Paranoid Illusions IC

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Ruko, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. OOC:

    Character List (For quick reference):

    Norman Ebayan (Razilin):
    Show Spoiler


    Norman Ebayan

    Age: 40

    Height: Shorter than average male (5'7")

    Weight: Average (145 lb.)

    Build: Lean

    Personality: Clinical and detached, with a jaded attitude toward most things. When confronted by a stressful situation, he becomes very analytical and cold and will do nearly anything, whether it be nefarious or pleasant, to keep himself alive or ahead of the curve in such as situation.

    Brief Backstory: Norman is an insurance investigator, employed by a firm that works in major corporations. The task of finding holes in people's stories in order to bilk insurance claims leaves him jaded, but also leaves him rather gifted in the field of discerning truth from lie as well as collating various data to find the truth within. His most recent assignment is to investigate the disappearances in Japan, as several insurance claims have been filed toward his corporation for emotional and property-related damages. Norman is not expecting much in this case. To him, its another day on the job.

    Much of his cynicism comes from his job, but it began after the death of his wife five years ago. She was a successful, intelligent, and beautiful physician who inspired him to becomes the best at his own profession. He would take on the most challenging assignments and succeed no matter the cost, thus skyrocketing his career in terms of promotions. Many friends and acquaintances were thrown under the proverbial bus in his warpath to success, however. After his wife passed away from cancer, he became withdrawn into his work, which he began to lose passion for.

    Physical advantages: Relatively fit, but neither glaringly strong or agile.

    Physical disadvantages: Neither glaringly strong or agile.

    Learnt/practised skills: General computer use, investigation (insofar as collating paper and electronic data, not forensics), excellent observational skills, can reliably detect truth from lie by watching people. He also studies physics, mathematics, and chemistry on the side as a hobby.

    Psychological Disadvantage: Depression from losing his wife, manifesting in a withdrawn and callous demeanor, general cynicism, and a hidden sense of misanthropy (which in turn manifests as being coldly analytical when in a stress situation). Other factors into his psychological disadvantage is his fear of being alone, which is already starting with the death of his wife, and only made worse by his tendency to step over people in order to benefit himself.

    Mental Stability: If a normal psyche is rated at a 1 and Batman's Joker is rated a 10, he sits at a 7. His highest point in life was his marriage and his subsequent rise in his career. However, the things he did to make it that far in his job snowballed into severing most of his friendships, capped off by the death of his wife. At the start of the story, he has few close acquaintances, no meaningful family, and no professional allies. While he does not realize it yet, he is already at the state he desperately fears: being alone.

    Greatest fears: Being Alone

    Interests and related things: Chemistry, physics, mathematics

    Inspiring figure: His deceased wife, whose success in her profession as a physician made him want to push himself in his own career.

    Most common theme of nightmares: Wandering alone in his own house, only to hear his wife asking him to join her. Commonly, apparitions of friends and acquaintances he has betrayed or other relationships that he has severed in order to advance in his career show up in his nightmares.

    How often their dreams are "lucid": He never knows he is dreaming while in his dream, but when he wakes up they leave him very perturbed afterward.

    Common responses to danger, or strange situations: When a stressor is present, he becomes coldly analytical and willing to take unpleasant or even nefarious actions if they will benefit him or improve his chances of success or survival. This includes throwing someone under the bus in order to obtain a promotion, choose escape over saving an ally if it means saving his own skin, or instructing an ally to tank a hit if it means he can strike an enemy’s weakness safely. Sometimes, this analytical mindset provides himself and his allies a mutually beneficial outcome through superior strategy; more often than not, however, it usually leaves him on top of someone he just stepped over.

    Yami / Hikari Miyamoto (me)
    Show Spoiler

    Family name: Miyamoto
    Given name: Yami



    Age: 19
    Height: Quite significantly shorter than average.
    Weight: Again, below average.
    Build: Barely any of her is fat. But then again, there is barely any of her.

    Personality: Yami is quiet and reclusive. This is quite possibly due to her condition, which meant that she was unable to go outside on a sunny day without wearing something to cover her skin. This became a habit and she now wears her black hoodie almost constantly. She has adopted it as part of her own character and it is perhaps one of the reasons she feels able to hide from conversations. To compensate for her lack of social skills, she developed a very good brain, and she is able to logically think thing through quite successfully. Upon encountering something she couldn't comprehend, she would most likely be stunned for some time, brooding over a scientific explanation. While she favours doing this, she does enjoy supernatural stories and occasionally would like to believe that illogical things can exist.

    Brief Backstory:
    (I know i should put something here, given its my own RP and all, but I cba :P)

    Physical advantages: She has a very low presence and as long as theres someone making a bigger fool of themselves than her, she usually gets away unseen.
    Physical disadvantages: She has very little physical strength and endurance, and her perfect eyesight is very vulnerable to intense light.
    Learnt/practised skills: She is a somewhat talented cook, and is also quite good at persuasion (when she speaks, which is rare.) She knows the theory behind katana wielding, however, has never had an opportunity to put it into practice.

    Psychological disadvantage: Yami has a very interesting and peculiar condition. It could be seen as a form of multiple personality disorder, however, it is more detailed than the usual type. She has a hard time explaining it, so uses the concept of souls to explain it. The idea is that it is as if the one body is inhabited by two seperate but linked consciences, or "souls". In addition, the two are both fully aware of what is going on around them however, only one conscience is able to control the body at a time. Every 3 hours or so, some phenomenon occurs inside their brain that attempts to force the switching of whoever is in control, however, if one does not want the other to gain control or does not want control themselves then they are able to attempt to prevent the phenomenon from taking place, as if a battle of the wills.
    The first personality is the one considered the "real" person, while the second is considered to be a peculiar form of bipolarity, at least by those who don't properly comprehend it. The second was nicknamed "Hikari", as it means almost the exact opposite of Yami. Hikari is a less dominating person, and is often content simply observing what Yami does, however, occasionally she does take control. She is much more volatile and unpredictable than Yami. It is as if the isolated background manifested as reclusiveness in Yami but as anger and slight sociopathy in Hikari. Despite this, they don't dislike each other and rarely disapprove of what the other does while in control.

    Mental Stability: This is a complex topic when it comes to Yami and Hikari. Yami is relatively stable, as far as predictability goes. She isn't the kind of person who would fly off the handle or do something out of character out of confusion. Hikari is less stable, and much more sociopathic. She perhaps verges on sadism too, and would go completely out of control if she were to obtain a way to gain power over others, specifically in the form of control. She would only find it interesting if it were manipulative control however, explaining why she doesn't usually take control of the body much. Furthermore, the phenomenon that causes the switch can be forced, so there is no telling when she might invert personalities.

    Greatest fears: Both Yami and Hikari fear the same things, despite their gap in personality. First, and foremost, they have a strong phobia of being exposed to something they cannot explain, even when taking into account supernatural ideas. Secondly, they both fear being trapped in a space filled with many people, especially if there are many conversations going on and merging into one blur of noise. Thirdly, like all normal people, they both fear spiders.

    Interests and related things: Yami and Hikari share interests almost as much as fears. They both enjoy literature, particularly books that involve strange fantasy-style fiction, and ancient cultures. This probably stems from their fascination with the supernatural, and ancient culture's abundance of supernatural philosophies and creatures.

    Most common theme of nightmares: Yami/Hikari share a nightmare than occurs quite frequently. One in four of their nightmares will be a variation of it. It involves a huge, victorian-style mansion. In particular, a huge victorian style mansion that is on fire. Each time they have the nightmare, each of them are seeing it from different points of view from both each other and the viewpoints they saw it from the last time they were there. It is also incredibly realistic, even down to feeling the searing heat.

    How often their dreams are "lucid": Yami/Hikari's dreams are almost always lucid, however, it is questionable whether or not they are actually dreams. Many of them involve the two of them in some kind of situation. Lucid dreams are also the only time when Yami and Hikari can talk to each other. They have developed ways of communicating outside of them, but it requires the repetitive swapping of control, a pen, and a pad of paper. Given the control swapping is somewhat tiring they tend to use this method very little. They tend to get on very well, even though they are both psychologically disturbed, and they are forced to be bystanders even when they don't want to be. This is probably because they share the same problems and they understand each other better than anyone else ever could.

    Common responses to danger, or strange situations: If Yami is in control, she will probably fall silent and desperately try to figure out how the situation can be explained. Unfortunately, this means she often lacks the natural flight response and gets herself into danger more often than is healthy. On the other hand, Hikari is able to maintain a certain amount of common sense, and will usually deal with the situation at hand before later pondering over what it could have been, probably while Yami is in control so she doesn't have to waste brainpower keeping the body in check.

    Leo Vogel (Caligari)
    Show Spoiler

    Family name:

    Given name:

    Other names:



    above average, but only slightly

    above average

    muscular with a slight beer gut

    Leo is someone who prefers to keep both people and things at a distance and as such takes great care in seeming carefree, that said the things he does openly care for he protects with teeth, nail and claw. He is also not one to start a conversation or take any of the first steps unless it revolves around work, hell, even if someone else has the courage to approach him in his off time he still remains distant and cold. The reason he does this is because he is analysing the one who approached him, checking their intelligence and placing great interest in their choice of words and actions. To make matters worse he often overthinks the actions of another which more than often leads to an stupid conflict.
    When placed in stressfull situations he will lock himself off from the outside world preferring to keep his problems his own. If faced with the illogical he will try to prove it wrong or give it a logical explenation, when that fails he will accept it and research it as an isolated incident before seeing how far this new "logic" goes.
    Brief Backstory:
    In his youth he was more often than not faced with a father who couldn't handle two glasses of wine, yet still decided almost every night that one bottle minimum was a good quantity. Sadly, he was also a violent drunk who blamed all his problems on Leo and would show his disdain to the boy through fits of rage and violence. Before Leo turned twelve he had grown used to the taste of blood and all the different feelings of pain. I'll save you a description of the sound of a child's bone snapping or how breathing sounds when a rib has punctured a lung. When his father was done with him, his mother would come in to justify his actions, Leo could not tell you how often he heard the excuse "he had a stressful day". What she failed to realise was the little fact that the entire world had a stressful day, it was called life.

    By the time he turned eighteen he moved out of the house and started living with a friend whom he considered to be more of a brother than anything else, a friend who showed his loyalty time and time again when Leo's father dared to show up drunk demanding to see him for a beating and both he and Leo dragged his ass onto the street for some well deserved street justice. Oddly enough Leo's father came back for more until Leo lost count, he admits enjoying his well earned revenge every time.

    Because he could never trust the person everyone should trust the most, their father, he nurtured trust issues over the years and besides having difficulties creating friends he also could not remain in a romantic relationship for long, breaking up without good reasons after no more than a month or two. What was worse was the fact that his father's actions forced him to believe he was unworthy to live and whenever he got depressed, which was often as he had a tendency to review his life and make big deals out even the smallest mistakes he may have made, he would come dangerously close to killing himself. From time to time it got so bad they were forced to place him in mental hospitals, something that didn't really help his case as he is very accustomed to both his freedom... and the capability to wear shoes. (Shoelaces aren't allowed in the suicide wing of mental hospitals).

    Over time Leo would stumble from job to job until eventually he started working as a freelance journalist. It didn't pay an amazing amount, but it kept him busy and it allowed him to make his payments each month. He is specialised in war coverage and other high-risk fields of journalism. Despite the fact his job takes him miles away for extended periods of time, he could always count on his friends to be there when he got back.

    He has been sent to the location at hand to cover and record the events that both happened and are happening and he does not like doing half work.

    Physical advantages:
    he is quite strong and has a mean right punch, he also has some well trained leg muscles and can deliver quite the kick.

    Physical disadvantages:
    besides the beer gut he has had several of his ligaments torn over the years as well as his fair share of broken bones. Injuries such as that tend to linger and when placed under long durations of stress they will begin to ache and hurt, hindering his movements and hurting him in the process.

    Learnt/practised skills:
    lockpicking, stealth, parcour, street fighting, minor mechanical skills and observation.

    Psychological disadvantage:
    He is suicidal and has an alcohol problem which stems from his suicidal tendencies. It is also the reason he accepts high-risk assignments and doesn't do half work, often choosing to stay in warzones longer than necessary. On some nights in which he is more depressed than others he starts to speak to himself, even going as far as arguing, trying to convince himself to simply end it all the while giving reasons not to.

    Mental Stability:
    He is not one to flinch or turn away from horrors afflicted upon others, besides his friends, but when faced with his past he is more likely to snap in either violent or depressing manners depending on what he is faced with.

    Greatest fears:
    captivity, loneliness and hurting those he cares for.

    Interests and related things:
    he has a distinct love for 1950's style which includes but is not limited to: fashion, armaments, vehicles, movies, grammar,... other than that he is quite enticed with alcohol and ancient history specifically Roman history.
    Inspiring figure: Witold Pilecki

    Most common theme of nightmares:
    Abandoned by or hurthing those he cares for

    How often their dreams are "lucid":
    Quite often, but he does whatever it takes to avoid such a thing for it unnerves him to a degree.

    Common responses to danger, or strange situations:
    When placed in a situation that endangers his wellbeing, he will fight or flight, more often than not preferring to fight instead of flight. however, he is no idiot and if the situation seems out of his league he will run until he has either escaped or found a way to turn the tables and give him an advantage to fight yet again.

    Eglantine Aeryn Kirijo (Namora)
    Show Spoiler


    "...What in the name of holy hell were my parents thinking"

    "Aeryn" - Her middle name, as well as what she insists on being called if not her last name (Kirijo). As a child she never really minded her name, however she learned quickly in elementary that her name was among the more peculiar and was therefore deemed bully-worthy. She got sick of it soon enough and changed it in the only way she knew how.
    "Sheer-luck/Miss Holmes" - Pretty obvious. Aeryn is a detective, Sherlock Holmes is a revered figure of her profession. This is namely a reference to her shocking success in cases that she is assigned to. Some bitter co-workers shrug it off as luck.
    "Eggie" - A shortened and--to Aeryn-- condescending nickname that she loathes. If called it she will give you one warning, after that... you will be injured, and she will ensure whatever befalls you looks like an accident. If you want to get on her bad side and make an enemy in a millisecond, this is the way to do it.


    || Age - Twenty-Six || Gender - Female || Height - Average || Weight - Above Average || Build - Athletic ||


    A P P E A R A N C E
    "Asian dad, white mom. I am the result."
    Aeryn began as something of an ugly duckling, her high cheekbones, plump curved lips and heart sharped face, though lovely, did not seem to compliment each other overly well in her early youth. The girls sharp chin stuck out in an unattractive manner until she was about fifteen, that was when she truly grew into her features and added a chest--small as it is-- and hips to her rather willowy thin frame. Now the dark haired girl stands at 5'5", with a narrow waist and slender limbs from sports and exercise, her muscle is hidden between toned features. Though she is out in the sun more than most she retains a pale complexion, which is accompanied by mildly red and medium sized lips. Her features are emphasized by long, silky and thick ebony locks cascade down her back, ending an inch or so above her hips, they are usually tied back to reveal the nape of her neck. Thick black lashes surround her almond eyes and make her stormy gray irises stand out, which betray both wicked glints as well as innocent glances.


    P E R S O N A L I T Y
    "They say I'm arrogant. That is true. I say I'm awesome. That is also true"
    Aeryn is a rather smart girl, she's got more cunning and ambition than most. Generally she's well rounded in intelligence, however she's blunt and her opinion is often thrown in went it is not wanted.... especially if it is not wanted. She has an exceptional work ethic and never leaves a job half done. In most subjects or occupations that she bothers with the girl will do whatever she needs to come out on top. Her tendency to rise above her peers in most of the things she does causes enmity between her and others. Honestly, she's a bit of an acquired taste. Her nature when you first meet her is more than a little obnoxious, however her arrogance is all but completely false. She hides fears or insecurities behind a thick mask but once she starts to get used to someone she begins to grow on you... like a fungus.

    H I S T O R Y
    "F-- Off you prying little twat"
    Aeryn was born and raised in japan until the age of eight, those years were topped to the brim with petty arguments and physical abuse between her parents. Aeryn was witness to it all, and though it pained her at first she grew numb to it at a young age. Eventually her mother broke, packing her things up and leaving with her little Eggie in tow. The woman left the country and the two settled down for a few months, eventually however she was hunted down by the authorities and her little girl was taken from her. A divorce went though soon after and her father received full custody, and Aeryn hasn't seen her mother since.

    Life with her father wasn't bad, not at all in fact, he was kind and loving, and gave her all he could buy, however his job got between what she really wanted. He wasn't really there to help her through the tough times. The child grew up lonely, outcasted and teased at school she learned to rely on herself. Life became a blur of faces, classes and other things. Years went by and things got worse and worse in the quiet of Aeryns mind. Her moods continued to jump, each winter got worse, though her father remained unaware of her problems due to his absence.

    Eventually the grew grew tired of it all and during winter vacation she made an attempt on her life. After being diagnosed and treated professionally for bi-polar disorder she was given a prescription to take. Her meds helped, and as long as she took them she never floated so high she thought she was god, nor she she sink to low that death was the only option. Eventually she graduated and went to post secondary for her generals before joining the Criminal Investigation Bureau of Japan and climbing her way through the ranks there.


    P H Y S I C A L | | A D V A N T A G E S
    "I... am fast...?"
    - Aeryn is one who holds a very high tolerance for both pain as well as physical strain, she's flexible and quick on her feet. The young adult also has a high amount of stamina and can run or work herself physically for longer periods of time than most.

    P H Y S I C A L | | D I S A D V A N T A G E S
    "My shoulder aches when it rains"
    Old Wound
    - About three or so years ago on a field job she got shot in the shoulder, the bullet shattered the bone. After some months of healing and physical therapy she was able to move it again, however it has caused sever pain flashes and difficulty since then. Because of the fragility of her shoulder her upper body movement is severely limited.

    P R A C T I C E D | | S K I L L S
    "Nothing special I guess"
    [ Experienced ]
    Use of Various Firearms, namely handguns

    [ Intermediate ]

    [ Amateur ]
    Various martial arts, namely for fun


    P S Y C H O L O G I C A L | | D I S A D V A N T A G E S
    "Every one's a little crazy, the sooner you accept it, the better"
    [ Bi-polar Disorder ]
    Aeryn has a rather mild case of bi-polar disorder. Her moods often shift according to the situations she put in and the season in which this occurs. Her mentality and such varies depending on the current time of year, during the winter she sinks into depression, contemplating suicide and what not, while the summer time gives her a happier outlook on life. The highs during this time consist of exceptionally high opinions or herself, at times even thinking that she is some divine being. As for her state of mind during autumn and spring, they vary depending on the condition of life and how close either of the solstice seasons are.

    M E N T A L | | S T A B I L I T Y
    Relatively Stable, Aeryn isn't one to lose control over anything, it would have to be something fairly horrifying for her mind to break.

    G R E A T E S T | | F E A R S
    "Kirijos are made of stronger stuff."
    Aeryns greatest fears usually revolve around her own death or that of a family members while her being useless in stopping it. Drowning and Burning Alive are two ways to end that really strike her as alarming, however if ever in the face of danger she refuses to let it show. She usually tries to laugh off anything that either scares or surprises her.

    I N T E R E S T S, | | E T C...
    "I have to have some ways to pass the time"
    - Aeryn has always been one with a love of weapons, from katanas to modern gun she appreciates them
    - She has a great love of past times, almost exclusively the feudal and medieval eras of many countries. Dressing up to go to a renaissance fair is something she has a great passion for.
    - She's trying to write a fantasy series due to a love of that style of novel

    I N S P I R I N G | | F I G U R E
    "What's there to look up to when you're already on top?"
    Herself. Or her father who she has looked up to since she was young.


    C O M M O N | | N I G H T M A R E | | T H E M E S
    "It's horrible, the things I dream up..."
    - Falling
    - Burning
    - Death of a loved one by her own hand

    F R E Q U E N C Y | | O F| | D R E A M | | L U C I D I T Y
    "Believe me, I've tried"
    Never has she had a lucid dream, though she's made attempts at them and fallen asleep with the intention of controlling the world her mind throws her in.

    C O M M O N | | R E S P O N S E S | | T O | | D A N G E R
    "Live to fight another day"
    In any and all cases when she is alone or among strangers her thoughts go to self preservation mode, her number one priority is to save her own skin through any means possible. However, if in the presence of those she cherishes she'll do whatever she needs to keep them from harm. In contrast, if in the presence of people she dislikes she'll most likely put them in danger or use them as a shield if she feels so inclined.

    Mira Cherneva (Aleksander)
    Show Spoiler


    Family name: Cherneva
    Given name:Mira
    Other names: "Ruby eyes"


    Taller than most females, with red hair and large eyes, that tend to turn red when she stares at something for longer periods of time. A bit skinny and physically frail. She has a scar on her shoulder from an unknown origin. Her skin is white, but not pale and she is not doing make-up unless necessary for some event (too much trouble to bother on a daily basis).

    Age: 27

    Personality: Quite a capable professional who doesn't often quarrel with others. This, however does not mean she has lots of friends. She is quite cold and tactless, often to the point of rudeness. She knows how to behave in order to appeal to people, she just never saw the need to do so, since she has always been self-sufficient. When her parents died in a car crush a couple of years ago, she barely bat an eye upon hearing the news. On the funeral her neighbors were much more traumatized than she was. When something sudden and unexpected confronts her she is likely to deal with it "here and now" the best way she deems possible. Later on she might regret or like to change her decisions; however she will always react according to her present knowledge of the situation.

    Brief Back story:

    (The character that I am using is mostly from a story I wrote some time ago, so I'll just copy-paste her history from there)

    My parents: Lina and Boris Chernevi (now I see why it is that my dad had to take my mother’s surname, not the other way around) were cold and distant people, just like me. I have no real childhood memories of them, as our relationship was kind of mechanic – they provided everything I needed and demanded certain results of my academic development, standards which I always covered. Other than that we did not really share anything else, rather than a common house in the prestigious outskirts of Sofia, the capital city of my home country of Bulgaria. They were both self-employed and always preoccupied with something, of which I am now sure, was not their work. My grandmother, Natalia Cherneva was very different, she was warm and funny, full of light – that annoyed me endlessly and yet, for some unknown reason, I still demanded to visit her every summer in her three-storey house in the village the name of which loosely translated means “A field of black”. Too much dark colors, don’t you think? Well, I never noticed it before, the same way I did not find it weird, that my family keeps a book of all our ancestors up to the time of the Bulgarian khans, some 600 A.D. In fact, I found it weird that other families don’t! My parents barely spoke to me for things other than school and necessities, but one thing that they wanted me to know is all the members of my family and where they lived. Both of them died in a car crush in one of the busiest highways, which killed over fifty people altogether, with the wounded who died later. Now I see there was no way that could have been an accident. That happened when I was 19 years old and had finished school. As you can imagine, given the nature of our relationship, I wasn’t traumatized at the slightest and many of the neighbors and colleagues that came to the funeral were much more deeply disturbed than I was. All the people thought that my unmoving face was a sign of courage and an attempt to seem strong in front of them and saluted me, but my grandmother Natasha could see through that. She was not so much angered, as I had guessed, but deeply disturbed instead. Now that I think of it, she must have hated my parents to the bone, but still showed the necessary grief in front of everyone.

    I was legally an adult and the only heir to my parents, so I had more than enough money to support myself. As expected, my grandmother did not leave me be, but moved with me in the house in Sofia, which was now mine. She always seemed concerned and tried to engage me in talking as much as possible. She also insisted that I spend more time outside and that I find a boyfriend. To force me to do these unpleasant things, she even came to such extremes as locking the door an pretending to be asleep so as to force me to spend the night at a friend’s house. I have to say I loved it, because secretly I did enjoy it and those friendships that I managed to make lasted for a long time. Nevertheless, she asked me to consider studying abroad. Her official excuse was that the education at home was not good enough. That is indeed true and as I had nothing to bind me to this place ( at that time I didn’t yet place a great value on those feeble friendships that I had made) I went to Tokyo (as I was already obsessed with the Japanese culture) to study psychology there. Soon all the events happening in Bulgaria were not interesting to me at all and I stopped concerning myself with anything related to my home country by the time I finished university and found a job.

    Physical advantages: Able to withstand long periods of time with little nourishment and barely any water. Huge tolerance towards alcohol.

    Physical disadvantages: Quite frail, has never set foot in a gym, has never done sports neither is a fan of any such.

    Learnt/practiced skills: She is a professional psychologist and is incredibly good at sensing how other people feel and/or playing on their emotions. She came to the town along with the detectives from her own interest, not on a job.

    Psychological disadvantage: After seeing "how the world works" she is highly skeptical to anything she hasn't tested, tried or saw herself. She once won a bet of spending a night sleeping at the sewers of Tokyo so as to prove she did not believe in mutants living there. That casted her a few rat bite marks, though. You could see how this disbelief in anything the others say could be a disadvantage. She is the person who would go into a haunted house, where several people had disappeared because she did not trust the person who told those stories in the first place.

    Mental Stability: Not having much of a relationship with her family has made her incredibly resilient to anything that might happen to her. Her ability to deal with what's happening at the moment borders on insanity as she is never disturbed even by the most gruesome or grotesque of facts.

    Greatest fears: Being incredibly mentally resilient, her greatest fear is the fear itself (how messed up is that, eh?). She doesn't believe in the notion the bravery isn't the absence of fear; instead she is convinced that fear in itself is the most destructive emotion ever to intrude on the mankind. Thus she is afraid or becoming like the others in their fear towards things they don't understand. In more physical terms, she is disgusted and (although she would not admit it even to herself) terrified by slugs.

    Interests and related things: Psychology (obviously, duh), philosophy, books of the occult

    Inspiring figure: The Mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred (we can use fictional characters, right? So they can also be real in the game „world"?)

    Most common theme of nightmares: Being buried alive. “I have never been afraid to die. It’s that way of dying that bothers me”.

    How often their dreams are "lucid": She doesn't have lucid dreams and doesn't believe in them even existing for that reason (see psychological disadvantages)

    Common responses to danger, or strange situations: Instant reaction, she would always try to confront the danger in some way and to discover the reasons for the situation occurring in the first place. Mira is a believer in the theory, that our thought patterns attract certain events in our lives, so she will always attempt to see what she has done to make a certain event happen to her. If the danger, however, is too imminent, she will react to the best of her abilities to avoid it. If a person with a knife attacks her on the subway, she would shoot him with her handgun in an instant, without as much a though of remorse or consequences.
    #1 Ruko, Aug 6, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  2. It was early evening by the time Yami reached the town. The sun was slowly disappearing behind a tree-covered peak to the west, bathing the streets in a multitude of pale oranges and pastel yellows. It had been a steady and strenuous climb up to the entrance, where she stood now, as the town, "Mahitoku" had been built on the crest of a hill, from which it commanded a wide view of the forest below. Once she had regained her breath, she turned to look more closely at the ghost town. It was a peculiar thing. From the entrance, a single, linear street with a slight incline led to the centre of the town, where a beautiful shrine stood. It was very typical for a shinto shrine, and painted with magnificent colour.
    On either side of the street, separating the road from the pavement, were beds of soil with tall cherry trees planted at regular intervals. They were of course green now, though Yami imagined that it would be stunning to see it in spring. The same trees encircled the shrine, too. The buildings that lined the street were build in a relatively old fashioned style, and none were taller than 2 floors high. Directly behind the shrine, the hill gently sloped upwards, creating a second level to the town. A stone wall had been built to clearly seperate the lower east side and higher west side, with a series of staircases to allow foot access to the residential district. The houses there each had their own garden, built with a wall to split it off from the next house, and these too were built in an old fashioned style.
    In addition, there were only 3 proper roads in the entire town. The first was the entrance street, and the other two stretched from the shrine to the north and south edges. The rest of the streets were cobbled and not wide enough for vehicular access, and the main paths on the upper tier had no way of getting a car to them, despite being capable of taking them. As a result, a multistory car park had been built underground. Yami had seen the turn off to it from the road she had walked along to get to Mahitoku, however it seemed to require town citizenship to be able to utilise it.
    The lights in every building on the lower tier were turned off, and Yami would have assumed that it was simply past closing time if the situation were any different, but the fact of the matter was that the entire town had been mysteriously abandoned, with no trace of the people. She could see several items that had been left in the street; a small child's bicycle, a dog's lead, an umbrella in the open position. She looked up to see the final light of day disappear briefly behind the town gatepost, before reappearing below the wooden beam and forming a strange orange crown above the shrine. It waited there patiently, as if it was hesitant about letting the moon have it's turn. Yami shivered slightly - the air had become chilly surprisingly quickly. In addition, she thought she could hear faint footsteps.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Mahitoku. It was not that important a place in the grand scheme of things, at least to Norman Ebayan, other than that the power company that contracted his firm thought it important enough to send him to investigate.

    An entire town, abandoned seemingly overnight. Ebayan was not sent here as a detective, however, but as an insurance claims investigator. Extended family members of several prominent citizens wanted to pull money out of the power company for the disappearances, and the bean counters were obviously reluctant to pay out unnecessarily. Hence contracting a third party to verify the claims and establish any fault.

    Ebayan stepped out of his car into the foggy gray day, noting how depressingly empty Mahitoku's streets appeared, with scattered bric a brac suggesting that its citizens had abruptly left. It was eerie, unsettling even.

    He reached into his pocket, pulled out a carton of cigarettes, and quickly lit up. He inhaled the crisp tar and nicotine as he surveyed the empty streets. He made his way closer to the building he had parked in front of, a post office that he thought he could at least get some information out of. However, a brief glance into darkened windows proved that it would be devoid of any helpful souls.

    As he headed back toward his car, he heard faint footsteps and peered through the fog to see a willowy and pale girl half his age wandering the streets. She seemed fragile like a porcelain doll, but pretty in a waifish sort of way. She was also the first living soul Ebayan had seen in this ghost town.

    "Hey! You there!" he called out, jogging toward her. "Do you know what's going on in this town?"
  4. The sound of the alarm waking her up was one of the things Mira hated most in her life. She stretched her hand, like a drowsy zombie, from the comfort of the sheets towards the night stand and her red-pained finger nails scratched the surface of the smartphone where she knew the button to turn it off stood. The annoying sound, however, was unrelenting in its insistence to wake her up which made her suspect that someone was calling her. She made a sleepy sweep over the screen and when that didn't work she simply threw it into the farthest wall, hoping to make enough distance between her and the sound so it didn't bother her. Surprisingly, the phone stopped ringing at that very moment and she rejoiced in the morning quietness, covering her face with the sheets. The happiness, however, was short-lived as the phone rung again, this time more violently drilling into her brain. Mira tried to ignore it, but after the third call had started, she was forced to surrender to her tormentor's persistence. She crawled out of the bed, not caring for the presumed cleanness of the floor in a motel room until she reached the device that had disturbed her sleep. Her initial intention was to dismantle it, or at least to turn it off, until she saw the name, or rather the picture of the caller. An old lady, smoking an old-fashioned pipe at a wing made between two trees. Her hair was red just like Mira's and her dress could barely hide her light obesity. She had large reading glasses, which were as old fashioned as glasses could get there was a book at her lap, the title of which was in small Cyrillic letters. Mira let out a cry of frustration as she pressed the greet button, after which she laid on her back, pulled the sheets that had followed her descend to the ground over her chest and, in quite the sleepy and incoherent way, answered the phone:
    "Hello, grandma" she said in Bulgarian
    "What a lovely granddaughter I have, she never forgets to call me back" her grandmother had lived with her for long enough to know her sleeping habits and thus Mira could not see this opening line as anything other than a mockery at her present state
    "Go die already, you old hag" she answered slowly and sleepily, her brain still trying desperately to cope with the language differences and the state of forced awareness "How many times must I tell you I am sleeping at that time!"
    "I'm sorry, honey, but if I were to call you during your normal hours, I'd be depriving myself of sleep and we both know older people need to take care of themselves." her grandmother's voice was as irritating as ever, producing immediate anger in Mira
    "What do you want now? Did you finally saw your willingness to remain living in that pitiful excuse of a village instead of coming here with me as a sign of mental illness? I've been preparing for this therapy session for years, so you'll get the best treatment ever." Her attempts to suppress her sleepy anger were apparently not entirely futile as they had turned it into a mere sarcastic insult
    "Your stunning ignorance is truly a bliss, my dear" Natalia Cherneva's voice was as irritatingly joyful as ever "but I did not call you to discuss you chronic disrespect of the old ways. Tell me, what's the deal with that abandoned cities in Japan. I've heard about it on the news, so it must be a big deal over there, no?"
    "It is, though the authorities are trying to keep it low" Mira's voice had suddenly became serious. She had travelled several miles from Tokyo to explore this city and was now in the closes motel there was to it. This mysterious anomaly interested her greatly and she was more than willing to talk about it with her grandmother, one of the very few people that could match her intelligence "It had happened before, twice, but so far only to small villages. There are lights over there at times, even though there is no living soul. The weirdest thing is that Google earth pictures from just a day ago showed people on the streets."
    "And you... are going there?" Natalia was more worried than angered, judging by the tone of her voice "My dear, need I remind you that you are the last living descendant of the Chernevi line? It is bad enough that you've never had a real boyfriend but exposing you life to an immediate danger? I urge you to reconsider, my dear. You have read The Necronomicon yourself, you know how much more there is besides the fraction of our perceived reality."
    "I know" Mira sounded as serious as she could get "and that's why I must go. You know yourself that, although I make a point to believe in such things, I can never truly believe it if I haven't seen... no, if I haven't experienced something outside this petty reality myself."
    For some time the line was silent and Mira waited in cold sweat for her grandma's judgement.
    "Fine." she finally answered, quite unreluctantly, "I have tried to dispel this habit of yours, to disbelieve in anything, however I succeeded. Just mark my words, honey, the biggest problem with the people today is that they have lost faith. And in their loss, they no longer know what they should fear."
    "I'll watch myself" she said happily
    "I know you will. I shall consult my library and will call you if I come up with something."
    "Thanks, grandma" Mira said it with absolute sincerity since she knew her grandmother's ability
    After she hang up, she grasped with annoyance as she threw the sheets away, without even bothering to throw them back on the bed. In a less than an hour, she was eating a sandwich, while driving towards Mahitoku.
    #4 Archmage, Aug 9, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  5. Yami had turned towards the footsteps several minutes before, and had until now simply been watching to see what their source did. She was a little surprised to see the figure start to jog, though. He emerged from the shadow of a building just after she answered his question. "I do not." Her voice was light, and mysterious, and reminded her a little of a breeze echoing through a thin gorge. "Given that you're also here, I assume you already know what I do, which is what has been reported on the news."

    Now that the man was standing in the quickly fading light, Yami was able to see him properly. He was shorter than she had at first guessed from his footsteps, and a little thinner too. His hair was relatively scruffy, as if he didn't care much about his appearance, and he held a cigarette in his hand. This unnerved her somewhat - she'd had a bad experience with smokers in the past.

    A gust of wind rushed down the street from the direction of the shrine, rustling the leaves of the trees and creating tiny vortexes of discarded newspapers. She shivered slightly, and drew the strings on her hood to shield her eyes from the icy air. She had seen some kind of cafe a couple of minutes earlier, and now started walking towards it. It wasn't a particularly brisk walk, but she did intend to get inside before the sun died completely and the atmosphere cooled down further.
  6. Ebayan followed the girl toward the cafe, pulling his trench coat closed to ward off the sharp edge of the chilly wind. "Back up there, kid - what can you do that was reported on the news?" His interest was obviously piqued. He had been wandering around the town for the last two hours, driving along desolate avenues, and this willowy waif was the first thing he saw even remotely resembling life. "For that matter, what's a little thing like you doing all the way in this backwater? Where are your parents?"

    He peered around their surrounding protectively, no actually expecting any danger, but rather because he noticed the absolute silence of the street. Even the quietest of towns had insects, birds, and other small, insignificant life making some kind of noise. Aside from the wind, there was only their footsteps and an unnerving silence. It set Ebayan's neck hairs on end, this quiet that reminded him of a graveyard.

    Hell, even a graveyard had more noise than this street.

    "Kid like you shouldn't be out here alone. This place is giving even me the willies. Name's Norman Ebayan. What's yours?"
  7. The first thing Mira noticed, as she walked out of her car, after driving aimlessly around the empty streets for hours was the cold. She had established nothing at all from simply looking at the empty city and had decided to try and enter one of the buildings on a street too small to drive through. The second was the wind. When she departed from the motel it was a warm spring morning, resembling summer and her car was equipped with an air conditioner, thus preventing her to experience anything other than the constant temperature of 28 degrees Celsius.

    Now she was beset by chilling sensations all over her body. She was dressed in a simple purple dress, with a beautiful yet quite simple plastic black tiara to stop the head from getting into her eyes. As she opened the window to the cold evening air, she stuck her arm outside, with the probing part of a Geiger counter, its body, with the status indicators, laying in her lap. There were smaller, pocket-sized versions of the apparatus however after inquiring a friend from the university, now a physics professor, she came to see them as less sensitive. The readings were quite normal, not much different than those it gave at the motel and definitely lower than those in Tokyo. The power plant at the nearby island which malfunctioned was too far away and too small for it to affect this town, but since it was the reason for the start of this phenomena, one couldn't be too careful. Mira sighed at the sight of her black shoes, with open fronts and kitten heels, extending a little bit over her feet. She walked to the trunk, opened it and took a few items. The first was a comfortable, cotton, black sweatshirt which she proceeded to dressing on top of her dress and a pair of thick sneakers of the same colour with which she changed the heels. Taking only the car keys with her, she locked the vehicle and began walking on the street, while playing with them with her left hand.

    By the time she reached the first building she was amazed by the absolute stillness of the place and by the time she had reached the middle of the street and tried a couple of locked doors, she had totally grown sick of it, making her regret not taking her phone and earphones. Then again, if she had been listening to Iron Maiden she'd never have heard of the voices from somewhere nearby. She stood there, listening,for a couple of seconds, but the voices seemed to disappear. Normally, she'd have blamed her imagination, but in a city so still and quiet, she had to believe her senses. After making that assumption she headed forward, planning to make it to the end of the street and head into the one parallel to it, since that was the origin of the presumed voices. She did not expect to see anything there and her expectations were quite true, since the place was as dead as this one. "Dead"she shivered at the though - "In the world of today words are being squandered carelessly my men and that seldom has consequences. But mark my words, my sweet innocent child, there are still places on this planet where words bear great power." Shaking her head to get her grandma's voice out of her mind, Mira moved forwards, or actually backwards, depending on one's position across the street, staring the the empty windows. Suddenly, something attracted her attention - a motion! She was sure this time and run towards the pathetic excuse of a cafe where she had spotted it. In her desire not to miss the presumed entity, she almost hurt herself, while bumping in the door. Her imagination was already paining wildest of pictures. What would she find there? A ghost? A being from some other, twisted and alien world? A sole survivor with a unimaginable tale to convey? Her brain was sublimely telling her to consider the opportunity of it being simply a cat, but she disregarded it as she had not heard or seen any living thing, be it animal or human, in her long drive.

    Her emotions, upon entering the room, and in doing so almost taking the door out of its hinges, she was both surprised, excited and disappointed. There were two people inside: a man, slightly older than her with black hair, dressed in a trench coat, what baffled her most, a small child, presumably his daughter, dressed in a hoodie. Undoubtedly, these two were not locals since their attires bore the signs of long travel. The man was apparently a detective or perhaps a private investigator, sent here by a relative of one of the locals. Or just an enthusiast, judging by the fact he was reckless enough to bring his daughter to this place. "Why, what's wrong with this place?" her own logical, conscious mind confronted her "There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the place. Whatever happened is apparently long gone." She knew better than to trust in blind reason when all of her senses, apart from the normal five ones, yelled in a blasphemous cacophony that she was in great danger. "Grandma would be so proud if she could hear this now" she thought and the very idea of being influenced by Natalia made her angry. Anyhow, she couldn't just leave now and those two were apparently quite interesting characters. It was not the mystery she came here to solve, but she had always enjoyed meeting non-ordinary folk and anyone who would walk into this place on their own free will was definitely worth talking to.

    "H-hello uhm.. guys?" she spoke with an awkward smile unsure of how to refer to the world couple. "I'm great at handling people, no wonder I'm so good a psychologist" she sarcastically mocked herself. Well, at least it wasn't Natalia who was doing that... Come on, one has to look for the silver lining in every situation, right?
    #7 Archmage, Aug 9, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  8. ((Just gonna point out that no one actually knows about the two villages or the cause, simply that it happened to the town. I'm going to let it pass though because I feel mean pointing out such small issues, especially if I'm already making a fuss about the necronomicon thing.))

    "What can I do? You must have misunderstood. I meant what I know. Which is basically just that everyone in the town just disappeared without a trace." She shifted her stance slightly, to allow her to lean more comfortably on the counter. "Why am I here? It's summer break, and I ran out of things to do. I thought I might come up here and spend a few days seeing if I can find out what's going on." She chose to ignore the question about parents because she really wasn't in the mood to get dragged into a lengthy discussion. "Norman? That's not Japanese. You're foreign?" Now that the final rays of sun had disappeared and given way for the night sky, Yami lowered her hood and walked slowly to the far side of the counter, looking for something to drink. "I'm Yami Miyamoto. And I don't like being called a kid. Please refrain from doing so."
    After a brief search of the cabinets, Yami settled on filling a mug with a crude form of hot chocolate consisting of chocolate milk powder and boiling water. It had barely been set on a coaster before a shallow, tinny rattle drew her attention to the wooden door. It was now open, and framed the figure of a woman. Yami watched for a short while, until enough light shone on the figure to reveal it's full form. It was young, and tall, and Yami took an instant liking to it's hair, which was red - a colour that, when natural, was almost non-existent in Japan. She took a sip of her drink, which she noticed tasted several times better than she had expected, and had a wonderful way of repelling the frigid evening, and continued to wait and watch to see what the newcomer would do.
  9. "Norman? That's not Japanese. You're foreign? I'm Yami Miyamoto. And I don't like being called a kid. Please refrain from doing so."

    Ebayan blinked at how stiff and formal the waif in front him sounded. He took a draw on his cigarette and blew a stream of smoke out the corner of his mouth.

    Perhaps he had misjudged her age; when he was south of twenty, he was far more crass. Then again, she was Japanese, and if had learned anything in a decade of marriage, it was that the Japanese were notoriously polite. The insurance investigator rolled his cigarette to the other corner of his mouth with his lips and gave the girl a slight bow in silent apology.

    "All right, then, Miyamoto. And no, I'm not Japanese; Filipino, acutually. But I've been living in Japan for several years." He did not comment on the fact that he had married a Japanese woman, now five years dead. The flash of memory made him knit his eyebrows a little and left him feeling a little perturbed. He didn't think about those days if he could help it. The unsettling stillness of the town seemed tailor-made to rile up bad dreams and old memories, however.

    Like Yami, Ebayan's attention was suddenly drawn to the rattle of the cafe door opening, admitting a stunning redhead.
    "H-hello uhm.. guys?"

    The first thing he noticed was the long cascade of flame-colored hair. The second was her height. At five-foot-seven, Ebayan was hardly a tall man, and this lithe female certainly had a few inches on him. Unlike the willowy Yami, the redhead was definitely a woman, with the fuller figure and presence that came with age. If he were to hazard a guess, he placed her in her mid to late twenties, early thirties at a stretch, and anywhere from ten to fifteen years his junior.

    "Well, at this rate, the town's population will be back to normal in no time," Ebayan sarcastically noted. He rhetorically asked, "You didn't happen to see more tourists coming in, did you, Miyamoto?"

    Ebayan waved the redhead over, indicating she should get out of the opened doorway and the chill. "Better get in here, lady. No reason for all of us to freeze our asses. Name's Norman Ebayan and that's Yami Miyamoto. You here checking out the town too?"
    #9 Razilin, Aug 9, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  10. Leo rolled up to the little village in an old, rusted jeep he rented since his guide wouldn't dare get to close. It was always an issue in his line of work, normal people tend to stay away from places that are known for disasters and other unlikeable situations. He didn't like it one bit, as though the guide himself wasn't expensive enough, the cost of the rental for the jeep also burned a hole straight in his funds. Though, he had to admit, while it wasn't pretty, it worked.

    He stopped just before he reached the town proper, when push came to shove, Leo preferred to exit a town where shit was going down as soon as possible, besides it didn't look like the town was built with cars in mind anway. Just his luck, to be stuck in the sticks in Japan with what would probably be the most boring story of the century.
    Leo had no real love for the Japanese, a bit to xenophobic for his tastes, moreo than the English. Though it wasn't as bad in the major cities or if you make sure to let them know you're not American. For some reason they didn't enjoy the company of Americans, but thoroughly appreciated the European visitors, especially the French and Germans.
    Well, either way, most of his costs were on the newspaper's dime and since he most likely wouldn't have much to report on he could see it as a relaxing vacation in a green countryside.

    He tossed out the butt of his cigarette out the window before taking his two bags of traveling gear from the passenger's seat and getting out of the car. He carried one rucksack with clothes and other basic nessesities and one dufflebag with his camera and gear used for the development of his pictures. It was rediculous, really, he even had several bottles of vinigar with him simply for his pictures' second bath.

    He took out another fag, popped it in his mouth,lit it with a smooth move of his lighter and looked up. He sighed, loudly. Cherry trees, these Japanese had no imagination. Moving through the street he noted that when they said deserted, they were exagerating since he saw some people at another entrance. Other than them though... who knew, it looked pretty bad.

    Ignoring the small band he went in search of a place to lay his head for the night and where he can set up a dark room as well as, most importantly, where he could get a stiff drink.
  11. As she walked inside and closed the door behind her, Mira was able to observe the people much better and realised her initial assumptions might have been wrong. The young girl and the older man looked nothing alike and they behaved distinctly different as well - they were probably not related in any way, though there was still a chance of the child being adopted. Upon hearing the names of the two she dismissed that suggestion and decided that they were acquaintances at best.

    While the little girl was silent and observing, the man was quite vocal and quite bitterly sarcastic. She also noticed the almost finished cigarette in his hand and glancing at his fingers having a spark of yellow at the tips she could tell this was quite a consistent habit of his. Combining those two she quickly deduced that the man was either emotionally disturbed somehow, or just anxious to do something, though she was more inclined to cling to the first hypothesis as she imagined he had strolled into this ghost of a town on his own free will. The girl was quite calm and she could not make any immediate assumptions about her, although she'd really like to do so, as she did not expect to find a child here of all places. Making her deductions had taken up a couple of seconds and she noticed the two were staring at her, expecting her to answer. She tossed her head in an attempt to remember the man's words and said responded "I'm Mira, Mira Cherneva. My surname is quite difficult for foreigners to properly pronounce, so just forget it."

    Why was she really in this town, though, his question made her pounder at her own decisions. To finally get in touch with something from that occult reality which her grandmother enforced to be true? Or to utterly prove to herself that nothing mysteriously supernatural and out of the ordinary ever existed? She immediately knew he answer: it was the first one. She desperately wanted and had tired over the years to believe that there was a sea of unknown things beyond the scope of the scientific understanding, but it was simply impossible for her, until she experienced part of it with her own senses.. Noticing the other two were still looking at her, waiting for her to finish her line, she got angry at her chronic inability to give mindless answers like a regular ordinary person. It was the same issue as the first day in the university, when the professor had told them to sit with someone they didn't knew and so she sat alone, drawing the attention of everyone else...
    "Let's just say I'm here on a journey of self-discovery." she smiled as she said the truth "So... did you check you "check out" anything interesting so far?" she asked, thinking it wouldn't hurt for her to share some ideas with other people and deciding that no data would come for free added "I drove around, so I just noticed how silent the whole place around us was. Did you guys hear any animal sounds at some point?"
  12. "No, and quite frankly, I find that more than a little disconcerting," Ebayan replied. "This town seems completely dead in every way. I haven't seen so much as an insect."

    Ebayan pulled out a folded map of the town from his pocket and spread it on a nearby table for the women to peruse. Even it seemed outdated when he bought it at a store outside of town on his way here. Somehow, everything about this area suggested that it was frozen in time, a place where nothing spoke, nothing lived, nothing changed. It was disquieting.

    He pointed at a location on the map.
    "This town's small enough that most of its major municipal buildings are all located in this general area. City Hall, public library, police station, fire department, and post office. I was planning on heading there first, maybe scrounge up some answers about what went down here. If we're lucky, we may actually find someone. Sound like a plan, Mira? Miyamoto?"

    Just then, he glanced up at some movement he noticed at the corner of his eye. Out in the street was another man, dark haired and tall.

    "Funny. I thought this town was supposed to be deserted. Guess I was right about the population starting to boom again," he said dryly.
  13. (You sure you aren't telepathic? You keep saying things that will lead on perfectly to things later on. Even though I was trying to not have anyone know.)

    "You know, in all likelihood, that guy's probably just another tourist. The only reason I'm not surprised to see more here is because it's such an out of the way place." Apparently, Yami had not caught onto the man's sarcasm. "That seems like a good enough plan. We ought to visit the shrine at some point too. Either to discern whether the phenomenon is related to it or simply to pay our respects. It feels like we're trespassing to me." She stared out of the window, past the man and into the abyss of thought. After several seconds, her focus snapped back to reality as she saw the man turn slightly. She realised then that she was probably the only native Japanese here. Perhaps because she was one of the few who was sceptical about religious beliefs regarding curses and the like which were likely deterring visitors, specifically those of Shinto or Buddhism.