s knuckles, and then looked pointedly at Acied until he took one as well. The two of them glanced at the pens, looking them over, unsure of how to properly use the slender tubes of ink.

Sakuya took the last remaining pen into her hand, licked her opposite thumb, and ran the point across the wet spot until it began to leave a deposit of ink. She flicked her wrist across the scroll, scribing in fancy, looping letters, ‘Sakuya Izayoi’ on the bottom-most line.

Without missing a beat, Sara and Acied both moistened their pens and added their signatures. They smiled up at Keine, trying to ignore her curved horns. Acied muttered sideways to Sara. “Remind me later about that. I could use that appearance, maybe.”

Keine smiled back at them, and Sakuya beamed as well. “Welcome to Gensokyo. Now that you’re safe, let us introduce you to our pastime,” Sakuya said. Sara blinked at her as she registered the intentions.

Keine looked at Sakuya. “Danmaku?” Sakuya nodded.

“Danmaku.”

Sara stepped back in alarm, and Acied stepped in front of her. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Sakuya said something about their pastime, then that last word… I can’t translate it accurately – I think it means ‘bolts of hell’,” she tugged at the arc of her harp, releasing the tiny dagger stored within. She palmed it.

Instead of facing them directly, however, the two Gensokyo natives grinned sideways at them before leaping into the air away from Keine’s house. Knives flashed into Sakuya’s hands, fanning out – too many to count. Motes of light leapt into existence in the air surrounding Keine.

A few of the villagers repeated the enigmatic word – ‘danmaku’ – and grinned up in anticipation at the inexplicably hovering maidens. A very sparse number of the villagers scoffed and sneered at Sakuya, but didn’t call attention to themselves.

“Let’s play, then, Head Maid!” Keine called out. The orbs of light around her began to pulsate, spitting out countless beams and lines of colorful light. There was no possibility for assuming any of the projectiles to be something else, or to lose track of them; they were simply to bright and unnatural to mistake as anything but a shot from Keine.

Sakuya didn’t lack in the visual spectacles department, either. An impossible number of knives began to litter the air surrounding her, somehow flying slower than physics demanded they should, glistening with reflected light from Keine’s projectiles. The arc and fan that the knives traced out sang of geometry and refracted angles – mathematically perfect vectors for what seemed to be mathematically impossible knife-counts. How Sakuya was producing and throwing so many was a mystery to everyone but her, it seemed.

The two twisted through the air and around each other’s attacks with such fluid grace that the artisans and troubadours on Kaetir would’ve despaired in fits of jealousy. What looked like a sure hit would barely pass by its target, scant millimeters to spare.

What amazed the two outsiders the most, however, was the fact that their attacks had absolutely no collateral damage. Keine’s shots were fading away when it was obvious Sakuya had successfully evaded them, and Sakuya’s knives were curving away from the noncombatants and terrain, before suddenly blinking out of existence. If a Magus on Kaetir had started to spray bolts of energy around as wildly as Keine was, there’d be little remaining, or the Magus would’ve been quickly subdued. It was for this reason that the Gods regulated their magic so closely; so much damage could be wrought with ease and reckless abandon, by any one properly gifted Magus.

If they could bring this skill and technique back to Kaetir with them, Magi could devote more of their energy to education, craftsmanship, and personal expertise, rather than reparations and constraint. Acied looked on in awe. Oh, how he longed to have magic like that! He was restricted to his own bodily shape-shifting; projectiles were alien to him.

Childlike wonder was spreading without restraint across his face. Sara had dropped her arms to her sides in amazement, miniature dagger completely forgotten and hanging limp in her fingers. The lights from Keine’s danmaku played across her face like a fireworks display, and the austere woman danced through the sky with a paradoxically powerful grace. It almost looked as though she was forcing the air to let her through, and she weaved expertly between the storms of knives Sakuya had been releasing. Nothing seemed to –

Abruptly, a dagger planted itself into Keine’s forehead, knocking her over backwards. Sara exhaled the entire contents of her lungs in one sharp, brief scream.



“Gotchya!” Sakuya declared, and clenched her hand into a fist. Acied’s jaw dropped and he stared stupidly at the combatants.

“What the hell have you – why did you kill – how dare!” Sara blurted. Acied grabbed her and pulled her behind himself, shielding Sara from Sakuya if she decided to turn towards them.

Sara had just pulled her harp up and was preparing to play it for Acied when Keine straightened up. The dagger had vanished, and there was no sign of any injury on her head. The villagers had scoffed when Sakuya’s dagger hit, but had now chuckled instead at Sara and Acieds’ reactions to the danmaku play.

Sakuya crossed her arms over her traveler’s cloak, grinning at Keine. “Yuiriac shunt eymes ghowupwhe niyu warkfoir Remilia sou han.”

Keine shook her head, returning Sakuya’s smug grin. “Tyems, hindeid.” She turned her focus to Sara. “I’ll explain danmaku in more detail later. For now, go ahead and go inside and get some rest. The villagers aren’t worried about your presence. Trust me.”

Sara nodded and passed the message to Acied. He relaxed and turned aside. “That was impressive.”

Sara followed him down the ladder and back inside. Keine and Sakuya remained outside, slowly dropping to the ground as the villagers left. “Think that made as big an impact on them as it did for us the first time we saw that?” Sakuya asked the Hakutaku.

“Easily. And considering how much I’ve seen, that’s no small feat. Did you hear Sara start to overreact? I wonder what she was saying.”

Sakuya grinned. “Well, I witnessed the signing for you. And, before it gets too late, I need to return to the Scarlet Mansion. Don’t want to get stuck in your barrier on the night of the full moon. Remilia needs me now, for both herself and for Lady Flandre. It was a pleasure, as always, Miss Keine.” She bowed her head slightly to Keine. The Hakutaku curtsied in reply, and waved Sakuya off. The silver-haired maid promptly vanished, leaving a small eddy of displaced air in her stead.

Keine smiled. “Sara, I’m going to make a round through the village and strengthen the protective barrier. Nighttime is a Youkai’s best friend, and full moons sometimes have a similar effect on them as they do on me. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

The two pacified Youkai simply retired to their pallets in Keine’s house while the Hakutaku patrolled the village. Just being a large human village attracted feral youkai on a regular basis, and Keine had just bunched just about everyone in the village into one spot. The smell of humans would be strong and would carry for a distance, but the feral youkai weren’t what had Keine worried. It was the intelligent youkai. They were smart enough to sneak in, rather than charge up yelling and howling. Even worse, some were human in shape.

Fortunately, if the youkai was smart enough to use its human shape to behave convincingly human enough, they knew better than to provoke Keine’s wrath. But rather than assume everything would be fine, Keine prided herself on her vigilance. It only took one lucky fluke to ruin a perfect record.

Keine had no idea that one lucky fluke had happened to wander into the village behind her, aimlessly floating from corner to corner of the streets, dancing with naiveté and curiosity, reveling in the darkness of night and the full moon.

Blond hair crowned with a red and white ribbon, Rumia alternated between floating and skipping as she looked in awe at everything in the village that she’d seen many times before. Since she had frequently associated with many of the youkai in the neighboring Forest of Magic, she wasn’t that uncommon a sight around the village. However, being a youkai – one with a healthy appetite at night – made her rather unwelcome.

After Keine had stridden from one end of the village to the other and finally returned to her house, she found Rumia standing in her yard. The Youkai of Darkness was for some reason slightly translucent, and upon spotting Keine coming back, she raised her arms out to her sides and spun around.

“Hey!” she drew the word out. “I’m hungry!” Again, she drew out the word.

Keine frowned. She’d already began to strengthen the barrier; it’d be hard to get Rumia out without weakening the entire thing, which could potentially let something else slip in while she were preoccupied.

“Rumia, you know you’re not allowed in the village. And, if you’re hungry, why didn’t you go with Mystia tonight? She would’ve given you some lamprey, I’m sure.”

Rumia ran up to Keine and fell against her, hugging her around her waist. “I want something more than lamprey. I’m hungry!”

Keine sighed. “You can’t eat any of the humans. Remember what happened last time you tried?”

“Awww.”

Abruptly, Sara’s head poked out of the front door. Who’re you talking to? I’m only getting your conversation.

“Don’t worry about it, Sara. It’s just another youkai – probably why you can’t directly translate her thoughts.”

Rumia looked up at Keine. “Sara? Sara’s here?” She pulled away from the Hakutaku and whirled about, arms still upraised.

She spotted Sara, and froze. Her arms dropped to her side in disappointment. “You’re not Sara!”

The air around Rumia began to warp, as though something were pushing against it. Keine stared at it for a moment before realizing what Rumia was doing. “No!” she lunged forward to grab Rumia, but the smaller youkai had already launched forward, a massive cloud of darkness blotting out all sight.

“Sara, run!” Keine commanded. Rumia called back, “That’s not Sara!”

Keine loosed a single danmaku blast in the direction of Rumia’s voice, but didn’t hit her. The Darkness Youkai was apparently stumbling around in her own darkness, trying to find Sara. The musician had yelped in surprise when the darkness enveloped her, giving an audio clue to both Keine and Rumia.

“Sara, come to my voice!” Keine ordered again.

This time, closer to Keine than Keine’s house, Rumia shouted again, “That’s! Not! Sara!”

A strange sound issued through the darkness. It sounded like many ropes being pulled taut across a metal rod followed immediately by a dull thud.

The darkness was instantly sucked back into Rumia. She was standing in front of Sara, rubbing at her head. Sara had her harp in her hands, and judging by the way she was brandishing it, had just smacked Rumia with it in her cranium.

“Nice work. How’d you know where she was?” Keine asked as she strode over to Rumia.

Come on now. Just because I use my telepathy to know what you’re saying doesn’t mean I can’t use it to find things. I can see in the dark perfectly with it. Rain, dark, blinding light, snow, whatever it is – I can pierce it. Sara lowered her harp to her side as Keine put her hand on Rumia’s shoulder.

“You’re not Sara! Sara wouldn’t hit me,” Rumia pouted.

“Other people are allowed to have Sara’s name, too, you know. It’s okay to share names.” Rumia looked up at Keine.

“You mean there’s another Rumia somewhere?” she asked, having completely forgotten about her earlier intention to eat Sara.

Keine shook her head. “I don’t think so. Now, come on, let’s get you back to the forest so you can leave the villagers alone. Go hang out with Mystia.

“Sara, would you do me a favor and get Acied to fly up above the middle of the village and look around while I chaperone Rumia outside of the barrier? Not too high, or he’ll get stuck on the barrier itself.”

If my harp isn’t too out of tune, sure. Otherwise it’ll take me a minute, and that’s only if I don’t break a string retuning it.

Keine looked at her. “Why do you need your harp?” she asked. Rumia looked up at the two of them but remained silent, watching the Hakutaku’s apparently one-sided conversation with curiosity.

He didn’t explain? He needs to hear music in order to use his magic. He can sing to himself but it doesn’t usually work very well, or for a long time. Especially since he’s tone-deaf. Sara began to inspect her harp, plucking experimentally at it, checking its tune.

“How strange…” Keine muttered to herself. She shook her head, indifferent to the sway of her hair around her horns. You learn something new every day, I suppose.

Acied stepped out of the house and grunted, scratching at his chin. Keine steered Rumia away, waving quickly at the other two youkai as they prepared to cover the village while Keine ejected Rumia.

The outsiders had learned something new about Gensokyo, and Keine had learned something about them. Fair trade, indeed. No doubt, tomorrow they would want to know everything about danmaku.

Keine smiled warmly as Rumia wandered away into the forest. It was a pleasant thing, having something new happen. It was even more enjoyable to make plans for the immediate future, instead of living day to day. She’d have to get a copy of the Perfect Memento for the two youkai. It was a shame they wouldn’t be able to meet Hieda no Akyu, have the enigmatic girl explain the relevant histories of Gensokyo to them.



If I had known I'd have access to the internet at this moment, I would've had more ready to be posted. Sorry for just up and stopping where it did.

<3 Rumia, she's so adorably silly.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
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Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2009, 02:02:07 am »
Made a few alterations to make it fit better with RiG. Gonna go bump RiG up in a minute so everyone can read it, too. Fixed spelling errors, and, as you can see, posted a big chunk of new material.

Please enjoy! And, don't be afraid to comment between posts. I love getting feedback while still writing stuff - if something catches your eye, or I miss a typo or something, feel free to bring it up.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
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  • It shall rise again
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Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2009, 06:57:06 am »
Two days' time...

Acied lifted. In the peculiar shape he was in, it didn't matter in the slightest to him that he was lifting nearly two-hundred kilos with one arm - one among four, each of which equally burdened with a baled-together harvest of grains.

He was working in the wheat field, one of the largest fields on the relatively small farmland available to the village. It was the most important, being such a versatile grain - on top of being excellent feed for the livestock. Sara was nearby, skillfully playing her harp, almost entirely by reflex, now singing not just for Acied, but to help the other villagers working the fields pass the time.

When the two of them had stridden up to the field, they called for the attention of the nearest earthenworker and expressed their desire to help. Sara explained how they meant to aid their harvest, and a group of the other workers gathered up and began offering suggestions as to what Acied should turn into. The end result was a hulking, muscular, four-armed brute, standing at roughly eight feet tall, with the head of a furless bear, in a constant grin. The collected farmers began to laugh uproariously at Acied's shape, to which he responded to by flexing his four arms and posing ridiculously. After their initial merrymaking, the farmers explained what they wanted him to do.

They didn't realize that their intent to keep from handing Acied a scythe to aid in reaping - or, as they feared, from massacring - bled into Sara's mind. Apparently, they were comfortable enough to laugh alongside them, but not comfortable enough to trust them with anything sharp.

Sara mentally shrugged it away. The trust would come, especially when they managed to overcome the language barrier. Even though everyone knew she was a telepath now, past experience has shown her that people were more comfortable when verbally spoken to, instead of mentally - no matter how distrusting of telepaths they were.

She let her mind wander. Yesterday, Keine had explained Danmaku to them.



"Established about ten years ago, the current danmaku system is a method to help intelligent youkai and humans resolve their conflicts. To both humans and youkai, it is non-lethal. I'm sure you noticed when Sakuya's dagger did nothing but throw my head back.

"It was devised by the former shrine maiden, Reimu Hakurei. As the Hakurei Maiden and Guardian of the Barrier, Reimu was one of a long line of women who were the forefront of human protection in Gensokyo. Before I was able to organize the village and establish it as a safe-haven for humans, the Hakurei's were the Youkai exterminators; humans are a Youkai's natural prey, you see.

"Most Youkai in Gensokyo are literally fueled by human fears. You just met Rumia last night - she's empowered by the primal fear of darkness that most all humans harbor. Another example would be Wriggle Nightbug - a firefly Youkai, who bases her existence out of fear of insects.

"Despite gaining their powers through fear, however, most of these Youkai are typically good-natured, with of course the occasional exception. The non-humanoid Youkai - feral Youkai - are the dangerous ones. Anything that isn't a typical animal, but also not a humanoid or fairy, is most likely a Youkai.

"Of course, there are humanoids that aren't Youkai or fairies, too. The Scarlet Devils, for example, are two sister Vampires. The residents of Makai are typically described as demons, rather than Youkai. The Maire - currently, Hieda no Akyuu, who I would prefer would tell you this, but is unfortunately fallen ill - is a reincarnating essence of memory and history. I work with her fairly often, when her health permits.

"Most of these myriad entities can coexist in Gensokyo because they have a way to non-lethally resolve any arguments - the aforementioned danmaku. Harking back to an earlier point, danmaku has been around for a fairly long time. Fairies have used danmaku for longer than anyone has ever bothered to even record a history on them, and danmaku is one of the simplest magics for a human magician to pick up. A simple collection of energy is focused into a coalescent form and fired, directed by your will.

"Reimu Hakurei - creator of the current danmaku system - came up with a complimentary set of magics to coincide with danmaku. This magic is imbued into tarot cards, of the users own creation, stored for later use. With the nature of the spellcard system, danmaku is no longer able to reach lethal levels, and anyone who is even accidentally killed by danmaku play - be it regular danmaku or a spellcard - is quickly restored by the massive amounts of magic involved. The only cost is one of the targets spellcards, wherever they may be or whenever they may be made - including the near future.

"Reimu is no longer the shrine maiden - she's passed that responsibility on to her daughter, Murasaki, while moving up to a considerably more important position as enforcer of Gensokyo's very existence. I hope to be able to get ahold of her soon - she may be the only one to return you to your home.

"And, one more thing - it's very rare for a male to be able to use danmaku. No one is certain why; it just seems that magic altogether is difficult for men to master. Perhaps with your innate talent, you can learn how to use Danmaku. Otherwise, the most you can hope to use are spellcards; they were designed for use by non-magical humans to defend themselves against Youkai."



The whole lesson was a lot to swallow at once - Sara had stopped trying to translate everything only a third of the way through Keine's speech, and promised to just deliver the juicy bits to Acied when she was done. Out of all of it, the only crucially relevant information was that men could rarely use danmaku, and there was someone who could possibly get them home. Good news, then.

Acied tromped by her, hefting the bales of wheat and grinning madly with his silly bears' face. After setting the bales down onto a wagon, he wheeled about and shed his inhuman form, shrinking back down to his modest six feet and two inches and single pair of abdominal limbs.

"You alright? Not too hot, are you?" he asked. She waved him aside.

"I'm fine. Figured you'd be hotter than I am, you're actually doing physical labor."

Acied rubbing his chin-beard. "Hmm. Right. Don't really know what to say to that, since it's not really my body per se that's putting out the effort. Yes, I'm a little tired, but not as tired as I should be if I'd actually moved those bales in this body."

Sara stared at him blankly, tilting her head forward slowly until one of her bangs slipped out from behind her ear and dangled in front of her face. "...what."

Acied shrugged. "That's all they wanted me to do, right?" Sara nodded. The two waved at the farmers and began to head back to Keine's house.

"That only took about an hour or so, binding the reaped wheat and loading it all up. I imagine Keine will adjust her estimations for how long it'll take me to actually help the villagers after this. Should we dilly-dally a bit, make it seem like it took a little longer?" Acied asked. Sara replied by swatting at his arm. He grinned aimlessly.

They continued the trek in silence, neither one bringing up the potential hope for return, or the fact that Acied may possibly be denied the joys of danmaku use. Keine's house presented itself to them after a short walk.

Sitting at Keine's front door was an albino woman, clad in red trousers covered with white patches, and a white blouse. Wedged between her fingers was a slender slip of rolled paper, thin wisps of smoke rising from a smoldering end. The slight scent of tobacco wafted towards the two Youkai on the wind.

Sara looked her over; there was something gruff about this woman, and it wasn't just the fact that she was smoking a cigarette. Her body language, and the way she seemed to just stare off into space told Sara not to irritate her.

With an almost offensively lazy wave of her free hand, the albino woman greeted the two without actually looking directly at them, continuing to stare off into space. Acied waved in return, but she gave no sign of having noticed.

"Keine's nat hbaak," she muttered. Acied grunted in reply, and stepped past her and opened the door to Keine's house.

The albino looked over her shoulder at them and watched as they helped themselves to the antechamber; when they removed their shoes and kicked them to the side of the door, she turned back around and continued to nurse her cigarette.

Sara looked over to Acied. "Who the hell is that?" she asked.



Ohshi- it's Mokou, Sara, don't you play Imperishable Night?

Esifex

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Re: The Line Has Blurred (Crossover story with original characters)
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2009, 03:06:25 pm »
Mokou sat on the ground, lounging against the wall next to the door.

The two others who had stridden up to Keine's house had just walked right in, but they were treating their presence as those of visitors. She didn't recognize them, but, Mokou didn't socialize with the villagers very often. She knew they knew of her, and they knew she wasn't fond of them. The most interaction she had was when someone stumbled into the bamboo thicket and got lost. She lead them out; she did not talk with them.

The door was slid shut, but not closed. Apparently, they were inviting her to wait for Keine with them inside. Mokou politely declined, signaling this by doing nothing different.

Minutes slowly bled by, and eventually turned into an hour. The door was never sealed against her, and she never got up to go inside. She'd finished her cigarette, and decided against lighting another one - Keine never said anything explicitly about it, but Mokou had an idea that she didn't like the smell of the smoke clinging to her clothes. She was tempted to ask the Hakutaku what she thought about the scent of tobacco smoke versus the smell of cinders and soot clinging to her.

Mokou blinked. She could hear music.

Keine doesn't have a music box... not that I've heard, at least. Did those two villagers bring it with them? Mokou thought. She dimly recalled seeing them carrying something, but hadn't looked. She never bothered to let herself get close to mortal humans. Keine was an exception - being a were-Hakutaku meant her lifespan was extended, but even then Mokou knew she was going to be saddened over her passing one day.

The music continued to drift outward, a simple melody. After a few verses, the girl began to sing along with it. Mokou perked up and listened carefully, but couldn't make out any of the words. At first she thought it was because the song was being muffled by the walls between them, but then she noticed that she could actually hear the words clearly - she just couldn't understand them.

Foreigners in the village...? She reclined and tilted her head back, trying to just enjoy the scenery some more, and attempted to tune the music out.

It wasn't meant to be. Try as hard as she might, the music constantly stayed at the center of her attention. The melody was pleasant enough, but the fact that she couldn't understand the lyrics irritated her.

"Oi, shut up, will ya?" she called out, growing annoyed.

The singing faltered, but the music continued on. After a few moments of continued silence from Mokou, the singing picked up again, albeit slightly quieter.

After a few minutes more of the alien singing, Mokou finally pushed herself to her feet and whirled around, shoving the door open.

She marched into Keine's house and followed the music to its source; the girl was sitting at the far end of the house, lounging in one of the chairs, playing her music.

"Hey!" she called. The girl jumped and looked over her shoulder at Mokou, ceasing her singing and strumming of the harp. Mokou reached over her from behind the chair and snatched the harp out of her hands, not entirely recognizing it as a harp, but knowing full well that's what was responsible for the music.

"Augh! Sing somethin' in English, wouldja?" Mokou grumbled, and began wrestling with the harp, worrying it in her hands. The girls eyes shot open to their fullest when she saw what Mokou was trying to do.

Light exploding behind Mokou's eyes, and she physically recoiled from the pain erupting in her head. She brought her hands up to cradle her head, but was still clenching the harp. The impromptu head-bang caused two of the strings to snap from their moorings, coiling up with a sharp twang!

The girl bolted to her feet and screamed obscenities at Mokou, who was now fully reeling from the pain in her mind, matched by the soreness in her forehead from the impact with the harp.

The girl had launched herself over the chair and tackled Mokou, scratching and clawing at her in an attempt to remove the harp from her posession. Mokou fell backwards, landing heavily on the ground. The sharp pain burning away at her mind was too distracting; she hadn't noticed the girl slamming into her or her efforts at removing the harp - and portions of her face - from Mokou.

The immortal albino woman began gasping and retching, clutching at her temples more efficiently now that Sara had taken the harp from her hands. Her eyes seemed as though they were trying to escape from her skull, as they were opened to their widest. Arterial pressure in the capillaries surrounding her tear-ducts had swollen, choking them shut and squeezing out a few tears before rupturing and causing blood to seep out. It felt as though every muscle in her skull was being pulled taut.

Acied stumbled into the room, clutching at his own head. "Sara!" he barked, before collapsing to his knees and slumping against the wall. Blood was seeping from his nose as well.

Esifex

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Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2009, 08:51:02 am »
Sara jumped as Acied slumped against the wall, blinking rapidly at her, trying his hardest to focus his eyes.

As soon as she was distracted, the psychic furies stopped radiating from her. Mokou collapsed and curled up, clutching her head, blood seeping from multiple orifices. She'd had to take the full force of Sara's rage - Acied was lucky to only catch the collaterals.

"Acied! Oh, by the Gods, I'm sorry! Hold on! I'm going to get Keine!" she blurted, rushing to his side and doing her best to ease him to the floor.

Just as he sat down, the door slid open again, and Keine strode in, obvious sense of urgency about her.

"What's going on? I just - Mokou!" Keine recoiled from the sight - Mokou, covered in blood and bruises; bloodied and now-broken harp lying next to her; dazed and confused youkai steadying each other.

She looked back and forth at her three guests. After a moments pause, she stepped over the quivering albino and picked up the broken harp. She worked at the arc in it until Sara's concealed dagger popped free. Sara looked up at her in surprise. Keine raised an eyebrow at her reaction. "Yes, I've known it was there for a while now. You fiddle with it all the time."

Sara didn't reply. She simply hugged Acied tighter and tensed, waiting to see what Keine was going to do.

She wasn't at all prepared for what happened.

Keine reached down and grabbed a handful of Mokou's long hair, pulling her head up and eliciting a moue of discomfort. With her other hand, she flipped the knife around, tested the edge against her finger, then slit Mokou's throat.

Sara retched, and squeezed her eyes shut as tight as she could. Unfortunately, the sounds of Mokou - gasping/gurgling in surprise, and the sound of the blood spray from the initial cut and the splatter as Keine flicked the knife clean would stay in Sara's mind for weeks to come, and the psychic imprint caused by Mokou being stuck and bled would eventually cause her to discard the knife.

She opened her eyes abruptly. Keine had just fully killed her other guest - and Acied was in no shape to defend himself. What was she going to do next?

Keine had stepped aside and completely relaxed, wiping the dagger off with a bored look on her face. She glanced at the two surviving youkai.

"C'mon, get him up, if he can stand. If he can't, I'll help you move him into a seat."

The complete normality of the suggestion caught Sara off-guard, and she found herself trying to re-translate Keine's words. Did she really not care that she'd just bled out her guest? Does she wield that much power amongst the villagers?

Keine picked the harp up, and drove the dagger back into it's recession. Because of the way the harp itself was bent, however, it didn't lock into place, nor did it slide all the way in. She turned the harp over in her hands, looking at the broken strings. "Such a shame... I loved the music."

Sara stood uneasily, put off by how calm Keine was. She reached out with her awareness and probed her, and found no duplicity. She wasn't in the slightest bit worried about the albino - Mokou, her name was - and wasn't really even thinking about her anymore. Indeed, she was genuinely sad about the destruction of the harp.

Acied, meanwhile, was rapidly recovering from her attack. He'd been through them before, but in most cases had a chance to prepare for it and ward himself against them. This time, she exploded in a rage against someone else and he wasn't nearby to see what had caused it - and, incidentally, get forewarning. Only thing wrong with him now was that his limbs were still weakened from the shock on his body.

Mokou was recovering from the psychic attack as well.

Sara blinked and turned both her real eyes and her metaphysical eyes down at Mokou and studied her.

All the damage to her tissues, her mind, and even her clothes was being undone. The blood that had misted from her throat and seeped from her eyes, ears, and nose had burnt away without even pausing to dry first.

Keine gestured at her with the harp. "Mokou will be fine. She's a bit more durable than anyone else around here."

Why was I able to hurt her so much? I thought your scroll -

"My scroll only protects you and the villagers from each other. Mokou isn't a villager - she lives further out beyond the nearby forest, far enough for the trees to change from one species to another. But fear not - like I said, she's durable. Immortal, in fact."

What? Then... why'd you kill her?

"As she was, she would've recovered from your attack - in about a week or so. This way, the magics responsible for her immortality have kicked in, and repaired the damage caused to her body in the span of about a minute. See? She stirs, even now."

Almost on cue, Mokou groaned and rolled over onto her back. There wasn't even a discoloration to the skin on her neck where Keine slashed her.

Sara was speechless.

What the hell is this place?
« Last Edit: December 26, 2009, 08:01:00 pm by Esifex »

Esifex

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Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2009, 08:43:35 am »
Mokou rolled over and flopped onto her back, groaning. "Mighty Hell, that hurts. Felt like every hangover I'd ever had all at once," she said. She slowly pulled herself upright into a sitting position and looked at Sara.

"Won't be pissing you off again."

Keine popped her lightly on the head with her open palm. "Apologize for breaking the harp. You should know better, honestly."

Mokou blinked at the thunk on the head, and looked to Keines' side, where she held the twisted and warped harp. Mokou couldn't quite call it a harp - at least, not any kind of harp she recognized. It had a strange loop that ran parallel with the top of it, and the lower arc had a bit of a curve to it.



Dammit, I'm putting Firefox on this laptop. I'll continue this later when it's not 3 30 am and IE isn't the only thing I can use.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
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Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2009, 05:22:06 pm »
The albino blinked and started to pull herself back up to her feet. Her hands slipped back into her pockets, and she looked Sara up and down.

"Well, if I'm going to apologize, at least stand up, wouldja? I'd feel bad if I knocked you down and stood right back up over you. Condescending, ya know?"

Keine stared at Mokou blankly. Mokou was evidentally doing her best not to look at her. Rather than let anything get more awkward, Sara scrambled to her feet. Acied rocked away from her as she pushed off him, and he rose to his own feet a little less quickly and gracefully.

Mokou tipped her head forward. "Sorry for breakin' your harp."

Sara tipped her head in reply as well, mimicking Mokous pose, minus her pocketed hands.

Sorry for assaulting you. But you broke my harp - Sara broke off as she began to get flustered and turned red in the face. She shook her head. Apology accepted, but, now I need a harp, and you are responsible for it. Acied blinked and looked at Sara from behind her.

"Uh... Sara... she just took a knife to the neck and got right back up. Are you sure it's a good idea to tell her she's in your debt?" he asked.

Sara looked back at him. "Ah, sorry, I forgot to translate for you.

"Mokou is immortal, but apparently Keine's friend. See how Keine is carrying herself in front of her? Mokou is the humbled one here. Keine told her to apologize for breaking my harp, and she seemed like she actually wanted to. But she DID break my harp - before you came in, she had it and broke the strings."

Acied blanched, and finally looked at the harp in Keine's hands. Two of the strings had snapped and curled up, and since the frame had been bent, the rest of the strings were slacked. No music would come from it for a long time, if ever.

His magic was lost to him, for now. Sara didn't know how to play many other instruments, and from what he'd seen around the village, there weren't any places he could get the harp repaired or replaced.

He leaned back and slumped against the wall he'd just fallen against. Sara blinked at him, then averted her eyes when she came upon the same realization.

Mokou hadn't noticed - she'd just turned to Keine and started to ask what language they were speaking in. Keine, however, had noticed Acied's reaction.

"What's wrong?" she asked. Sara turned back around.

Without my harp, he's a normal human now. I don't know how to play any other instruments, especially if they're not stringed. Can anyone here repair my harp?

Keine touched her finger to her lip as she thought. "Hmm...

"Might be able to find a new harp at Kourindo. Maybe Yuka has one - she collects things from the outside world. If all else fails, we can ask Sakuya to take you to the Viole Library and get a book on metal-work crafting. Bring it back, ask one of the villagers to make one for you."

Mokou looked back and forth. "Is she saying anything to you? I didn't hear anything."

Keine waved her question aside and hurried through the explanation, shortening it to just "She's a telepath. She didn't actually say anything when she accepted your apology, remember?"

Mokou stared for a moment, then shook her head and turned around. "I'll be outside. I need a cigarette."

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
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  • It shall rise again
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Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2010, 11:12:00 pm »
Surprisingly, it was Acied who looked like he wanted to cry. Don't know their language very well... can't use their magic... and now I can't even use my own magic. What else is gonna go wrong? Am I going to get jumped by a vicious plot of farmland wielding the mighty power of sunlight?

Sara looked at him apologetically, having picked up on his thoughts. Don't worry, hon. We'll get it figured out, okay?

Keine looked back at them after watching Mokou on her way out.

"For the time being, I'll see if I can get one of the more musically talented villagers to help you when you're in the fields, Acied. Sara, I'm going to ask Sakuya to take you to the Scarlet Devil Mansion. There, you'll need to find their librarian. She looks human, but is also a Youkai; her name is Patchouli Knowledge. Don't call attention to the pun of a librarian being named 'Knowledge'.

"For now, get some rest. I'll contact Sakuya and -"

So much, you've done for us. We're strangers in your world; why are you so kind? Sara interrupted, without immediately realizing what she was saying.

Keine paused and considered her answer. "Why not? If the situations were reversed, I'd hope for someone to help me integrate into your world."



The next day found Acied without his permission. He woke silently, and went through his morning rituals the same way. The most that even Sara was able to detect from him was during his morning prayer, but beyond that he was passive. Sara bowed briefly to him and left with Keine to the village gate to meet Sakuya.

Left alone in the house with his silence was too unbearable, though. He was used to having Sara constantly doing something on her harp, always providing some kind of white noise to keep his mind from racing.

He rose to his feet and strode out the door without hesitation. To hell with needing translation - he was going to go and immerse himself in their language as much as he could.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2010, 06:20:42 pm »
The Scarlet Devil mansion is just as regal as its name suggests. With a yard spanning several hectares surrounded by a wall, patrolling the grounds was a task in itself. Still, despite the daunting task, Hong Meiling put herself to it with enthusiasm and dedication each day. She was proud of the fact that it was her alone who kept the Mansion secure.

So when she completed her rounds and spotted Keine and Sara approaching, she became alert and planted herself directly in front of the gate, waiting for them to get closer.

As the two closed the distance, Meiling held her hand up to stop them. "Greetings. Identify yourselves, please."

Keine stopped at a respectful distance from the gate. "I am Keine Kamishirasawa, guardian of the human village. This is my charge, Sara Treffhr. We are here to visit the Voile Library."

Meiling nodded. "Do you have an appointment?" she asked.

Keine nodded, but Sakuya had appeared between them before she could say anything. "Oh good, you made it without any trouble."

Without a further word, Meiling turned around and opened the gate, then stepped aside.

Intruders were one thing, visitors were another. The compound will remain secure.



Sara resisted the urge to let out a low whistle. Being a guest of a guest, she was going out of her way not to draw attention to herself, but the sheer size and majesty of the mansion was hard to resist. She'd never been in any of the nobles' manses on Kaetir, even as a muscian - they usually had their own troubadours.

Ahead of her, Sakuya and Keine were chatting aimlessly.

"So, what exactly happened?" Sakuya asked.

"Mokou happened, is what. She lost her temper and attacked Sara, and destroyed her harp. That harp is crucial to them; moreso to the young man, Acied, but crucial nonetheless. We're hoping to find a way to repair it in one of the books in the Voile."

Sakuya touched her finger to her chin as she thought. "Hmm. I'm not sure, myself - most of the books in there have to do with magic. Maybe those ghosts would know where to get more instruments, or Kourindou."

Keine blinked. "What ghosts?" Sakuya waved her hand, brushing the question aside.

"Either way, we won't know till we look."

Keine nodded. "And another reason I've brought her here is specifically because of the books on magic. Hoping Sara can pick up on danmaku while we're here, or at the very least get a spellcard or two made so they can protect themselves." Sakuya hummed in thought.

"Maybe. Mostly dependant on if Patchouli is in a good mood; she knows we're coming, but that doesn't mean she'll do anything different that she normally would."

Behind them, Sara was still looking at her surroundings, but had instantly started paying full attention to the conversation as soon as Acied's name had been mentioned.

Though she was still acting suitably awed by the mansion, mentally she was cheering and hopping about gleefully. Magic! Spellcards! Finally!



I'd love some feedback if anyone is actually reading this.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
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  • It shall rise again
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Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2010, 09:09:08 am »
Sakuya stopped in front of a large set of double-doors. "Welcome to the Voile Library. Specializing in all extraordinaire and paranormal unnaturals; that is, to say, magic." She pushed the doors open and led the way inside.

Keine and Sara followed her, both of them looking around. The chamber was huge - more massive than should be allowed, considering the size of the mansion.

As though Sakuya were the telepath, she spoke over her shoulder at them. "A good majority of this is underground, though there is another basement beneath this level. Magic, being magic, has allowed Mistress Patchouli to expand the space for the library. You could say it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside - the total area inside covers an acre and a half of ground floor, and as you can see there's plenty of room upwards for the bookshelves to reach. More impressively, nearly all of these books were written by Patchouli herself."

"Wow." Keine had no further words, and Sara was still rendered speechless in awe. No matter where she looked, there were books.

She found her voice and muttered under her breath. "Toss a rock over your shoulder here and it'll land on a book. My, Gods..."

Keine muttered back. "No kidding."

Sakuya stopped short; Keine nearly ran her down.

"...eh." Keine looked over her shoulder. "What's wrong?"

Sakuya shook her head and looked back at Sara, who'd taken the break in their walk to ogle the books more.

"...hm. Must be Patchouli.

"Keine, didn't you notice? She just spoke and we understood her."

Sara and Keines' heads both whipped around to stare at each other. "What?!" they said in unison.

"We won't figure anything out while we're standing here - lets find Patchouli and ask-"

"Find, or be found by. The result is the same. Welcome to the Voile." The voice belonged to Patchouli, of course; she was hovering at the top of a bookshelf, a trio of tomes orbiting her slowly. She held a book in her hand, but this was placed on the bookshelf and she dropped to the floor slowly. She didn't touch down completely, but instead hovered a few inches up.

"Good afternoon, Sakuya."

Sakuya nodded in greeting. "So, am I right? Did you do something to let us understand Sara's language?"

The three books clicked against each other and levitated behind Patchouli, blocked from sight by her voluminous robe. She held her hand up, and a card followed it. Sakuya reached out and took the card.

"Arts of the Mind/Tower of Babel. Never heard of this one." She handed the card back to the magician.

"I made it when you told me a telepath was coming. This is a successful test-run. Thank you."

Keine held her hand up slightly, beckoning for attention. "How long will it last?"

Patchouli didn't immediately look at Keine, but instead slowly turned her gaze, seeming to talk to the space between Sakuya and the hakutaku. "It's a non-offensive card; all of its powers go towards bridging the communication gap. It'll last for at least an hour or so, and nothing says I can't just recast it when it expires. This isn't danmaku."

Sakuya glanced over her shoulder at her guests. Keine nodded appreciatively, absorbing the details on the spellcard. Intellectual minds in one place; she should've thought ahead about that. Sara, however, looked dizzy.

"Are -"

"How do I get those cards? How do I use them? Can I make my own? Do I need to know how to use magic?" she blurted out, cutting Sakuya off. The Head Maid grinned to herself. Constant interruptions - but she could easily forgive them. The Voile was just as overwhelming to her when she first saw it.

Patchouli finally focused on Sara. The young musician felt as though she had been physically rocked; without even directing her telepathy, she felt the intense power from this pale magician's mind. It was almost as if she had no choice but to lock onto her mind. The brilliance was unmatched - much akin to...

Sara paled instantly. This woman was giving off the same aura the Gods of Kaetir did.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
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  • It shall rise again
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Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2010, 03:24:47 am »
She was obviously not a god, however - the Gods were all telepathic, and would've known what she was thinking. Patchouli answered her questions instead of addressing her shock.

"You can't 'get' these cards - this is the only one in existence so far. I assume you're here to learn how to use spellcards, and magic, so you will soon know how. Eventually, yes, you can make your own spellcards, though I'm not certain if you'll be able to make this particular card. And, finally, no, you don't need to know how to use our magic to use a spellcard.

"Furthermore, this card is not only translating our languages for each other - it's actually teaching you ours. I specifically targeted you with it, ergo you are being the subject being translated. If I had targeted Sakuya or Keine, only the one of them would be able to understand you, and vice versa. The more we speak around you, the more you'll comprehend when the cards' effect wears off."

Keine nodded in appreciation. "A masterpiece, truly."

Patchouli let the compliment pass without any outward sign. Instead, she glanced at Sakuya. "I have Koakuma preparing tea for us. Please, join us?"

Sakuya shook her head once, smiling slightly. "I appreciate the offer, but my duties-"

Patchouli cut her off. "Please, Sakuya. You and I both know that an hour or two won't affect you finishing your duties. And, you never know - the fairies may actually do something properly when you're not breathing down their necks."

A grin cracked across Keine's face instantly, but she refrained from chuckling or snorting. One of Sakuya's eyebrows shot up. "Breathing down their necks? Who said that?"

Patchouli grinned.

Sara waved her hand. "'Scuse me... but... can we talk about magic and danmaku please?" Keine clapped her fist into her palm.

"That's right - we originally came here to see if you had any books on metallurgy, or perhaps crafting instruments. We need to make a harp, too!" she said.

Patchouli shook her head. "Instruments, no." She turned and beckoned, the three books still floating along behind her as she strode towards the center of the library. "Metallurgy, yes, although probably not what you're thinking - THE RAT!"

The librarian lifted off in a heartbeat and shot through the air, rising above the bookshelves. The three books in tow dropped to the ground rather than follow her. Sakuya blinked at her sudden departure, then leapt into the air and followed in her wake.

Ahead of Sara and Keine, however, someone spun around the lip of the aisle between the bookshelves and began hurtling towards them.

"Too late, da ze! The heist has been pulled!" the rapidly approaching someone shouted.

Keine pushed Sara aside, then crouched. Just as the foreign musician was able to make out that it was a young blonde woman riding atop a broom, Keine dove forward and spun around to land on her back. Arcing through the air above her was another one of her scrolls - though she clenched both ends.

The front of the brooms' handle went right through the loop, then the blondes' hands struck the scroll. It snapped taut in the blink of an eye, and the broom was pulled down.

"Waugh!" the blonde rider was thrown free of the broom, her wide black hat flying off her head. She cartwheeled over and landed on her own back, sliding across the library floor atop her backpack.

Patchouli and Sakuya had by this time turned around and were returning. "Nice catch, Kamishirasawa. I will apprehend Marisa and expel her from the -"

Keine rose back to her feet. "Nonsense. I caught her, I shall punish her."

"What?" Sakuya asked.

Keine strode to Marisa and grabbed the straps of her backpack. Marisa grinned and waved weakly at the Hakutaku.

"Sup?" she said.

Keine heaved her to her feet. "You will return the books you have taken, and to make up for your intrusion you will aid us in teaching Sara our ways. We will also go to your house to see if you have any harps lying around for any reason, which you will use to pay for destroying my scroll in your reckless abandon." She leaned in closer Marisa, almost touching their foreheads together. "Any objections?" she asked.

Marisa shook her head, still grinning slightly.

Sara blinked. So much to learn about this place. This could take a while!

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
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  • It shall rise again
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Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2010, 07:02:29 pm »
Patchouli walked up alongside Keine. “She still has my books, you know.”

Keine let go of Marisa’s backpack. “No, she doesn’t. She hasn’t left the library – she’s only put the books in a sack, nothing more.” Keine stared pointedly at the younger magician.

Marisa shrugged the backpack off sheepishly, and handed it over to Patchouli.

“Do you lot know each other, or something?” Sara asked, pointing at Marisa and the others back and forth.

Patchouli nodded. “Unfortunately, yes. She’s a little rat who sneaks in and takes things that she shouldn’t without asking and never returning them. For shame, of course.”

Marisa blinked. “You can tell what the hell she’s sayin’?” she asked.

“You can’t?” Keine replied with her own question.

Sara shook her head. “I just noticed – I’m mentally translating her, not understanding her spoken words. Side effect of your magic?” she asked Patchouli.

The librarian folded her hands together and stared into space for a moment. “Perhaps she wasn’t in range for it. I designed it to be used on one or two targets at a time – didn’t put any thought to range or collaterals.”

Marisa stooped over and picked up her black hat, and dusted it off. “Okay, this is turnin’ into a one-sided conversation, y’all. I seriously don’t know what she’s sayin’, and I’m getting kinda pissed about bein left out of the loop, y’know?”

Patchouli turned to her and held a hand up; the spellcard was once again floating in front of her hand. “Alright, then, if you want to understand her, use this card on her. You’ll fuel the magic this time.”

Marisa snatched the card from the air. “After all this time, you’ll just up and hand me new magic. See, I knew you’d see things my way eventually.” She turned the card over in her hand and read it. “Mental Arts!” She struck a pose, brandishing the card at Sara. “Tower of Babel!” The card burst apart in a small flash of light.

Sara started and groped at Marisa’s now-empty hand. “Waugh! It’s gone?!” she cried.

“No, dimwit. I used it.”

They paused and looked at each other. “Hey, I can understand you,” they said to each other.

Sakuya laughed. “Of course. Now, then, Patchouli, you’d offered us tea – shall we go to your podium?”

The librarian nodded and turned back the way she was originally taking them. Sara obediently followed after the residents of the Mansion.

Marisa scratched her head and wandered after them as well.



“Gensokyo is the Illusory Paradise. Paradise in this case is not the illusion, but instead it is a literal paradise made of illusion. That which is can also be not. The normal is abnormal – the very air is saturated with magic. Beings that shouldn’t be make up our populace; the very concept of a thing can be given personification. The very concept of a concept can be altered, toyed with. A human is not bound to the ground, nor are they bound to their humanity. Sakuya is as human as they come – but she has mastery and manipulation over time and space. Keine is, for all intents and purposes, perfectly normal until she’s bathed in the light of a full moon. Marisa is an ordinary human; through her sheer effort and practice, she’s become a powerful magician. All three of them can fly.”

Marisa interrupted Patchouli’s lecture over the top of her cup of tea. “I can fly, but I use a broom instead – flight can drain you of much needed magic. I enchanted my broom to fly for me – all I do is control it, and if I really need to move, I dump some of my own magic into it as well.”

Patchouli nodded. “And then there are the youkai. Here, I sit before you, a librarian, at a desk, drinking tea with you. I am not human.”

Sara looked her up and down – aside from wearing what looked like pajamas and a nightcap, Patchouli had no inhuman traits about her. Then again, neither did Keine – until horns popped out of her head and her hair changed colors right before her eyes. She could swear she’d even seen a tail, too. “Go on.”

The librarian took a small draw from her cup before setting it back down on the raised desk. “I am a youkai – an unnatural. To a human, I appear to be physically in my early twenties. I am over five-hundred years old.”

Sara held her hand up, stalling the lecture. “Hang on. I’m not from this planet altogether – my time may be different from yours. I know our days are about the same length, though, but how many days are in your year?”

The librarian sat back in her chair completely and steeped her fingers together, eyes out of focus as she concentrated.

“I am 4,397,520 hours – give or take for the current time of day – old. Our days are 24 hours long. That’s 183,230 days. The average human lifespan is seven-hundred eighteen thousand hours.”

Sara tried not to look too overwhelmed by the large numbers, or the math. She knew basics and enough to help her play out a song by ear and stay in key. Long division, large numbers… not so much.

“Go on,” she said again.

“Youkai are naturally magical. Remember, they are ‘unnaturals’. Our gate guard looks human, I look human, and the doll master looks human… But not all youkai look human. The Mistress of the Mansion has the general appearance of a young child – if you ignore the red irises and wings across her back. In fact – Koakuma!” she called over her shoulder.

The red-headed, bespectacled assistant drifted up behind Patchouli’s chair. “Madam?” she asked.

Patchouli nodded at her. “First and foremost, thank you for the tea. Second, could you open your wings for us?”

Koakuma tilted her head slightly, looking as though she wanted to ask ‘why?’ but refrained and instead just shook her head slightly. As her hair swayed about, two thin wings unfurled from her head. Sara had assumed that the discolored band across her cranium was some sort of headband. Two more pairs of wings stretched out behind her back, crowning over her shoulders and wrapping forward about her arms.

“Koakuma here is a fine example. Human enough to cause you to put your guard down, but also foreign enough to make it hard for her to hide it. Normally she just keeps her wings tucked behind her back; they’re easy to miss if you’re not looking for them, but again, hard to hide completely.”

Keine leaned forward. “There are also completely inhuman youkai – more animal and instinct than humanoid and intellect. The ferals are the dangerous ones; driven by survival instincts, they’re liable to behave territorially and aggressively, potentially hunting you down for food. That’s why the spellcard system was implemented. Normal, mundane humans can hunt normal, mundane animals well enough… but if you put them up against a youkai, they’re more likely to be butchered unless they have the advantage of numbers. Spellcards can be used by anyone, magical or not, for that reason. Danmaku, however, requires an understanding and talent for magic.”

Marisa tilted her chair back, rocking it up onto the back legs and tilting her cup dangerously low, threatening to spill it. “Of course, most of the people here who use danmaku like to make it look fancy and put too much effort into keeping it pretty. I say just make a big beam of magic and erase what you don’t like, ya know?” Sakuya reached over and pushed her chair back upright, easing her back into a proper sitting position.

“And there are people who are just naturally talented at it, as well. I unconsciously make my danmaku look like daggers,” the maid said.

Keine grinned slightly. “Strange habit for a head maid,” she said. Sakuya smiled. “I wasn’t always a maid, you know. I can throw a real dagger as accurately as I can shoot a bullet.”

Marisa waved her hand through the air, as though brushing the current conversation off the table they were seated around.

“Now, y’see, there’re lots of magical items in Gensokyo. Leave somethin’ lyin around long enough and it’ll do somethin’ funny, right? Like my broom – although that was intentional. Here, in Gensokyo, you have the influences and powers of all sorts of Gods at play – nothing stays ‘normal and mundane’ for a long time. Spirits will move into discarded goods and give them flesh and personality, and the ability to tap into magic can lengthen a lifespan nearly indefinitely – or cut it drastically short if misused.”

Patchouli gestured for attention. “Consider a stage magician – do they not claim that it is just a sleight of hand that lets them pull a rabbit from their hat? That it’s all just an illusion? ‘There is no such thing as magic, it’s an illusion.’ So, with that – welcome to the Illusory Paradise, Gensokyo.”

Sara leaned back in her chair and sighed, a smile playing at her lips. “So, if spellcards can be used by anyone, magical or not, then how do I get one? How do you make one?”

Marisa grinned. “That’s not completely true. There are some spellcards that require immense amounts of magical talent to be pumped into them before they’ll unleash their full potential. Some of the more awesome spells need a magician behind them,” she said.

Her hand came up, and in it was another spellcard. “Like this one.”

Marisa held it out for Sara. She took it and turned it over in her hands, then held it up again. “What’s it say? I can’t read the writing.”

Patchouli blinked and scribble a note down on a piece of paper as Marisa answered. “It’s my favorite card, my modus operandi, ya know? It’s called ‘Love Sign – Master Spark.’ Go ahead, hold it up and declare it.”

Sakuya stopped Sara from holding it up as she was directed. “Marisa, shame on you. That card would knock her out from the effort of using it, and on top of that, you’re still in the Voile. Do you feel like repairing any damage from that spells’ backlash?”

The witch slouched. “C’mon now, I wanted to see if she could get anything out if. It’s not like the magic will damage anything in here – at least, probably not, not from her using it. Let her try it.”

Patchouli nodded. “She can try it, but if anything does happen to the Voile, you’re responsible for it, Black-white.

“Hold the card up and ‘declare’ it. For this one, the declaration is ‘Love Sign’.”

“Love Sign!”

“Now, hold up your hand and point with it – there, at the ceiling – however is comfortable for you; if you want to point, point. If you want to hold your palm out to it, do as you wish.”

Sara pointed at the ceiling with two fingers. If she weren’t so excited about all the magic in Gensokyo, she would’ve felt incredibly silly, saying things like ‘love sign’ and pointing into the air. Instead, she was having loads of fun.

Patchouli placed her cup atop a small sheaf of pages for one of her books, then put her hand atop the cup. “Now, look to your target and cast the spellcard. This is, ‘Master Spark’.” The librarian looked at Sakuya with a slight grin on her face, and Marisa was focused entirely on Sara and the spellcard.

“Master Spa –”

A thin blue beam shot out from the tip of Sara’s fingers, and the turbulence through the air caused many of the loose pages on Patchouli’s desk to flutter and pop in the wind.

The beam ended instantly; Sara had jumped in surprise and opened her hand completely, breaking the focus. “Whaaaaaa?!” she stuttered.

Marisa stood up fast enough to send her chair sliding a few feet back. “You did it?! Without a Hakkero!? Were you a magician back wherever you came from?” she asked.

Shaken, Sara handed the card back to the witch and sat down stupidly. “Uuuu. What? Huh? No, uh… no, I think? Did I just… what?” she stuttered.

Patchouli picked her tea up and went to take another draw from it, though it was empty. She turned to address Koakuma, and while turned took the opportunity to whisper to Sakuya. “I routed some magic through her for the spell, so she wouldn’t be responsible for it all.” The maid smirked for a moment before putting on a straight face.

Alfred F. Jones

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Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2010, 11:10:06 pm »
Okay. I finally caught up to reading everything. Now I realize why I lost track of this story; it changed names halfway through. (I rather liked The Line Has Blurred, and Everlasting Wanderers seemed a bit less interesting of a title, so I stopped).

This is good. Very good. I don't know what the crossover you were originally referring to was, but it makes sense without knowing the reference anyway. The only problems I have are: I don't always understand what the heck the villagers are saying, even if I say it aloud. And you write so little per update. I want more. :(

Some things I find notable are your descriptions of danmaku and how it works. I like it so much that I shall steal portions of it for my own use. Ha! Ha! Also, the effects of the light of the full moon on hakutaku were interesting to read (it only transforms Keine when the light is directly touching her. Why didn't I think of that?)

Of all the characters you're using here, Keine is far and away my favourite, and it pleases me that you're using her so well. (Sakuya too, for all she's shown up.) I do like Sara, too. I'd like to see this continue.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2010, 12:19:21 am »
There's a very good reason you don't know what the crossover is from; it hasn't been published yet.

It's a story of my own writing that's about 11-12 chapters in, a good 120+ pages long at 12 size font single spacing Times New Roman font in an MSWord document.

Acied and Sara are my two favoritest characters from that work, even though I have way more interesting and magically adept people running about - such as the actual main characters. If you're halfway interested I can send you a brief description of Kaetir - Icarian Armor.

And I changed the name because I figured people saw the name, saw that I'd noted that I had original characters in it, and instantly labeled it taboo and stayed away.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
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Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2010, 01:04:32 am »
Spent the downtime at work today dreaming up the spellcards that Sara and Acied will eventually create - not every one of them will be used in this story, but they may be mentioned in passing.

Sara, after learning how to make spellcards and danmaku, will undergo a personality change - in that she's a cunning, sly, dirty fighter.

Sara's Solitary Cards

Homesick Heartbreak - Depth of Space
Conjures feelings of homesickness and depression at their inability to return home, then psychically dumps them onto target.
Aegis of Aleander
Conjures the aegis of Arc Aleander - an old friend from Kaetir - to use as a defensive shield spell.
Troubadour's Blessing
Conjures a magical harp for her to play at any time. Capable of shooting danmaku bolts when played at high tempos.
Wretched Fear - Niflheim of the Mind
Target(s) are locked into a nightmare for ten seconds, during which time Sara will typically sneak up behind them and prepare to tickle the crap out of them when they're released.
Siphon of Faith
Drains and disables a spellcard prematurely.
Violent Purge
Used after Siphon. Discharges absorbed spellcard energy in a Yuyuko's Final Spell shotgun danmaku fashion.

Acied's Solitary Cards

Blatant Disregard
Bucking the typical rules of danmaku play (one hit, one loss) and his own requirement for music to shapeshift, Acied turns into a massive behemoth. Because of his inability to even TRY to dodge in such a large form, he simply absorbs shots. (Think of this as though you were fighting a boss - they have a healthbar, you don't) Doesn't attack with danmaku in this form, but instead grabs for the opponent.
Multiple Independent Reacting Vectors
Summons multiple familiars.
Spirit of Sladehawk
Human-form shapeshifting without music. Anything humanoid - vampire, hakutaku, oni, nekomata, etc etc. Doesn't emit a spellcard aura, and is a non-offensive card. Mostly for screwing around and goofing off.
Occham's Lazor
Again, bucking the norm in danmaku play, instead of making an intricate pattern with lots and lots of bullets to dodge, he instead shoots one single, fast laser at a time. The laser has very little travel time, but only travels in a straight line directly for the target.
Mental Arts - Collapse of Babel
Forces the target(s) to vocalize their thoughts. Also forces them to speak in Kaethin, without the added benefit of actually knowing what they're saying (intention behind this one is to make the target think they've been hit with a 'make me speak gibberish' spell). Unless the target knows Kaethin, they won't typically know that they're blurting their attack plans out to him in his own native tongue.
Libra's Scales
If he doesn't have any music to listen to (his natural requirement to use his magic) he is forced out of any shapeshifts. In exchange, opponent is unable to use spellcards for one minute. (Libras represent balance. This spellcard levels the playing field - he can't use his magic alone, so no magic will be used against him.)

Combination Cards

Oath of the Nomad - Lost in Thought
Any spellcard that's been used against either Kaetin will be logged by this spell. When it's used, the targets' selected spellcards get shuffled between this library. Basically, it's like they're Blue Mages - but you use the magic that's been used on them, instead (which you may not be very good at - or it may just happen to land the spell you've always wanted into your 'hand')
Duet of the Mind
Sara's musical talent is locked into Acied's mind, and the two begin to attack in tandem to a Kaetin song. This is a basic twofer danmaku pattern (think Prismrivers fight, minus one).
Subtlety - Raging Hakutaku
All danmaku magic on field/in play is absorbed. Acied takes on the form of a full-sized, fully grown Hakutaku (complete with huge angry horns), and is charged with all active energy - turning into a sentient danmaku bullet. He then does his best to commence CAVING their opponent. The name is of course an ironic take on 'of all the subtlety of a gutshot bull'.

Sara's shots travel like an EKG reading, representative of the blips, dips, dives, and hops in a brain-wave activity scan. Acied's shots are simple, since he has trouble with danmaku magic - they just go straight, and he can only form one stream at a time. The longer Sara fights (read: the more P cards she gathers :P) the more streams of shots she can fire at once, up to four.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 04:59:33 am by Esifex »

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2010, 01:42:21 am »
Marisa twirled the card through her fingertips, spinning it in one direction before flipping it around in the opposite direction.

"But maybe I should show you how it's done, ze.
Love Sign!"

Sakuya's head whipped around and she gaped at the witch. "What -"

"Master Spark!" Marisa shouted, holding a small dark colored block in her hand.

Nothing happened.

Keine and Patchouli both snickered at the witch, and the magician gestured at Sakuya to calm her down. Marisa looked at the block in her hand and grunted in confusion.

"Tower of Babel, remember?" Sara said. She was picking up a lot of the rules about spellcards very quickly, and because of her own mental acuity, she was retaining it very well.

Marisa slumped and dropped the gray-black block onto the table and sat in her chair. "Right, right. How long does this last?" she asked Patchouli. The look on Patchouli's face instantly told her she was going to regret asking.

"Well, I only made the one card."

Marisa blinked. "But you gave me one."

"Right. And you used it's full power."

Sakuya burst out laughing hysterically. Keine looked like she was going to join her, but kept a modicum of modesty about her amusement, and just giggled happily at the witch.

Marisa looked back and forth at them. "...what the hell."

Sakuya reached over and tapped Patchouli's arm without looking at her, still giggling at Marisa. "How much of its power did you use when you first cast it, milady?"

Now, everyone but Marisa (and Sara, who was having trouble figuring out the math) was grinning and giggling. Koakuma was snickering unabashedly away from the podium, waiting for Patchouli to call upon her.

"About a sixth of its total magic." Patchouli's grin took on a sinister edge.

Sakuya's laughter redoubled in intensity and volume. Marisa sagged in her seat.

"Aw, crap. And how long was the card going to last at a sixth of its power?" she asked.

Keine leaned forward, resting her elbow on the table and propping her chin up with her hand. "About an hour and a half, if I recall correctly."

Marisa slammed her fists down on the table around the block she'd set down. "AWWW, CRAAAAAAAP. Are you screwin' with me?!" she sobbed at Sakuya. Sakuya replied by grinning what could only be described as a malicious slasher grin at her.

"No. Tower of Babel will last for eight hours at full-strength."

Sara concealed her excitement very well, she told herself. If she could get another one of those cards and have Keine use it on her at full strength, she could just walk through the village for the day and absorb as much of their language as possible.

Wait - that'd mean that Keine couldn't use spellcards for the day. Maybe they could talk it out.

Keine looked sideways across the table at Patchouli. "What'll it cost to target two people at once with it?"

Patchouli sat back in her chair again, staring into space as she worked the math out. "I didn't really intend for it to be used on many people - is there another telepath?"

Keine shook her head. "No, but there is another one that speaks her language."

The librarian tilted her head, then sat forward in her chair, bringing her hands up. Floating in front of each hand were a small assortment of writing utensils.

A blank sheet of parchment slid across the table and stopped in front of her, and she dipped the well-pen that she'd conjured up into the bottle of ink that followed it. With a few deft scratches across the parchment, she began to etch out circles and runes. As she completed various geometric shapes, they began to shine with a pale blue light. She began muttering, and it took a second for Sara to realize she was talking to her and Keine.

"...meant for only telepaths. Wouldn't work on non-psykers. Basis behind the spell is founded in the theorems of ... בז♫♪♫לנҹڵ♪♫... needs to have at least two ۞ for each seperate possible psyker. If it doesn't the feedback would render her unconscious. Quickly now, what gender is the other? Male? Hmm... will require additional resources for this. Moment."

All the while, she never took her eyes off the parchment in front of her. Koakuma obediently provided a set of spectacles and held them above Patchouli's head, until they popped free of her fingers and floated down to rest on the magician's nose. More slips of parchment began to levitate around her, but they were blank.

"Sakuya. Lunar Dial me." Without a further word, Sakuya reached out to touch Patchouli, just as the librarian started to sit back in her chair and turn to the first piece of parchment floating near her.

As soon as Sakuya touched Patchouli, Sara felt reality hiccup. She felt a distortion in the air pressure, and suddenly each of the pieces of parchment surrounding Patchouli's chair had a glyph scribbled on them. As soon as they appeared, they flashed, and the parchment burnt away. The glyphs remained floating where they were. The magician reached up and swept her free hand through the air, not touching any of the glyphs, though they followed her. She arrayed them above the larger sheet of parchment she was working on, then pushed down in the middle of the group.

Even though her hand wasn't near any of the glyphs, it appeared as though she were forcing something down that was resisting her. The glyphs slowly dropped onto the parchment, and dulled when they touched down.

Patchouli took the quill in her hand and scribbled in the air directly over the middle of the sheet, then touched the tip down.

The entire sheet shifted colors - it turned from tan to gray, then divided itself into eight rectangles.

She set the quill aside and sat back, nodding to the parchment in front of her. "Sakuya, if you would."

Marisa let out a low whistle as the maid reached forward and pushed on the middle row of rectangles from the bottom; they all seperated into distinct pieces. "Never actually got to watch Patchouli mass-produce spellcards. That was impressive, ze."

Patchouli sighed. "Koakuma, could you bring me another cup of tea? Keine, take five of those cards. I will keep one on me, Sakuya will keep one on her, and Marisa would throw a temper tantrum if I don't give her one." Marisa chuckled.

Keine plucked up the spellcards. "Refined Mental Arts - Gift of Language. Nice. So, judging by what you were saying, it has to have a telepath as one of the targets to work for everyone involved?"

Patchouli nodded. "That's correct. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm feeling a little anemic. Sakuya, could you escort them out, please? And make sure Marisa doesn't take anything."

Marisa sighed and grumbled, saying something under her breath about 'not like she'd miss a book or five in this place anyways," but rose obligingly and scooped the weight off the table.

Sara pointed at it. "What is that, anyways?"

Marisa tossed it from one hand to the other, then spun it over in place. She presented the top to Sara. "It's my eight-trigrams reactor, the miniature Hakkero. It helps me augment my magical power."

The Kaetin looked it over. "Ah. ...so, how does it work?" she asked.

Marisa blinked at her, then stared down at the Hakkero. "Ah. How to explain? Lots of big words you'd probably not understand."

Sakuya walked past her at this point with Keine in tow. Keine quipped over her shoulder, "In other words, she doesn't know, herself. Hah!"

Marisa whirled around and stormed after them "That's not true, g'dammit! It works by..."

Sara tuned out the discussion of magical artifacts - it was true, she wouldn't understand any of it, because she didn't know the nature of any of the magic or mythos behind this world. Instead she turned to face Patchouli, sitting in her seat nursing her cup of tea. The magicians' eyes had drooped halfway shut, and she was perusing a few pages of a book that had drifted in from somewhere.

"Miss Patchouli Knowledge?" Sara prodded. The librarian looked up at her.

"Yes, Miss Guest?"

"I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to teach me about magic. Would it be possible for me to come back some time to learn more about it, and maybe other things, as well?" she asked.

Patchouli grinned. "You are only the third person still alive to ask permission to visit the Voile. Everyone else just comes in of their own accord. What else did you have in mind?"

Sara blushed and suddenly couldn't meet Patchouli's eyes. "Um...
I was kind of hoping, you know..."

The magician set her cup of tea down and turned her full focus on Sara. "...yes?"

Sara worried her hands together. "Could you perhaps... teach me how to read?"

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2010, 01:43:46 am »
Yes, Sara is illiterate.

No, she's not falling madly in love with Patchouli.

(ragglefraggle rackumfrackum WHEN THE HELL IS PAGE TWO GONNA SPAWN DAMMIT)

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2010, 12:46:26 am »
Any further comment from either one of them was forestalled by Keine’s sudden reappearance. The were-hakutaku looked back and forth between the two, and noted Sara’s embarrassment.

“What’s wrong? …wait, I know. You went and accused Patchouli Knowledge of being too nice to you and demanded to know why she was helping you, didn’t you?” she asked. Patchouli blinked.

Sara gaped for a moment, then glanced away sheepishly. “Yes, ma’am. I’ll refrain from doing that again,” she said. She glanced up at the librarian.

Rather than keep a surprised or confused look on her face, putting Sara’s bluff at risk, she had caught on and smirked in amusement. When she made eye-contact with Sara, she raised one finger and tapped the side of her head.

I can take a hint, and I know how to be subtle. Remember, I’m older than I look. Feel free to come back tomorrow if you wish; I’ll be happy to teach you what I can. Patchouli’s radiant mind seemed to blaze through Sara’s thoughts when she made contact, and the young musician blinked in surprise.

“Well, come along. We can’t stay for too long – Sakuya is allowed guests, but it’s not recommended to stay after sundown. Plus, I need to return to the village anyways.”

Sara turned on her heel and made a beeline for the doors to the Voile. Marisa and Sakuya were standing in front of it, chatting back and forth. Marisa looked over at Sara’s approach and waved. “C’mon now, Sakuya said it wouldn’t be a good idea for you to hang around when the Scarlets wake up. I was thinking of staying to visit but I can’t use any spellcards right now, thanks to that Babble card. Let’s get you out of here, ze.”

Sara huffed. “Keine just said we shouldn’t stay past sundown, too. Perhaps Sakuya would like to tell me?”

Sakuya decided to let her nasty tone of voice pass unpunished. “No, but if you’d like, I will tell you why it’s not a good idea.” A single eyebrow crept upwards.

Sara’s embarrassment bled away instantly. “Oh? Please, do; I’m curious. Everyone just says ‘go away’ but they don’t say why.”

Marisa snickered. “How much ya like your current state o’ health, hon?” she asked.

Sara shrugged her injured shoulder, testing her range of motion. It was still a little restricted, and there was only occasionally a twinge of pain. “Could be better, I guess, but it’s okay for now.”

“Well, if you don’t want it to get any worse, we should go.” Sakuya patted Sara’s back, prodding her towards the door.

As Keine caught up and joined the procession, Sara grunted in confusion. “Wait, if it’s dangerous, then why do you stay here – why did you want to visit, Marisa?”

“We’ve made ourselves useful to the head of the mansion, ze. Sakuya has abilities that help her maintain the mansion, and I entertain the young mistress. I dunno whose job is more dangerous, though. Ha!” Marisa swept her hand through the air, and her broom jumped into her grip.

Sakuya leaned closer to Sara. “The mistresses of the mansion – they’re a pair of vampire sisters. Remilia is the older sister, and Flandre is the younger. Remilia has little patience for humans with no talents – finds them to be a waste of time. If you can’t make yourself useful, your safety is not guaranteed.”

Marisa called over her shoulder. “Flandre is the really dangerous one, though. Shorter temper than her sister, and the ability to absolutely destroy anything. You can’t just make yourself useful around her – you have to be entertaining. It’s like the story, 1001 Arabian Nights, ze. If she gets bored…” Marisa drew her thumb across her neck in a quick slashing motion.

Sara blinked. “What’s that mean? The thumb thing.”

If surprise had a sound, it would’ve echoed. “Eh? Uh… it means, you know.” Unhelpfully, Marisa repeated the motion. Keine tapped the back of her head slightly. “That doesn’t help her, dummy.
“To slash ones’ neck, and make them bleed to death. It basically means, ‘you’re dead.’”

Sara looked back and forth between Keine and Marisa for a moment. “OH! Oooooh. Okay, I get it now. Back on Kaetir, that doesn’t really do much – there are people called Clerics who can heal such a wound before it kills, with very little effort. Instead, we do this.” She reached up behind her neck and flicked her forefinger and middle finger into the base of her skull. “Fastest way to kill someone and keep them dead is to sever their spinal cord. The brain can’t communicate with the body, and the shock of sudden disconnection causes the muscles in the body to tear themselves apart. Even if you could repair the cord, the brain is in too much chaos to recover.”

The mental images she was conjuring in the others, though wildly inaccurate, were alarming. Marisa made a mental note not to turn her back to the musician.

“Aren’t you a musician?” Sakuya asked.

Sara chuckled. “On Kaetir, you do not stay a virgin for long if you are a pretty girl with a pretty voice. Not unless you can defend yourself, or have someone else to defend you.”

Keine never noticed her draw it out, but suddenly a dagger was balancing on Sara’s fingertip. She recognized it as one of her own cutlery daggers from her house – not the one from the musician’s harp.

“That’s what Acied is for. I give him music, he protects me.”

Marisa stopped for a second. “Hang on… what’s ‘virgin’ mean?” she asked.

The other three girls instantly burst out in laughter at the question. With tears of mirth in her eyes, Sakuya started to prod the group out through the mansion. “Ah, Marisa. Never before have you given so much entertainment in just a few hours.”

“Perhaps Marisa should visit the village more often,” Keine suggested when they finally left the front of the mansion. Sakuya nodded, still smiling. “Perhaps. Before you go, however – Meiling!” she called out.

The door-guard from before came bounding over the wall, and strode to the group. “Yes, Miss Sakuya?”

“Keine and Sara are to be treated as guests. If they come to the mansion, notify me.”

Marisa sighed. “And not me?”

Meiling and Sakuya both pinned her with a glare. In unison, with Marisa, they said, “Not until you return Patchouli’s books.”

“Right, right. I get it. But, y’know, she’s gonna be living for a long time more than me – she can come and get her books when I die, ya know.”

Meiling stared her down. “Not if you succeed, of course.” Marisa froze for an instant.

“Well then in that case I suppose I’ll have a change of heart and return them myself, ze.”

Keine took Sara’s hand. “Best if we step aside and let them work this out on their own. No reason we should get involved.”

Rather than asking questions about something that obviously made Keine uncomfortable, she instead asked about Meiling. “So, why is she here? I’m sure she’s not a Cleric from Kaetir, but she’s dressed like one.”

“Hong Meiling is the gate guard of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. It’s more of an obligatory post than a necessary one; Remilia felt that such a regal mansion requires a guard, even if everyone who’s halfway a threat can fly in Gensokyo. Ergo, Meiling is less the guard of the gate than the guard of the entire mansion. She tracks down anyone who gets within the grounds and tests them; if they’re too easy to defeat, she repels them and ejects them from the mansion. If they’re stronger – like Marisa, here – she lets them pass so as to help Remilia keep from dulling her skills. As of lately, though, Marisa seems to just be harassing Patchouli instead of visiting Remilia. From what I gather, though, she DOES seem to visit the Scarlets still – just not as much as she does the Voile.”

A few paces away, Meiling seemed to have had enough of Marisa’s backtalk, and settled into a combat stance.

“Oh?” asked Marisa. Meiling lashed out with a swift punch, which Marisa barely dodged by tilting her head aside.

Keine muttered under her breath. “Dammit. I get it now – she provoked Meiling, and now she’s going to let Meiling hit her hard enough to dispel Tower of Babel.”

Sara grinned. “That’s fine – I’ve learned enough today, and it’s not like I can’t just talk directly into your mind.”

“About that – a few of the villagers have raised concerns about your telepathy.” Sara’s bright mood dimmed.

“Oh, no. What’s wrong?” she asked.

“They’re afraid you’re going to control them.”

Sara blinked in surprise. “Wait, control them? I can’t do that. All I can do is pick up on thoughts and intentions. Control is based in the subconscious mind, the part of the brain that determines what they need. The most I could possibly do is make someone seriously consider wanting something, and even then, it’d have to be something they already want. On top of that, too – they’d know a long time coming that it was I doing it, because my mental broadcast sounds like I do verbally.”

“That makes no sense – the last part, sounding like you,” Keine said.

“Body is a plaything of the mind. How I perceive myself is how I am, mentally. Is fairly hard to comprehend/understand, but ibeyn cuorsal etenent zebyi.”

Keine blinked, then looked over at Marisa. Sure enough, she was sprawled out on the ground, Meiling’s fist outstretched over her.

“I missed that last part, Sara – Marisa lost the Tower of Babel effect. One second…
“Sakuya – we’re going now. I’ll see you in the village sometime later, okay?”

The maid nodded, and then promptly vanished, leaving Marisa and Meiling to work out their differences.

Keine turned and guided Sara away from the Mansion, and out the gate. “We’ll discuss this more, later. Until then, don’t worry about the villagers – I reckon you’ll be more interested in coming to the library than wandering the streets, so they won’t see you enough to fear you. I’ll speak with them while you’re gone tomorrow and explain what I’ve learned about you.”

Sara nodded. Of course. Let’s go see if Acied went crazy while we were gone, he’s not the type to sit on his hands.



Sure enough, Acied was in the seat she’d left him in that morning, but rather than looking like he had spent the day moping about, mourning the loss of the harp, he seemed… tan.

“Ah. Hallo, Keine, Sara. Howa was yoor day?” he said, grinning slightly and waving lazily at them.

Keine stopped short. The English was broken, but more than he’d been able to string together in the past few days. “Pretty good, actually. How was yours?” she replied.

“Spent day in the feeldz agayn, got work done.”

Sara clapped enthusiastically for a moment, then jumped into Acied’s lap and hugged him. “Nettir ban dyeloo, Acied. Ataiell hii yatta!” She shuffled herself down onto the cushion next to Acied, sharing the chair with him, and they began to talk back and forth in their own language. Bits and pieces of it made sense to Keine, but not enough to comprehend their entire conversation. From what she could make out, though, she knew they were just exchanging notes on their day. When Sara produced one of the Gifts of Language spellcards, both of their faces lit up.

They’d be fine where they were, she knew. Time to go check in with the rest of the village elders.



The next day found Acied in a much brighter mood. When Sara had told him that he would easily be able to use spellcards, at the least, he wasn’t so worried about not being able to use the danmaku magic. He’d still be able to use some kind of magic, even if it wasn’t his own – and he’d never stopped to think about how much he was addicted to magic, how he feared to be rendered mundane.

Barely able to sleep the night before because of the exciting news Sara brought with her, he woke early and prepared Keine’s tea for her before she woke up.

When Keine shuffled into the kitchen, still half-asleep, and found him sitting there with a pair of steaming mugs in front of him, she didn’t acknowledge that anything was out of the ordinary until she sat down and took a long draw from her mug and suddenly realized that she wasn’t the one who’d steeped it.

“Oh. Good mornin’, Acied.” She was mumbling, and knew it was bad manners, but she was too sleepy to care.

Acied grinned and nodded, then tried his luck at speaking English again. “Today, not in feeldz. Going mit Sara, to Voile, okay? Tell Gregory, please-und-thank-you?”

Gregory was the man who organized the farmhands. Keine nodded. “Sure thing. I’ll let him know you’re taking the day for yourself.”

She assumed – correctly – that he was teaching himself English by immersion, so she wasn’t afraid to dump a lot of words on him that he might not know yet. Also, she was too sleepy to care.

They finished their tea in silence, Acied grinning slightly the entire time. Sara woke up halfway through their mugs, and shuffled her way out to the kitchen as well. Acied rose and prepared another mug for her, and while he was busy, Keine wandered back to her room to dress herself properly. Let the two of them share their enthusiasm and excitement with each other – she was too sleepy to care.

Keine was not a morning person.



Sara was playing with the spellcard on the table when Keine left for her morning duties, leaving Acied to clean the kitchen. He went about this task with equal enthusiasm as he did when they were discussing the magic found in Gensokyo, which they did while he worked.

Sara only devoted half her attention to the conversation they were having – most of it was just a repeat from what they’d said last night; the excitement was having a slightly stupefying effect on Acied.

She was worried. If she was honest with herself, she knew it was because she was so deeply in love with Acied, but she was afraid that with the spellcards, he wouldn’t need her anymore. Never had they actually confessed their love for each other, but the devotion and risks they shared for each other spoke volumes. She’d always assumed it to just be an unstated truth, something that could be so blatantly obvious.

Now she was having doubts. Every incident that she could think back on, she could always see his protectiveness over her as him guarding his assets; she was his music, what he needed to use his magic. Without her, he’d be unable to use his magic – until he got someone else to play music for him. Even now, he could sing to himself (tone-deaf as he was) and be able to shape-shift, but only into humanoid forms – so even without her, he would still be okay. She just made everything easier for him. Did he just keep her around out of convenience? Was she just a tool with a heartbeat?

“Oh, I’m gonna love this. I’ve got to find out how to make these spellcards. Ah, this place is awesome. No conditions for magic, just a card.”

She felt a massive weight settle into her stomach. He didn’t want to have to hear music for his magic anymore.

“Maybe we can conjure things – make a magical harp to replace the broken one. Maybe even a set of wings for you to be able to fly around on your own, instead of needing me to carry you.”

The weight started rolling around. How was she supposed to interpret that last one? Was he tired of being her riding mount? Did he want her to fly alongside him while singing for him? At least, he was interested in getting her a new harp – but he needed the harp more than her. Before they’d met, she only played music as a hobby.

“And to think! Now you can use magic, too – we could fight, side by side. If we can learn this danmaku stuff, we could help Keine protect the village. Pay her back, you know?”

She blinked; she hadn’t thought of that. And, paying Keine back at the same time – win, win.

“Maybe I can actually learn to fly on my own – wouldn’t need to be carried, or use a set of wings. Oh! I watched Patchouli make the spellcards. It looked kinda hard, but maybe it was because she was making a bunch of them at once. I dunno if we can make our own, but maybe she’ll make some for us. I don’t really know thaaaaaat much about them.” She drew the word out to cover her discomfort; she was talking rapidly – dead giveaway that she was nervous and thinking too much.

Acied didn’t notice. He flipped the mugs they’d been using over to let them dry out, then turned around and leaned against the table they were using. “Well, as you can probably guess, I’ve been ready and rearin’ to go for a while. I’ll give you a hand getting everything together if you want,” he said. Sara drew back in surprise.

“No! Pervert,” she said.

Acied looked wounded, but didn’t say anything.

Oops, she thought to herself. She shook her head and blinked her eyes back into focus, then waved her hand to dismiss the accusation. “Never mind. Hah. I’ll be ready in a minute. Get some stuff together to protect us on the way – there’s a good distance to go, and there isn’t much of a path. Animals like to wander.”

Acied wandered off to head outside and look for something to cover themselves with. Sara meandered in the small guest room they were being allowed to use, fidgeting slightly.

By the Gods, she was getting herself worked up by thinking too much. She needed to just up and ask him, instead of worry about it.

She changed out of her pajamas and into a simple sundress that Keine had dug up for her. Well, then – she’d put herself in the right situation then, and blindside Acied. Catch him off guard; find out what he really thought. She didn’t want to dig through his mind to find out. Not only was it an invasion of his privacy, but also she was afraid of what she’d find, and on top of all that – he’d know what she was doing. Kaetin Magi could always tell when someone was toying around in their mind, unless it was a powerful and talented telepath, which she wasn’t.

She found him outside, spinning a wooden staff around his wrist. He wasn’t the most graceful with it, but he was able to keep it moving consistently. When he heard her, he stopped and dropped one end into the ground. He looked over his shoulder at her, grinning. “Guess this’ll work.
“Aw, you know… the pajamas were pretty cute. This place – Gensokyo or whatever – seems to have a very strange dress code. Did you see some of the people wandering around the village?”

Sara blanched. Dammit, nothing was going right. Oh, well – persistence would win out in the end. She’d make sure of it.

*      *      *

The trip was almost entirely uneventful. The most exciting part about it was when Acied kept twirling the staff, tripped, and cracked himself in the head with the whirling staff.
Otherwise, nothing else happened – the staff was unneeded, apparently.

When they arrived at the Mansion, Hong Meiling was standing in front of the gate, going through some qi gong stretches. When she spotted them, she finished a wide stretch of her arms, then straightened out with a long exhale.

“Ni hao. E shiu yon de keno, Patchouli ui Sakuya?” she asked. Acied blinked.

We’re looking for Patchouli, yes. Is Sakuya around, too? Sara broadcast.

“Sakuya sleeps at odd intervals. Right now, she’s asleep – understand, she can stop time, and she does this to clean the mansion. She stays awake for several hours in the span of a second for us. In the meantime I’m going to escort you to the Voile.”

Sara pondered that. She almost forgot to translate to Acied, until he prodded her.

That’s right. He needs her to translate everything – at least, until he gets a hold of the Gift of Language spellcards.



Sara wanted to cry.

She did an excellent job hiding it, though. Rather than cringing, wandering the library, or outright sobbing, she just watched Patchouli and Acied.

It was almost as though they had both forgotten she’d existed. All the books, the floating magic items, Koakuma, and most importantly, Patchouli herself, fascinated Acied.

The librarian was giving him the same level of attention. She floated slightly off the ground, and drifted around Acied, inspecting him up and down.

Sara got the impression that she was appraising him in the same manner a butcher did a cow – or, more worrisome, a royal noble inspecting a suitor.

Koakuma did the honors of using a Gift of Language card, allowing Patchouli to use spellcards during the lessons.

“I want to see your magic. Let me prepare a lens, first, though,” she said.

Acied turned from a floating book to address her. “Well, first though, I need some music. For that, I rely on Sara here.”

Sara perked up, and reached for her harp. Of course, she found nothing. Her mood dimmed immediately, wondering if perhaps Patchouli was musically talented. Everything seemed to be going wrong for her now, as though Acied’s sour mood from the loss of the harp had finally caught up with her.

Patchouli glanced over at Sara. “You can play an instrument?”

Sara nodded. “That was originally why we came here yesterday, remember? To see if we could find anything about repairing a harp.”

Patchouli gestured at her podium, and a blank spellcard floated up off it. Sara picked up a thought from Acied – It’s like she’s a telekinetic.

Great, one more thing Patchouli had that Sara didn’t. Her mood sank even more, and she suddenly found it hard to keep it from showing. Not that anyone was looking directly at her, anyways.

Patchouli grasped the card when it floated close enough to her, and a quill came floating through the air in its wake. She scratched something onto the spellcard quickly, and then turned to Sara.

“Here. I’m going to teach you how to make a spellcard, now.” She held the card and quill out to the young musician.

Sara wiped the almost-scowl off her face immediately, and stared at the card for a moment before taking it. “Ah. Uh. Thank you? What do I do?”

“Etch whatever you think of as a symbol for music onto the card. Think of your harp, think of the music, and think of what you feel as you play music. The card needs to tap into your soul to be formed for you, not just by you. Sure, people other than who made them can use the spellcards – Refined Mental Arts is proof of that, and you using Marisa’s Master Spark card. But the person who makes the card will always be best able to use its full potential. For that, you should make each card on your own. It’ll become easier later on.”

Sara paused for a moment and thought. Back on Kaetir, she’d taught herself music – she always had an ear for it, and when she picked up musicians playing music through her telepathy, she always loved the way their minds felt and sounded. There was just something pleasing about it, and she wanted it for herself. She went to her guardians and asked for an instrument, but was never able to get one. Instead, she ran away when she turned eleven and essentially squired herself to a noble’s musician. After a year and a half of indentured servitude, she was able to get an old, discarded harp and taught herself how to play. Half a year after that, she played for her master to show her talent. When he realized he’d gotten such a find from an orphaned young girl, he immediately arranged to have her formally taught and began to pay her when she played with him.

Unfortunately, the noble he played for wasn’t as noble as his title would’ve led you to believe. If her teacher hadn’t of had as sharp an ear as she did, Sara probably wouldn’t’ve lived past her fifteenth birthday. After being banished from the church they played at, her master returned back to his home continent and couldn’t afford to bring her with him. Instead, he arranged to have her informally adopted by Acied’s parents.

Music had always guided her life – she was inspired by it, she loved to listen to it, and she loved to play it. There was the one rough point in her life where it nearly cost her her virginity, her sanity, and her life. Other than that near miss, music was nothing but a source of happiness for her.

With her spirits uplifted now as she really put thought to what she loved about music, she took the quill to the spellcard and etched one of the few things about music that she knew how to write – an eighth note. It was a bit squiggly, but otherwise unmistakable for a symbol of music.

Patchouli stepped back and pointed a single finger at the card in her hands. A small ball of light formed a centimeter in front of her fingertip, which then burst towards the card.

Sara didn’t have time to be surprised; once she had reacted, the work was already done. Rather than being a plain rectangular bit of parchment with a glyph on the back and an eighth note on the front, it suddenly became a stiff card with a stylized border surrounding the note.

In her surprise, she almost dropped it, but kept hold of it by sheer luck. She brought her other hand up and clutched it defensively, studying it in her hands.

My first spellcard! she thought. Acied echoed the thought aloud; “Your first card. Congratulations!”

Patchouli strode over. “This time I gave you the necessary burst of magic to imbue into it – otherwise, the rest was done by you. It seems simple, but you can easily botch the process. Acied here will be completely unable to make a spellcard without outside help – men find it nearly impossible to craft or create spellcards.”

Sara and Acied exchanged glances at this new bit of info. Acied simply shrugged, and Sara relaxed inwardly. He wouldn’t hold it against her – that was good.

“I suppose I could just get you to help me, then,” he said. Sara beamed.

Then, she stopped and considered his statement. Abruptly it felt like reality shattered around her.

Acied had said that to Patchouli.

“First I will want to study your shape-shifting before I will even consider that. Sara, if you would please play something for him?” Patchouli said.

It was a moment before she came back to an unshattered reality and realized she was being asked to perform. “Ah, but – I just have this card, not an instrument.”

The librarian nodded towards the card. “Precisely. Try using the card.”

She looked down at it, and noticed runes had appeared under the picture of the eighth note – which, she also noted, had changed into a proper eighth note, instead of the one she scribbled. “Ah…”

Koakuma pointed over her shoulder. “It says ‘Troubadour’s Blessing’,” she said.

Her sudden appearance, her finger creeping into Sara’s field of vision, and her accent all combined to nearly scare Sara out of her skin.

“Waugh!” She flailed wildly, and her elbow clipped Koakuma in the face. With a yelp, she fluttered away into the air, floating though not flapping her wings. “Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry!” she said, clutching her nose.

Sara realized she’d just hit her in the face, and looked up at her. “Ohmygod! I’m sorry!”

It took them each apologizing to each other another three times before they realized they were even. In the meantime, Acied grinned widely at Sara’s confusion, and walked over to her.

“Calm down, hon. Everyone makes mistakes, yeah?” he said as he ruffled her hair.

Sara literally felt herself on the verge of tears now. Nothing was going right for her – sure, she’d made a spellcard, but she couldn’t even read the damn thing. And when someone told her what it said, she punched them in the face!

She fell against Acied and grabbed him into a hug.

“Whoa. Oooookay. What’s this for?” he asked, patting her back lightly.

She mumbled into his tunic. “Nuff’n.” She broke free of him and shook her head. “Thank you, Koakuma. I didn’t mean to hit you.
“Well, I suppose I should go ahead and use this, then…”

She stepped further away from Acied and brandished the card like she’d seen Marisa do.

“Troubadour’s Blessing!” The card burst apart in a flash of light, and suddenly three motes of light dropped into existence around Sara and hovered at shoulder-height.

“Those are familiars. Whatever you think you may need them to do, you should be able to command them to do. Touch one.” Patchouli gestured at the one directly in front of Sara.

She reached out and brushed her fingers against it. There was no resistance, but she felt warmth. Oh, this is neat.

She felt like she should close her hand, so she did. Rather than clenching into a fist, though, she found herself gripping something. The light from the familiar faded, and in its place she saw that she was now holding a harp.

Surprised by this as well, she really did open her hand and jump back. Strangely, though, the harp remained floating in midair.

Recollecting herself, she reached out again and plucked at the strings. The harp remained stationary, giving her the resistance she needed to play it. It sounded perfect, already in tune. Indeed, there were no tuning pegs.

Intrigued, she stepped up to it properly and began to play it earnestly.

Oh, by the Gods, how she missed music already.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2010, 01:05:14 am »
AAAAUGH WHERE IS MY SECOND PAGE ALREADY

Yay update.

<Ruro> Not 'till 30 replies. And yes, I'm editing this into your message instead of posting it for the explicit purpose of not helping your efforts. >:D

This just in - RURO IS MEEEEAN.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 12:45:12 am by Esifex »

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Everlasting Wanderers
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2010, 03:58:26 am »
Sara began to vocalize in harmony with the harp. The two untouched familiars settled on either side of her, just behind her shoulders, and started pulsing lightly.

A wide grin spread across Acied's face - he was just as lost in the music as Sara was, nodding gently in time with the harp, letting his eyes go out of focus. It'd been far too long since they'd listened to music for the sheer sake of listening to it - since they'd come to Gensokyo, it was to help Acied use his magic, or to occupy their minds and keep from going crazy.

Patchouli slipped back to her podium and picked up a small eyepiece, and fitted it around one eye. She took a close look at reality itself through this lens, watching the flow of magic.

Ordinary people had no effect on the magic twisting around them through the air; sometimes they could sense its presence, and occasionally they could even generate a weak magical field, but never would they be able to touch it, or see it. For all intents and purposes, Acied was apparently one of these people - not a magician in the local sense of the word, but rather a Magus from his home world. What were the differences between a Magus and a Magician?

She looked him up and down. Apparently, it was the ability to toggle on and off a magical circuit, or produce magic on their own.

A similar system was active in Gensokyo proper - a magician had to draw on magic, normally. Artifacts like Marisa's Hakkero reactor could produce the necessary magic, or perhaps a youkai - like herself - could generate enough to start a chain reaction necessary for a critical mana mass, and often times there'd be leftover magic from the result. This magic wouldn't be consumed until someone else used it; this was what was necessary for the saturation of magic in Gensokyo's air.

But now, as Acied was basking in his companions' music, he seemed to be pushing the remnant magic flowing through the library away from him, shoving it aside with magic that flowed freely from him. He was pumping more magic into the air.

"Fascinating... just like a spellcard in reverse..." she muttered to herself. Neither of the Kaetins' paid her any heed.

She spoke up. "Acied, could you shapeshift now?"

He looked sidelong at her, still grinning slightly to the music. "Sure. Any preferences?" he asked. He began to roll his shoulders, as though he were limbering up for a workout.

Patchouli shook her head, then froze. "Actually, yes. Something as far from humanoid as you can manage - I want to see what happens when you shift your entire body."

Acied nodded, and his features began to blur. Patchouli almost blinked the eyepiece loose.

The magic that had been slowly seeping out of him was abruptly yanked back into him - but rather than pull the rest of the ambient magic along behind it, it left a void around him.

No, not quite - it was taking bits and pieces out of the air, slowly hollowing out a gap of null-mana air.

Patchouli turned her attention back on Acied, and realized he was starting to expand to fill in those gaps - and not an inch further.

He had dropped down to all fours - all six, now - and grown a long shaggy coat of fur. His overall appearance was reminiscent of a dog or wolf, but with an additional set of forelegs and a second jaw, lined with saber-fangs. If he hadn't of sat down and just blinked at her, he would've been a very frightening image - definitely not something to come across in the woods at night.

Just when Patchouli thought the shift couldn't get any more unusual, he spoke; the words were gruff and husky, but unmistakably human.

"Can you identify this? It's what attacked Sara right before we found the human village."

Patchouli took a step back in shock before she collected her composure; Koakuma had already turned about and found an excuse to busy herself elsewhere in the library.

"Ah. Perhaps, give me a moment - I think I know what it is, but I wish to confirm before I answer." A bestiary encyclopedia floated up helpfully before her. She flipped it open and paged through it, then glanced up at Acied one more time. He was now sitting like a domesticated dog, and idly scratching his flank with his hind leg.

"Hmm. I thought as much. That is one of the Fenrir youkai."

"How do I kill it?" he asked. Sara almost fumbled a verse on the harp before recovering, now paying full attention to the conversation and playing by muscle memory.

Patchouli scanned through the article. "They're weakest in the dark, though nocturnal. Isolate it away from sources of light, and find a way to bind its legs. Trapped thusly, it will be easy to fell - though be wary, as it has excellent night-sight and only loses strength and fortitude in the dark... not speed or agility. As with all living things, a thrust to the heart will fell it."

Acied tipped his head down in a facsimile of a nod. "Thank you." He began to un-shift, reverting to a cross-legged human.

"That is incredible magic - and it behaves very strangely compared to the natural magic here. Do you have any idea how it works?" she asked.

Sara slowly stopped playing as the two conversed. Back on Kaetir, since she wasn't a Magus proper, she never got to sit in on the lessons at the Maging Guilds with Acied. Only when they were doing practical lectures involving the students magic would she be allowed to join him, as she was necessary for his condition. Other Magi would occasionally have guests to aid them in their magic, as well, and like her, weren't allowed in the proper classes. She didn't know half as much about Kaetin magic as Acied would.

She stopped playing altogether; neither Patchouli nor Acied noticed. She let the familiars fade from existance, releasing the spellcards' magic. The card formed in front of her again, and she reached out and gathered it robotically.

Not more than two yards in front of her stood Acied, and he didn't even see her. Another yard beyond him was Patchouli, whom she'd come to see about learning how to read, and still ended up neglected.

She heaved a massive sigh. By the Gods, how would she figure this out?
 

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