Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Ray C, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. April 6, 2014

    The beach was always most beautiful at sunset. The waves were dyed gold as they crashed into the sandy shore, sparkling brilliantly with the sun's last rays. The sky was bathed in crimson and lavender, framing the blazing sun in a deep rainbow. The wind and water hummed in her ears, soothing her mind and heart. It helped, too, that very few people were about this late on a Sunday. She had the coastline mostly to herself, save the occasional party-goers who weren't ready to pack it in for the weekend.

    Rebecca ran right past those parties without a second glance. She was hardly dressed for a beach party; with her dark capris, light jacket, and brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, it was apparent that all she wanted was an evening run. The light sheen of sweat on her forehead was a testament of how long she'd been going already. Beside her, a loyal collie ignored the parties with just as much intensity as her owner. Rebecca spared a glance down, smiling at the wonderful hound. "Good girl, Samantha."

    Samantha barked once in agreement, then faced ahead again and stepped up the pace a little. Rebecca matched the collie, pushing herself to keep even despite having half the number of legs. She lifted her head to look at the setting sun once more, savoring this beautiful scene while she could. While anyone could. It wouldn't be long before humanity's greed had destroyed views like this one. Perhaps an oil spill worse than the 2010 British Petroleum catastrophe was just over the horizon, and soon this beach would be painted black and covered in dead fish.

    Samantha yipped in annoyance. Rebecca, pulled from her dark musings, realized she'd let her pace slow drastically. Samantha was many long meters ahead and looking back to see why her running partner was taking so long. Rebecca smiled and hustled to catch up. "Thanks, girl. I shouldn't be worrying about that right now."

    Samantha barked once in agreement.


    "I'm home!" Rebecca called as she slammed the door shut behind her. Samantha rubbed her paws on the doormat, then padded up the stairs. Rebecca walked past the staircase and turned left into the large kitchen. Deuce was at the stove, wearing his tall, white hat and apron and shaking a heavy frying pan over the burner. The outfit was probably the only part of him that looked like a chef: his brown hair was spiked back, his sideburns ran almost to his square chin, and his arms were thicker than the average bouncer. Still, the man worked miracles in a kitchen and had never disappointed Rebecca.

    "Welcome home, Princess. Was the beach nice?" Deuce grinned at her while his spare hand shook a few spices over what looked like a vegetable stirfry.

    "It was, Fool. Have you prepared his majesty's supper?" Rebecca kept a straight face as she walked around Deuce to reach the refrigerator. Cracking it open, she perused the shelves in search of something she wanted to drink. There was a juice in the door, a can of soda on a shelf, a small pitcher of lemonade, or a case of chocolate milk bottles at eye level.

    "His royal stuffiness is working late tonight. He said to eat without him."

    Rebecca just nodded. She settled on chocolate milk, just like every other day. Deuce had once asked her why she even cared that the other drinks were in there; she had replied that it was so she could choose whichever she wanted--she just always wanted chocolate milk. "I'll take my meal up in my room, then," Rebecca instructed as she walked back the way she'd come.

    "As you wish, Princess. I'll send your Lady-in-waiting up with it shortly."

    "Thanks, Deuce. Goodnight."

    "Night, Bec."

    Rebecca climbed the stairs to her room on the second floor. She pushed the door closed behind her with her heel, as her hands were busy opening the bottle she held. Samantha was already resting on the large bed in the center of the room. Joshua, Samantha's brother, was on the wide window-sill and staring out the window. Bobby, a red-eared slider turtle, was drifiting aimlessly in his aquarium. On the shelf below him was a tank of freshwater fish swimming with an equal lack of destination.
    "You all are living it up, aren't you?" Sarcasm aside, this room was exactly what her life was: peaceful, quiet, and uneventful. Rebecca sighed and settled herself down at her desk. She was still there reading when Ginny knocked and brought in her dinner. Rebecca thanked her and dismissed her and Deuce for the night. She soon turned in as well, putting up her books and preparing for bed.

    Under the warm weight of her blankets, with sleep slowly overtaking her, Rebecca's mind wandered briefly. In two months she would graduate and could scratch that off her checklist. In the fall she would begin college. Three or four years from now she would be done with that. Then came a career, probably a family, and eventually retirement.

    Is that all there is to life?
    I have school in the morning. I need to sleep.
    Is that all there is to life?
    Yes. That's all there is, so just go to sleep.

    Rebecca turned over, trying to find a more comfortable position. It didn't help ease the vague anxiety at the back of her mind. Around ten o'clock, Rebecca finally drifted into dreamland.

    "Is that enough for you?"

    "What?" Rebecca spun around, trying to find the voice that spoke from the blackness surrounding her.

    "Is that enough to keep you happy? Simply existing in the world."

    Rebecca kept turning, searching for the source of that voice. It came from everywhere at once, filling the endless void Rebecca floated through. The words made her angry; she felt as though she was being mocked, as though this voice dismissed her very existence like waving away a fly.

    "I will show you life. Come to my world, child, and know what it means to live. Help me, and I'll help you."

    The last sentence came clearly from right behind Rebecca. Her blood froze and her eyes snapped wide. Slowly, fearfully, Rebecca turned to face Aria.

    The woman sat on a cold throne. She wore a dress as plain as fresh snow that left her pale arms uncovered. Red hair spun down over her left shoulder and red bangs stretched almost to her eyes. Her eyes... It wasn't until Rebecca saw Aria's eyes that she understood why this woman's appearance unnerved her so greatly. Aria's eyes were a shining blue and had no pupils. No emotion could be found in those eyes, and Rebecca had the horrifying sense that those eyes were staring straight through her.

    "Help?" Rebecca managed to ask.

    "Help. Will you come?"

    It's all a dream. Rebecca told herself that over and over. It's only a dream, so no harm can come of it. "Show me. Show me life."

    A small smile lifted the corners of Aria's mouth. It made her appearance even more unsettling.


    Rebecca slowly stirred. She felt herself sitting upright on something hard. Blinking her eyes open, Rebecca found a long, wooden table in front of her and a wooden chair beneath her. To her right was another person in a chair, though they didn't seem to be moving just yet. Across the table were more people. And to her left, Rebecca found Aria sitting on her cold, stone throne. That same small smile filled her lips. Those same shining eyes watched Rebecca and the others beginning to wake. But now Aria didn't look so frightening; rather, she looked quite beautiful. Even the thrush in her lap held an air of refinement.

    Rebecca glanced around the table once more, but her eyes quickly returned to Aria. She seemed to be waiting until she had everyone's attention.
    #1 Ray C, Jul 13, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2014
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  2. April 6, 2014

    She had spent that sunday as every other: she woke up early, put on her former school gym suit, ran for a couple of hours trough the park, to avoid the sea, breathing some fresh air; the Ipod playing her 'Running' playilist. It was built for her morning run: 134 minutes and 27 seconds of Nana Mizuki, T.M. Revolution and Altima, few people would have recognized them in America exept for some anime openings or endings, but she didn't care, their music gave her the right rhythm and she kept running.

    The wind was chilly, and the leaves danced on it drawing random, frantic shadows on the groung and on the girl. Ren looked up at the orange-blue colored sky: "Good morning, to you too, Sun. Today is all yours"
    she said, bathing a little in its light before starting to run back home.
    She hadn't met anyone and that was no surprise, of course, as she woke up that early to avoid meeting anyone during her run. In that couple of months she had spent in America she adapted quickly to other's rhythms and, more or less, she managed to interact the least with her neighbors, leaving all the speaking to her father.

    She arrived home as the last song played its last notes.
    "I'm home" she wispered looking at the empty house while turning off the Ipod
    "Welcome back Ren! What do you want for breakfast?" she asked herself sarcastically passing through the kitchen: on the table there was a note in kanji:
    'I'm sorry Ren, dad was called to work, I think I'll be back for dinner, be a good girl and have a nice day.'
    "Nothing really, I'll just take a shower" she answered herself crumpling up and throwing the note in the bin.

    After taking a shower, she just did her homework, studied something on some future classes, read a book, skipped launch and sat on the open window's sill of her room, listening to some smooth music just gazing at her uniform and her kyudou long bow. She missed Japanese school system and, more than anything, she missed kyudou: that feeling of peace that came while aiming, the tension before letting go the arrow, breath control, hitting the target, the respect toward opponents... nothing really mattered while she was on that floor, nor the bullying, nor Mamoru, her ex-boyfriend, not her scar, nor her parents absence, nor her eyes colors. She really loved it very much.

    She was lost in her own world, a world of sakura fluttering, canned 'cafè au lait' and... "CAAAAW" she jumped surprised as a crow landed on her knee:
    "Oh, Karasu! What are you doing here? Is it already 7pm?" she laughed as the crow cryed again, she hadn't noticed that the time had flown by "Yes, Yes... I'll take you some meat but you should learn not to trust me so much you know? Who says I won't poison you?" she added patting his head. That crow appeared every time she sat on the sill, half inside, half ouside the window and demanded food, cawing left and right. Ren went to the fridge and took out a piece of meat she would have used to cook stew and returned to her room to feed the bird.
    It ate it and left with a sound "CAAAAAAW".
    "You're welcome... even if you're just using me too..." she put on a sad smile and went to cook the stew, after all it was her turn to make dinner.

    As she expected, her father didn't show up for dinner and, as her mother remained in Japan, Ren decided to eat alone and to prepare some onigiri as her bento the day after. Then she left a note in english near a full dish of stew "I'm going to sleep, eat and take a shower before you do too."
    She changed in her pajamas and begun to read SAO: Aincrad before sleeping "Give me a bit of fantasy... life is already so sadistically real"

    She finally fell asleep, around midnight, her father still not home.


    "Is that enough for you, my child?" a full, quiet voice spoke from all around Ren

    "I'm not your child, Ms. strange-sounding-voice" she answered cynical and cautious. The voice laughed gently

    "You've done well, surviving all this time. Cynicism, loneliness, untrusting... It must have been hard on you"
    at every word Ren felt touched somewhere in her heart because, deep down, she just knew that Ms. Voice's words were true.

    "What, are you here to talk me into trust someone again? I wish I could, but really, I know it's not worth my time. Now sorry, this is my dream so now you're dismissed, tomorrow I got to fade in the crowd and it takes energy to do it." she was hard on herself, but it was the only way she knew not to be hurt again.

    "Come child. Come with me, help me and I will show you how to stop surviving and, instead, how to begin to live."
    her voice came from behind her and was so smooth that Ren almost agreed. The girl turned to face the voice and she found a woman sitting on a stone throne, a simple dress on her pale complexion and red long hair. What surprised her, though, were Aria's eyes: they were the purest blue and she hadn't pupils they almost looked... dead.

    "Why should I trust you?"

    "You don't have to, child. Your help won't be unrewarded." Aria smiled while Ren squinted and asked

    "What do you mean?" Aria just smiled more openly and held out her hand toward the girl who, won by the thought of it being a dream and that it would disappear before breakfast, took it still skeptic.


    Ren woke up on something hard, something like a... chair? She looked around her to find what it seemed a long, big, wooden table, on her left there was a girl, looking around her, and Aria, on her throne, a small smile on her lips, while on her right, she saw other people still half asleep: it seemed that they were waking up.
    Ren looked straight into those dead, crystal-like eyes: "What does it mean?"

    "You'll see soon child, very soon"
    #2 Nay'ar, Jul 14, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2014
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  3. April 6th, 2014

    Ivy awoke as normal, not to her alarm clock like she so wished to do, but to her 5 year old little brother bouncing on her. "Wake up Wake up Wake up Ivy!" The little boy would urge from his spot on her stomach. "Every morning Peter.. Every. Morning. Can't you ever just let me.. ya know.. sleep in?" She opened one of her hazel eyes half way to see the little boy's outline in the black darkness of her room. "But if you sleep in that's less time we get to play." The little boy said quite matter of factly. Well she couldn't argue with that logic. "Okay fine, let me shower at least." She said as she gently pushed the boy off her. She rolled over and preyed both her hazel eyes open and looked at the alarm clock as it read in bright red letters 7:36 A.M. She groaned and slammed her head into her pillow and sighed. One day she'd get to sleep in, but today was not the day.

    After Ivy peeled herself from her warm loving beds embrace, she had taken her morning shower and gone though her morning routine. Her life was very particular, everyday exactly like the next. She left her autumn hair as it was, in curls that sprung down her back. She sat down at the kitchen table and watched her mother hurry around the kitchen making breakfast for her brothers and her. "Oh Ivy, your up already?" Her mother asked in a slightly shocked tone as she flipped a flapjack and heard a satisfying sizzle in return. "Mom do I ever get to sleep in anymore?" She replied in her 'annoyed teenage' voice. "Oh you know they only do it because they love you." Her mother countered as she poured a glass of milk for the two boys. Ivy knew the routine and picked both glasses up and set them on the table. She counted in her head "3..2..1.." "BOYS BREAKFAST" Her mother yelled and the two boy came running in almost knocking Ivy over in the process. "Jeez!" She said as she caught herself on a chair. "No running in the house" She told them and snatched a piece of toast from the plate on the counter. "Is that all your having?" Her mother asked in a worried tone. "Yeah mom I'll be fine, I'm going to go take a morning walk I'll be back later." She said and kissed her mother on the cheek before waving good bye to the boys and walking out the back door.

    Ivy had been enjoying the freedom of her Sunday morning walk and stopped in the park. It was to early for any children to be here and she sat on an empty swing on the old swing set. It creaked a Ivy rolled her feet back and forth as the swing moved her body forward and back in motion with her feet. Ivy sighed and watched the sun rise over the clouds and shine brightly. She had very few friends here, and by few she meant none. Life can get quite lonely if one is always alone she told herself. She wasn't sure why people didn't like her, all she did was try to be friendly and well.. blend in. She sighed and her hair fell into her face and shaded her eyes from the suns bright glare. Her eyes dropped and looked at her hands as they swayed by her side. She saw a couple of children start arriving to enjoy their last day of the weekend before school tomorrow and she decided it was time for her to take her leave.

    After strolling around her neighborhood for an hour she returned home to the inevitable fighting of her two younger brothers. "Mom I'm home" She said and grabbed Peter from off of the table "Get down from there or you'll fall" She scolded the youngest and looked over at Luke. "Luke what the heck did you do to the poor cat?" She asked as she noticed her cat cowering in the corner wearing one of her old doll hats. "I wanted to make him pretty." Luke argued as Ivy put down Peter on the floor and opened a cabinet. She reached in and pulled out 2 cookies, giving one to each boy. "Now go play, nicely." She said as her mother walked in. "Thank goodness you're home I need to go run errands, will you watch the boys" She asked her as she grabbed her purse. "Yeah mom, I'll watch the boys" She said, she wished for once she could tell her mother "No, I'm going out with friends" But she couldn't because 1 she didn't have any friends and 2 she' probably get punished for being disrespectful. "Okay well I'm off then, I'll be home later" Ivy picked up her gray cat and scathed it's head as it purred lovingly. "At least you like me huh Ralts" She said as she brought the cat into the living room.

    The rest of the day pasted easy enough. She sat and watched the boys as she read and patted her cat on his scruffy head. She made the boys lunch and she her mother got home she took over giving Ivy enough time to go to her room and listen to music. She finished her essay for her English class and finished up her remaining homework and studied a bit before dinner. Ivy didn't have much of a life so that left her plenty of time to focus on her studies and so she was a great student. Dinner pasted as usual with her father walking in and placing a kiss on everyone's forehead. They ate, talked about their day, scolded the boys for playing with their food and sent the two off to bed. Ivy was putting away the dishes as usual she her father walked in "How was your day, kiddo?" He asked her as he began helping her put away the silverware.

    "Typical dad, same as every other day." She replied lazily. and finished up. "You know Ivy you really should try to make a friend or two, go out and do what teenagers do ya know?" He said concerned. She wanted to scream, but simply replied "I'll work on that dad. Goodnight" She said and hurried up the stairs and to her room. Changing her clothes back to her comfy pajamas and throwing her clothes into her hamper she fell into bed and screamed into her pillow. Her cat was sleeping silenty in his bed in the corner of her room and she sighed "At least one of us is sleeping." She muttered before turning off her light and looking at her alarm clock as it read 9:27 P.M. She rolled over and noticed for the first time all day how tired she actually was and fell right to sleep.


    "Is that enough for you?" The voice spoke to her from a sudden place in darkness
    "W-what?" Ivy asked as she flipped over trying to find the voice in the darkness.

    "Are you happy this way? Alone?" Ivy thought over her words as the voice filled her the void of darkness.

    "I-I'm fine.." She lied

    "Come my child, I'll show you how to truly live. Help me and I can in return help you" The voice said again, this time though a girl appeared.

    "H-help.. But how can I help you?" She asked skeptical of the voice but decided it was only a dream anyway, why not go with it.

    "I'll show you" was her only reply as she extended her hand towards Ivy. Ivy looked at the smiling girl and took her hand. Whatever this was, it was the strangest dream Ivy had dreamt in awhile.


    Ivy awoke sitting in a.. chair like thing. Her arms were crossed on the table and it looked like she had used them as a pillow. Aria was sitting on a throne at the head of a long wooden table. Others were still sleeping but two other girls had awaken and she looked around at the room, very confused. What could this all mean? Was she still dreaming? She looked down at her hands and then back up. Everything seemed so real and.. bright. She looked around at the other girls. Great more people to hate her. She thought to herself
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  4. April 6, 2014

    Somewhere in Aruta, California, there stood a plain house, and in the living room of the house, there sat a boy on the sofa, a controller in his hands as his eyes were glued to the television screen. He looked to be thirteen or fourteen years old, and his light brown hair in a bowl cut hung in his similarly brown eyes. It was one minute to 8 p.m. in that house, but within the world on the screen, the boy steered himself through a snowy expanse beneath the golden light of a breaking dawn. A faint dragon's cry echoed through the mountains, causing the boy to press the buttons on the controller that would cause him to draw a sword and then summon a spark of magic flame into the other hand.

    It was at this moment that a second boy strode into the room. He looked to be two or three years older than the one seated at his game, and his long raven-black hair and vivid green eyes told clearly that the two boys weren't related in the slightest. While the younger wore a T-shirt and jeans, the older wore a polo shirt and a pair of khakis. Without provocation, he walked over to the couch, climbed into the empty space next to the younger boy, and perched atop the cushions, poised on the balls of his socked feet with his arms planted straight down his front, keeping his bent legs apart. He looked very much like a gargoyle or perhaps an oversized bird of prey, and either image could also describe the way he stared silently at the younger boy without moving, a small smirk playing at one side of his mouth.

    It took a few seconds for the one playing the game to look uncomfortable and finally speak in a prepubescent voice. "Whaddaya want, Chris?"

    "It was my turn to play at 8. I seek what has been promised me." Unlike his companion, Chris spoke in a voice that had changed already, its timbre deep and, dare he think it, sultry. He was rather pleased with this shift from how it had been two years ago, though it still cracked from time to time.

    "Why are you staring at me?"

    "Because it is past 8 and I'm afraid you haven't relinquished your turn yet. Come on, Owen, be a friend."

    Owen scowled and raised his voice. "Moooom, Chris is being weird again."

    Chris emitted a low chuckle. "Come now, surely you can be nice to the guy you're supposed to pretend is your brother?" He remained in his perching position.

    "Cut it out, you got to go longer yesterday! It's only fair."

    His expression soured. "I would argue otherwise. I seem to recall a rather poor attempt from you to conceal the fact that you purposefully knocked my pizza on the ground last night. Fell face down, it did."

    "I did not!"

    "It's 8, Owen. Don't argue with me. And don't you have homework to finish?"

    Owen twitched. "You do too, I bet!"

    "On the contrary. I just completed and printed out my history paper. Now give me the controller."

    "Can I at least finish with the dumb dragon?!"

    Chris scowled. "Fine, fine. Consider me merciful." He finally unfolded himself from his position and sat next to Owen on the couch. "Once you finish with the dumb dragon. I'm holding you to that. Don't try my patience."

    Owen's face twisted into a frown as he tried but failed to hold back a shudder. After the last time Owen had 'tried Chris' patience,' he'd known always to agree.


    "Is that enough for you?"

    Chris stirred, or at least he thought he stirred. "Wha...?" He rubbed his eyes and took in his surroundings, but there wasn't much in the way of surroundings. He was enveloped in blackness. Was he asleep? He seemed to remember going to bed after his fair hour and a half with the game Owen had been playing.

    "Is that a life you are happy with?"

    He had no idea where that voice was coming from. His eyes swept the area in vain, seeking an image in the blackness, but when he looked behind him, he finally set his eyes on a strange sight, the only thing illuminated in this empty world. A woman sat before him, pale in skin and simple clothing. The seat beneath her and around her looked to be a throne of sorts, and while she bore vibrant red hair of a hue that didn't quite look natural, what unnerved him the most were her eyes, orbs of blue with no pupil to be seen. After his initial reaction of discomfort at the sight, Chris relaxed somewhat. He raised one questioning brow as he looked her over, folding his left arm across his middle and cupping his chin in his right hand to form a thinking pose. "Huh. Okay, you're interesting. Haven't ever had a dream like you before."

    The strange woman appeared not to have heard him. "Confined to a family not your own, desperately striving for a feeling of superiority. Seeking and chasing worth in a void."

    His studious expression faltered. Doubt flickered in his eyes for a precious moment, but he furrowed his brow, no longer looking vulnerable. "Your point? That's life. I'll face it. Unless you've got some better alternative."

    "Child, come with me, and I can show you a different life. A life where you forge your own path. A life where you will be a hero, and I will personally reward you for your service. May I request your service?"

    The word "reward" caused his face to light up before he could help it. He hesitated before saying anything, wary of what he was getting himself into, but he shook that worry from his head. This was just a dream he was having. He'd be up for the ride. He lowered his arms and flashed the strange woman a grin. "All right, Weird Dream Lady. You're on."

    The woman chuckled.


    He stirred, and this time he knew for sure it was the feeling of waking from sleep. He groaned in complaint as he lifted his head, only realizing as his body moved just how he'd been sleeping: sitting in a hard wooden chair, his head rolled back and his mouth hanging open. He had almost certainly been snoring in a position like that. He winced and put a hand to the back of his neck when pain lanced through it. That wasn't a healthy way to sleep. The question was why he'd been sleeping in a chair in the first place...and more importantly, where this chair even was. He could have sworn he'd drifted off in his usual bed, grudgingly ready to return to school in the morning. This was neither his bedroom nor his classroom. His eyes slowly widened in fear as he looked around, fear of the unknown. His hands gripped the edge of the table, and it pushed back against his fingers, well and truly solid.

    This was most certainly not a dream. Not anymore.
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  5. April 6, 2014

    "Ky, there's a customer looking at the guitars, can you help him? I'm busy," Eddy Murdach called over his shoulder.

    "I'll be right there!" Kyla Sullivan set down the sheet music she was sorting in the back room and rolled out to see the swarthy middle-aged music store owner elbow deep in the saxophone reed bin. "...and then I'll need two boxes of clarinet reeds, make sure they're B-flat. Last time one of the boxes were half full of E-flat reeds! Jimmy Marshall couldn't breathe right for a week..." Mrs. Henshaw, the middle school band teacher, stood on the other side of the counter with a long list in her hand and paused in her directions to beam at the tiny girl. "How are you doing, Miss Sullivan?"

    "Just great, Mrs. Henshaw!" Kyla exclaimed. "Are your students ready for their big concert next week?"

    "Hardly, but you know how it is," Mrs. Henshaw replied in her honeysuckled Southern accent. "At this age you're either passionate about music or forced into it by parents and this year it's mostly the latter."

    "What a shame," Kyla said sympathetically while guiding her wheelchair around the counter and into the main aisle. "I hope next year will be better."

    "Me too, sweetie, me too."

    The guitars were located along the side wall and down a narrow aisle, her least favourite in the store. If she didn't angle it right, she sometimes got stuck. Kyla's hunter green eyes flitted back and forth from the shelves to the metal pole towering above her chair, making sure she neither bumped into the shelving nor hit the hanging guitars with the pole.

    "Yes sir, can I help you?" she asked with a cheerful smile as she pulled up to a shaggy looking teen. He looked down at her, then up at a shiny blue and white Gibson electric hanging on the top rack, his adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed in discomfort. "Uh.... I was just..."

    "Want me to get that down for you?"

    "Nah, it's ok. I'm just looking..." His eyes travelled over her and around the small shop in search of another associate, but saw none other than the manager... and he was still busy. They rested longingly on the guitar again.

    "Want me to get that down for you?"
    she repeated in a patient tone. The teen shuffled his feet. "Er... can you?"

    Kyla snorted. "Of course I can! You want the blue Gibson, right?" She reached behind her to pull out the metal pole from its holder and aimed the hook at the top for the guitar. Without a hitch, except between the guitar and the pole, the Gibson glided down into the arms of the teen. "It's a beautiful guitar. It has such a rich tone... Would you like to plug it into an amp?" She began wheeling herself backwards to exit the aisle.

    "Uh, sure."

    "Then follow me!"


    Kyla backed her chair against the front door of her townhouse and twisted around to grab the doorknob. Mom's car was in the driveway, so it was guaranteed the door was unlocked. With a grunt and mustered up muscle, Kyla managed to shove the door open. She also managed to wedge her wheel against the door frame. Great.

    "Mom! I need you to give me a push!"

    Nothing. Kyla gripped the door frame on either side and tried to wiggle her chair loose, but it wouldn't budge. "Mom!" she hollered again. Still nothing. But this time, she could hear a faint humming sound coming from within the house. Kyla twisted herself around the other way, exposing her good ear to the interior to hear clearer. It was the vacuum she heard in the background. Mom couldn't hear her. With renewed vigour, Kyla shook back and forth in her chair as hot tears threatened to gather in her eyes and still she couldn't make the chair budge on her own. She was completely helpless. The feeling knotted up inside her and fell like a weight into the pit of her stomach.

    "What good is a girl who can't even get into her own house?" she half-laughed, half-whimpered to herself as a burning trail raced down a pale cheek.


    Somewhere in the deep realm of subconsciousness, a voice whispered to her. It fell sweetly on her ears like the summer rain, but also cold and clear like an icicle. A beautiful pillar of frozen water, suspending from a gable window... Kyla pressed through the darkness to find the owner of the voice, but it whispered from another place. She could hear words coming from her left. Kyla paused and began her pursuit in the new direction through the darkness.

    "Child, child, I see the tears you weep."

    "It's hard, it's so hard,"
    Kyla's voice trembled.

    "Your legs were not the only part of you to be crushed, child." The voice came from behind her now. Kyla whirled in circles until she saw her. A woman with the grace and beauty of a living snowflake. Her eyes, her beautiful eyes, reflected like two perfectly round pools of water. "I need your help, child. My people need your help. Come with me, child, and I will teach your crushed spirit to fly."

    "Give me wings," Kyla cried, stretching her hands out to the red-haired goddess upon her cold throne. "Oh, give me wings!"


    She was pulled along in the darkness until her subconscious left her slumbering body and woke her in a chair. At first, she thought she had fallen asleep in her wheelchair again, but as her eyes took in her surroundings, she realized she did not know where she was. Or even whose body she was in. Kyla stared in amazement as the smooth, full arms resting in her lap clasped and unclasped in response to her movements. Where was her scrawny, stick-figure of a frame? Then it hit her, she could feel the movement on her legs! She moved a foot. Then the other.

    "I have legs!" she cried joyfully, then quickly sobered as she noticed the others sitting at a table with her and the lady, Aria, seated at the head. A blush stole across her cheeks as her eyes quickly dropped to admire her normal hands and arms in silent marvel.
    #5 Lady Alainn, Jul 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
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  6. Chris laid awake in bed for a couple of minutes before he got up to begin his day. He first woke up Hobbes with his morning scratchies. Then Chris went to his computer booting it up, picking up a nearby notebook while the computer booted. Flipping through until he found the dogeared corner marking the beginning of Saturday he straightened the corner and read through the three subsequent pages, until he reached a blank one. Folding the corner of that one now marking Sunday he closed the notebook and set it down. Nothing left unfinished from yesterday so today was going to be potluck. Leaving the computer turned on Chris dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast.

    Eating his waffles at the computer Chris looked over the latest news in the world of zoology. The NPS updated their policy on paleontology finds, but that wasn't particularly exciting. Closing down the computer for now Chris gathered up his books and headed out for his local library. Chris enjoyed the walk, the fresh air was nice, as well as what little exercise he got. Which would probably be all his exercise this weekend. Once more he determined to start lifting weights or something to get into better condition. It wouldn't do to be a twig when he headed out for an expedition. Though maybe he could convince any predators to look him over and go instead for some prey more worth their time. Chris chuckled, unfortunately that wasn't how it worked.

    Chris dropped off his books in the return chute. The librarians would know it was him that had stopped by. Not many other people regularly borrowed psychology reference books. Turning around and heading back home Chris hoped they would have the other books he was interested in ready for him on Monday. One perk to being friends with the librarians was he could occasionally pick out a book or two not in the system, and they would get it once they received funds to expand the library. The walk home was as uneventful as the previous walk. Chris was somewhat concerned Hobbes was going to grow bored of him if he could not come up with suitable embellishments to his journey. Chris wasn't unduly concerned however, Hobbes was a real sucker for a story where a heroic tiger played a part.

    "As he helped me find my way back home a great breeze sprung up. It blew back the hood of the cloaked figure for a moment and I saw within. The mysterious stranger who saved me from the den of the vile robot pirates was none other than a great tiger!"
    Hobbes looked peeved for a moment and Chris laughed. "Which is not to say that all tigers are not great." Mollified Hobbes settled back down. "Fortunately for me he stayed with me until I was almost here, his mere presence scaring away a host of pleasantries I am sure." Laughing Chris got up and went back to the computer, researching psychology and sociology through lunch until it came time for supper. Unfortunately attendance at dinner was mandatory.

    Chris picked up his utensils when his food was set in front of him however he used them only to play with his food while his mother sat down and began eating. Chris's father spoke up saying "So sport how was your day today?" This was what Chris had been waiting for, talking with food in your mouth was always awkward. "I went to library today." His father replied with a disinterested "That's nice son." The daily ritual now having been concluded, his father and mother talked to each other while Chris dug into his food. Speaking with them only once more when he was finished eating, Chris went back to his room and resumed his research.

    Shutting down the computer, Chris idly scratched Hobbes neck while he reviewed today's notes. Two pages worth was not a particularly productive day, but there was only so much he could do. He put away the notebook and changed in pajamas lying in bed a little while before he managed to go to sleep. As usual the last thing he laid eyes on was his custom picture of a streak of tigers, the lead one having been Photoshopped to be replaced with a picture of Hobbes looking his most majestic.

    "Is that enough for you?"

    Chris looked around curiously. "That's a weird question. It is what it is." The voice didn't seem to have an origin point. Not even that, it seemed as if the voice started not from any one place but from everywhere at once.

    "Are you content with this? Reading secondhand reports from those who get to go out and experience the real discovery? To maybe someday have your chance to explore, but in a world combed over by hundreds before you for thousands of years?"

    "Yes well if i was born a couple hundred years sooner, but that is not something I had much control over." The fact that he could not find the voice was starting to concern him. It didn't help that the voice seemed to be mocking him for something over which he had no control.

    "Come and help me. I can show you a younger world. One with secrets still left to discover."

    "Discovering new worlds is not exactly a safe occupation. I still have time left on this orb, maybe I will take my chances here."
    That last time she had spoken, for it had certainly sounded like a she, it had been behind him. Chris spun around and saw Aria. His first impression was that those eyes were incredibly creepy. Not someone, he decided, with a very trustworthy face.

    "With risk comes reward. Help me and you will be richly rewarded."

    Making his decision Chris walked towards her. "Well, when you put it that way." Chris tried for a dashing smile. This was a dream after all, not much harm in seeing what happened.


    Chris slowly stretched his neck as he brought his eyes into focus. He seemed to now be in a wooden chair. One among others, some also awake but a couple still asleep, Chris looked around a bit more. Well he had had stranger dreams than this, may as well go with the flow for now. Still though if he was going to wait he may as well be comfortable changing his chair into a more ornate padded one, he began to settle back into it when he realized it hadn't changed. Confused and a bit more concerned he tried to hide his shock and rested his elbows on the table his hands interlocked. What was the point of a lucid dream if one could not control it? Chris looked around a bit more interested as he wondered of the situation in which he now found himself.
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  7. April 6, 2014

    It was a quiet alarm that woke Neil up. He kept it that way on purpose- the walls in his house were thin, and one of Neil's walls connected with one of his parent's room. Another wall was shared with Madison's room. Her twin brother, Josh, slept in Neil's room, and the older boy was thankful that his little brother slept heavily. The alarm didn't wake him, and even the soft thuds that sounded as Neil walked around and dressed didn't wake anyone. The teenager counted it as a blessing as he changed into some old jeans and a white shirt. At one point, it had probably been nice. And maybe when picked up from Goodwill, that had been the intent. But now it was one of those shirts that Neil tossed on to do work, or to go to school. Normally, it would have an undershirt paired with it, but for now, Neil left it unbuttoned. Instead, he took the opportunity to put on a pair of socks, and run a brush through his fair. It was getting long- he really needed to trim it, if only so he could stop pushing it out of his face every time he looked down.

    Finally, it was time for the little ones to be up. Neil crept over the piles of clothes and paper to the bed. (Neil slept on a futon that remained up, while Josh claimed the twin sized bed.) He shook his brother, who groaned quietly. "Wake up, kid, it's after eight," Neil said softly. "Get yourself ready. I'm going to wake up Madi, and then make you two breakfast- and don't forget to pack up," he said.

    The nine year old sighed, but sat up and rubbed his eye. "But Mom's home today..."

    "She's exhausted. She works really hard, you know. But you know what? Mom's gonna pick you up after work tomorrow," Neil promised with a smile. They both knew it was an empty promise- something was going to come up- but it was nice to pretend. And, truth be told, Neil didn't like Josh or Madison home when both of his parents were. Their mom had a 50/50 chance of trying to take away their dad's alcohol, and Neil never wanted the kids around to see that.

    With a resigned nod, the boy started to untangle himself from the covers. Satisfied that his brother would actually get himself ready, Neil left their room, and walked right, towards Madison's room. The door was left ajar, and Neil pushed it over. He tensed as it creaked, but except for the shuffling of Josh moving around, the house was still quiet. As silently as he could, Neil passed into Madison's room, and repeated the process of dodging the mess and approaching the bed in order to shake his little sister's shoulder and rouse her from her slumber. "Hey, kiddo, time to get up," he said, when Madison indicated that she was awake by wiggling around until the little blonde girl faced him. "You're going to Ella's today, remember? And you're going to go to school with her tomorrow- and Mom's going to pick you up from school tomorrow," he said, and smiled.

    "No, she won't," Madison said, very matter-of-factly, despite being in a web of her own hair and sideways. "But that's okay," she decided, still just as stout, "because I like you, better."

    "Oh- don't say that, kiddo," Neil protested. "You know she works a lot, that's all..."

    "Because she loves us," Madison intoned. "But she doesn't spend time with us. But I want to see Ella, and I wanna see you tomorrow- can we have french toast for breakfast?"

    Neil wasn't going to win that argument. "Sure, kid. Pack up, get ready, and then come downstairs. And make sure Josh didn't fall back asleep."

    If there was anything that Neil hated about dropping Madison and Josh off at their friends' houses, it was the looks of pity that the three of them got from the parents. At first, it hadn't been so bad- they just knew that he was their older brother, and responsible for arranging what happened with Madison and Josh, pick up and drop off, and what have you. Then, they stopped asking to send their kids to the Thompson household, and instead started inviting Neil in for lunches. That was all goodhearted at first, but then the twins must have told them that 'Mommy works a lot and she's never home, and Daddy's always sleeping,' and Neil couldn't stand looking back at that sympathy any more. He denied the meal invites every so often, and let his anger simmer until he had time to address it.

    Today was no different- both the parents of Madison's friend and of Josh's friend asked him over for lunch, and he denied both. Just thanked the parents for all that they did and got back in the car. He'd left his school stuff at home, and as he drove back, he considered. Studying now would definitely be ideal, but the issue was where would that happen? At home, he ran the risk of having to listen to his parents fight, but outside, he ran the risk of running into a friend before he was finished with his work. Knowing that your friend does his work when you're in the crowd that is known for not doing it and actually seeing your friend do that same work were two different things, after all. Ultimately, staying at home won out, as Neil would be off to see his friends later, anyways.

    When he got home, his mother was awake. She had made coffee, and was staring at the pans that Neil had left out when he'd made the french toast that morning.

    "Sorry for leaving that out, Mom," Neil said immediately when he saw her. It was a strange sight: there were more pictures of the auburn haired woman lying around the house than there had been instances of her children seeing her face to face, Neil figured. In the photos, she was always dressed in a suit, and not a hair out of place; she looked lively, happy, and determined. But now- she wore sweatpants and a t-shirt so faded that anything on it previously were impossible to make out. Strands of hair stuck up and out, there were bags under her eyes, and she just looked confused at the pan.

    "No, it's fine, sweetie," his mother crooed. He hated being called that. "I just.... I was hungry... And it smells good," she explained sheepishly.

    Neil blinked, and nodded. Of course she wouldn't have known how to make french toast. She was always working too hard. "Get a plate," he said, and moved past her to start making some more french toast. When it was finished, the teenager drizzled syrup over the two plates of toast, and set it on the counter. The kitchen was sort of in a U shape, with one leg serving as a bar for eating. His mother sat in one chair, and Neil stood in the kitchen itself. They faced each other at an angel, in silence. When they were finished, Neil loaded the plates into the dishwasher, and returned to his room to study, and do his homework.

    By the time Mr. Thompson roused himself and lumbered down the hall to the rest of the house, the words on the pages of Neil's books were swimming. He'd finished his homework at that point- it had been five hours since he returned home at nine that morning- and at that point, he was done studying There wasn't going to be anything more that he was going to learn today. So the boy put his things away and packed his bag for school the next day, put his sneakers back on, and opened the door just enough to listen to the hall. He could hear his parents talking, but it was quiet enough to indicate they weren't in the kitchen. Seizing the chance, Neil crept down the hall, through the kitchen, and out the front door. Freedom, he thought, as the wind blew at his open chest. Neil had buttoned up the shirt to drop off the twins, but unbuttoned it again while studying- April meant that it was getting warm out again.

    Outside, Neil realized that he'd left the keys to his father's car- though it was Neil who used it more- inside. He considered going back inside, but decided against it. It was a nice day out still, and he went walking instead, in search of his friends. It wasn't hard to find them. Along the outskirts of the main few roads of town- the Tourist Boulevard, one in Neil's group had dubbed them- was a mix of homes and small, family run stores. There was always a vacant house or store, in one area or another, and it was in these places that Neil's friends could be found. They would break in and, short of moving some things and bringing in objects to make themselves comfortable, wouldn't vandalize the place. They used to, but after one got arrested, they figured out that not making a mess was a good way to not get caught.

    Recently, Neil and his friends made their hideaway in the remnants of a small office. Maybe it had been a lawyer's firm, or one of those travel places- the pm;y signs were a few broken office chairs and potted plants on the carpeted floor. Whatever sign had gone with the business hadn't been on the building, or hadn't left a mark. There, Neil's friends were waiting. They'd brought a couple chairs of their own, mostly lawn chairs, some scraps of food, booze (which Neil never touched), cigarettes (which Neil sometimes touched), and weed (which Neil often touched). The group was, more than anything, brought together by the stereotype that life at home had given them. A few, like Neil, strove to do at least something with their life, and were studying for college, or preparing for some unskilled job- anything to get them away from their families. Others didn't care enough to do anything about it.

    Neil wasted hours in that group. It was relaxing for him, it was a break, it was something to do when Josh and Madison were successfully out of the house, and Neil could be too. Today, it must have been after eight by the time he left. On the walk home, Neil was bleary, and nearly took a join out the door for the walk home. A sort of sober friend took it from him, and Neil headed home. Again, his parents weren't in the kitchen when he got back, but beyond that, Neil didn't may attention to if they were yelling or not, if their voices came from upstairs or the adjoining living room. He just crept in the house and into his room, shut the door quietly, slipped his shoes, socks, and shirt off, replaced his jeans for a thin pair of sweats, and fell into bed.

    "Is that enough for you?"

    Trying to blink, or look around, or involve his eyes in some manner, Neil didn't say anything. He was disconcerted- a voice, a female voice, was coming from all around him. It made her voice sound flat, like it had no source; it didn't help that it was all black around. Neil couldn't see a thing.

    "You're always so angry," it told him. "Don't you want- something else?"

    Neil didn't bother asking who it was talking. This was a dream, some part of him remembered. He was asleep. Instead, he kept trying to look for the woman.

    "Help me. I can help you in return," the voice offered. It was to Neil's right, as was a source of light. He spun towards the voice, and stopped when he saw the woman. The stone seat that the woman sat in was regal looking. It reminded Neil of the throne of some ancient god. The woman, young looking with fair skin, an unsettling smile, pupilless eyes that, had her eyes not been fixed on Neil with a half lidded smile, would have made her look blind, and a lazy curl down her shoulder, also gave off a royal sense, despite the simplicity of her dress and appearance.

    "What can you give me?" Neil asked, suddenly suspicious. It didn't matter that this was a dream- a sense of reality crashed into him.

    "Anything you want," the woman promised.

    Neil watched her carefully. He narrowed his eyes, and she smiled more widely. Then, curtly, Neil nodded. "I'm in."

    Stiff and sore, Neil more tumbled out of sleep than anything else. He rubbed an eye and looked around- to his surprise, he was now seated at a wooden table, on a wooden seat. Other people, all strangers, sat around the table. Feeling some coldness to his right, Neil looked that way- and there sat the woman who had coaxed him to help her. He blinked, confused, and sat up straight. His back was sore from the position that he'd slept in, and his neck felt pinched, but he soon forgot about the soreness as he watched everyone, trying to work out what had happened.
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  8. "Good morning, everyone. I am very happy you all accepted my invitation. I will start with introductions: I am Aria, your matron and your... sponsor, if you will." Aria pressed one hand delicately to her chest and dipped her head modestly. Then she swung her arm to point at Rebecca. "To my right is: Nimfa; Tiwala; Koero; and Kimi." She pointed to each girl in line as she stated her name, then switched to her left hand to gesture at the boys. "On my left is: Kidlat; Ako; and Bantay. I hope we can all get along well, as we will be spending quite some time together."

    Aria paused to evaluate the room. Her eyelids closed over their blue orbs. "First, let me dispel one notion you seem to hold." Aria raised her right hand and swung it backhanded through the air in front of her. The sound of a large, communal slap echoed in the hall and a red welt appeared on each of seven cheeks. "Right now you are all asleep, but this is not a dream." The stinging pain was conclusive evidence. Aria raised her hand again, this time waving it forehand. The sting vanished, as did the welts; yet the memory of that pain remained a reminder of how real this place was.

    "You are now in ESE. This is another world, a world of adventure and magic. This is a world where the impossible is merely difficult. However, it is also a world that has been tainted by darkness."
    Aria's hand made small circles in the air in front of her. An image appeared at the center of the table: a black hound with glowing red eyes and fangs intended to tear flesh. "This is a darkness beast, though they come in many forms. They are spreading over ESE like a plague, delving into the world's depths in search of one thing: the Heart of ESE. I have brought you here to stop them. If they find the Heart before we do, ESE will die."

    "Each of you has been given power. Raise your hand to your neck--you will find a necklace with two pendants on it. Pull the book off and hold it before you. This will tell you everything you need; I have already written the fist entry in your quest log with basic instructions. It will also record everything I am telling you about ESE and the darkness beasts. Open to the first page of your journal, press your finger to the Skills heading, and select five skills. Yes, this will seem strange to you; but as you are outsiders to this world, your connection to this world is different. To put it simply, this world is a game to you. To win, you must kill the darkness beasts and find the Heart of ESE."

    "Once you have selected your skills, you are free to roam. If you have questions, look to your journal. The day has only just begun; go and enjoy it. I will leave you to it, for I must rest." Aria cut the air vertically in front of her. A bright flash of light filled the hall. When Rebecca could see again, Aria was gone.

    Rebecca clapped her journal shut, then received a mild shock when it vanished and reappeared in miniature on her necklace. "So... what? Do we open a group discussion?"
  9. Ivy blinked twice as the women, now know to her as Aria, began to speak to them. "Good morning? But I thought this was a dream..?" She thought as she tilted her head in confusion. She didn't question it, yet, and continued to listen to Aria as she introduced the people around her. She looked to the girls next to her. "But my name is Ivy.." She thought yet again confused. She counted the girls and noticed she was third, so her name must be Koero. She shuddered slightly at the words "Spending a lot of time together". "Oh no.. please.. not more people to hate me.." She gulped nervously and watched the people around her, they must be confused as well.

    Ivy saw Aria pause in her speech and she opened her mouth to ask a question, when suddenly she felt a hard gust of wind run over her. She felt a sudden burning sensation as the reality of they slap began to set in. Pain and blood rushed to her cheek and she withered in the pain she felt on her cheek. Grasping her cheek she bit her tongue to conceal her pain filled cries. Tears welled up in her eyes and she blinked several times to hold them back, to no avail, as a single tear ran down her cheek. She wiped it away and scolded herself for not taking pain better. Ivy noticed the sting and welt disappear as Aria flicked her hand again. Though the pain still rang fresh in her memory. "So this is not a dream any longer.." She thought to herself again.

    Ivy listened intently to Aria as she told them about the world they were now in, ESE. Ivy shivered as she felt the eyes of the beast stare into her soul. "The poor people of this world.. So this is why Aria needed me.. I have to help these people.. I have to save this world.." Her mission here finally began to set in as Ivy began to mentally think of the game like mental stance she'll have to take on. "So it's like playing a game, while I'm asleep." She looked at Aria and thought "Well the sooner I win, the sooner I can go home.. I hope" She prayed she wouldn't be mentally exhausted for school tomorrow.

    Ivy held the simple necklace in the palm of her hand, rolling the two pendants around to get a feel for them. She gently tugged at the book and it appeared before her as a quite larger version of a journal. She opened it and stared int the book. She looked back up at Aria as she told them to go explore and then quickly disappeared into a blinding ray of light.

    As Ivy blinked to get her vision to return to her as the light had blinded her temporarily. As her sight returned to her, Ivy noticed the large stone like throne was empty and she looked to the others. She was stunned and had no idea what to say until one girl spoke up. Ivy looked up to the girl and closed her journal shut and jumped slightly when the loud "SNAP" echoed though the room and reappeared on her neck as the little book pendant. She thought over the girls question before answering with a quiet. "I suppose so." She didn't mean for it to sound as cold as it did. She just didn't know how to interact well with others.
  10. The realization that this dream was, in fact, not a dream slowly seeped into Kyla's understanding and quickly clarified it with a resounding slap. As soon as this point was made, it didn't take long for the rest of Aria's introduction to click into place. Though Kyla was disappointed with her "game name" (it seemed so plain and ordinary next to all the others) her eyes danced with excitement and pulse raced with the thought of being able to run and feel it, not just imagine it. Her body was now useful, not useless. For once since her accident, she felt she had a purpose.

    Kyla's eyes travelled from the large journal in her hands to each member of the group and finally rested on the two girls at the other end of her row as they spoke. Group discussion? Was that how these games usually started out? But why was she sitting when she could be standing? Grasping the table firmly, Kyla pushed her chair back and stood to her feet. As she stood, a tug at her back caused her to look behind her. White feathers stretched gracefully to each side of her. Aria had given her wings. She bit her lip to suppress the laugh threatening to bubble over and turned her attention to the journal in her hands again. Kyla flipped through the journal pages, looking for anything about what they should be doing. If this was a game, there had to be some sort of quest log, and if there was a quest log it would probably determine what they should do next.
    #10 Lady Alainn, Jul 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  11. Ren, or better, Tiwala (as it seemed she was called there) was listening to Aria's speech 'Ok... this is all a dream... for sure... it's all SAO's fault... I should stop reading light novels before sleeping' she thought just when Aria slapped them all. She looked at the woman, her eyes wide open, for a moment then, massaging her cheek, she started to look around her while Aria explained everything.

    She saw 3 girls: they wore fantasy-like dresses, had strange colored hair and one of them had white, feathery wings; as for the others... well, they were 3 boys, they had fantasy-like clothes too but their appearances were more normal than the former trio, at the very least... they didn't have wings "Lucky me..." she said sarcastically. They all looked at least a bit confused, as much as she was. When Aria begun to explain how ESE was all a game, for them at least, Tiwala opened her journal and continued listening to her while exploring it. Everything she said was on there as well as some basic tutorial-like intructions. Upon finishing her speach, Aria disappeared in a flash.

    So it wasn't dream... And she had to spend a lot of time with other 6 strangers, a strange woman and a strange book... "Lucky me" she said even more sarcastically. She always preferred going solo and Aria was disturbing her plans. The girl ignored two of the girls chatting to each other in a sort of group discussion and stared at the third, the winged one: she was somewhat insecure on her feet, as if she forgot how to use them, but Tiwala didn't really care. Her companions all looked pretty young and, assumed all that ESE thing to be true, they all were real people in the real world. It was clear that their features had somewhat changed, unless someone in the real world had wings. They all had a green bar on their heads next to which were 2 letters 'HP': their Health Points; all bars were the same length so that it was almost impossible to recognize combat classes from that.

    She opened the journal at the 'Skills' page with a sigh and picked her first 5 skills. "This is all so SAO-like..." she mumbled sliding to the 'Item' page. She apparently had a long bow, a hunter knife, and something else but what she needed right now was the knife so she tapped its entry, reached into the book and, when she felt something in her hand, she pulled it out with a dim light: "Oooh" she whispered in awe. The blade wasn't too heavy and she just KNEW she could use it to a certain extent, what she needed it for, however, was to make sure about what changes she went through: she mirrored herself on the blade just to see a stranger: she had jet black hair and light gray eyes, her outlines were sharper, her complexion a little darker than hers and some raven feathers were stuck in her hair. Her outfit was a leather one, sort of a fantasy-like hunter-leather-laced outfit.She decided she liked it.

    Tiwala decided to wait for the others to set up and get a grasp of their situation, she wouldn't have trusted any of them but they were a lot of heads, and a lot of heads, for as stupid as they can be, maybe could come up with a decent plan. She closed her journal (which turned into a pendant), crossed her legs and quietly started to play with her knife, humming the opening of Sword Art Online.
    #11 Nay'ar, Jul 21, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2014
  12. The first thing Chris noticed as he looked around, desperately trying to assess this new situation, was that Weird Dream Lady sat just to his right at the table, and she looked quite real. Like, he-could-have-reached-out-and-touched-her real. Nor did she show any sign of unease at their new surroundings, but rather a sense of being confidently in charge of the whole matter. Were his brain not trying desperately to deny anything supernatural about what had happened to him, he might have more readily accepted that this woman was the one who had dragged him from his bed and sat him down in a chair somewhere unknown, wearing...whatever he was wearing. Apparently it was a silky green dress shirt beneath a leather vest, along with a pair of plain light brown pants, leather boots, and a faded black cloak. Where these clothes had come from, he had no idea, but...he liked them. He felt as if they suited him, as if Weird Dream Lady had read his mind where even he wouldn't have known his own preferences.

    A crow of delight from across the table ("I have legs!" one of the girls exclaimed) led Chris to look more closely at his companions for the first time. Everyone looked some flavor of confused, just as he did, and each one of them looked more than anything else as if they'd just walked out of an anime convention with their cosplays still on. He wasn't sure how else to account for such costumes, hairstyles, and more bizarrely, hair and eye colors. His eyes widened at the thought that something similar might have been done with his own appearance, leading his hand to stray to the side of his face and pull one lock of hair forward. Nope, it still looked as black as night, but when his hand ventured around his head seeking any style changes, it found a long, narrow ponytail in the very back, at the base of his head. Oooh...I've always kind of wanted to try a rattail...

    That was when Weird Dream Lady spoke, revealing her name, Aria. He listened attentively, as he didn't really have much else to do in such a bizarre setting where he didn't know what was going on. She introduced the young ladies on the other side of the table, and immediately Chris could tell something was off. Those weren't normal names. Nor was...his? "...Kidlat?" he muttered with a scowl of disbelief a moment after his own introduction. That wasn't his name by any means. But he only had a moment to try to remember the other strange names from around the table before a sudden crack of pain struck his face, hard. He yelped in pain and cradled his face with a hand, grimacing from the blow. Dang it, I already figured out I'm not dreaming! That hurt! But in another moment the pain suddenly vanished, leaving him touching his cheek in confusion. All right, so magic was going on here. Real live magic. Okay. He could work with that. Magic... Magic was real. Stereotypically MMO-type magic, that was, with a stereotypically MMO-like premise of dark creatures you didn't need feel any compulsion about killing. He looked at his necklace when instructed to do so, and just as Aria said, the book pendant came free in his hand. Not caring to stifle his surprise at each supernatural action he witnessed now, he flipped to what was apparently his profile and inspected it. He confirmed there that, character's name was indeed Kidlat. He was apparently level 5. Oh, so I guess it's one skill per level? Seems fair. The skill list was extensive--and he'd thought The Elder Scrolls games were bad about that--but after a few minutes he finally narrowed it down to a good starter set. He was considering a thiefy-roguey build, and there were a few tough choices, but at last he made them. Hey, at least he'd get to snag those extra couple he'd been torn on after a couple of levels. In any case, he'd selected Dagger as one of the five skills, and when he flicked to his inventory page, he discovered that he'd been granted a starter's dagger. Upon touching the icon of the little weapon, it came free in his hand, packaged in a tidy leather sheath. He closed the book with his free hand, sending it away, and buckled the sheath onto his belt at his right hip.

    He heard the girls on the other side of the table start talking. "As good a starting point as any," he said, looking up to cast his gaze over everyone again. It seemed that no one here was interested in leading the group. He would have to do. "Well, I don't know about you, but I think we should start by doing the names again. Because I'll have trouble remembering your names and don't even recognize my own name, and if I'm allowed to make a blanket guess here, all six of you are just like me, normal people who feel like we've just been teleported into World of Warcraft, and are just as lost as I am." He pointed to himself. "Kidlat." The word tasted so foreign in his mouth...though he had to admit to himself, he kind of liked the ring to it. He turned to the boy sitting to his left next, and one by one, he pointed to everyone in turn. "Ako. Um...Bantay. Kimi. Cool wings, by the way." He flashed the girl with wings a little grin at the compliment before he could help it, but it was gone in a moment, and he continued around the ring. "Uh, Koero? Tiwala...oooh, knife buddy!" He perked up, a wide smile on his face now, and pointed to the girl across the way who was humming to herself and playing with a shiny blade. "You going for a rogue too? I like it." He looked to the last girl with blue hair. "And Nimfa. I think I got all those. Ako Bantay Kimi Koero Tiwala Nimfa. Awesome." He leaned back to settle in his seat.
    #12 FiliaFlammae, Jul 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
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  13. Neil wasn't the only one to rub his face after the slap. Even when the pain faded, he still couldn't remove his own hand- this was, literally, surreal. While Aria spoke, he multitasked, and considered his new cohorts. Nimfa, who had blue hair, blue eyes, a blue dress... It wasn't going to be hard to remember her: just remember blue. There was also Kimi, who looked more or less like a bride gone wrong, Neil surmised. (He wasn't about to leave his cynicism at home just because things were weird.) That one had mentioned something about having legs, which confirmed that things were, in fact, different here. Or he was on a bad trip mixed with a dream and lord knew what else- but, was that even possible? Furthermore, there was Tiwala, who was apparently rocking some plate of something over her torso, and lots of leather straps over the rest of her body, from what Neil could see. And finally, as far as females were concerned, there was Koero, who- except for the pink in her hair and eyes- almost could have passed for normal.

    For the guys, the selection wasn't nearly as colorful. There was Kidlat, who almost rivaled Koero for most normal looking (lose the cloak and the vest, Neil determined, and untuck the pants, and he could have walked out of the twenty first century, as opposed to the hyper-sexualized middle earth that the rest of them seemed to be inhabiting). There was also Ako, who changed Neil's mind about normal looking. He could have been someone that Neil would see at school the following day. School. The thought was unnerving. And lastly, there was himself. Bantay. The name would have tasted weird, had he said it; as it was, even in his mind, Neil wasn't sure how to feel. When Aria left them, Neil inspected himself as others inspected their pendants. He was now a blonde- and look, his hair was trimmed! that was easy- and looked as his clothes. Gloves- finderless; elbow pads; bare arms; vest, pants, boots. Stereotypical flame tattoo on his arm- but, though Neil wouldn't admit it- it actually looked kind of cool.

    Finally following suit with the others, he groped around his neck until he found the necklace, and the book pendant on it. Rather than pulling off, as Neil expected, when he tugged, the book more disappeared and reappeared in front of him. He picked his own first five skills while someone rattled off names, then flipped to his inventory. Someone had managed to get a knife from their book, he'd noticed from the corner of his eye; maybe he could do the same. He didn't- he instead found sword- but he tugged it out anyways and closed the book in order to inspect it. While he did that, the boy multitasked again, and spoke. "So, first of all, we should figure what we're going to call ourselves- our real names, or these crazy names that the crazy lady gave us? Am I Neil, or Bantay? Are you Tiwala, or... Whatever your name is?" he asked, pointing in Tiwala's general direction, and then looking up. "And second of all, what task did crazy lady give us? Do we need to work together or anything? I say we read that out loud now and figure it out. And you," he decided, pointing to Nimfa, "you seem leaderly. Maybe just because of where you were sitting. I don't know. But I nominate you to read our quest aloud for us."
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  14. Rebecca didn't appreciate being singled out. She faced Bantay squarely and glared. Normally anyone--students, teachers, random pedestrians--would back away from her glare. What she couldn't see was that she no longer had Rebecca's face. Nimfa's eyes were much larger, her face was rounder, and her lips were too full to turn into a thin frown. What should have been a stare as cold as death instead came across as a childish pout.

    When her glare failed to do anything to sway Bantay, she had to give in. "Alright. I'll stick with Nimfa, thank you. Now let's see what this book has to say." Pulling the charm off her necklace again, Nimfa opened the journal and flipped to the back. "Welcome to ESE. Aria chose... skipping that. Here: Select five starter skills. Practice using your skills. Explore the Guild Hall and surrounding area. Be in bed by 10:30." Nimfa blinked twice, then reread silently to make sure really saw that. It really said that. "Nothing about teamwork. Nothing about a goal. Just wander aimlessly for a day and come back here when it turns dark." The point of this being...? she thought at the back of her mind. The most frustrating part of it was not being able to stop whatever was happening. She--they--were stuck here.

    "If that's all there is, I'm going outside. I'm not going to believe in magic until I see it used." Nimfa clapped her journal shut, rose from her chair, and strode past the others to reach the double-doors that presumably lead outside. Pulling the right open, the first thing to greet the girl was a rush of wind. Blinking that away, she pulled the door wide and stepped out.

    It was a forest. That's about all Rebecca could say for it. There were a lot of trees on every side and not a shred of civilization beyond the Guild Hall--which, when she turned to investigate, turned out to be wooden walls and a thatch roof. After all the grandeur and majesty Aria had exuded, Rebecca had been expecting a palace; seeing this made Rebecca feel like a pauper. She let out a long, disappointed sigh, then turned back to shout through the door. "Who has the most experience with these kinds of games?"
  15. Ivy felt extremely out of place here. Looking around at the others she wasn't to sure she liked it here. She sighed loudly and pulled her book pendant from around her neck again. She suddenly noticed her pink hair and she screamed "AH! My hair! It's pink!" She looked up at the others and took a closer look. "Gah! You guys.. You!" She pointed at Kimi. "You have wings! and and you!" She pointed at Nimfa "You have blue hair! Heh.. hair buddies." She shook her head. "Sorry.. I'm not very good at socializing.."

    Ivy watched the girl sitting next to her get up and leave after a short speech about how in to journal it says nothing about teamwork. Koreo, as she was now called, looked down into her book and saw neatly written out 'Pick 5 starter skills, practice with your skills, Explore the guild hall, and be in bed by 10:30.' "Well this seems simple enough" She said as she closed her book again, this time she was ready for the book to turn back to her pendant on her neck.

    She heard Nimfa shout back though the open door of the Guild Hall "Who has the most experience with these kinds of games?" And Koreo looked around. "I'm gonna guess one of the boys." She said more to herself then to anyone else. She had never really been one for video games and she only really played when he brothers asked her too. Koroe stood up, pushing the chair back, and walked outside. The world was green for the most part. The trees made Koreo feel as if she was lost in the forrest. As far as she could tell they were stuck in a forrest. "Well.. this is.. odd" Koreo managed to get out. Not much was getting done and she wondered why Aria had picked her and the others.
  16. Bantay raised a good point. No one was forcing them to use the new names Aria had assigned them, at least not yet, and Chris would probably respond more promptly to his real name. When he thought about it, though, he had to agree with Nimfa. They were all different people here than they were back home. Using their old names felt wrong, somehow. It was a cheat of the spirit of the game, a denial of the fun of playing a character. He wasn't Chris Dorian right now, not dressed like this, not with a snazzy knife at his belt and a task to cut down Darkness Beasts in the name of justice. He was Kidlat the Thief, and he was raring to go.

    He followed along in his book as Nimfa read their first instructions aloud, and it really was that: a list of common-sense instructions, rather than any sort of quest objectives he was used to. He'd just started to let a mutter of "Well, that's boring..." leave his mouth when he nearly jumped from an exclamation from across the table. Apparently it had taken that long for the girl he'd been told was called Koero to realize that she had pink hair. He gritted his teeth and tried not to let her loud restatements of the obvious get under his skin. Some people are just slow, I guess. And yes, thank you for realizing and admitting that you have no sense of social interaction. He decided to ignore her and return his attention to Nimfa, who seemed to have a head on her shoulders. He found that he shared her puzzlement with the vague and rather un-MMO-like instructions, and when she grumbled about not believing magic until she saw it, he muttered, "I don't blame you."

    He flipped back a page to look at his profile again. The five skills he had chosen were checked off. In an attempt to be practical and well-balanced, he had restrained himself to three combat skills for the time being and devoted his remaining two slots to things he considered pragmatic. Apparently he was supposed to "practice" these five before bed. The question was how. Without anything to fight, he couldn't very well try out the first three, and unless this building or the immediate vicinity had an abundance of locked doors waiting to be picked or hiding NPCs waiting to be wheedled out of their goods for cheap, neither Lock-Picking nor Persuasion would soon see light of day either.

    He heard Nimfa shout from the front door about experienced players, and he perked up immediately. He couldn't have known he was the most experienced gamer without asking around, but he had a hunch he was in the top three. The moment of pride was quelled just slightly by Koero's muttered comment, but he shook it off with a chuckle as he closed his book and stood from his seat. "I'd normally disapprove of stereotyping, but I admit there is a nugget of truth to that. I did play some Skyrim just last night." He hooked his thumbs on his belt and sauntered over to the front door where Nimfa stood. "If this game has any sense to it, there should be some kind of combat tutorial nearby," he said. "Either a training ground or some low-risk enemies. They should be within short walking distance..." He peeked outside, only to see forest. There was not another soul to be found. He pouted. While he actually rather liked taking solitary walks through woods and parks from time to time, he didn't want that now. He wanted there to be at least one NPC or one more building in his range of vision, not an uninhabited forest. "Huh. I guess that book wasn't kidding when it said we'd have to explore." He looked over his shoulder; Koero had joined them, but the others were still a ways behind them. "Anyone want to form a survey party or two?"
  17. Let's see, there's a profile page, basic game instructions, inventory page, blank pages for maps...ah here it is. Quests. Kimi slipped her finger between the pages of her journal and looked up as conversation around the table picked up. She mentally made the rounds with Kidlat as he named them all and returned his grin when he singled out her wings in a compliment. "Thanks! I'm rather fond of them myself." She shook them for emphasis before returning her attention to naming off her companions. Kimi, the Winged Minstrel. You know, the more I think about it, the more I like it. It's easier to remember than Ke-Kor-Keor... Right. As if on cue, Koero pointed at Kimi's wings in child-like amazement. "You...You have wings! ...Sorry.. I'm not very good at socializing.."

    "Yes, dear," Kimi replied with a soft smile. "There's no need to apologize. We're here to kill beasts, not talk them to death."

    Others were talking now. She was glad to know she was not the only one having trouble adjusting to a new name. Bantay--or Neil--seemed unsure of his, but one thing he wasn't unsure of was taking charge. Though Kidlat had done an excellent job of stepping up to the plate, she couldn't help but laugh at Bantay's back-seat dictator skills in nominating Nimfa. It seemed there were more than enough leaders in this party to keep things moving.

    In answer to Nimfa's question about experienced gamers, Kimi perked up. Now PC gaming was something she was familiar with, or at least had been for a few months in rehab. "Either a training ground or some low-risk enemies. They should be within short walking distance..." Kidlat was saying. Clutching the journal to her chest, she bounded over to the door and eagerly stuck her head out. Trees. Lots and lots of trees. Kidlat was right, they'd have to break into groups to find anything in this place before 10:30. "Two teams would allow us to cover more ground." Kimi opened the journal to the first map page. A tiny rectangle sat off to one side of the page with Guild Hall scrawled underneath it. A clump of trees surrounded the rectangle. The rest was blank.

    "Don't quote me on this, but since we're all in the same guild, our maps might update simultaneously as long as we're relatively in the same area. At least, that's what I've experienced. But then, how do we even know Aria's actually played an RPG before to know-" Kimi cut herself off with a sheepish grin. "And I'm babbling. Kidlat, that's a great idea. If I'm reading stats and outfits right, we have two damage-type, two magic-wielders, two buff/debuffers, and a dashing rogue." An eyebrow arched. "That's actually an impressive pool of talent."

    Kimi stepped into the grass outside and breathed in the sweet smell of spruce and pine eagerly. She turned back to the others and grinned. "Well, who's for exploring?"
    #17 Lady Alainn, Jul 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  18. Tiwala smirked at Kidlat's comment on her knife "Something like that" she answered him without emphasis; she did have a knife but she was building a ranger type, someone who could attack from a distance, without having to interact too much with the others. More than that, she decided for that type because of her Special Skill. Her own was called 'Chameleon': it seamed that she could hide her presence and her whole self at will in every environment. "The story of my life" she muttered to herself. Just a minute later Bantay called out to her, asking her name: "Tiwala is more than enough" she answered in a slightly cold voice while smiling at him. She wouldn't have given away her name, that way, at least in real life, she could continue to blend in the crowd, as she always did.

    She got up and looked at Kidlat as he spoke of MMO's starters and widened her eyes when Kimi, with too much enthusiasm, made a declaration of their types. So it seemed there was a page with everyone's data on it "Lucky me..." she said for the third time. "Well, who's for exploring?" Asked Kimi. Tiwala decided to try out her Skills, if they wanted to play at goody-friends for the sake of an unknown strange woman, well, they could count her out. She went out and ventured to the first row of trees; ignoring the group that was talking in front of the open doors. She wasn't so stupid as to go alone in an unknown deep forest but she didn't want to get cought up in some useless group-thingy.

    While walking she found it strange to move and mantain her balance "It seems I'm taller, here" she said to herself, a hand on her chin, the other taking out the journal. At the first tree she could touch she carved a 'X' with her knife and pulled out her bow, concurrently a quiver full of arrows appeared on her shoulder. She smiled at the weapon as she weighted it. She remembered that sensation of calm and her gaze smoothed.
    she went something like 20 meters away from the 'X' and loaded and arrow. She closed her eyes, feeling the wind, her weapon, the arrow and even the distance "I missed you all, so much" she said melancholic. She took a steady stance took aim and shot it. The arrow flew fast and hit the target in the intersection of the 'X'. She smiled sweetly at it and went to retrieve the arrow.
    Next was her Magic skills.
  19. Resisting the urge to groan externally, Neil- or rather, Bantay here, it seemed- managed to only look disenchanted. Koero was- well, no use startng down that road, Bantay figured. These were his accomplices for who knows how long, no use in starting fights; and if he tried to not complain internally, those wouldn't become external, and conflict within the group could be- well, at the very least, not his fault. He used this same approach for Nimfa and Tiwala, who were cold. Kimi seemed to know what she was talking about (which was good, given how much of it she did), and Kidlat struck Bantay as having something going for him. Doing his best to just face these favored two- or three? Ako hadn't said much of anything yet, he still had a chance to prove himself good- Bantay turned, and grasped his rapier.

    "Hey, we've got the Guild Hall itself. Maybe it has a sparring room, or whatever. At the very least, I'm sure that it's got something more than just this room- if we have to come back here tonight, er, I guess- hell, do we even know what time it is? Or have any way to tell time?- then it would probably serve us to know where to go right away, rather than try to explore here, too, after we're all tired from whatever we do out there... How about we go spend a couple minutes just, I dunno, getting to know this whole place before we set out for out there?" He nodded his head towards the open door to indicate the outside world. When he did, he felt air run through his hair; he felt the weight of his own head; and he smelled the trees from outside. It was all disturbing- some part of him believed this to still just be a dream. That was way more detail than any dream had ever given him before. And if it really was a game, like some seemed to compare it to (Neil didn't have lots of time for games, between his siblings and school- Bantay, it seemed, would never encounter a video game, but perhaps be featured in one), then it was just as off putting to have such a sense of realness to it.

    While he talked, Bantay's hand fidgeted around the pendants on his neck. One, his hand recognized as the journal. While Bantay wouldn't have minded a closer inspection of the thing, now was not the time for such an activity. The other pendant was round- tugging on it didn't do a whole lot, either. Glancing at his compatriots, Bantay figured that they all had the same blue orb strung next to their journals around his neck- at the very least, he could see that to be true of everyone still in the room, and saw no reason as to why his or Tiwala's, who had already run outside, should be different. But when Bantay stopped speaking, his hand dropped and joined the other in carefully feeling the rapier and learning of its shape while the others spoke back.
  20. Kidlat was pleased to see Kimi join them at the door next. She expressed familiarity with these kinds of games, a pleasant surprise, and praised his plan. He felt a tingle of warmth from the praise before he could help it, and when she came out and called him "a dashing rogue" outright, a flirty smirk spread across his face as his heart fluttered. "Not too bad-looking yourself, sweetie," he quipped back, and it was an honest compliment. He wouldn't have admitted it, but Kimi struck him as cute...very cute. Still taller than him, though. He cast his gaze around the group, noting that almost everyone was on their feet by this point, and sure enough, he was the shortest person present. His face fell a little. Some things never change.

    Bantay (who was apparently called Neil in real life) voiced his own opinion next. The guy suggested they get familiar with the Guild Hall before venturing outside, and even though Kidlat liked forests and secretly felt a little miffed that his own plan was being questioned, he had to admit the other boy's logic about them getting this out of the way before they came home tired was sound. "The man speaks reason," he said. "Kimi, if your theory about the maps is right, how about a few of us scope out the building interior and the rest of us explore outside? Or alternatively we could all make sure we're familiar with the building first, if you don't want to trust a map."

    He'd noticed that at some point in the conversation, Tiwala had slipped past them to head into the woods alone. A tiny part of him reached out to her in worry, but he shook that concern out of his head. If she wanted to go out alone, that was her choice, and besides, he was starting to get sick of her muttering "Lucky me" or something similarly resentful and self-pitying every thirty seconds, as if the world were out to make her miserable. Good riddance, he thought. Darn, and I was almost hoping Knife Buddy and I might get along.
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