Sanctuary

    Share
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:22 pm

    Ch. 9 (Pages 387-396):
    The trio stood inside of a small, gently lit shop within the Haven. A couple of windows let sunbeams come in from the entrance and along the shop’s walls. At the front sat a store clerk with her violet hair tied in a side-tail. She wore a black tank top with a grey sweater tied around her waist.
    The shop was a small square building with a series of racks with all sorts of clothes, mostly casual types, including sweaters, shirts, jeans and cargo pants.
    TJ picked up a yellow shirt and stared at the characters imprinted upon it with a puzzled look. He had certainly seen them all over, but nothing in his memories could make them out. Perhaps it was not something he had learned prior to losing them.
    “Curious?” Kooh asked as she walked up to him. “It says ‘BOSS’ on it.” She grinned.
    He turned his puzzled look to the God’s Governor. “You can read this language?” He asked.
    “Of course! I have to carry out missions all over Jienda! Knowing a few languages is nothing!”
    “That makes sense.”
    The Abellan could not help but wonder if that was one of the requirements to becoming one of Peorth’s Keruz. Good leadership, speaking multiple languages, knowing the ‘Calling’ ability. He knit his brows as he sighed. It was more difficult than he could have begun to imagine. He was only a Tronz, and there were two more ranks he needed to ascend if he wanted to become a Keruz…but if he could then he would not only be a better person, but also one of Peorth’s most trusted allies. He clenched his fist with a renewed resolve.
    “You look fired up TJ! But if you do that you’ll rumple the shirt.” The God’s Governor laughed.
    “Eh? Ahh…”
    He attempted to put the shirt back on the rack and smoothed it out afterwards, both poorly done. It would have to suffice. He eyed the clerk and noticed that she was still looking out the window, so he took the opportunity to skulk off to Peorth’s side with Kooh following closely behind.
    “What’re you looking for Chief?”
    “I would prefer something light…suitable for training, but also durable. At times it can be so rigorous that the clothes are worn out or destroyed in the process. It is a shame, really. Many great pieces of clothing had fallen up to this point, and I would rather not risk any more.” She answered as she picked up a tank top and stretched it slightly.
    The Abellan laughed gently. What was that word the girls used to describe her? Militaristic? As strange as it was, he could not help but see it as a charming fact about her.
    “You should let me pick them for you Princess. I’ve got a pretty good eye for clothes you know.” Kooh said as she pursed her lips.
    “That is true but…our tastes vary…greatly.” The queen looked embarrassed as she muttered the final words.
    “Who said you can’t look good and be productive at the same time?”
    TJ gave her a wary glance. “That sounds like something Bonnie would say,” He muttered.
    “Ah TJ you met Bonnie?! She’s great right? I have her do my hair once in a while and we talk for hours.”
    He sighed gently. “She’s the one who gave me this hair. At least, the way it was before you did it up in that one style. She and Marin are scary when they get serious.”
    He looked around the store with quick glances.
    “Leaving that aside, you mentioned it earlier but what is a quipao anyway? Is it some kind of outfit?”
    “It’s a dress,” The God’s Governor answered. “I saw some over there. Come on you two!”
    She took both of her companion’s hands and brought them further into the store where a rack with the outfits rested.
    The Abellan looked on in awe. They were there in a variety of colours and designs. There were ornate designed embroidered into each one, and they also came in differing sizes. He could not see himself in one, but he admired them nonetheless.
    “So? How about it?”
    “Huh?!” He looked at her with shock. “O-oh…they’re nice. I’d bet you two would look beautiful in them.” He smiled.
    Kooh blinked and Peorth averted her eyes as her cheeks flushed.
    “A-ahh…what’d I just say?” TJ covered his face as he turned away.
    “You heard him Princess. Why not give it a try?” Kooh asked with a grin.
    “N-no…I could not…”
    The God’s Governor pursed her lips. “There’s no need to be shy around him Princess. He’s seen you in your pajamas before. Besides, it’s not everyday you can get someone else’s opinion on clothes like this. Live a little!”
    She still seemed unsure, but her expression seemed to be relenting.
    “Tell you what, if you put one on TJ and I will too. That way, you won’t have to be embarrassed about it!”
    “H-hang on this is a bad plan! I’ll be embarrassed,” TJ cried defensively.
    “If that is the case…perhaps…” The guild master looked to one of the dresses thoughtfully with a clenched hand to her chest.
    She was definitely, definitely thinking about putting one on, but she had her own reservations about it. When she looked at it with such a vulnerable expression it was hard to remain stalwart against such a wish.
    Kooh looked to the Abellan and winked, to which he frowned slightly.
    “Why not just do it? What’ve you got to lose anyway? I mean, I’ll still laugh at you, but better to do something and regret doing it, than not do it and wish you had later,” Su said from within the gem.
    “Thanks for the pep talk.” TJ muttered as he furrowed his brows.
    “Soo? How about it?” Kooh asked with a twinkle in her eye.
    “F-fine. Just this once…just…‘cause.”
    “Yay!”
    He shuffled through the outfits with a keen curiosity. He would not tell them, but he was not entirely against giving them a try. He typically wore the same clothes throughout his journey because of their durability and effects, so shopping for clothes and trying on new ones was…fun. The outfits he saw here reminded him of those he had seen in Yong Gyoung also. From those during the beginning of his journey, and some now.
    He had stopped at a sky blue quipao with gold embroidering in the shape of dragons and clouds. He took it out and looked it over. Perhaps it would not hurt to give it a try, at least.
    The girls picked out theirs and made their way to the changing stalls, and TJ followed behind furtively glancing around the room in case any other shoppers came by. He opened the door to the stall and slipped inside quickly and quietly before he placed it down on the bench before him.
    He slipped out of his top and took off his boots and pants before he took a deep breath. He eyed the binding on his chest and gently placed a hand to the Heart of Yggdrasil. It was always there, but he had hardly ever noticed its presence. It felt so…natural. As he mused about it, he could not help but think of what grand adventures awaited him in the future. Comparing those to what he did now, he did not feel as embarrassed as he once did. Perhaps he should let loose and enjoy himself for once?
    He picked up the dress and slipped his head through followed by his arms. He inspected the outfit from all sides. It was light, airy, and easy to move in. In fact, it was rather comfortable at that. His chest did not feel as restricted as it was with his regular top either, which was a refreshing change.
    He opened the door to the stall and stepped out before he stood by one of the racks and waited for the others.
    His gem lit up and Su emerged. Her cheeks were flushed and she grinned devilishly before she let out a snort. Following that, she burst out into laughter and TJ frowned at her response.
    “Oh man I wish I could take a picture of this!” She said through her laughter. “Priceless!”
    He covered his chest with one hand and a part of his thighs with the other.
    “Yeah, yeah laugh it up,” He muttered under his breath.
    Kooh and Peorth stepped out then and closed the doors behind them. Kooh wore a crimson dress with golden roses designed on it, while Peorth wore a green one with white lilies spread throughout.
    TJ looked on in awe and Peorth looked back before she smiled gently with flushed cheeks.
    “Such an outfit is befitting of you, TJ. Dressing up every now and again is something I, personally think would be a wonderful idea,” Peorth said.
    “I agree,” Kooh added. “Both of you look super cute! I approve!” She gave them both a thumbs-up. “How about yo-”
    “No.” Su said before she returned to the gem.
    “She’ll come around eventually. Juuuust a matter of time.”
    Her patience was incredible, but her mental fortitude was even more so. If she responded to him like that all of the time, he would feel hurt sooner rather than later.
    “So TJ! Whaddya think? Great right?”
    “Hm?” He looked startled. “It’s uhh…it’s nice…I suppose?” He began to sweat.
    He could not help but notice that Peorth’s was longer-it extended further down her legs and he felt his embarrassment increase tenfold. What a poor choice he had made in his haste.
    “If you look so much even I will feel a hint of bashfulness,” The guild master said under her breath.
    He had no regrets.

    He had acquired some regret before their trip was over. Kooh had talked the two of them into buying the dresses. The trio made their way back through the inn as TJ sighed gently. Kooh looked as if she was glowing-she had came out with quite a haul, and Peorth had found some good clothes she could use for her training.
    The Abellan could not help but wonder how she destroyed her clothes by exercising, but he had been through some of her ‘basic’ exercises so he could not begin to fathom what the more advanced ones were like.
    “We shall reconvene here once we are prepared. Excuse us.” Peorth said as she opened the door and Kooh stepped in while waving, followed by Peorth.
    “Sure,” TJ answered.
    The realization dawned upon him that he did not have a key to the room and he froze up. Where was Axle when he needed him? He tapped his badge twice.

    [Guild]TJ: Axle, can you bring the room key? I need to get changed for the summit.
    [Guild]Axle: Locked out huh? Haha, sorry about that! Guess I didn’t think that part through. Ken’s on his way back to drop off a few things so he should be there in a few.
    [Guild]TJ: I’m saved!
    [Guild]Thee: Since you’re getting ready now, I guess you guys are headed out soon huh? We should probably accompany them there.
    [Guild]Axle: You think someone in Lemanin is gonna try and jump the Abio Rangers? They’d have to be pretty ballsy to do that.
    [Guild]Thee: That-that’s not what I’m concerned about!

    TJ laughed gently at the banter between the two. If anyone tried to fight Peorth or Kooh, they would be in for the worst kind of surprise.

    [Guild]Thee: We might be…you know, here to patrol and stuff, but we still have to make sure that they get there safely.
    [Guild]Axle: Then we should’ve followed them while they were shopping.
    [Guild]Thee: …
    [Guild]TJ: But wasn’t it your idea to get food, Axle?
    [Guild]Axle: Whoa! Busted!
    [Guild]Thee: TJ’s got you there.
    [Guild]Axle: Alright, alright I yield. We’ll follow Ken and meet you guys in the lobby or something. Alicia’s here too, so we’ll box you guys in and make sure people aren’t flocking to get your autograph or something.
    [Guild]TJ: We’re counting on you.

    He looked down the hall and saw Ken approaching.

    [Guild]TJ: Ken’s here now, so I’m gonna go. Later guys!
    [Guild]Thee: See you in a bit TJ.
    [Guild]Axle: Peace!

    “It’s a good thing I was coming along, huh TJ? You might’ve been waiting a while if Axle had to bring the keys back.” Ken said as he took the keys from his pocket.
    “Tell me about it,” The Abellan chuckled in turn.
    Ken unlocked the door and the two entered. TJ made his way over to his bag and took out his suit. He got out of his usual outfit, or at least had removed his accessories before he stopped. Ken was standing right behind him. Could he really change with him right there?
    “Don’t tell me you’re having second thoughts now. It’s another dude. What’re you so scared for?” Su asked.
    “It’s embarrassing…” TJ muttered to her.
    “Never stopped you before, did it?”
    He took his hands from his top and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. The other times, he was more or less forced into it. One of them may have been necessary, but the second time he was man-handled by Kooh.
    “If you’re a man, you’re not supposed to be afraid to be seen by another one in the buff dumbass.
    “What’s with your obsession for being manly anyway?”
    He knit his brows. That was a really good question. Why did he try so hard to be masculine? What was the origin of his drive? It seemed to matter little to him in his memories on Asgard, so what had happened between then and his arrival on Midgard that had changed him?
    “I…I dunno.”
    “Hm? What was that TJ?” Ken asked as he looked over his shoulder.
    “N-nothing! Just talking to…myself.”
    “Seriously? I thought you’d be talking to Su.” He laughed and TJ face-palmed.
    He lacked a definitive answer to the question, and the reason eluded him. For what reason would he forget something like that? He forgot his name, his identity and many other things, but he still knew how to speak and do other basic things. Was there some method to his amnesia?
    He shook his head rapidly to cast away the thoughts. He could not have his head in the clouds at such a time-he needed to focus on what he could do now, and that was to help Peorth through the challenges to come. He quickly slipped out of his outfit and into his suit but stopped as he eyed the tie. How on earth would he put on such a thing?
    Ken had recently left as he said something about the lobby, but since TJ had his head elsewhere he had not processed it.
    He made his way to the mirror and tried a variety of ways to put the bow on, ultimately failing.
    “You’re really useless sometimes, you know that?” Su asked as she emerged from the gem, her suit already on. “Gimme that.” She took the bow from his hand and popped his collar. “Hold still for a sec’ and lemme’ do my job.” She fixed up the bow and pulled the ends before nodding at her handiwork. “There. Now you don’t look like shit. Now hurry up and get in that costume so we can get the hell out of here.”
    “Thanks Su.” He said with a grin.
    “Yeah, yeah whatever.” She turned around and shrugged before she vanished.
    He climbed into the Abio Red costume and looked to the helmet with resolve.
    The time had come…to meet the Cerebians. To finally meet God’s Governor of Wind, and set fate in motion. This day would change everything. His actions even more so. He put the helmet on and stepped out into the hallway.

    “Wearing a suit under this suit makes it crazy hot,” TJ muttered under his breath.
    He wanted to wipe his brow but could not get to his face.
    “Bear with it a little longer TJ, we’ll be there soon,” Kooh told him. He could not see her expression through the helmet, but her bubbly voice carried through nonetheless.
    “I expected it, but we’re getting an awful lot of looks.” Thee said as he looked back at the staring crowds.
    “Just tell yourself they’re fans and it’s not so bad,” Axle suggested.
    TJ took some solace in the idea.
    “It feels like we’re an entourage,” Alicia chuckled.
    “You know, in a sense we are an entourage.” Ken added with a grin.
    “Let’s try not to act too suspicious though. Avoid the furtive glances or too much staring. We’ll only draw more attention to ourselves. The wrong kind at that.” Thee said as he looked around with a smile.
    “If there’s a culprit to be found, better not to scare him off by showing we’re on to him,” Axle said.
    They ascended a long, steep road up towards a massive building. As they neared they could see a few people entering, a young lady at the door and a certain barista with a certain green brownie.
    “I’d say it couldn’t be, but those two are unmistakable.” TJ said with a dry laugh.
    “They’re all dressed up this time though,” Alicia added.
    Vanir wore a black tailcoat with matching pants, a hat, and dress shoes with white socks. Skuld wore a green dress with white frills underneath the skirt and in the sleeves, matching dress shoes and a hat that rested on a small portion of her head with a veil attached.
    “Vanir? What’re you doing here?” TJ asked as they approached.
    “Wah…that’s pretty cold Kid. I might not be a Cerebian or have a guild but I didn’t think that meant I shouldn’t be here.” He answered with a mock offended look.
    “I didn’t mean it like that.” He pursed his lips.
    “Of course you didn’t.” Vanir grinned and he frowned in turn. “Anyway, I’ve got a stake in this too so I’m here as a guest of Bastion.” He eyed the trio.
    “Since you lot are here and dressed like that, I take it you’re going to put that plan into action huh?”
    “Indeed,” Peorth answered.
    He looked at her incredulously. “I thought you’d be in the red costume. Why are you green?”
    “I really like blue,” Kooh answered.
    “Uh-huh…well, that’s not important. I need to talk to you for a sec’ Queenie. You guys don’t mind if I borrow her right?”
    Axle and Thee stepped out from the side of their companions and drew their weapons on the barista.
    “Whoa, whoa, whoa! What’s with the hostilities guys?!” He raised both hands in surrender.
    “Lower your weapons Axle, Thee. He is not a danger,” Peorth told them.
    “You can never be too safe Boss. Making such a request now could easily make a lot of people out to be after your life.” Axle told her as he sheathed his blades.
    “I have to agree with Axle. I can sense the aura of a Confidant around him but…I’d rather draw first then let you be in any sort of danger.” Thee added as he too sheathed his broadsword.
    “I respect and appreciate your diligence, but I shall be fine on my own. Now then, if you would excuse me…” She walked off and Vanir followed.
    “I’ll be back in a flash. Look after Skuld would you?”
    “Kiku?!” Skuld cried out as she watched Vanir walk off.

    Vanir leaned against the building as Peorth stopped walking and turned to him.
    “I know I was the one who had suggested it, but are you sure you wanna do this Queenie? It’s not too late to change your mind,” The barista said.
    She gently shook her head. “My mind is made. Another opportunity to unite the Cerebians may not come again.” She began as she removed her helmet. “To have the guild masters here on this day may have been by the blessing of the gods themselves, and I have no intention to let it go to waste.
    “For my people, for Jienda, and for the Abellan, I will go forward with confidence. To hesitate is to put all of us at risk. If they will accept me, I will guide them. They need a leader as much as I need followers. Together, and only through this can we defeat Agasura King Asmodeus.”
    “Man you’re impossible when you’ve got your mind set on something.” He rolled his visible eye.
    She grinned slightly. “Kooh had described it as…one of my ‘good points’.”
    “I’m sure that’s not the only thing she’s described as a good point.”
    He sighed. “Seriously though, you can still change your fate. If you go this path I don’t think there will be any turning back afterwards.”
    She shook her head once more. “I appreciate your concern, but come whatever may, I will face my fate. Whatever happens to me, so long as TJ can go forward, that is all that matters.”
    She reached into her pocket and replaced her glasses with the fake pair.
    “Now but once more, I will don the disguise Belldandy, but from then on, she will be no more. Only Peorth Emeria Ásvaŕtlim will remain.
    “We shall speak again anon.”
    At those words she put on the helmet and walked away.
    Vanir sighed audibly. “Gods! I know I’m the one that set her on this path but why is it so hard to diverge?! Stupid slight changes hardly changed anything.” He stroked his hair. “Guess I’ll have to make the best of it. But man what a pain…”

    The pair returned while the group was flocked around Vanir’s brownie, all of them talking animatedly.
    “Alright Skuld, let’s head inside and take our seats before the party starts,” Vanir said.
    She emerged from the crowd and took his hand before the two walked past the lady on guard.
    “We shall be fine from here on out everyone. You may begin your patrols if you so desire,” Peorth told the others.
    “Good luck in there Boss,” Axle said.
    “Break a leg!” Alicia said as she waved.
    “If you get nervous, just imagine everyone to be veggies. Giant talking veggies.” Thee said with an affable smile.
    “We’ll make sure everything goes well you guys, so hang in there.” Ken said as he saluted them.
    Peorth turned to TJ. “Allow me to brief you on our course of action.” She said and he nodded in response. “Kooh will go first. She will sneak inside and turn off the lights. At that moment, you and I will follow after. When I give you the signal, all you need to do is pose. Kooh and I will handle everything else.”
    TJ nodded solemnly. It was a strange plan, but he had little doubt that Peorth did not know what she was doing. He would put his trust in her here too.
    The guild master approached the lady on guard and showed her three invitations as she spoke in an unfamiliar language. The guard spoke in the same language and nodded before the guild master turned to Kooh.
    “Alright, here goes!” Kooh said as she raised a finger skyward. She clapped her hands together and a wave of mist surrounded her before she vanished.
    The door suddenly creaked open just a bit and the sound of footsteps died down amidst the voices of the people within. The light suddenly turned off and surprised gasps and fearful voices followed after.
    “TJ, it is time. Let us begin.” Peorth told him before she made her way towards the door.
    He nodded and followed her inside, and the door closed after him. The room was completely enveloped in darkness, and the sound of voices was the only thing that cut through it all.
    “Here TJ. You may begin.”
    At those words he took his place at Peorth’s flank and struck a pose like one of the Abio Rangers. The sound of Kooh’s footsteps drew his attention, and it was followed by the sound of something rolling across the floor.
    A small canister at TJ’s feet began releasing a red smoke. It was followed by a second with blue and finally one with green. As the only source of light within the room, a multitude of voices spoke out.
    “It’s the Abio Rangers!”
    “Did someone order entertainment?”
    “It’s interesting! I’m in!”
    “Rei-Rei, check it out!”
    “Lessa, shh!”
    “This is certainly a surprise!”
    “I love you Abio Red!”
    The lights turned on while Kooh’s arm quickly lowered.
    Peorth stopped posing and raised her hands to her helmet before she took it off.
    “Guild master Belldandy?”
    “Didn’t think she was an Abio Ranger.”
    “This is just getting weirder by the minute.”
    “Did I surprise ya’ll?” Peorth asked as she grinned. “Figured there wasn’t a better way to kick off the guild master’s summit than with an interestin’ surprise for you lot. But the real fun’s just about to get started!
    “Kooh, TJ, let’s give ‘em a show!”
    “You got it Princess!” Kooh clenched a fist and opened it, palm outwards. A tome, the sign of the Keruz appeared before her and vanished before she removed her helmet. She had snow white hair and her ruby sclera had turned blue.
    “Abide by the words of my contract and give me the strength to become the hope of this world!” TJ clasped his hands together and removed his helmet following Kooh in action and appearance.
    “Release, Memorius Sanctum!” Peorth shouted and the gilded tome appeared before her as her appearance changed also.
    She removed her glasses and put on her real pair before she closed the tome and it vanished.
    “It is time that all of you find out the truth of my identity. I am not guild master Belldandy. My true identity is Peorth Emeria Ásvaŕtlim. Proxy to Her Grace Amae, daughter of Remedi Ásvaŕtlim, contractor to the Abellan, and reigning queen of Asgard.”
    There was silence. All of the guild masters and their companions looked on incredulously, some in disbelief, others in utter shock.
    “It is said that there are very few, if any Cerebians that can achieve such a state. Before you to my left, stands my Keruz and cousin Kooh. To my right is the Abellan, TJ.
    “I understand that you are all in disbelief. But I ask that you neither bow down, nor oust us, but instead hear us out for a time.”
    She turned to a young man who stood at a desk near the entrance and said something to him to which he closed his agape mouth and nodded.
    “This way, TJ.” Kooh told him as the young man guided them towards an empty table and Peorth made her way to the stage at the far end of the hall.
    Once there, she continued, “When Asgard fell, many lives were lost, including those of my own soldiers and people. I am aware of your losses, and I assure you not a one has been forgotten. Many of you, to this very day have likely believed that I too, had fallen in that battle, and to see me standing here may be nothing short of impossible. But with all confidence I can assure you that I am exactly who I claim to be.
    “But it is not just your approval that I seek, nor your loyalty. I must ask that you stand by me as my equals. I…no, Midgard and Asgard have need of your aid. I am sure you are all aware, but everyday we spend fighting is a day closer to the arrival of Agasura King Asmodeus. This is a battle that we alone cannot fight, so I ask that you all join hands and come together as brothers and sisters in arms. Reach out to your companions from across the lands and join forces to overcome a threat that challenges both Cerebian, and Mankind alike.
    “With your strength, courage, and hopes we will quell this age-old battle of eld and finally put a stop to the Agasura once and for all. I understand that it is a daunting task, and one that I will not accuse you of wrongdoing should you have reservations, but to those willing, I ask that you lend us your power.
    “With that, with you, we can form the Guild Union. By bringing our guilds together, we may come to each others’ aid in times of crisis, and have better communication amongst each other.
    “Alas, with the appearance of the Seven Sinners happening across Midgard, it is imperative that Yggdrasil knows when and where their Instance Dungeons arise. TJ is the only one that can defeat the Guardians and destroy the Instance Dungeons, and due to the appearance the Sinners have taken, much of Humanity and Cerebian kind have taken him to be a murderer.
    Peorth bowed down. “I beg of you, of all of you. Lend us your ears, your aid, and your arms. Fight for this cause, for the hope of everyone. If you have your reservations about my presence, I will understand, but choose not to fight because I ask this of you, but because the world needs you to. Let the truth come to light. Aid the Abellan in his journey, and I promise you that with my own life I will see to it that we end this war.
    “For your time, you have my gratitude.”
    At those words Peorth stepped down to thunderous applause and shouts of approval.
    “Everyone’s going wild Chief. Even I’m fired up by your speech.” TJ said with a smile.
    “Thank you, TJ. Your praise is unwarranted, but I am thankful nonetheless.” She said as she smiled slightly.
    “But let us not meander. There are many guild masters we must introduce you to, and that I need to personally apologize to. Will you join me?”
    “Yeah, of course!” He said as he got up.
    He turned to Kooh. “You’re not coming along Kooh?”
    She waved off the suggestion. “Nah, you two go on ahead. I didn’t have a hidden identity or anything, so they all know me already. I’ll be around the hall somewhere if you need me though.”
    “If you say so.”
    At those words TJ and Peorth made their way to meet the other guild masters.

    As they walked through the hall, TJ looked around with a keen curiosity. Now that he could see, he saw the whole hall for what it was. There were windows all over with transparent tan curtains-the stage was mahogany with a crimson curtain resting behind it. Tables were scattered throughout the hall with white cloths covering each, and tags in the center of them with the name of the guild it was reserved for. There was bread, cups and utensils laid out upon each, and in the far corner of the room there were tables with a variety of foodstuffs prepared for the summit.
    Peorth stopped at one of the tables and shook hands with the guild master.
    TJ did a double-take as he realized it was Eli, but this time dressed up in a violet pinstripe suit with a matching top hat, pants, and a curved brown cane in his hand. His crimson hair was tied in a ponytail.
    “It is a pleasure to see that you are doing well Eli,” Peorth told him.
    She lowered her head apologetically. “I must ask your forgiveness for deceiving you.”
    He gestured for her to calm down. “Whoa, whoa, don’t worry about that. True, it was a surprise, but you wouldn’t be running around advertising yourself as our queen now would you? That’d be pretty reckless.”
    He scratched the back of his neck. “Still…standing toe-to-toe with you isn’t really my style either. Haven’t looked up to a superior in years, but this is a whole different case. Should I refer to you as ‘Your Highness’? Or do you prefer ‘Your Grace’? I dunno…I’m not really good with the formalities.”
    TJ felt a growing kinship with the guild master.
    “Please, you need only address me as Peorth. You may see me as Belldandy if it eases the burden.”
    “Peorth huh?” He grinned as he closed his eyes. “Well I’ll come around to it sooner or later. It’s good to make your acquaintance, as a fellow guild master and a vassal.”
    Peorth did not respond to the statement, but something about her demeanour seemed to dampen slightly.
    Eli turned to TJ and raised a hand. “TJ! It’s good to see you again. How’ve you been?”
    “Good,” TJ answered. “I’m glad to see you’re doing well too, Eli.”
    “That’s probably thanks to you. I’d heard about some of the things you saw in the Pharaoh’s Chambers and…whew, kinda glad I didn’t step in there. One of Nia’s members sent us the full report afterwards after they debriefed Amata. Giant snakes and Sinners? Definitely not my cup of tea.”
    TJ tilted his head quizzically. “Nia?”
    “She’s the guild master of Devotion. Amata’s one of the members of that guild.”
    He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Speaking of, I take it that the one who picked out the party for that was Peorth?”
    “That is correct,” The queen answered.
    “So that’s what she meant by one of the higher-ups. Makes sense.”
    “Chief always picks out the right members for the occasion. I dunno where we’d be without her.”
    “You flatter me.” Peorth said as her cheeks flushed a gentle pink.
    Eli gave TJ a couple pats on the shoulder. “You two are pretty close huh? That’s what I like to see. Look after the queen would ya’? And Peorth, I’ll leave the Abellan in your hands too.”
    “I shall protect him with my life.” She answered with a hand to her chest.
    “D-don’t do that. I’m not okay with that.” TJ answered as he waved his hands and shook his head.
    The two went over to another table where a young lady with silver hair sat, accompanied by a young man with dark blue hair.
    “Good day, guild master,” Peorth said.
    The girl stood up and shook Peorth’s hand. Her eyes were a muted grey, but her smile made it up. She had sharp features, her bangs hung on each side of her face but she had an informal charm to her. She wore a blue-sleeveless, lace bodice gown and a silver bracelet with a rose design atop it. She also wore a pair of studded earrings.
    “Man you really got us good there Peorth.” She said with an affable grin. “Didn’t think any of the nobles had a sense of humour, but you really pulled a fast one on us.
    “Was that accent of yours fake? I’m hearing it now but I can’t believe your real voice is that different.”
    “It was an act, yes. I apologize for my actions.”
    She laughed. “No need to be sorry! You did what you had to do, didn’t you? The fact you got all of us is proof you did a damn good job of it. I’m impressed!”
    She looked over Peorth’s shoulder to TJ who looked startled. “So this is the Abellan huh? I’d heard Reina’s stories about him and whatnot, but I never thought he’d be real. Cute kid-guess he’s not just a fairy tale huh?”
    “I’m TJ…and I’m real. Can’t say that I’m not entirely sure about being the Abellan, but I think there’s more than enough proof for all of us.” He answered with a smile.
    She laughed again. “You’ve got a pretty good sense of humour TJ. You and I are gonna get along just fine, I bet.” She pointed to herself with her thumb. “I’m Zosia, but everyone that knows me just calls me ‘Z’.”
    She looked over to her companion and waved him over. As he got out of his seat a cordless jumped on to the table and onto his shoulder. TJ’s eyes shot open and he drew his guitar instinctively.
    “Whoa slow down there TJ! I’d rather you not beat my guild mate to a pulp.” She said with a bead of sweat running down her face after taking point before the Abellan.
    “There’s a cordless…on his shoulder…” The Abellan muttered as he eyed the television robot.
    “It’s alright, he’s friendly. The Cerebian might bite though.”
    “Hilarious,” The man sighed as he approached. He was a tall fellow with a very focused expression and deep blue eyes. He wore a grey suit, a vest beneath his jacket and a dress shirt and purple tie underneath that. He wore black laced dress shoes and a single glistening gem in his left ear.
    “This is my partner-in-crime Rupert, and our mascot Cor.” Z said as she held a hand out to the two.
    “I’m glad that we finally meet, TJ. As Z said, I’m Rupert, the second and only other member of the only machinery guild on Jienda.”
    The cordless blinked and the screen turned blue revealing a set of letters that read ‘Hello’.
    “I-it talks!” TJ said with a look of surprise.
    “Uh huh-we took one of those busted cordless, fixed it up and made a few modifications.”
    “So you guys fix machines?” TJ asked with a hint of curiosity.
    There was a glint in Z’s eye. “I’m glad you asked! We don’t just fix machines, we build them. Those Atlantians gave both the Cerebians and Machinists alike a bad name, but when our guild gains a few more members and builds some renown, we’re gonna paint over that canvas with glory!”
    She unclenched her fist as she looked to him. “You probably don’t have a good relationship with machines either, do you? Judging by the way you responded when you saw Cor, I take it you’ve been to Scrap Valley?” The Abellan nodded grimly. “Yeah…figures.”
    The guild master crossed her arms. “With all that’s happened in the past, there aren’t many Cerebians flocking to join our guild.”
    “By many, she means any,” Rupert added.
    “Oh shut it. That aside, we have to compete with the genius Master Berkhart. I hate her, but I respect her too. If she’d stop selling off her blueprints Scrap Valley wouldn’t be infested with robots! Though I do have to hand it to her, using those very same things to create MGs was a stroke of genius. We need that kind of talent. If we had the funds, I’d bet we could make something that would convince even the Cerebians that machinery isn’t the terrible destructive force they think it is. They can be used for good too, they just lack people to show them how.”
    “Though I believe we’ll find a way, even if it’s only the two of us. We’ve come far on Z’s genius alone-if we band together with the other guilds, I’m sure we can advance our civilizations.”
    “You know how to say all the right things don’t you?” She asked with a grin.
    “I’m here too,” Cor’s screen said.
    “Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you.”
    She turned to TJ. “Well I’ve already talked your ear off. If you’re ever in need of machinery or have some good ideas, send a mail to us in the City of Iron. I can tune up your guitar if you like. Lasers, drills, electric shocks? Maybe a sound amplification device…”
    TJ shook his head. “N-no, that’s okay. I think I’m fine with this the way it is.”
    “You sure? I’ll do it for free!”
    “Perhaps next time, Zosia. Thank you for your time.” Peorth said as she gestured for TJ to follow.
    She approached a group of three people at a table talking and waved to them.
    The first of them to rise was a tall, broad, mountain of a man with bronzed skin, dark brown eyes and his long chestnut hair tied into dreadlocks. He wore a white suit, matching pants and dress shirt with black dress shoes and a blue and silver polka dot tie. His nose was pierced with a golden ring, and he had really thick eyebrows that made him look rather menacing. Or he was potentially menacing and the eyebrows added to that fact.
    “Good day Emil. Thank you for coming to this summit on such short notice,” Peorth began.
    The man smiled, and the scary demeanour he had vanished in an instant. “Short notice? You kidding? You had those invitations out with time to spare!” He said as he laughed.
    “Still, you really got me with that big reveal. To think that you were the reigning queen along…that was a hell of a surprise. The girls are still reeling in shock.” Emil told her as he gestured to his comrades who laughed with each other. “Now before you can apologize, I’m gonna tell you not to. You made a smart move, doing that. If there was a mole among us, it’d be for the best if you didn’t reveal yourself right off the bat, Given the current circumstances, I can see and understand why you did. You don’t even need to ask, my guild is behind you. We’ll make sure the Agasura are down and stay down.”
    “You have my thanks.” She blinked slowly.
    “Since you have no qualms with that, allow me to take the time to introduce you to my Tronz, the Abellan TJ.”
    “I-it’s a pleasure!” TJ said stiffly as he walked over.
    “So you’re the Abellan huh? Nice to finally meet ya’!” Emil said as he held out a hand.
    He’s gonna crush me with that hand! It’s humongous! TJ thought as he awkwardly reached out and placed his hand in Emil’s.
    As the two shook the guild master grinned. “I should properly introduce myself huh? I’m Emil, guild master to one of the most renown guilds in all of the Elfa region, Revolution. The girls over here are some of my highest ranking members, Kenia and Roxanne.” He gestured to the two, and they waved back, one with an open palm and the other with her fingers.
    Kenia was the shorter of the two with her forest green hair tied in a bun, golden eyes and a small smile. She wore a floral, knee-length scuba knit dress and a pearl necklace. Roxanne had carnation pink hair, green eyes and a coquettish smile. She wore a knee-length, black and plum, lace/sequin hearts dress. She had earrings also, but from the distance TJ could not make them out.
    “What’re you two being so shy for? You should at least come and introduce yourselves properly!” Emil shrugged as he turned to the two. “Sorry about this Peorth, TJ. These two aren’t usually this odd around strangers, but I guess meeting the queen and the Abellan for the first time has them on guard. They’re good kids though, so don’t take their actions to heart.”
    “Think nothing of it,” Peorth responded.
    “It’s alright. I’m not good with introductions either.” TJ said with a laugh.
    Emil grinned. “You’re a good kid too, TJ. I’d be honoured to fight alongside you in the future.”
    “L-likewise!”
    He nodded. “Well, I won’t keep you two any longer. I’m sure there’s plenty of people you’ve still gotta meet, so go and do your thing. The girls and I will be around, so if you wanna chat with me just come on over. Chances are I’ll be by the punch bowl.”
    TJ smiled. “It was nice meeting you Emil.” He looked scary, but he was a really nice guy. The Abellan felt a bit of guilt for having such expectations, but took the fact to heart, and reminded himself not to judge a book by it’s cover.
    As the two made their way through the hall a voice called out to them and stopped them in their tracks.
    “Excuse me, may I have a moment?”
    Peorth stopped and seemed to turn in almost robotic fashion at the sound of the voice.
    “And you are…?” She asked.
    “Have you forgotten me already, Peorth? I confess, it has been many a years but I could recognize you with ease.” He said as he knelt down, took her hand and kissed it gently, much to TJ’s surprise and dismay. He was a young man with crimson hair tied in a ponytail, hazel eyes, a grey suit and matching pants with black dress shoes.
    “Is that so?” Peorth asked, her expression unchanging. “I have been on Midgard since the fall of Asgard. I had donned the disguise Belldandy, and in all the years I had been here, not once had I heard that you had sought me out. Alas, I have been in your presence while disguised, and until I had told you, you had not recognized me.”
    TJ looked aghast. Was she…angry? He had seen something like it in the battles against Choen Palm, but that was somewhere between her usual battlefield demeanour and it. This was on a whole different level, and yet she showed no hints of it on her face nor in her voice.
    “I confess that I did not recognize you, but that is because your act was as convincing to me as it was everyone else. As for the other matter, there is no truth to the statement that I did not search. Such an operation must remain covert, as you know. To openly search for you would be definitive proof that you are alive, and we would not want our enemies seeking you out also.” He rose to his feet and her eyes followed him.
    He turned to TJ and smiled, but something about it felt so mirthless. Perhaps he was letting his feelings cloud his senses-he had just learned that he should not judge a book by it’s cover. In this regard, perhaps what he had felt was hostility because of the way he acted and touched Peorth. And yet…there was something wrong between the two also, or at least he felt that there was. What was it about this man that agitated him so?
    “You are the Abellan, correct?” He placed a hand to his chest and took a bow. “My name is Aurelius Rosario. I am an earl, and guild master to the Weaving guild, Atropos. A guild known for developing the finest silks and clothes that money can buy, across all of Jienda. I am also Peorth’s fiancé.”
    “Likewise…I’m TJ, but you already know that.” He said with a forced smile.
    He turned to the guild master. “What’s a fiancé Chief?”
    “A fiancé is a man to be wed. As he had said, I am his fiancée, therefore, he and I were engaged from many, many years ago at my father’s behest.”
    “M-married?” TJ asked in disbelief. If he recalled correctly, of the many contracts the marriage contract was one that bound lovers together. In other words, Aurelius was already destined to become her partner. As Peorth had said, it was her father’s wish, and it was decided years ago. He felt a pain in his chest and a sense of overwhelming defeat as he watched the two converse.
    “I think that it would be best if we performed the ceremony within the next few weeks. Though we may be engaged, I am sure there are many men who would not still try their hand at winning you over, especially now that the Cerebians are aware that you are the reigning queen.”
    Peorth shook her head. “Such an act is ill-fitted for the given circumstances. I must spearhead the campaign to form the Guild Union, and I must also lead my guild in our quest. I am Her Grace’s proxy before all else, and marriage is something that must wait until after we have defeated Agasura King Asmodeus.
    “Alas, I am aware and thankful for your contributions to our cause, but I cannot offer you anything more currently. I must ask that you too, keep your mind focused on the task before us. I would not dare to put my own life choices before the lives of those who depend on me as a guild master or queen. It would do you well to remember that.
    “Now then, I must be on my way. There are still many guild masters TJ and I must meet with, and plans that need to be discussed. Until we meet again, Aurelius.”
    “Uhh…see ya’, I guess.” TJ said as he followed after Peorth.
    Aurelius kept a calm air about him, but even that felt off to the Abellan. There was something-rather, a variety of things that sent chills through TJ’s body about that man, but he would not pursue them now. He had to keep an eye on Peorth first and foremost, and he had to learn about her circumstances. They were close, but it seemed like there were still burdens that she could not confide in him about.

    “Oh! Chief there’s Amata!” TJ said as he pointed to the God’s Governor. “Hey Amata!”
    She looked around cautiously before she spotted him and her face flushed. The God’s Governor wore a white and crimson sari with a rhombus design sewn into it.
    The two approached and she let out a defeated sigh. “I-uhh…h-hey,” She muttered.
    “You seem pretty flustered Amata. What’s wrong?” TJ asked with genuine concern.
    “What’s wrong? This! This is wrong!” She said as she spread her arms. He tilted his head and she let out another sigh. “I can’t stand dressing up like this, but Dad always says I should take pride in my heritage. It’s not like I dislike it but just a normal dress would be fine. All of the other girls are wearing them.”
    “Except for me.” The voice of another lady drew their attention and their eyes turned to her.
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:14 pm

    Only Dragoons and smoke love high places:
    I was playing FF14 the other day and I had to meet that clown Estinien at a really high place. Pinnacle of Boulder Downs, if I recall correctly. While I was there a Giant Logger came by and messed my day up. I was THIS close to triangulating his face with my axe cause I was a goddamn Botanist. Pain in the ass. Seriously.

    Now before I begin, let me make one thing clear. This isn't an indication for things to come. This is for now...tentative, possible™. Got it? Good. Now to keep the peace for once, let's say you happen to see me on the street. Don't go out of your way to piss me off-either you say hello, or ignore me. Either's fine. I'm getting real tired of being treated like a bloody tumour or the second coming of Bin Laden by every Tom Dick and Harry I pass by. First few times it was cute. After a few weeks it became obnoxious, and now it just...no. I'm not okay with it. It gets in the way of my writing, of my studying, everything. So let's put a stop to that shall we?
    Let's be real here. I'd spent years trying to stand out as little as possible, and even THAT isn't enough. Anymore and I'll cease to be entirely. Seriously. People need to make up their minds.

    But anyway, I'm not here to air out dirty laundry, but I will complain at some point in time. If this nonsense comes to an end in the near future, I can do my job and people will have less reason to heckle me-or so I hope. Now lemme try and do this thing...it's been a while, and I'm not confident about it, nor entirely willing.

    You know, there's plenty I could say about TJ and his struggle. Gender struggle. So, so much. There is a bit, but I might save more for the overview. Currently, I wouldn't say he leans in any particular direction-well maybe. He wants to be manly, in a sense, but as Su had asked he found himself puzzled by the matter. Unlike memories, that's something that may be so deeply ingrained into his psyche that the desire stems naturally. They say that the environmental factors that surround us on a daily basis, and from our childhood will have that effect. We might not be aware of it, but it becomes a part of who we are, and the more we come in contact with those things and try to belong in groups that embrace it, the less unusual it seems and the more natural it becomes. Sooner or later, it becomes not only a part of who we are, but how we live our lives. It stops being what we do, and becomes something as natural as breathing or blinking. You forget it's there, but it is.
    And sometimes...sometimes you realize that it's there. A constant pang-a yearning that will follow you for years and years, and sooner or later you come to the realization you either embrace the way you are, or take the gamble with change. What comes after? I couldn't say. Everyone's story will have a different conclusion. Some just don't end as happily as others. Even so, I don't intend to discourage it-in the end, it all boils down to the happiness of the person affected, not what others say or do.
    Even so...sometimes no response is better than a response. When I was a boy, my dad always said if you don't have anything good to say, don't say it at all. I wish that such a statement hold sway in the lives of people today. We spew vocal toxins like we do greenhouse gases. We fail to protect the things we covet, and when on the verge of losing them we can only pray that we don't. This, is the folly of our race, and it sickens me.
    But as always...I'm not here to wax philosophy or be a nihilist. If my teacher saw this he'd really scold me for it lol.

    One of the things I love about Su's character, is she talks the talk and walks the walk. She may have insulted him the world over, but she certainly knows how to do up a tie. Gotta respect it. At this point in time, she still comes off as rough around the edges, but she's become more mindful of TJ. A sweetness in it's own regard.

    Moving on, one of the things I enjoyed is the banter between the other party members. Most of the main cast, Kooh aside is usually pretty serious, in spite of the ridiculous antics they've gotten up to lately. The supporting cast cuts that down a little and introduces new elements to the main party that refreshes the formula and gives the discussions a new take. This probably sounds like me tooting my own horn, and perhaps I am. But I stand by my statement nonetheless!
    I do love the main cast though-depending on who's present, things could change drastically. If TJ and Peorth are alone, their might be brief romantic encounters, while with Su on the other hand, they'd be arguing but friendly nonetheless. If she was alone with Peorth, it would be more about their methods and ideals going forward. If you swapped Peorth with Kooh, they'd definitely be fighting...in a sense. Like Amata said though, and I did previously, the dynamic changes greatly with the addition of one or two variables. Who is present and when can turn the tides of battles and diplomatic situations. That very fact could be of great import later on, now that things are moving on a grander scale through the introduction of the guild union.
    That also means less of best girl because she'll be doing more guild work. RIP Peorth.
    Those political fags will have a field day...maybe? Perhaps I should brush up on wartime politics. Our current political scenarios are all kinds of wacky. Speaking of, if you're fleeing the U.S because of Trump, there's plenty of maple syrup here in Canada. Come on down!

    Here's a little something that might surprise you! Remember when Vanir said what colour Peorth was wearing isn't important? He lied. The reason he asked was implying that one of his other incarnations had Peorth dressed in a different colour, meaning that something had changed for him, which lead to that result. It's what he referred to as a 'slight change'. As for the path she walks, his desire to take her off of it is just foreboding. In a sense, one would assume that he would've just told her not to dress up as an Abio Ranger to begin with, but if she did not follow through with the plan, there may have been a dramatic shift in the events that played out at the summit. I'll leave that up to your imagination, since the possibilities are infinite, and going any further would be a spoiler lol.

    So finally, FINALLY, we get introduced to Future!Reina and Alessa. Kinda. They're there amidst the voices in the darkness lol. This takes place about seven years after the Raid on the Dark Moon, so it's definitely pretty far into the future. By this point Bastion would be a bit more established, and many, many other things you'll hear straight from the horse's mouth. Can't say too much on them yet.

    Next? As Peorth had said, there are very few Cerebians with the Calling ability. All of them can do it, as she had mentioned in Frequency. It's just that very, very few can. Using mana is like a stepping stone towards that goal, but if I was to put it in simpler terms, it's like awakening as a god's governor. Twice as hard, not impossible. As for Peorth, her requests when using Memorius Sanctum differ depending on what she plans to do with it. She says "Release' if she's going to utilize her Calling ability or 'Come' when just summoning the book itself. She uses the tome itself as an artifact, allowing it to maintain her powers. You can see some examples of this in the Prologue, and as she summons it through Chapters 3-4 and maybe 5.

    As for her speech...it really got me thinking. To have a queen bow her head would, and should be a big deal. It reminds me of something-as she is who she is, she needs to accept her superiority. But before all of the guild masters she asks them to come to her aid. She's one that would lay her pride down and request support in spite of everything else by the people, and for the people. It's a tough decision to make, and risky nonetheless, but also brave in that respect, because you can lose the respect of your subordinates in doing so.
    To accept one's status...is something I've thought a lot about. I could never put myself in the shoes of my characters, and hardly ever am willing to put them in mine for long periods of time. On one hand, I fear that I couldn't ever live up to the ideals or challenges I've imposed on the characters I've created. On the other, I'd hate to see them go through some of the experiences I had come to know in my lifetime. Though small in comparison, some of them would cut deep. That one statement would never do any of it justice, sadly. At times like those, many could only wish they had something or someone to blame, and more often than not we can locate that thing. I lack a full understanding of how the world works still, and for that very reason there are many matters I'll never know the truth to. It's a shame but...if I can shoulder the fault, I can find closure. That something isn't something I can bear to see through TJ too often and yet...and yet...

    That's a sob story for another time and another place. Not here. Or at least, it shouldn't be...I suppose. Moving on, we get reintroduced to Eli, guild master to Uprising. Now with twice the appearances he had in USSR! Yeah! He might actually appear in Inno. I mean, he SHOULD. I should make a note of that. Great guy. Not much to say about him though, he speaks for himself.

    Z on the other hand? Well...truth be told she's that one i mentioned. The old character brought back from my character graveyard. There's a long winded spiel of trivia I'm going to share with you about her and the circumstances surrounding her story that isn't entirely necessary for you to know but for those ever so inclined they may read on.
    Click Here to activate trap card:
    So uhh...let's see...
    For this, I think there's a few things you should know. Z was originally a character from Project H/H. It bombed, we all know the story. At the time she wasn't named Zosia, just Z. I intended for her to have a mute twin that would be introduced prior to her appearance but uhh...headcanon. Yeah...she's not here. Still in the graveyard.
    Now then! Rapid fire quick facts!

    There are 3 races you should know about for the sake of this explanation! Actually four!
    1)The Herennah: A race of half-dragon people or potentially...descendants of dragons. I dunno. Their home was the Daemon Badlands, an arid wasteland of tribes, bandits and also a location well known for being a site of battles. After the death and corruption of their god, the race split into tribes each with their own beliefs, and proceeded to brutally...brutalize each other until their numbers dwindled. The few remaining became elite and powerful warriors and mercenaries, scarce as they were.
    2)The Helios: A race of sky-bound peoples that had an incredible understanding of magic and used said magic for flight. All the time. 24/7. Non-stop. Z was one of them, but she wasn't about that. They lived in a citadel leagues in the sky above the rest and had a very distinct distaste for humanity. They believed they shared a bond with the Anima, an elusive race that had only once appeared before the others and went extinct afterwards.
    3)The Heliai: Beings that descended from the same goddess as the Helios. Unlike the Helios though, they parlayed with Humanity, mixed the bloodlines and well...the Helios didn't like that so much. They prefer the blood pure, so this lead to years of discord, civil war and strife, eventually resulting in the banishment of the Heliai to the world below and so they built their civilization there. Unlike the Helios, they use their legs. (I mean really, who skips leg day?)
    4)The Armana: Ethereal beings consisting of pure energy that used technology and magic to give themselves physical bodies. They also live in the Daemon Badlands, but their civilization is heavily guarded, rather peaceful, and not of any interest to the Herrenah.

    So! Z's story in a nutshell? She was mixed. Both she and her sister. Their parents split up, the kids went with each respective parent, and that didn't sit well with Z. As she got older, she was like, 'Screw you guys, I'm outty-5000." Tired of the Helios and their magical ways she went down to the lower world, struck out on her own and built a workshop in the Daemon Badlands. She learned about machines from the Armana, and made plans to become the first Engineer that world had seen.
    As it is with Frequency, they had a series of classes that they followed, and adventurers that would take up those classes. The Engineer was to be one of them that would become available if, and that's a big IF Z actually lived to tell.

    If you're still hungry for trivia, I'll share a bit more with you.
    The reason the Daemon Badlands became a wasteland was because with the arrival of the beings known as the 'Legionem' war broke out. Humans, Svartalf and Legionem poured into their world by the dozens, and so they all started fighting there. A man by the name of Horo Olefitz summoned Nidhogg(Yes, THAT Nidhogg. As for the weapon you could say it became a Ship of Theseus.) and in response the Herrenah summoned THEIR god. They fought, realized they had a common enemy in the Svartalf and legionem and turned on them. The heroes of other lands saw what was happening, decided to intervene and they managed to hold off the threat until the Anima decided to show up. They whisked both Svartalf and Legionem away, and vanished after-all that was left was the unrecorded land they inhabited, corrupted and inhospitable to anything other than what the Svartalf could grow and raise, and the race themselves. Thus, it became the Forbidden Isles, home of the Dark Elves. Now isn't that fun!
    This is just a really abridged explanation of the "Harbinger War" from Project H/H. All really old lore, probably not important. Might be. Maybe not important per se...good to know? I dunno. It's trivia dang it.
    And so here we are. Rupert and Cor didn't exist back then-Z was a lone wolf at the time, but now she has a few companions to keep her company in her workshop along with a story to tell. As for others? Truthfully I dunno if I could haul their smoldering carcasses out of that story without getting a lawsuit or something so uhh...I'll just leave it at that.
    On a more productive standpoint, having a character who knows about the ins and outs of the City of Iron is a boon to me. As it stood, the only thing that could be told about it was trivia-random knowledge and history about it from characters like Curt, Robo and Peorth. Since Z is someone who lives and works there, she understands the economy, the people, and the inner workings of the city which will allow me to build up the lore of it a bit later. If you'd thought you'd seen the last of Berkhart and her man-sized spanner, you were wrong.
    The fact that Berkhart herself isn't the one producing the machines may be foreshadowing. If someone else is, it would raise several questions. Potential CoI arc? Random knowledge that will only lead to a loose end? Random bits of conversation??? You decide!

    So moving on, we're introduced to the other big guild of Ramalda, Revolution and it's leader Emil. I think either I was originally gonna name him Rupert, or Rufus. Or something of the sort, I dunno. I went through a lot of names but that one stuck more than the other did. He's a friendly giant too, like good ol' Virgi*. Yep. I HAVE NO REGRETS.
    I'd like to do more with the guilds later, including these guys. Unlike Peorth's crew though, most guilds usually have a base of operations. Revolution conducts most of their missions around Ramalda and within Elfa's borders, since they took it upon themselves to defend the city and Haven. Since the guilds are around, there's always adventurers to meet the demand, and with that being fulfilled the market of the city flourishes. That aside, the Desert is well known for the bandits and grave robbers that roam it, so bodyguards aren't in short supply either. Revolution provides a lot of those services and then some, but also keep peace within the Havens. There are other guilds like that also, but I don't want the list to go on too long, so there'll be just a few more people introduced.

    So we finally meet with Aurelius-at least the main cast does. He's such a dick, and I can't stand him. As much as I can't stand him though, I don't want to write him to be a complete slimeball. As slimy as he is. Seeing Peorth tear into him was a refreshing response though. He deserved that and then some, but revenge is a dish best served cold. If he's gonna get his, it won't be yet.
    The conflict here is good for TJ's growth. For the first time he gets a clear taste of envy, and though he doesn't understand it now it'll be something that will stay with him. Like an open wound, if not treated it'll grow and fester, and become a monster in its own right later on in his story line. The seeds of entropy are being sewn one by one, and I'm willing to bet a certain barista knew something of the sort would happen. Whether he could've prevented it or wanted to, is another matter in and of itself.

    Lastly, Nia was supposed to appear but I think I bricked at that juncture, like I will since this is finished. ...For now, maybe.

    With all that said, I've made my point, and I know where I stand. I've contemplated the complicated, I've looked at the world from every angle I can, and I can't help but feel that time moves much slower for me than it does everyone else. There's much and more I don't know, and much that I've come to understand and accept. But god, if there's one time where I don't have to accept something, let it be now, because it's gone past the point of excessive and is nothing short of oppressive.
    So do me a favour and stop doing that...thing. I don't need to say it for it to be known, because we all know. There's actually two things but...well...there are some things I can do without. If that has to be one of them, then so be it.

    Last thoughts for the night? If all goes well, for once, I can finally take a step forward. It's been...maybe a little over a month, but I might start by getting Inno back on track over the next few days. When I have more time I'll look into getting Sanc going again. Again, IF. If not, I won't bother-I've got other important things to tend to, 'cause my life won't always work itself out. So? Choose wisely what you value most and I'll...give you as much in exchange. That's all I have to say.
    I'm off.
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:30 pm

    Ch. 9 (Pages 396-404):
    A young woman with pink-almost white hair with black highlights, fiery crimson eyes, and a wide grin approached. She too wore a sari, hers in red and gold, gold bangles on her wrists and a bindi on her forehead.
    As she approached she draped her arms around her young subordinate and smiled.
    “I won’t say I don’t understand how you feel Ammy, but to wear a sari once in a while isn’t so bad, now is it? You look gorgeous in it.”
    Amata knit her brows and pursed her lips at the young woman’s words, but unlike what TJ had expected, she had nothing to say in turn.
    “TJ, I would like you to introduce the guild master of one of the most renown guilds in all of Mezzalone, Nia. She leads a very popular and powerful guild by the name of Devotion. Nia, I would like to introduce you to TJ, the Abellan.”
    Nia let go of Amata to approach and curtsy before the two. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you TJ. As our queen had told you, I’m Nia, guild master of Devotion and Ammy’s superior.”
    She looked to her subordinate and smiled before shifting her eyes back to TJ. “You’ve got my thanks for looking after our God’s Governor in the Pharaoh’s Chambers. She had mentioned you by name, but she hadn’t told me you were the Abellan.”
    “I-it’s nice to meet you too Nia!” TJ said with a look of surprise which quickly turned to relief.
    He bowed down courteously to her afterwards and scratched his cheek gently.
    “Truth be told, Amata was the one who looked after me while we were in there. If she hadn’t given me that pep talk when we were fighting Avaritia I think things could’ve ended way worse.”
    “You’re a humble child, aren’t you?” She smiled as her eyes crinkled. “Our world is in good hands, I’m sure of that. I hope you’ll continue to look after Ammy if she joins you in any further adventures.”
    “Likewise!”
    Amata crossed her arms and turned her eyes to her guild master. “Can’t you refrain from calling me that in front of the others at least? It’s super embarrassing!”
    Nia’s smile grew wider. “It’s because you’re embarrassed that I enjoy teasing you so much. A cute girl like you needs to be teased once in a while before you realize just how powerful you can be.”
    “I already realize how powerful I am. I’m well aware, actually.”
    “You’ve still much to learn my dear. All in good time.”
    Nia walked over to Peorth. “I do confess, you had even me fooled for all this time Peorth. But that you did so, and survived all this time gives me a deep respect for you. Your courage and willingness to stand before us all really proves that you are a gem polished to perfection.”
    She curtsied once more. “All members of Devotion, as am I, are at your service, my queen. If you need our assistance, be it now or in the future, we’ll gladly provide.”
    “You have my gratitude Nia. For the time being, I have no particular duties that need be fulfilled, but if you would debrief me on any events surrounding the Sinful Seven, you would be doing me a great service.” Peorth answered her with an acknowledging nod.
    “The pleasure is ours.”
    Amata walked over to TJ as she rubbed her neck gently.
    “Your guild master is really nice! I think she’s pretty too.” He smiled gently. “And it looks like you two get along great.”
    “I guess…” She muttered under her breath. “She’s not like that with everybody, but she teases me a lot because I’m one of the youngest members of our guild. If I rank up a bit more, within a few years she won’t have any reason to be on my case.”
    There was a fire in her eyes, but one that seemed to incur that she planned to accomplish great things, rather than to start a fight.
    “I’d bet you could do it a lot sooner. The short time we’d spent together, you’d changed so much. Don’t worry too much about it!”
    She looked surprised, then turned her eyes away. “Yeah, yeah…thanks…TJ. It’s partially ‘cause you were there too, you know.
    “B-but anyway! You needed to meet with the God’s Governor didn’t you? Nia pointed him out earlier so I’m gonna find him for you! See you in a bit!”
    At those words she ran off and Nia turned to watch her go.
    “She’s always so hot-blooded. I think she’s found someone that can keep her in check, though.”
    “…Is that so?” Peorth asked as she too, watched Amata go.
    “Oh, before I forget, guild master Reina has been awaiting your arrival. It may be in your best interest if you go and speak with her. We can speak more of the details on the Guild Union later, after all.”
    Peorth nodded gently. “Thank you for your time Nia. We shall be on our way. TJ, let us make haste to meet with Reina.”

    Nearby at a table sat a pair of girls-if TJ’s memory served him, they were the two Vanir had asked that he assist in the future. The drawings Skuld had given him were perfect renditions of the two’s features, but considering that it had been some time since then, there were slight changes. Reina’s crimson hair had grown out somewhat, and she had it tied in a ponytail that rested over her left shoulder. He had not seen all of Alessa’s, but her bleach blonde hair was curled and rested on both of her shoulders with the rest on her back.
    Reina wore a sky blue mirage bandage dress, studded earrings and a pair of silver hoops on her wrists. She had a white cloth tied around her eyes, just as she had in Skuld’s drawing. Unlike some of the other guild masters, she had a pair of blades strapped to her side, and a long spear-like weapon. Rather than a single point though, it had a curved blade on the end.
    Alessa on the other hand wore a white floral lace-knit dress. She had bright blue eyes, only one of the two being visible beneath her bangs. She had a bow and quiver resting against the table, next to her legs.
    The latter of the two spotted the pair as they approached and looked absolutely ecstatic.
    “Rei-Rei, they’re coming!” She said excitedly as she shot up from her chair.
    “A-are they? How’s my hair? Do I look okay?” She asked as she flattened her hair and dusted off her dress.
    “Good day guild master Reina, and companion Alessa.” Peorth said as the two stopped at their table.
    “It’s nice to finally meet you,” TJ added.
    The Treasure Hunter clasped her hands together next to her face with delight. “He’s even cuter in the flesh!”
    She outstretched her arms and was about to make a dash for the Abellan but found herself grabbed by the shoulder. Reina leaned over the table and frantically held her back.
    “You need to introduce yourself properly before you go around hugging people Les!”
    While Reina stepped around the table to stand next to Alessa Peorth held out a hand to introduce the duo.
    “TJ, I would like to introduce you to Reina, guild master of Bastion and one of her closest allies, Alessa. Reina, Alessa, this is TJ, the Abellan.”
    Reina curtsied and Alessa waved.
    “It’s truly an honour to make your acquaintance TJ. My name is Reina Godwin. I go by guild master, Keeper of Knowledge, and sometimes just Reina. Vanir’s told me much and more about you, and as Alessa said, we received the picture he took with you.”
    Peorth raised an eyebrow before she turned to TJ and he chuckled sheepishly.
    “I wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with some of Bastion’s members. Vanir told me a bit about them when we were preparing to set out for the Gourmet’s Valley. They look exactly like they did in the drawing Skuld gave me.”
    Reina smiled. “She’s very impressive, isn’t she?”
    TJ nodded in turn and Alessa pouted.
    “I haven’t introduced myself yet Rei-Rei,” She said indignantly.
    “Y-you’re right! Sorry!”
    She cleared her throat and patted her chest proudly. “I’m Alessa, Reina’s best friend and most loyal companion! The things I like include cute boys, handsome men, and Rei-Rei.”
    “W-why am I a part of that list?” Reina asked as she sent her companion a dubious glance.
    “Because you’re none of the above.”
    TJ laughed gently at the banter between the two. He met all kinds of friends and allies today, and he began to see how all of the Cerebians were connected by a multitude of bonds.
    “A-anyway…Her Highness and I-though I knew her as Belldandy-go back quite a bit. Sometime after the fall of Hanamah happened she began to occasionally appear at the guild summits. Her knowledge on the history of the Cerebians impressed me-I can see why she was so well versed in it now.”
    Peorth nodded solemnly.
    “I could say the same. Reina is well-versed in not only much of our history, but also myth and fact alike. She had heard tales of you both in song and in story that I had not heard prior to meeting her. That aside, her knowledge about the various Cerebian artifacts, both those within our repertoire and those beyond our reach is extensive. Should you come to discover any, I would recommend that you ask her to appraise them for you.”
    Her cheeks flushed as she gently scratched one. “You flatter me, Your Highness.”
    “Please, just refer to me as Peorth. I do not want my true identity to change the way you look at the person before you. Though my outside image may differ, I am the same person within.”
    She nodded slightly. “Do you have similar feelings on that matter, despite being the Exalted One?”
    She turned to TJ and he looked startled.
    “M-me? Exalted?!” He had not the foggiest as to what that meant, but it sounded fancy and powerful, and he did not consider himself either of those things. “I…yeah, you could say that I prefer being called TJ too. I might be the Abellan but I think just my name is fine.”
    She smiled and nodded. “It’s not a problem than. “Leaving that aside, do you have some time? There’s a myriad of questions I’d like to ask you. I can’t help but feel that you’d be a fountain of untapped knowledge.”
    “That can wait can’t it? I’ve got a myriad of questions like where he lives, what his favourite past times are and what his thoughts on older girls are!” Alessa said as she approached with every finger on her hands wriggling about excitedly.
    “You can’t!” Reina shouted as she drew her blade and rapped her friend over the head with the pommel a couple times. “That’s the Abellan you’re thinking of touching inappropriately!”
    TJ’s expression changed from one of shock to surprise. Could Reina see through the cloth? He had little idea as to why she wore one, but he could not help but wonder if it was something hard for her to talk about. Just as he had his fears, and Peorth was vulnerable pertaining matters including Freya or the Saints, perhaps Reina was the same.
    “Spousal abuse! Domestic violence!” Alessa cried out as she clung to her companion.
    “W-we’re not like that! I’m engaged to Salem! Besides, someone might get the wrong idea…” She muttered under her breath.
    “Eh?” TJ asked once more as his eyes opened wider. “You two are engaged?”
    He was glad that he recently learned what it meant to be engaged. Despite knowing this, the fact was no less surprising to him.
    She sheathed her blade and her companion let go of her as she nodded.
    “He asked me some time ago and well…who was I to turn him down?” Her cheeks flushed and she pressed her index fingers together. “We promised we’d get married after we bring the war against the Dark Moon to a close.”
    “I can hear you raising death flags from over here Kid! Watch that mouth of yours!"
    The voice from a distance was the barista-he had a plate of food in one hand and a fork in the other which he furiously waved. Skuld stood next to him drinking from a cup with both hands.
    “He acts like such a tough guy but he’s suuuuuuper over protective of Rei-Rei.” Alessa said with a grin.
    “In truth I think he’d make a great dad but…every time I’ve offered to introduce him to some of my guild mates he’s turned me down. I feel bad for him, but I don’t wanna force him.”
    “Whoever that girl he mentioned was, she must’ve been something special if he doesn’t wanna move on.”
    Peorth placed her hands one over the other atop her waist. “They say that love is an enduring emotion. Perhaps his endures despite whatever had torn him apart from his lover.”
    TJ knit his eyebrows. “I never knew something like that happened to him. He’s never talked to me or Su about it.”
    “Vanir tends to be a tad…secretive. All of the time.” Reina added with a dry chuckle and shrug.
    “Who’s Su?” Alessa asked before she placed a fist in an open palm. “Oh! Kasu-”
    “Les! Shh! We promised Vanir remember?”
    He looked down to his gem before he looked back to them. “’Scuse me for a moment!”
    He took a few steps away from the ground and turned his focus back to the Heart of Yggdrasil.
    “Su, why don’t you come out and meet Alessa and Reina? They’re really nice!”
    His gem began to glow in response and her voice answered.
    “That’s your reason? You never change, do you? Shows how green you are.
    “But I’ll come out. If these two are the ones who are supposed to bring the Dark Moon down, I’ll need to see them for myself…outside of the gem at least.
    “That aside we’re still as of yet to meet that idiot Governor.”
    The gem began to glow brighter and Su appeared from within and touched down before the Abellan. She stretched, yawned and rolled her shoulders before she turned to him.
    “Alright, I’m out. Let’s get these introductions over with so we can get down to the real problem at hand.”
    The two walked back over and the Treasure Hunter absolutely shrieked with joy.
    “Was she with you all along? Are you guys a two-for-one?!” She ran over and picked Su up before she snuggled her, cheek to cheek and spun her around.
    “What are you-”
    Before Su could finish her sentence Reina took two steps toward Alessa with her hand on one of the blades at her hip. With her thumb to the guard and her other hand on the hilt, she unsheathed the blade for but a moment, pulled it out and almost immediately sheathed it once more. Her companion stopped spinning, let go of Su and suddenly collapsed into Reina’s arms. What on Midgard did she just do?
    “I’m sorry about her! She can be a tad…excitable,” She said apologetically.
    Su was out of breath and her hair dishevelled. She looked as good angry as she felt.
    “Keep her on a leash or something,” She hissed.
    “Hey TJ I found-” Amata approached before she stopped in her tracks and looked at Su from head to toe. “What happened to you? Looks like you’d seen the bad end of a bear.”
    She furrowed her brows. “Oh boy. Just the person I wanted to see. You sure know how to make a good day better, bitch.”
    A young man with dark blue hair tied in a short ponytail, golden eyes, and dressed head to toe in a black suit with matching pants and shoes got in between them.
    “Ladies, there’s no need to fight.” He said as he held out his hands to hold both of them back.
    “Who’s this loser?” Su asked with an uninterested, but slightly appraising gaze.
    “God’s Governor of Wind,” Amata answered.
    “Lim Yun.” He added with a grin.
    “Looks like you have a bit more to do. I’m gonna take this troublesome girl back to our table for the time being. I’ll catch up with you a bit later Peorth, TJ.” Reina told the two as she slung Alessa over her shoulder.
    “In due time,” Peorth said in response.
    “See you again soon!” TJ said as he waved.
    “Like a phoenix from the ashes, I rise again!” Alessa shouted with a burning passion, her lowered head suddenly raised. By this point they were already back at their table.

    “I would like to take this opportunity to get everyone introduced,” Peorth said as she took a place amidst the trio.
    “Allow me to introduce myself to you first, my lady.” Lim Yun said as he knelt down and kissed her hand.
    TJ glared daggers at him with a hint of wariness. “You’re…not engaged are you?”
    This made the Governor laugh, while Peorth shook her head gently.
    “This is nothing more than an uncommon courtesy, or a type of greeting,” She answered calmly.
    “W-wait you can greet people like that? Does that mean I’ve been going about it too casually? Sh-should I…?”
    He placed his hands to his temples as his face flushed. People kissed other people’s hands? Verun had not mentioned anything of the sort! TJ would have to ask him or Vanir about such things.
    The guild master chuckled gently. “You need not think so hard on such mundane matters TJ. I have come to enjoy your casual demeanour, so you need not feel pressured to change that for something you have discovered but today.”
    He nodded silently.
    “Now then, as I am sure you are aware by now, I am the reigning queen Peorth. These two are my Tronz, TJ, the Abellan, and Suuba, God’s Governor of Earth. The young lady here is Amata, God’s Governor of Fire, and the lady over there, approaching us now is my cousin Kooh, and God’s Governor of Water.”
    “Hi!” Kooh said as she approached and waved at the same time.
    “Lim Yun. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance ladies.” He said as he took a sweeping bow.
    TJ pouted at those words. Maybe there weren’t gentlemen but there was a gentleman among those ladies.
    “You know, I knew the day would come but I never thought I’d see it…a time and a place where all of the God’s Governors were united.” Amata said as she looked upon the group before her. “It’s kinda hard to believe but…this is a thing. Feels like we’re finally setting fate in motion.”
    She punched an open palm with a grin. “I’m getting a bit fired up now!”
    “Seeing all of you kiddos like this really makes me feel my age.” Kooh chuckled as she looked over the three.
    Amata eyed her warily. “You’re only in your 20s aren’t you? You’re not that old, what’re you even worrying about?”
    “Tee-hee!” She laughed and stuck her tongue out while Amata’s wariness increased.
    “You are, aren’t you?”
    “Leaving the matter of Kooh’s age aside, I am thankful to have the four of you here today.
    “Since we have done our introductions, I would like to get to the matter at hand,” Peorth began. “As I am sure you are all aware, the time we have before Agasura King Asmodeus’ return is short. Knowing that there is less than a year prior to this event being made manifest, I must ask for your cooperation in preventing his manifestation in our world.
    “In order to see your respective trials to completion, we must locate the sunken Xenadia and raise it to the surface once more. There, and only there may TJ complete the second step in his growth as the Abellan. That, and I feel there is much and more for us to discover about our heritage. It is also known as the final resting place of God’s Governor Obermas. I feel that only she knows the ends to which all of you must go in order to become true Awakened God’s Governors.”
    Kooh and Amata nodded solemnly while Su crossed her arms and Lim Yun looked puzzled.
    “There is not much I can say on this matter, but I do know of someone who has much and more knowledge to share.”
    She turned back to the table where Reina and Alessa sat, now accompanied by Vanir and Skuld. “Guild master, a moment if you would?”
    “Hm? Sure Peorth. What can I do for you?” She asked as she got up and approached with the others in tow.
    “You said you had some information you wished to share about your search for knowledge on Xenadia, correct?”
    “That’s right!” Reina said as she smiled and nodded. “I had read in one of the scriptures that Xenadia was in fact, a portion of Asgard. The gods took a piece of the land from it and brought it down to Midgard to serve as a home to the acolytes who were as close to the gods as any Humans ever could be. In that, it was seen as a hallowed location of both worship and commune.
    “Back then though, the sea level was much lower than it was now, and when the tide was especially low, the acolytes were able to cross a natural bridge to Midgard, or what we know as Jienda today. As Humanity’s numbers increased substantially, the environment of Midgard as a whole changed to accommodate the growing numbers, and to that end the sea level rose steadily. When the acolytes of Xenadia could no longer cross by foot, they had created a means to travel-as ships were scarce, they, with the help of the gods themselves created a stone that allowed for those with proper access the power of teleportation. Two in fact!”
    Reina placed her elbow in one hand and her free hand to her cheek.
    “I don’t have enough knowledge on what had lead to this, but during the Agasuric War, the records had mentioned that Her Holiness Amae had the five God’s Governors, your ancestors, put a spell on the stone-one that would only allow its use once the five had unlocked it. There too…there’s a gap in what we know. From there on, all I can tell you is that the war raged on, Xenadia was submerged beneath the waves and never seen since then. On the bright side, there are some scholars that detailed the possibility that should the current God’s Governors attain the status their ancestors once held, they can undo the spell, and in the process raise Xenadia to the surface once more.”
    “So you think that if we complete the first part of our trial we’ll be able to drag this old temple out of the drink?” Su asked with a raised eyebrow.
    “That’s right.” Reina answered with a nod. “Sadly, there isn’t much information on the God’s Governors’ trials. Things regarding them and the Abellan are mostly speculation and myths.”
    “It’s a good thing that we have all of them gathered here then, huh?” TJ asked with a grin.
    “Indeed. One of you must be aware of what must be done, yes?” Peorth asked.
    “Not a clue!” Kooh said with a raised hand.
    “You have me at a loss also.” Lim Yun added with a shrug.
    “Dad said something about meeting with my ancestor’s Einherjar? I dunno…”
    Su frowned at the three. She pointed at Kooh. “You’re useless.” She pointed at Lim Yun next. “You’re just as bad as her.” She pointed to Amata and her finger curled before she lowered it. “For once you said something useful…”
    Amata hissed and she grinned.
    “Thankfully one of us actually knows.” She looked upon the group. “There’s a temple dedicated to each of our ancestors scattered across Jienda. It’s the very reason we have places under our jurisdiction, and protection. We go there, risk our asses for a while and meet with our ancestors’ Einherjars. They give us a challenge, we complete that challenge and they’ll give us whatever it is we need to take the final step in awakening.”
    “You’re well informed.” Lim Yun said as he raised an eyebrow.
    “Thankfully, since you idiots sure aren’t.”
    He grinned, she grimaced and Amata smiled devilishly.
    Peorth placed a finger to her lips thoughtfully. “Is that so…? I had felt certain that the shrines were a necessary objective in the Governor’s journey, but perhaps it too, was mere speculation,” She thought aloud.
    “You might not be off the mark there Peorth,” Reina began. “I had heard that the shrines were once used both by Humans and Cerebians alike. The former as a place for worship and offerings, and the latter a place to commune with the gods and Governors themselves. It’s possible it might be a pre-requisite to opening the temples. I can’t help but think that the Governors of the past wouldn’t want just anyone to enter them, and thus closed the place to prevent just anyone from getting in.”
    Su snorted. “Then they’re an idiot bunch for forgetting to lock their doors.”
    “But let’s get back to the matter at hand. The God’s Governors might have their own reservations and require time to visit a shrine of their patron god, so let’s focus on what we can do now. That is, finding that stone so we can restore the temple.
    “By now it’s probably leagues under the sea. How do you expect us to retrieve it?” Su asked with a hint of doubt in her voice.
    “If it’s just a little stone we could probably have someone swim down and get it,” TJ suggested.
    “That, sadly, is not the case.” Peorth answered as she shook her head.
    “Where do you suggest we begin searching? That’s to say, if we plan on going through this now?” Lim Yun asked as he crossed his arms.
    “If I recall correctly, I’d heard that stone used to be just off the coast of Orca Beach, near Ves.” She rubbed the back of her head. “I remember reading about this in a textbook or something…the world shifting and changing…tectonic plates? Umm…” She let out an exasperated sigh. “Science never was my strong suit.
    “The point is! Where it used to be either got destroyed or was eroded over time, and that lead to the stone falling into the sea. If we’re gonna look anywhere, that’d be a good place to start.
    “As for locating it, we’d probably need Kooh to dive down there and scope it out, or to borrow that…weird…underwater-boat-thing the Atlantians built. That, and we’d need something with the strength of ten freakin’ people to haul a giant stone out of the water.”
    “Hm? I can’t pretend I didn’t hear that!” Z said as she walked over with a cup of fruit punch in her hand. “Guild master Z at your service!”
    “You shouldn’t be sticking your nose into places it doesn’t belong Zosia.” Rufus said as he and Cor followed after her.
    “Oh come now, we’re all in this together, right? Right guys?”
    Most of them gave her puzzled looks, save for TJ and Peorth, the former who smiled and the latter that nodded affirmatively.
    “Right so! This is a job for machinery if I do say so myself! I know of a certain meister in a certain city of who has a very particular interest in a certain sunken temple.”
    Z began to rub her hands together mischievously.
    “With my brains and her influence we can revolutionize the mechanical indu-”
    “Zosia, you’re getting off topic.”
    “Eh? Oh! You’re right. Ahem! So I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation and I heard you guys might need a sub-or at least something that can haul that stone you’re looking for out of the Atlantian Ocean right?”
    “That is correct,” Peorth answered.
    “Then we can definitely be of help. I don’t know much about Xenadia and it’s history and whatnot, but I can say with certainty that Berkhart knows something about it, and she’s been talking about it here and there at meetings and conferences and such. I’m willing to bet she’d lend you guys a hand if you were willing to help her get there.”
    Reina and Peorth traded uneasy glances before turning back to Zosia.
    “I know you guys are worried about getting non-Confidant Humans involved in something Cerebian related, but we can’t be too choosy about who we get our help from right?
    “Besides, you guys will get the machine you need to get to Xenadia, we’ll get to collaborate with Berkhart-and also get some exposure and everyone wins! Am I right?”
    “Schemer.” Su muttered with a look of disgust.
    “I can’t say I’m all-aboard this plan but…it might be our best bet.” Amata said with a sigh and slumped shoulders.
    “Realistically speaking, getting someone with some renown on board will give the diplomats some peace of mind.” Vanir added as he nodded confidently.
    Su looked to him with surprise. “You’ve been there that long and you haven’t said anything moronic? What’s the world coming to?”
    “No faith.” The barista shook his head and clicked his tongue. “No faith whatsoever.”
    “To hear you speak of diplomats…what issues do you suspect would arise from our actions, Vanir?” Peorth asked with a look of concern despite her unchanging expression.
    “Look at it this way Princess, first you’re going diving in either Ves’ or Elfa’s territory. Maybe even Atlantis’. That’s gonna freak people out.
    “Next, you’re dragging something up to the surface. Same thing.
    “Last, you’re gonna summon a giant freakin’ temple from under the waves in plain sight of all three cities. I can’t help but expect Humanity’s gonna have problems with that.”
    She placed a finger to her mouth, lowered her head and closed her eyes thoughtfully. “Yes…yes of course. This is not just an issue between the Cerebians and Agasura alone. What we will be doing will be within the borders of the cities, and in their waters also. We must parley with the diplomats of the three cities if we are to perform such a feat. But even so, if we were to approach them as Humans, what proof do we have to provide proof of our claims and intent?”
    “Politics are a real pain in the ass.” Su muttered as she crossed her arms. “And so’s Humanity.”
    “If need be, I can forge an identity or a permit to have them let their guard down. It won’t be easy, but persuading some people to offer us a hand isn’t impossible,” Kooh suggested.
    “I would prefer to avoid any illegal activities or coercion, if possible. But I am well aware that I make this decision with the time limit upon us. It is a difficult choice, but one that I may need some time to meditate upon before coming to a definitive conclusion.”
    “For the time being though, why don’t you guys just have Berkhart do all of the diplomatic stuff? Signing papers, convincing people that it’s something she herself is leading. She might not be the mayor of the city or anything, but she’s got some sway in the Big Apple and the City of Iron,” Alessa suggested.
    “You might just be on to something,” Lim Yun said.
    “I’d bet the mayors and diplomats of the city might at least hear her out. If we can get her on board with this plan, I think we should raise that possibility.” Amata said as she placed a couple fingers to her chin thoughtfully.
    “It’s all coming together perfectly!” Z said as she spread her arms wide with glee.
    “Let us proceed with caution nonetheless. We know not that all of our preparations will be met with success. There is still a myriad of possibilities that will arise, and we cannot forget that the arrival of the Sinful Seven may hinder us at times also.
    “Nevertheless, I am in agreement with the plans we have forged thus far. Given this knowledge, I must confirm that all of you are in agreement with this. The four God’s Governors among us, especially.
    “You will face the greatest task of them all-you must overcome a multitude of trials and tribulations to meet with your ancestors. It will be dangerous, of that I am sure, and no less difficult. But I must ask that you be brave for your families, your friends, and for Cerebian and Mankind alike, for the world needs heroes, and you all have the potential to be what this world yearns for.
    “So I will ask of you, will you take up this challenge for us?”
    Su was the first of the four to speak.
    “What’re you being so formal for? We’re already in the shit, so we might as well slog through the rest until we’re out of it. If Asmodeus wants to fuck up Midgard, we just fuck him up harder and send him back to whatever shithole he crawled out of.” The Governor of Earth said as she punched an open palm.
    “I swore I’d protect you Princess, and I’ll protect the ideals you covet too. Awakening as a God’s Governor is just a small step in accomplishing that.” Kooh said as she beamed.
    “I want to protect this world. I will. I don’t care what it takes or who plans to stand in my way. I’m gonna do everything in my power to make sure that we succeed. There’s no doubt that I’m on your side, Peorth.” Amata added with a confident nod.
    Lim Yun had not said anything though. He seemed to be hard-pressed to speak, and the way his lips were tightly shut showed that he had some reservations on the matter.
    “Well? What’re you waiting for? Cat got your tongue?” Su asked impatiently.
    “Truth be told, I honestly don’t think I’m cut out to be a God’s Governor. I’m not even sure where I got this power from-let alone how to use it. I can’t say I can help you to defeat Asmodeus.” He said with a sheepish chuckle.
    The Governor of Earth walked up to him and grabbed him by the hem of his suit.
    “Listen you, just because you don’t know jack shit about being an adventurer, doesn’t mean you can sit on your ass and wallow in your own goddamn pity! You pick up a bloody fuckin’ sword, you cut some Agasura down, and you fucking LEARN. I don’t give a shit about your circumstances, but I’m not gonna stand idly by and join in your bloody fucking pity party!”
    “S-Su let him go…I understand why you’re angry but this isn’t the way we should go about this!” TJ said as he placed a hand to her shoulder.
    “Tch.” She clicked her tongue and dropped him before walking away. “Whatever. You’ve got more patience for wimps, so you deal with it.”
    Lim Yun watched her walk off solemnly, his expression unchanging.
    “I’m sorry about that…she can be a tad rough around the edges but she didn’t mean what she said, so don’t take it to heart.”
    “Take it to heart?” He asked with a look of surprise. “I think she just struck me in the heart with Cupid’s arrow.” He answered with a hand to his chest and a twinkle in his eye.
    “Who?” The Abellan looked puzzled
    “Now I feel bad for calling TJ a masochist.” Amata sighed as she placed a hand over one of her eyes.
    “So you wanna help out or what?” Alessa asked with a glint in her eye.
    “It’s still impossible,” Lim Yun answered.
    There was a collective groan amongst them.
    “I wouldn’t say it’s impossible…” TJ said as he tapped a finger against his cheek, his other hand holding his elbow.
    “You know, when I started my journey, despite being a Bard I couldn’t play a single song. Let alone use magic,” He laughed gently. “I didn’t learn to use magic until near the end of my journey, and even then I couldn’t play. But all of that happened within a year.
    “I’d gone from being a useless amnesiac adventurer to the Cerebian’s Abellan. But it was thanks to these guys that I was able to do so. I’d had my doubts about being the Abellan, let alone being the hero that they needed, but I’d found that there was so much that I wanted to protect that I couldn’t stand aside.”
    Reina nodded solemnly. “I used to be a librarian’s assistant, and nothing more. I never thought I’d see the day where I’d wield a sword, let alone two, but just like in the storybooks, when the world dictates a hero to heed the call, sometimes where it can take a book girl can be…incredible.
    “Thanks to my teacher Vanir, his adorable and helpful companion-” The former grinned and raised a hand to acknowledge her while Skuld blushed and hid her face by lowering her hat. “-someone like me was able to accomplish great things. To save lives, to fight against fate…to meet with, and come to understand the love of my life and the unbreakable bond we share.”
    “You must not doubt yourself, God’s Governor. It is never too late to heed the call for a champion. There is a cause that needs you, and a multitude of people who will lend you their strength. You only need to confide in them, and they shall offer you their aid,” Peorth continued.
    “We’re by your side,” TJ added.
    “If you ever have any doubts, don’t be afraid to ask. We’re always glad to help out.” Reina added with a smile.
    “Besides, chicks dig a cool adventurer.” Vanir added with a wink.
    “Sold!” Lim Yun said with a thumbs-up.
    “Not to rain on your parade, but I think that speech of yours was just beaten out by that crappy barista’s lame one-liner.” Amata said to the three.
    “A-as long as we’re all aboard…” Reina said in a defeated mutter.
    “It is a small matter. I am glad to have you on our side, God’s Governor. For the time being, it would be best if you became familiar with the plethora of classes available at your disposal, and what they are capable of.
    “Since you are currently not within the ranks of any guilds, I shall personally take the time to introduce you to some of the guild masters here today.” Peorth said before she curtsied.
    “If you will excuse us. Come along, Governor Lim Yun.” She looked to Reina as she walked away and there was a glint in her eye.
    “Quality time with the queen herself? Consider me an adventurer-in-training.”
    “I guess I’ll tag along too. Better to use this chance to get things sorted out with the other guild masters. Let’s roll out, Ruf, Cor.” Zosia said with a wave of her hand.
    “We’re right behind you,” Rufus said.
    Amata placed a hand to her stomach. “I dunno about you guys but all that talking made me hungry. I’m gonna go grab a bite and find out if Su’s finally calmed down. I’ll probably see you again soon, TJ.
    “I’d like to do some thinking of my own on what to do next.”
    “Later!” He said as he waved her off.
    “I guess that just leaves us huh?” Vanir asked as he crossed his arms.
    “Yep. Though I’ve gotta admit, you’ve really been on your best behaviour today, huh Vanir?” Alessa asked with a hand over her mouth while she chuckled under her breath.
    “Best beh-what do you take me for, an animal?!” Vanir asked in shock.
    “You’d make a cute puppy! Do you wanna be mine?”
    “Keh! No respect for your elders! Let’s go Skuld, we don’t need her attitude around here.” At those words he stormed off with Skuld in tow.
    “Hehe! He’s so fun to tease.”
    “Since it’s just us now, do you mind if I take up some of your time TJ?” Reina asked.
    He smiled. “Take all the time you need."
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:22 pm

    Buy one TJ and get a Suuba free!:
    I guarantee you, before the end of this someone will have a Captain America moment. If not, I'll try and fail to put my whole fist in my mouth.
    With that said, let's get down to it!

    So for the first time we're introduced to Amata's guild master Nia. She's completely new to the story, unlike the others. They've been mentioned on and off every now and again, or had an appearance like Eli. Hopefully I'll find more use for her later, but for now she just has a brief appearance. I realize I'll need to redo her outfit then too. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Well it might be less elaborate. Probably. Off topic, she was supposed to have those hand markings, but I know neither the religious significance, the reason for them, nor what they're even called so I didn't include them. Might do that when I make edits though.
    As for what she said to Amata, she was referring to looks/attraction, rather than brute strength or magical powers. Don't forget, Amata was only 15 I think when Hanamah fell to ruin so she'd be about 17-18 now. Lim Yun is around that age range also, so most of the God's Governors are on the cusp of adulthood. Hence why Nia keeps such a close eye on her, and also why she teases her so much. Also because she likes to tease cute girls? Maybe??? People are weird.
    Also some slight sexual tension between her and TJ. Again. For reasons you might guess, but I won't tell you now 'cause it could be considered a spoiler if you haven't. Small thing, but a big part of her character. More soon!

    So after you know, ages Reina and Alessa finally make their appearance. I've thought a lot about what they would be like in this time period, after all that happened. In the end though, I suppose you could say at a first glance, not much has changed about them-there are subtle changes though, but the core of the two is very similar. But also Reina somewhat fills the void that a certain warrior left in his wake, and to that end she's become a bit more outgoing.
    I don't wanna say too much about Alessa because a part of her character's traits are shown through Reina's dialogues in Inno. They're often just small comments, but they help to build up who Alessa is without her being there-that aside, since she knows her so well, she knows about the things that aren't obvious at a first glance. After all, the things Alessa says and what she actually thinks are sometimes far apart, because she likes to mess around a lot...while also being super friendly. IIRC when she and Kooh met again they were supposed to hug due to their similar natures-the two get along really well, as do Reina and Peorth. It's just when I actually get to writing, I sometimes forget the little headcanons I developed in the off time and wind up going off on other tangents, which branch out dramatically into differing events. TLDR, lot of ideas, lot of possible routes to take.
    Back to Reina, she isn't always that nervous. It's just because she's meeting the Abellan for the first time, and it's a big event for her. In that regard, she acts a little more like her timid self back in Inno's and USSR's early stages. By the end of USSR however, you can see how she's grown, and also through Samson's monologues. Hell, it was a part of HIS arc.
    As for her and Peorth, the two are actually friends, not just comrades. If there's anyone who would be well versed about the Cerebians, it would be Reina. She's a history nut, and if there's anything that gets Peorth's blood flowing it's just that. I think her tendency to go on brief rants are a charming part of her character. But anyway, that very thing brought the two together, and so they've discussed a variety of things over a period of time. As you'd expect, most of these events took place during the period where TJ was away from her and her guild mates or unconscious, so he has no memories of the events, and they don't know of him.

    Now on to Vanir! Sort of. You probably know what a death flag is, and if you don't, ask google! I found the answer on Urban Dictionary. Not that I didn't know, of course. Truth be told, the only way she could make that worse is to mention the swarm of parasitic wasps.
    On to the more serious issues though, there are several reasons he made that statement, and ridiculous as it is, he was completely serious. Read USSR? You're a smart one, 'cause as I said before, it's important and here's why! Kind of! He saw what happened when she challenged the Dark Moon the first time, and he knew what was to happen the second. Hence why he's trying so hard to diverge from that fate, and change hers. Due to his actions there, their fates are inextricably linked. As for who she and the other girls referred to, that same person was mentioned by him and Skuld then, and his quote at the beginning of Chapter 3.
    I feel kinda bad for him. As odd as their relationship is, even I'd be hard-pressed to say that I hadn't thought of shipping them before. If she hadn't already had a canon pairing with Salem he'd definitely be my second pick. Back to the topic at hand, what Alessa says hints that somehow, Reina managed to get him to talk about himself. When, I can't say, but I'll leave that to your imagination...for now.
    As for Inno, Vanir's brief arc won't be included for two reasons! The first, it's redundant. There's no way to do a perspective shift unless it was Skuld...and that's hella weird. The beginning of USSR was an exception because A&V's segment continued on where they separated from Reina. The second is because...I forgot the reason. Probably wasn't that big a deal though.
    The two know Su-well they know her uncle. But they, and Vanir, have some reason for keeping what they know secret. That's a part I love about this chapter. You can see how Vanir is manipulating things from behind the scenes all while being among them. He's changing fate by moving the people like chess pieces. He'd make a great grandmaster if his tactics didn't include trying every possible move until he gets it right lol.

    Alessa is actually really glad to see that Su's alive and in one piece. They probably both are, but only one of the two is willing to act on that feeling. What I really like about this part is that it shows how much Reina has improved with that single action. I haven't updated Inno here yet, but if you read it you can see the gradual changes in her efforts and how much she's improved since she began. In her first true battle, she's a tad clumsy and her footwork is messy. At this point in time she handles her weapons with both skill and grace, and she learned some techniques! Can't say too much about that yet, but soon I will. She's also become a lot stronger since then. She's no beefcake, but she's got a really well-toned body. All of that training and smacks via wooden swords paid off lol.
    As for Alessa's random statement, that was both a vague reference to her return in USSR, and Su's actions during the Hanamah incident. Remember! Peorth said that they were there, so they saw the event as it happened.

    And finally, we're introduced to the 5th and final God's Governor, Lim Yun. I had to give him a last name or his name wouldn't make any sense. So if you're wondering, his name is Yun. I did my research for that, I swear. I almost, ALMOST gave him a guild, so I referred back to Chapter 8 just to be sure, and remembered Peorth said he was unaffiliated. Now all she has to do is bait him with some Yggdrasil babes and bam! +1 God's Governor. One small step for Yggdrasil, one giant leap for the patriarchy! I'm kidding!
    Him joining Yggdrasil IS a possibility though. In all seriousness.
    As for TJ's reaction to him, it's one more example that TJ knows little of love and the courtesies of Humans/Cerebians. When in doubt, ask Vanir/Verun! This novel lacks a one true Love Master. Though in my defense, I've read one with such finesse it left me dazzled, and also realizing I could never write one. Glorious. Hilarious.

    And next is happy exposition fun time! Yay! Truthfully I actually really like lore in a variety of stories. Frequency has a fair bit-I feel that I could develop it further, but I'm reluctant to go too deep. I wanna strike a balance between simplicity, and depth. Enough so to keep those who take such an interest in things like that invested, while also making sure it's enough so that those who don't want to go anymore than ankle deep can still make sense of the story without having to know who Remedi's handmaiden was.

    But that's enough about that. Back to the story, as Reina had said, that was how the acolytes traversed from one continent to the other. They moved by the moons. Using those to keep time, they would be able to visit the respective cities, share any knowledge gleaned during their time on Xenadia, and return when the tides were low once again. Assuming you've read GALs 1-3, or at least 1+2, you're aware that there is where Seres would commune with Lady Amae, and she would share what information was passed on to her with the other members of Xenadia. Those acolytes are the ones who taught Humanity to use the Frequency-they learned to tap into that power, and could in fact use mana. At that point in time, Humans could contain more mana within their bodies, and by accessing the HoY's Frequency, they were able to give their magic shape as TJ does now. Unlike him though, theirs weren't divided into 3 different types-they used solely the Arcane, but as a Bard can learn to heal and other such things, so could they.
    Moving on, the use of ships was...well it wasn't just due to the fact that they were scarce. As we're all aware, a lot of the time travel by sea often results in the spread of disease, stowaways and other such things. If they brought an unaffiliated Human over to Xenadia, who knows what kind of disaster would befall them-building a stone for the use of teleportation was the safer choice, and then they had the power and knowledge to do so. As you may have guessed, the 'Save Stones' were not far behind following that which originated at Xenadia.
    Of course, they weren't the only two. There were transporation stones used on Xenadia itself due to the vertical distance the acolytes needed to travel. When the war broke out and the world was torn asunder, this increased even more because Xenadia was affected by the battle between the three factions. There too, the land was both torn apart, and inflicted with magic causing the land to levitate at varying heights.
    Also you might've guessed this, but as Peorth had said, Xenadia was the resting place of Obermas, but it wasn't just her. Most of the acolytes, the sisters, all of them, they drowned. In USSR, both Samson and I think Reina(?) speculated on why Xenadia was sunken in the first place, so I won't speak on that here. Speculations of course! Nothing is for sure!
    Haven't read 'A Moment in Time'? That's fine. You can infer by what Su says to the Governors that she had been to one of the Temples. In USSR also, she mentioned that she heard the voice of a lady and wanted to find out where it was. Pretty sure she called her a ghost. Julius on the other hand had mentioned that Bane could hear 'Her' voice and that she wasn't calling him, but the children-those being the next generation's God's Governors.
    The next part is important! If you recall, in the Prologue Peorth and co. went to the Selki tribe to have the snowstorm undone so the Governor could visit the temple. As she had speculated, it may have a part to play in the process of awakening them, and she was right. At the beginning of USSR, prior to the Dark Moon invading Julius went to the shrine to pray to the gods-those being not just the Governors, but also the others:The Saints, God Ah and Lady Amae, and any Cerebians who had reached an ascended status(Apotheosis). Though it only showed him forming the contract for Kasumi/Bane, that was the intial reason he went. To open the path, knowing that if there was any place where Lady Amae would call out to the Governors, it would be at their temple. A place where there would be mana to allow her to manifest, and also a place Humans are less likely to try to enter, or successfully get through. There's a reason they wouldn't find her if they did get to the end, but that I can't tell you yet. When Su says, 'Then they're an idiot bunch for forgetting to lock their doors," she's implying that she had gotten into it, thus, the way was opened already by Julius. She doesn't know he had a hand in it though, so she suspects they're all open.

    I understand how Amata feels. Science isn't my strong suit either. As mentioned before, she's good with certain aspects of history-mostly the people, less so the events. The history nerd trio is assembled! What a momentous occasion!
    As for Zosia, I intentionally made her seem like a schemer, and this makes Su suspicious of her, but she's not as bad as she might appear at a glance. It's true that she does want to make a change, she's just...a Machavellian kind of girl is all. But now, as mentioned before, having someone in the know about things going on around the world does them a great favour. Or at least, in certain places. Just as it was with Amae, having people stationed in differing locations lets them keep an ear to the ground.
    I erased some stuff somehow. Sucks. I'll carry on anyway.
    There'll be politics! Probably. Soon, more, maybe, maybe not.

    There's not much else to say. Anything else would have something to do with something that can't be mentioned or suffered to exist so...that's all for today. 'Til next time.
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:18 pm

    Ch. 9 (Pages 404-409):
    As the trio made their way to the entrance of the Grand Hall TJ eyed Reina’s weapons with a keen curiosity. He could not tell whether she was a Blader or a Warlord-the weapons she carried could be used by either class, but not both.
    She raised an eyebrow as she turned to him and asked, “What’s wrong TJ?”
    “Hm? Oh! It’s nothing!” He said as he waved his hands to gestured that was the case.
    She smiled in a gentle and kindly way. “There’s no need to be shy. If there’s something you’d like to ask, feel free.
    “If you’re curious about why I wear the cloth around my eyes I don’t mind sharing with you.”
    That was definitely not the case, but there was no denying that he was curious nonetheless. He considered what reasons she would wear such a thing, and decided to hazard a guess.
    “Is it training?” He asked with a glint in his eye. If it were Peorth, she would definitely say that were the case.
    She laughed. “A good guess, but that isn’t the case.”
    It was also the case that she was indeed, not Peorth.
    “I had my eyes taken from me.” He looked aghast at those words and Alessa smiled sympathetically. “It was a little daunting, but that very event was one of the things that had set me on my journey.”
    Reina smiled for him as she opened the door. The cool night air of the mountains entered the hall briefly as the trio stepped out.
    “I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of scary experiences, haven’t you TJ?” She placed her hand to her swords. “But you know, sometimes they help to build who we are. They’re not necessary to our journey, but as we face them we become stronger from them, and aim ever higher.”
    Alessa gently rapped her over the head and she placed both hands to it with a puzzled look.
    “Rei-Rei, you’ve gone on a tangent again.” She said with a grin.
    “A-again? Sorry TJ!” He laughed as he told her that it was alright.
    “You must have something you want to ask right? I’d be honoured to answer that for you.”
    He nodded once. “I was wondering what class you were. I remember Vanir mentioned it but…I can’t remember.”
    She smiled. “The reason you likely can’t recall it is, that the class doesn’t exist just yet. At least, not officially!”
    He placed a fist into an open palm with a look of realization.
    That was right! Vanir said she wanted to create a class and allow for it to become available to everyone! Alike to the Meisters, and perhaps even those before them.
    The thoughts of Kimara and how he brought the initial classes into existence sent a chill down TJ’s spine. Did Reina feel that the gods had forsaken her, too? If so, what could he, as the Abellan do to change her mind?
    He looked to her and her cheeks were flushed as she unsheathed both her blades. Even though he could not look into her eyes, there was something about her-her very aura and her demeanour that just seemed to not have that intense feeling that Kimara had. She was different-earnest at that, and though his speculation was a bit extreme, he was willing to put his faith in her. He could not help but smile, and though he did not see it, Alessa did too.
    “There’s a laundry list of reasons that I want to found this class but…well I’ll spare you that. I tend to rant. All of the time. Especially about things I’m interested in…or books. Like books!”
    “You’re on that track,” Alessa laughed.
    “See? Help me out Les!”
    “Okay, okay!” She said as her guild master gently pummeled her with her fists.
    “So what Rei-Rei wants to do is create the Samurai class!” She said with a raised finger before she placed it to her chin. “Or was it that? Maybe Swordsman? But that’s weird ‘cause it’s not gender neutral like the others. Swordmaster?”
    She looked to Reina and the guild master shrugged in response.
    “The name is kinda up in the air.”
    “Yeah it’s a work in progress,” Alessa added.
    “Leaving that aside, why don’t you tell him why you started it?”
    Reina nodded. “It was something my teacher-Vanir had told me when we first sparred. If I recall, his words were, ‘Every hero needs an antagonist; they’re our greatest allies and enemies, what we aim to be, and to eventually surpass.’ I might not be completely on the mark, but it was something along those lines.” She laughed nervously. “A-anyway! My ultimate enemy, the man who I wanted to overcome most wielded a weapon just like mine. Salem knew quite a bit about it, and he taught me swordplay in an Aoich style as I learned so that’s a part of the reason.”
    “She just wanted to make him proud, and to get him to notice her.” Alessa added with a mischievous grin.
    “Les!” She turned to her and started pushing her cheeks together while her friend laughed. “D-don’t listen to her TJ! That isn’t it at all!”
    The Abellan could not help but laugh also.
    After the two had finished their bout Reina sighed and turned back to him. “I guess at the end of it all, I wanted to do what Salem taught me some justice. He was an incredible teacher, and the best companion a girl like me could ask for.
    “And in spite of everything…he accepted me. Disability and all. It didn’t take me long before I realized that he meant the world to me, and with his help I improved. Before I knew it, I became a guild master, gained a handle on my mana and was practicing skills to use in combat. Fast forward a few years and I reunited with Alessa, made some new friends, and now I’m meeting you for the first time.”
    TJ felt similarly towards both Peorth and Su. He had come so far thanks to their efforts, and there were no words he could say that could thank them enough for what they had done. On the flip side, he, like Reina, had an enemy he needed to overcome more than anything. His father, Agasura King Asmodeus. To defeat him, and succeed him-to end the war, to save his friends, to protect…the person he treasured most? Who that would be, perhaps he would know when that time came, or before it. What awaited him afterwards, he had not the foggiest, but he hoped he could continue on as Reina had.
    In the mean time though, there was much and more he could see and do. Perhaps this was a good place to start?
    “Would you mind showing me Reina? Sometimes seeing skills can help me remember some of mine or learn some new ones.” TJ asked earnestly.
    Broken Wings was a skill he did not know, nor know he could even perform. It was not until Peorth had used it on him that he had become aware of it, and eventually learned to use himself. Shattered Wings, on the other hand, may have been beyond his capacity.
    “Hm? You’re interested in that?” Her face lit up at his words. “Of course! I’ll gladly show you!”
    She turned to Alessa as she drew the spear from her back and handed it over. “Les, if you would?”
    At the sight a realization dawned upon him. “Oh! Quick question!”
    “Hm?” Reina asked as she drew her blades.”
    “Your weapons…are they from Aoich too?”
    She nodded. “That’s right. The blades I wield are called katana, and what I gave to Alessa just now is a ko-naginata. The way they’re forged is-” She paused mid-sentence and froze in place. “I’m…gonna stop myself there. I did a fair bit of reading on the types of weapons used across Jienda back in the day. Samson had occasionally brought me books along with artifacts for Mom to appraise because he travelled quite a bit.” She scratched her cheek.
    “After all that time I’d finally been to the places I had read about only in textbooks and novels. They were even more wonderful than the books made them out to be.”
    TJ listened intently, but the sound of the name ‘Samson’ caught his attention. They knew him too? He must have been a really well known guy.
    “Samson was Su’s wrangler, right?” He asked.
    “Ah!” She gasped and Alessa looked smug.
    “This time it’s on you Rei-Rei!”
    She began to sweat. “Y-yeah…where’d you hear that from?”
    “Amata told me.”
    “That make sense.” She smiled guiltily before she walked over to him. “TJ, I need you to promise me one thing.”
    “What’s that?” He asked with a hint of curiosity.”
    “Don’t mention this to Su, okay? Keep this a secret between us three.”
    He grinned. “Sure thing.”
    “On with the demonstration!” Alessa said grandly as she walked a safe distance from Reina.
    “Alright TJ, watch closely. There are three stances that my class utilizes in combat. Depending on which stance I use, I’ll have access to certain skills.”
    “The first of three is the Sheathed Sword Stance.” She placed one leg forward and a single hand to her blade’s hilt. “This is one I typically use to open battles, or during stages where I have enough time to sheathe my blade. I can’t use it simultaneously with my third stance, though.
    “Also the skill I used to temporarily knock out Alessa earlier was one of the skills.” She smiled sheepishly.
    “The second is the Drawn Sword Stance. This is the one I most frequently use. Since we can wear fairly heavy armour, we can be front-liners. Our defense isn’t as powerful as a Temple Knight’s, but I’d say we’re between them and Guardians as far as that goes.
    “In this stance I can focus on my defense, and can wield my katana with both hands. I have certain skills that rely on that to help me hold the vanguard down.
    “The third and final is Dual Sword Stance.” She drew both blades and shifted her stance to accommodate the change. “In the off-chance that we have someone on the front line, this allows for me to take a more offensive place among my team. Like a Blader, we can attack more frequently, which is definitely an improvement in comparison to using one, but we don’t have a Blader’s strength or speed.
    “With that I have access to a variety of powerful offensive skills that can help me to wear down my enemy, or to get past their guard.
    “Now then, let’s show TJ what our practice was for. Are you ready Alessa?”
    “Do your worst!” Alessa said as she held the weapon in a defensive stance.”
    Reina sheathed both blades and switched back to her first stance. “Okay, here I come!”
    With a quick draw she unsheathed her blade and swung it once at her companion. “Slipstream!” At her words a gust of wind was unleashed and rushed towards Alessa forcing her back. In the wake of it Reina rushed forward in an instant, moving at an unimaginable speed to close the gap and follow it up with a quick slash.
    As she back flipped away she prepared for her next attack.
    Her blade obtained a blue glow and she took a swing at the air releasing two crescents that flew towards Alessa. “Marathon Trial!”
    As they collided with the naginata they dissipated but still forced her back alongside the sound of metal clashing.
    She drew her second blade and switched her stance before she leapt towards her ally.
    She swung both blades one after the other, then placed them together and swung them at once. “Cross Trial!”
    The shockwaves they released hit her weapon but lingered longer and seemed to carry much more force than the initial attacks.
    “Moonlight Blade!” She shouted as she lunged forward with both blades. The weapons met the naginata, and immediately she pulled them aside and crossed over her arms as if to eviscerate her opponent, while two secondary cuts appeared from both of Alessa’s flanks in opposing directions to Reina’s movements.
    She leapt back and held one blade skyward before her face before she pointed it towards her companion. “Exhaust!”
    At her words four circles with a rhombus pattern appeared around her and emitted a bright glow before they faded away. At that moment Reina sheathed one of her blades and took a wide swing with the other before sheathing it, one hand to the hilt as flames emerged from within the sheath. TJ looked horrified at the sight.
    “Backdraft!” She roared as she unleashed the blade, wreathed in flames and slammed it down before her comrade, causing the ground to burst in a shower of flame and stone. The explosion was enough to force Alessa back but it did not leave any visible wounds.
    “Now for the finale…” Reina said as she drew both her blades and a surge of mana emerged from her.
    She dashed towards Alessa and suddenly vanished. TJ look around puzzled, thinking that perhaps it was a skill similar to a Temple Knight’s Crazy Hits or Peorth’s Descent of the Zealot, but there were no signs of her return.
    As if in response she reappeared, but there were four Reinas! Each stood on one of the four sides of Alessa with both blades drawn and held out before them. “Eight-headed Serpent!” They said in unison as they moved as one, performed a cross-slash followed by a second spinning slash, then tossed their weapons into the air. The eight swords converged in a flash of light, became a single sword and fell to the Reina in front of Alessa while the others vanished. With both hands to the blade, she spun on the balls of her heels with a wide swing and cut right through Alessa, creating a giant crescent in its wake that left a slit in one of the mountains off in the distance.
    The blade dissipated and Reina sheathed both blades before she ran to Alessa’s side. The girl fell into her arms with an exhausted sigh as the naginata rested against Reina’s free shoulder.
    “That was incredible! Also is Alessa okay?!” TJ was both ecstatic and worried, but struggled to sort through which was more important right now.
    “She’s fine.” Reina said with a smile. “Exhaust is a skill I use to weaken my enemies, but not to kill them. While it’s in effect, their wounds and any attacks that I or my allies land on them drains their stamina. By the time it wears off, either they collapse or their ability to fight is so diminished that they choose not to.
    “As for my final skill well…I’d like for it to be a fifth skill, but right now it still needs refining.” She laughed sheepishly. “It also takes a fair bit out of me…”
    As her legs quivered TJ rushed over to help her and she smiled again.
    “Thanks for lending a hand TJ. That’s really sweet of you.”
    He smiled back. “It’s the least I could do after you’ve gone through such trouble for me.”

    He helped the girls over to the steps where the former sat down and the latter quietly breathed, fast asleep. Reina rested her friend’s head in her lap before she let out a sigh of relief.
    “You had some questions you wanted to ask right? Reina?” He scratched his cheek sheepishly. “I’m not sure if I can be of much help, but I’ll do my best to answer them.”
    Her face lit up at his words. “Thanks TJ. There’s a lot I want to ask you, but will you tell me about yourself?”
    “It’s kind of a long story. Most of what happened before I started my journey is missing too…you sure you wanna hear it?”
    Reina shrugged then nodded. “Long or short, I love a good tale. I could only imagine how fascinating yours was.”
    His cheeks flushed slightly. She was really kind-he could see why she and Peorth got along so well. “Well it all started when I woke up in Belos…”
    He did not go through his entire journey, or the less important parts-all which he decided himself, but he told her about that which might interest her.
    “To think that you were the one that had been in Iris Livier’s party is incredible…and fitting. Given that knowledge, I can see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together…”
    “What puzzle?” He asked with a puzzled look.
    “Just a phrase TJ.” She chuckled as she waved it off. “A couple years ago I had heard about Iris’ disappearance. We all did. But we had also heard that the Demon King had disappeared along with her.
    “At the time a dark shadow had crept up from past Atlantis and seemed to slowly move over all of Jienda, and she and her team had went to remedy it. In truth, I had thought that it was the start of the Eternal Night, but there were too many variables missing for it to fit together.
    “Going further back, the legends told of three Greater Demons that served under Agasura King Asmodeus. Those three being the Calamity Trigger, Blood Red Sabers, and the Malign Shroud. If at that time the darkness that threatened us was one of those, it would have to be the third. The scriptures had often said that should one of them return, it would symbolize the beginning of the end-they would return in unison, and strike fear into the hearts of men to usher in the return of Agasura King Asmodeus. The fact that you appeared, you met with King Rabana, and Iris faced off with the Malign Shroud, or as the Humans call him, The Demon King, the prophecy came together.”
    TJ furrowed his brows. Did that mean so long as he stayed on the other side of the gate, Asmodeus would not return? Did the actions he take that day really change the world so drastically?
    Reina smiled nervously and said, “Well, let’s talk about something a little less depressing, shall we?”
    She cleared her throat. “Of course, with their return, it was said that you, the Abellan, and the five God’s Governors would rise again to strike him down and seal him away. A simple country girl like me being among legends like you is an honour, really.
    “It’s a shame that people have such a negative outlook on you, TJ. I had heard that you and the others had cleared and destroyed the Pharaoh’s Chambers, so Humanity was safe once again. I don’t think you’re at fault here though. To challenge the Malign Shroud isn’t something just any Human could do. As for Iris’ whereabouts following the event, there isn’t enough proof nor witness testimonies to prove whether she’s still alive or dead.
    “Perhaps that too, was something that was meant for the Cerebians to accomplish, but the Derr Clan isn’t far from us as far as divinity goes. They were said to be as close to the gods as any Human could be, and that they had Lady Amae’s blessings.”
    TJ blinked with surprise. Reina was a historian, true, but it was rather incredible how spot-on her knowledge was. He wanted to affirm her thoughts with the knowledge he obtained through Amae’s memories, but he remembered what Peorth had said. That aside, he was glimpsing into her memories, rather than just his own. Perhaps they were not meant to be shared…but he had hoped that it was not the case. At the very least, he wanted to understand the entire story before he divulged any knowledge about it…and to do so, he would have to defeat all seven of his siblings.
    “I suppose that’s probably the reason she had succeeded at all. It’s a shame that it came at a cost, but if it’s true that what her comrades said-that she’s still alive and out there somewhere, then it may be possible.”
    Reina nodded as she crossed her arms. “But I digress. You had mentioned that you came through a gate, right TJ?”
    He nodded. “Yep.”
    “That place…if that’s where you came from, it makes sense. I had both read and heard from my mother that it’s a place that houses the spirits of the fallen. Those that have died are guided there by the Artimen Clan, and in turn the members of the clan receive soul beads. It was said that if they collected enough beads, they could use the completed rosary to create a bridge from the world of the living to that of the dead.
    “I’d always thought it was just a fairy tale, but as I got older I began to wonder about that. If Her Highness-I mean Peorth, met you there…and had gone inside…does that mean she had met with Queen Remedi? If it’s true then perhaps I could…Eek!”
    She let out a shriek as a hand gently caressed her chin.
    “You really need to hold back there, Rei-Rei. If I weren’t your training dummy you’d have your partner out for a week with that kind of strength,” Alessa said.
    “S-sorry!” She answered.
    “So, what’re you two talking about?” She asked as she sat up and crossed her legs.
    “My umm…home? Kinda. Where I come from?” TJ answered.
    He rubbed the back of his neck. “I wish I could take you there, but I’ve not the foggiest as to how to get there, let alone where it is.”
    Reina shook her head gently. “That’s okay TJ. If there’s anyone that would know, it would be a member of the Artimen Clan.”
    “Did they get wiped out too?” He asked as he knit his eyebrows warily.
    “I don’t think so. The records I looked over in Xenym had said that the lineage had went beyond what we know, but the child of the man Peorth knew is unknown. If we can locate them, perhaps we could see the mission they started through to fruition.
    “Leaving that aside, some scholars speculated that it would be the place where the final battle would take place-that being, Ragnarok.”
    “T-there?! But how?”
    “Perhaps that was what the Artimen Clan had been preparing for?” Reina placed a hand to her cheek as she gently tapped it with a finger. “If we’re to join forces with the soldiers of the past, it’s only logical that we would need a way to bridge the gap. On the other hand, it was said that the gods and fallen soldiers would join forces for one last battle that would signal the destruction and rebirth of Midgard.”
    “Isn’t that just a bad end?” Alessa asked as she placed her hands behind her head.
    “I-I can’t let that happen! I joined the Cerebians to prevent that!” TJ cried out with a hand to his chest.
    Reina smiled. “I’ve no doubt about that. Of course, this is just all sorts of possibilities speculated about in the past. You live in the present TJ. The only one who could truly decide how this ends, would be you, and those who fight alongside you. So fight for your cause, and I’m sure you’ll succeed.”
    He grinned. “Thanks Reina. I’m gonna give it my all to win this for us.”
    Alessa pursed her lips. “But all work and no play makes for a boring Abellan,” She muttered.
    “Huh?” He asked.
    “It’s just like you to say something like that Les,” Reina chuckled.
    “Lemme’ ask you a question next!” She said with a twinkle in her eye.
    TJ smiled in turn. “Sure. What do you wanna know?”
    “Would you rather be the one eating, or the one eaten?”
    Reina’s cheeks flushed as she placed her hands to her mouth. “Les!”
    TJ placed a finger over his mouth as he pondered the question. Being eaten certainly did not sound enjoyable…and he rather did enjoy eating. Especially sweets. Given that knowledge, the answer was simple.
    “Definitely eating,” He answered.
    Reina gasped again. “T-TJ?! I never would have guessed!”
    He knit his eyebrows. “I know I don’t look like much, but I’m working on it! I’ve started doing exercises with the Chief and I’ve been eating three square meals a day!”
    Alessa snickered under her breath. “Given that knowledge there’s an even more pressing question we need to ask.”
    “D-don’t ask him that! He’s not ready!” Reina muttered to her companion while he gave them both quizzical looks.
    “Well? Who would you suggest? He’s a tough one isn’t he?”
    “Well I mean…a boy of his stature and age range…perhaps someone like Vincent or Dario…Trenton is good too…”
    “You’re not thinking big enough Rei-Rei! Think outside the box!”
    “Axle?” Reina looked defeated.
    “How about Vanir?”
    “Vanir as a….a…” Her face flushed as she turned away to cover a muffled scream of excitement. Following the event, she began to mutter to herself about a myriad of things.
    “That should keep her busy for a while. So tell me TJ, ever thought of hooking up with an older girl?” She rose from her sitting position and bent over to match his gaze.
    “How do you hook up with someone?” He asked as he knit his eyebrows.
    Her eyes shuttered as a wide grin spread across her face.
    “There’s so much I have to teach you about the adult world TJ. You and I are gonna have so much fun!”
    What did he have to lose? “Sure! Count me in!”
    “Ah!” Reina said with a look of realization. “Les! What’re you doing?!”
    “What? He’s fair game too,” She answered matter-of-factly.
    “That’s the Abellan you’re flirting with!”
    Alessa raised an eyebrow. “He might be the Abellan, but he’s still a guy Rei-Rei. Should we treat him any differently from the others because of his title?”
    Reina looked like she wanted to object but her mouth only hung agape for a few moments. She placed a hand to her face and shook her head gently.
    “You’re right. You’re completely right. I’m sorry TJ.”
    He shook it off. “It’s no problem. I’d rather you look at me like that than look at me in a bad way.”
    “Guilty as charged!” Alessa said as she stuck her tongue out. “But my offer still stands, so, shall we, TJ?” She draped her arms around his.
    At that moment the doors burst open and a dishevelled looking Amata stood between them.
    “TJ, I have something important to ask you!” She said as her eyes darted to him.
    “Huh? O-okay.”
    “Ehh…what terrible timing,” Alessa muttered dejectedly.
    Amata closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “I wanna take the trial to become a true God’s Governor, and I want you to come with me to my ancestor’s temple!”
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:17 pm

    Do Fujoshi Dream of Abellan BL?:
    You know, I finally got my hands on(Read as 'been getting my ass kicked by') Fire Emblem Fates. To that end, I realized something. What's the point in living if you don't have a cute waifu who will kill your enemies, your allies, her own servants, bathe in their blood AND cut the crusts off your sandwich?
    Existential crisis right there. There's no going back for me--save yourselves.

    So just for the record, this is, in fact, the end of the chapter. Sometime after this I'll do the overview and post what I have for Chapter 10 but you know...I'm trying to keep things orderly around here. There's no easy way to move things about or browse the forum. Anyway, enough of my gripes, let's get down to it!

    By now you guys are probably pretty familiar with Reina's story. You've likely read it several times each in differing conversations, so you don't need me to go into the details on that. Be it Inno(Preferred) or USSR you can get most of the finer details there. And if you haven't guessed by now, Alessa isn't as 2D as she might come off as. Don't be fooled! I'm sure it'd help if I had more time to establish her here but...I mean TJ's just about finished his initial judgement spree and realized how wrong he was about most of the people he met, Reina included, so let's be responsible here.
    Moving on! I looked back a bit in Inno, including what I wrote recently and I realized that Reina was a huge dork. So much so It's almost impressive. I wanted to maintain a bit of that, but she has changed--she's still grown up some, but when she's with Alessa it doesn't seem like much. Part of the reason I preferred it this way because it felt like after all is said and done, those two could just be girls, as they should've been prior to all of that happening.
    Also she's engaged now, to Salem. The event hasn't happened in Inno yet--heck, it might not at all, but I can assure you at the very least they'll date before it's over. There's a larger time frame for them than there is for some of the characters from Freq, so it'll feel like things move a lot faster. Because they do. But I'm not here to talk about that.
    Anyway, as the writer, not even I've decided which it'll be, but all in all I'll probably settle with Samurai. ...Which means I'm probably gonna need to brush up on the history. It's the least I could do--leaving aside a means to see it made manifest within the universe of Frequency. Inno will probably cover more of that sort of stuff though. As I've said before, the stories explore different sides of the world. The main story covers the overarching plot and the more general lore, pertaining to the great figures such as the queen, Abellan and the Governors etc. USSR(leaving aside the character plots) went in depth about the Havens, what the escape was like and a bit about rituals and such things. Inno might explore the Human cities, how they function, their histories and general details as Reina knows them. This isn't guaranteed of course, just speculations for the time being. I'm gonna play it by ear, I suppose, and see where it goes.

    So next? In this time period Reina's class is all but complete--it has skills, but needs further refining, and for Reina to see the appropriate channels to have it become available. Since we're not characters within the novel though, that means she's gonna have to finish her fate. Which also means she avoided the death flag. Or she'll die horribly like the cast is in this series is wont to do. I make no promises! It's been a while since anyone of the cast got brutally murdered. In good time. Gotta build 'em up before you tear 'em down I always say.
    Now before I talk about this, let me address a few groups of people:The naysayers, the haters, and those who would likely say, "But girls can't love girls!" There's no denying that Reina hardly, if ever used skills both in Inno and USSR. She did one time. Heck, she used it here(Marathon Trial) and she refined it too. There's no denying that it would seem a betrayal of what she learned during Inno, but remember what Salem had said back in Chapter 4-that his style wouldn't work without Reina. IIRC, she also mentioned that she didn't use her skills if she was fighting alongside Salem because it was dangerous. In essence, she doesn't rely heavily on her skills, but they're at her disposal should she need them. It's one of the things that helps her fare as a secondary DPS. Alike to Bladers, she can be less skill heavy by using two blades instead of one, but with one she can focus on defensive skills. Naturally, since she's improved substantially she and Salem could fight in the same team but separately, allowing for him to do his tasks as a team's shinobi. They do what they need to to meet the situation, put simply.
    I know someone who's a bit more familiar with the history than I am, so I might ask them when they have the time. That aside, and game terms aside lol her first stance is an actual martial art. If you've never heard of iaido(Or rather in her case Battōjutsu), now's a good chance to get familiar!

    I decided to spoiler tag this not because it's spoilers, but because it's not story relevant and rather long. Read it if you want, but you're not missing out on anything life changing.
    Rant about Author Things:
    In truth, I've spent a lot of time mulling things over. Heck, I've been mulling this over since I started Inno in 2013. I'd always wondered if it was to be made into a book, which terms could be kept and which would be too much for the audience? I do a lot of reading and watching so I'm somewhat familiar with terms, honorifics and such things, and have come to prefer them because they give off a different message and feeling than the things we're familiar with. This uhh...might turn into a rant. If you're ever curious about that stuff, ask a scanlator(assuming that a translator or company that does them would be hard to get a hold of. Journalism in a nutshell.) since they might be able to glean some knowledge about it. It's a very long and complex struggle that you'll still see to this day, really.
    Of course, there's always good and bad ways to handle this. I suppose the simplest way to find an example would be to watch any of the 4kids video comparisons on youtube. Easy access, gets the point across quite well actually. The reason I mention this(Partially because I glimpsed one today) is because sometimes it's just...bad. I mean to the extent where riceballs become jelly donuts bad. I'm not gonna take it that far of course.
    Still, I suppose for me the conflict stems from trying to find that middle ground. The center of a Venn diagram, per se. Originally I had considered having Salem use honorifics when I started Inno, but that isn't something you typically see in translated works. Too high level, I suppose. Even so, I'm willing to bet there's a lot of subtle nuances I've missed out on myself even with all the knowledge I've gleaned.
    I confess, that is probably the biggest challenge I'd face working with characters of differing backgrounds. The way they speak and refer to each other, slang, accents, everything. It would differ greatly from person to person, and also from culture to culture. Even so, that was one of the many reasons I was reluctant to write Inno, leaving aside war, history and my aversion to those things...and everything else that happened.
    Still, often times pro authors will suggest that you ask people--that is, people who would know. Not a bad idea! Not a good idea for me, however. I won't go into that 'cause that's a whole different problem in and of itself.

    Anyway, leaving aside all that junk, there IS something related to the story within these boundaries. I had spent some time thinking that if the origin was to be based on the place it was from, then at the very least I could keep the names in Romaji originally(I suppose you could say for here, and for my own personal use)with the English names explained here. Whenever I moved the final copy of the chapter/story itself to FF, I'd settle with the English names. Good idea, but I don't know the first damn thing about Romaji, and Google Translate can't even get simple English translations right so I'd found myself at a complete and utter loss. So yeah. I crashed and burned entirely in that plan. I know the name for Reina's 5th skill, which I was thinking I should've kept because 8-headed serpent sounds lame as fuck in English but I was like, "1 out of 7 isn't good enough for me. Screw it! English it is!" And so I wallowed in my own lack of knowledge and settled. THE END.

    Long story short, language is very, very complex. Something I learned both in my everyday life and my...not so everyday life. I won't be one to judge, I can assure you of that. Like I've said before, studied English all my life, and I'm still bad at it. I learned French too, but none of that stuck. If you ask me, "Quel est votre nom?" I'd answer, "Omelette du Fromage".
    The struggle is mad real.

    So back to the usual! There was a game I played that put those stances to use. Stella Glow--I mentioned that at some point didn't I? At some point in time but it's not important and I'm too lazy to check. Great game. One true best girl Popo, hands down. Irrelevant, however.
    Back on topic, "Slipstream" saw a lot of changes. Originally it was 'Backdraft' but then I learned what a backdraft was and it became a completely different skill. The I named it 'Gust' but it didn't really get the use across, and TJ's monologues didn't help in that case either. Finally it became Slipstream and everything was great.
    Marathon Trial was something she used in USSR, but that was when she just started using mana so it was rough around the edges, and took much longer for her to cast. Put simply, she was a baddie at the time. Cross Trial doesn't need to be aerial--she just showed that it could be used either in air or on the ground. Effective, much stronger than Marathon Trial. One of the good things about it is the lasting effect. Since it puts her enemies on their guard, her allies can use that opportunity to strike their flanks or back if they're quick enough. If Reina was to use Slipstream following it, she could probably get an attack in just after the effect wears off.
    Moonlight Blade isn't very useful if blocked, but if she can create an opening and get it in it's very powerful. Imagine getting sliced four times at once--you'd be swiss cheese in moments.
    Exhaust is a very important skill, however. It was the culmination of all of her efforts up to that point. Her journey wasn't one that was meant to be a bloody rampage, and if you've read USSR than you know how she managed this, or at least attempted to do so. Like those before her, she was one who attempted to change her fate. She easily could've murdered all the people who threatened her, but her goal was to bring about a change.
    One of the things I love about Inno is that at times you get a deeper look into the motivations of the characters, why they do what they do, and what the current character's PoV can tell you about the others involved. In Reina's case, she's got great insight so she can read into a person by their actions, expressions, and the tone of their voice. Salem can read actions in battle and predict moves, respond quickly, and can find weaknesses in his enemies where others might see nothing. He is very perceptive of the surrounding situation also, as you may have seen during his time in the hospital.
    Off topic again, but a game that did this amazing is in fact Fire Emblem. Buy it. Buy all three. Or listen to someone dissect it because there's brilliance in it. I can't dissect other works, however, so don't look to me to do it. I'm a fanboy through and through and I have no shame in admitting it, so you'll get no thoughtful statements or see me playing the devil's advocate at any point. For my work, however--boy I'll spend the better half of my day thinking about why it sucks and how much I hate it. True story!
    Now last but not least is her 5th skills which seems a lot more like a prayer. I can't stand the name though. I have half a mind to change it to the original name because it sounds that bad. You wouldn't believe how long I spent agonizing over how it was supposed to work. If I was a game designer and someone had shown me this, I'd hang myself in my office. Problem was, I wanted it to have impact--to make it feel different, unique, while also maintaining the spirit of the original tale. Then I remembered that this was me we're talking about and I completely fucked it up but decided to settle because if I kept at it, it would become worse. Though in truth, that was the third or fourth design I had come up with, and proved to be the best of the bunch. Go me. Reading it now, I realize that I'm still unhappy with it. I feel like I should change the last part of the attack.
    I'll just...leave that be...for now. Before it begins.
    My gripes aside, I was thinking of going on this giant rant about narrative and skills/spells in FF14 and why I enjoy it but...again, unrelated. And people think games can't teach you anything. I thumb my nose at them! Metaphorically.

    I uhh...kinda lost my train of thought. I think the rest is pretty self-explanatory, courtesy of Reina so I'll cover anything that I feel is needed.
    The Three greater demons are known as different things to Humanity and the Cerebians as such.
    For the Cerebians its:
    TJ-Calamity Trigger
    Rabana-Blood Red Sabers
    Demon King-Malign Shroud

    Humans:
    TJ-Son of the Demon King
    Rabana-King Rabana
    Demon King

    After a few hundred years, they began to assume Agasura King Asmodeus and the Demon King were one entity. They'd forgotten Asmodeus was a being in and of himself, and thus when the Demon King entered the picture, panic broke out. Regardless of whether it was Asmodeus or the Malign Shroud Iris and co. would have went as they were Humanity's hope.
    Now the reason TJ got his name was because his arrival would signal that the time had come for the Agasuras to wage war. The moment Peorth freed him from that gate, all of their respective fates were set in motion. I can't tell you where Rabana or the Malign Shroud were at the time, but they manifested once more and eventually gained enough power to become viable threats through their own respective means over a period of time. In essence, as TJ thought his leaving the gate is in fact what brought them back.
    This doesn't mean that if anyone else had done it, or Peorth's successor/predecessor had that things would be any different. It just so happened she was the one of the many in her lineage.

    So Alessa is back from the dead. Again. Sexual innuendos and all. She had all the intention to make him into a man, however. That wasn't a tongue in cheek moment by any stretch of the imagination. Also her question to him was in fact, asking whether he would prefer being a top or bottom, if you hadn't guessed that yet. She meant that as a joke/potential you know...side-dish--I meant it as foreshadowing. Go figure!
    Anyway, truth be told I had conflicting feelings about whether or not that would be a bad trait for her--that is, to a be a carnivore. Yes THAT kind not the other kind. But I figured, why the hell not? She makes a good contrast to Reina, and it's not like she'd just jump anyone's bones. Heck, it might not even be a one time thing. It could be the start of something beautiful. That aside, I don't wanna be afraid to write characters who might be interested in sexy time. They're all adults. Of course...that means should there be a point where characters start dating, that's a very viable possibility.
    It also served as a good point for Reina to interject. It shows that in spite of everything, she still has some particular feelings about beings such as him--not in a negative way of course, but rather she seems him in an 'untouchable' way while Alessa sees him more as...well a guy. To be put in such a scenario, how would you react? I mean, if a god or a myth or something descended upon your house and they're like, "Hey it's me...(Insert name here)(Let's pick a random one for the sake of...knowledge)The flying Spaghetti Monster." Wouldn't you also, want to be touched by his...pasta tendrils? Tempting offer, isn't it?
    And at the end of it all, Amata blocks the cochma. Best save 2k16. Going by her words, she's gonna be taking the best girl/heroine throne next chapter! Peorth and Su are gonna have to step aside 'cause she's gonna be in the limelight.

    So with that said. Overview! Probably! If I can be bothered. But people like to make things difficult. Of course they do, and so I guarantee nooooooooooooothinnnnnnnnnnnng. I'm out!
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:16 pm

    Water Lily Overview:

    We made it team! Not much of an achievement but yes! We did it! As for me well...somehow I managed to design a bunch of characters. In all honesty, it was a pain in the ass, but I'm here to talk about things! Things that may be worth reading about! Or just nonsense disguised as vital information...YOU DECIDE.

    About the Chapter Name:
    There are several meanings as far as the symbolism of water lilies go. Reina's quote at the beginning tells of one of them, and there's no denying that it holds some sway in what the chapter is about. After all, we see love in a variety of forms, but in its purest form, or at least, most familiar it's as is between TJ, Peorth and Freya. Essentially, it could be considered just the first two because of what had happened to Freya, but since she is still a whole different person, it could be seen as a will of her own.
    The scientific name (Nymphaea) can also be used to refer to Freya. Since nymphs often inhabit water bodies, this can be seen as similar to her case. The person she is, is in fact the God's Governor of Water but she inhabits Kooh. Her nature is similar to that of a nymph also, to a certain degree.

    The reason that I chose it, was to represent the awakening of the self for many of the characters. Or to put it another way, the realization--the call to a greater cause. You can see this through both TJ and Reina, both main characters of their own respective novels, and both heeded the call to be a hero when the world needed them most. Such things can also be explored through the symbolism of the chapter's number(9) which is why I thought it would be fitting for this.
    That aside, it was also in the way that a water lily closes it's petals at night, and at the first rays of the sun they open again. Strange choice, I know.

    Writing a Budding Relationship:
    If this was me...what, 7 years ago? You could not, under any circumstances, coax me into writing a romantic relationship in a novel. It was beyond me. Still is, but I'm doing it now.
    The hardest part about this is to decide how to keep it progressing, without stagnating. Often times the relationships might happen suddenly, or there might be an event that takes place between two characters that leads them to getting together later. USSR is a good example of that. However, the reason behind that was partially because we didn't see what happened that caused Meryl's love to blossom in the first place. It started out as one-sided, but the two were aware of each other for quite some time.

    But that's a little off-topic. In TJ's case, there are a couple of girls that he could potentially develop a romantic affinity for. He and Su are always together, and they have a strong bond which is part of why Vanir suspects that she could be his partner(among other things).
    He and Peorth have a history as we all know, but the problem with their case is that he constantly loses his memories, including those of her. Thus, even if her romantic affinity developed further, it would always remain one-sided because he wouldn't remember the feelings he had in the past or why he had them until he recollected and kept his memories intact.
    Freya on the other hand is much more forward about her approach, however his lack of understanding, and unresolved feelings toward the guild master prevents him from taking a more active role in building an actual relationship with Freya. That is, leaving aside the fact she and Kooh share a single body.

    Anyway, at times I wonder myself if it's for the best that I take so much time to develop it. In some ways, I can forward the plot and do some characterization all the while, but if I were to consider other things like the length of the novel, the amount of pages it takes for these moments to come to be, and the cost, would I be able to do this otherwise? These are things I don't typically ponder while I write. In a sense, a writer's life will often be writing with limitations--be it page limits, word counts, deadlines, doesn't matter. This conflicts with my ideas for the novel...or perhaps my quest for perfection. I do what I do because to me, it fits the character's way of life. As Peorth had said before, her goal is to take a slow and steady approach to winning the love of her target, and though he may be somewhat unaware of it, she's doing just that.
    Perhaps a part of the reason I decided to do it this way was because I had learned that outright saying and doings things isn't always a welcome gesture. On the other hand, perhaps what I wanted was to create a romance that would feel 'genuine' to me. I mean, it could be as simple as someone confessing their love to another and they start dating. But to write from experience at times, may be one of the keys to the hallmark of a writer. I wouldn't say my experiences were like this--scratch that, I had been in a situation like this. However, I can't say for sure that the intentions were romantic.
    In all honesty, had they been, I would've been won over.

    Still, a little off topic, but I've spent a lot of time browsing pages about astrological signs, and the personality traits that certain people might share with theirs. I assume it safe to say that to apply that to real people would result in me being written off as a raving lunatic, a believer of the occult, or just a moron. Maybe all three. A simple answer to this dilemma would likely be the Barnum effect. I know too many things that are synonymous and antonymous with each other. Logic dictates that these would be the answer. My research dictates other wise, among other things. So? Whichever side you stand on, let's throw that aside for now. Black or white, doesn't matter, play along for now with this theoretical concept.
    Say you had someone like TJ as a Pisces. You know how they can be, fickle, a bit mysterious and at times rather aloof. They're the type that if you don't keep tied to a string, chances are they'll drift off and you'll never see them again. Peorth on the other hand would be a Taurus. Strong, resolute, commanding. She keeps much of her thoughts and actions based on reality, and relies heavily on the trust in those around her
    With these two as potential partners, you might find yourself asking what kind of misadventures would they get into on the way to becoming a couple? You might not. But in just these simple factors alone, you could imagine a bevvy of potential headcanons, situations, and possible outcomes for all of them. Opportunity springs forth like a fountain of knowledge and you can hardly begin to imagine how the characters could change and develop through these simple interactions.

    Now though I won't give you the full story since this is less about me and more about the writing, I want you to at least consider this. A relationship is something you might develop with one or more people over the course of your life. The early years are usually short, rough and serve as life lessons, but they build character. Later on you might find someone and settle down and the potential of divorce still lingers over the horizon. You might not get married at all and be happy that way.
    However, that moment when you do find someone could be life changing. The connection you form with that person and that person alone wakes your senses to a myriad of new things, to who you are and who you can be and at times who you WANT to be for that person. It's something that you won't form with your boss, your classmate, that random Joe you passed on the street...it's rare, unfamiliar but also exciting.

    Now why is this so important and why am I so intent on it? The easy answer would be it's a part of TJ's character arc. Due to his lack of understanding of it, it would serve as a life-changing event for him--a call to wake up, to see the importance of the bond he's formed and to awaken his deepest desire to protect the person he cherishes most. The harder answer would be that it would allow me to further explore the facets of his character you wouldn't normally see if he fell in love at the end of the novel, or if it was just a brief event. After all, the version of ourselves we might show to our family, friends, classmates, it all differs. The one we show to our partners might even be unfamiliar to us, because it's something that only wakes when we meet with and are with that person. Perhaps it may encourage us to be our best selves because it's an irreplaceable bond.

    Somewhat unrelated, but this was something I had pondered since I saw the additions to Fe:F prior to it being released in NA. Perhaps it's my own speculations, but I do admire the creators for willing to take that risk. One of the things I loved most about the series(I came late by starting with Awakening, so sue me) was the support conversations. I love a good strategy game, but I love a good story and characterization even more, and it had both of that. To see the end of the conversations between characters was a bit of a damper after S rank, but the new additions, if even just a little bit more feels like a chance to further develop the characters. I know I said I wouldn't go on a tangent like this, so I'll leave it there.

    Anyway, to wrap that thought up, just like how when TJ reaches a milestone in his journey, like becoming the Molly or joining the Cerebians gives the readers a sense of satisfaction or a feeling like, "Finally, it happened!" I want his relationship to have that sort of impact. You'll see how the bonds he forged helped him to get where he is, and to what extent, friendship and beyond, can convince characters to go above and beyond the line of duty for those around them. TLDR? Characterization, in a simple form, but much more complex than we may give it credit for.

    I tend to get really heated about certain things. I'll try to uhh...tone it down a bit.
    Battles Throughout Frequency:
    I often find myself asking, "Are there enough battles in this chapter? When was the last time a major fight happened?" All things considered, Frequency was nothing short of a boss hunt lol. The minor battles in between the boss fights often didn't hold much sway until Toad Island IIRC. Around that time, perhaps on my second round of writing it I tried to beef them up a bit. Sanctuary remedies this, but at times I find myself asking if the periods between them are too far and few between.
    If I was asked for a basic description of my novel, there's a good chance I would find myself at a loss. My dishonest answer would be, "Cute girls doing cute things and occasionally trying to brutally murder each other," but a serious answer...well I don't have one in particular. To me, the novel is a variety of things. A battle fantasy, a coming of age story, a search for self and identity, a tale of camaraderie, life and death and dealing with it, among other things.
    Still, the combat aspect of it is an irreplaceable part of the novel. It's part of how I develop the characters, who they are, and for most their agency. It's my mantra made manifest, and so to be sure that it keeps in tune with what the novel is about I try to keep the story flowing through the major battles and arcs. Still, with USSR I explored how the concept of peace is important, and that even the best and strongest of adventurers can't continuously move from one battle to the next.

    I suppose in a sense, the conflicting feelings I have are based around the concept of a shortage and abundance. I want there to be enough so that...well, readers wouldn't feel bored from the lack of action, but not so much that it becomes exhaustive and repetitive. The hard part is, that it differs from person to person. Again, meeting expectations would be no simple feat, so I would have to use my best judgement.
    To this end, I've devised places for the characters to go, major bosses that they may or may not be aware of, and strong enemies for them to fight while they're there. There's a constant sense of steady progression--the characters have missions they need to accomplish, and often times to do that they need to battle an enemy greater than they are. All the while, the places they visit will house both friends and enemies alike, their history, and perhaps the skeletons they may have hidden from their allies. In a sense, you could almost call it formulaic. As I said before in my last overview, familiarity can be a boon to a novel. If you know what to expect somewhat, you can make predictions, theorize and draw conclusions throughout the journey. As always, however, there will be little things to throw you off the trail so you'll have to look back, look forward, and pay close attention to the present.

    But anyway, to put it another way, for me I would have to say the battles can often seem sparse at times. They'll come in great numbers when the group has to challenge an Instance Dungeon, the Governor's Temples(leaving one particular case aside since it was spelunked already) and...yeah. Mostly those. During their travels a few brief battles will occur, but nothing too extreme in most cases, unless they traverse new territory.
    Though all things considered, I would like to do more unusual enemies, since this is the point where the Agasura are strengthened. If I have any good ideas, I'll be sure to add them in.
    The battle with Peorth in this chapter served as an opportunity at building the bond between the two, but it was also to show that TJ would need to learn to master using the Saints through sheer hard work. My teachers and just about everyone else on the internet have come to love the phrase 'show don't tell' so I find myself looking for opportunities to do this throughout the novel. Though this is but one battle among the many they had over that period of time, it showcases that he is indeed practicing, and when the time comes that he needs that power he'll have a greater mastery over it.
    Which also means I'll need to work on new skills/stances for Velvet. Dang it!

    Playing Dress Up:
    Unrelated, but one of my favourite things about FF14 is in fact, playing dress up. Not so much in real life, however. Normally I wouldn't likely think too much about the characters' outfits and just send them about to everything as they are. Alas, something I've read for the past few years and is a target of so much internet hate does the opposite of this. The care the creator puts into the ever-changing outfits of the characters during different chapters and arcs shows a definitive labour of love. Oddly enough, most of the time we find familiarity in the outfits of the characters, but the definitive nature of their appearances and personalities makes such a difference so endearing and refreshing. It really makes me think where they get their inspiration from, but nonetheless, I have a deep respect for that person.

    Back on topic, if I am to change the character's outfits, the most likely case would be during major events. In USSR it was the Harvest Festival, All Hallows Eve and...Amata's arrival. She wore a sari then too. That was when her dislike of them solidified, and a few years later that fact remained. As for the rest of the case like TJ and co. their choice of formal wear tells a bit about their characters. The colours, designs, and accessories can also serve that purpose and for that reason I take time to look through outfits, check what they're for, what the colour symbolizes or what certain accessories and their locations mean, and pick characters where these traits could be applied. It doesn't always have to be so complex, mind. Sometimes it can be as simple as 'Su is a tomboy and she refuses to wear a dress'. This fact can be applied to Kooh and Peorth, but their reasons would differ. I actually see more women in suits than dresses and I've gotten used to it. Though of course, business is business and parties or gatherings are a whole different matter in and of themselves. You know how it is.

    Perhaps there'll come a day where each character might wear the outfit opposite to what they wore now. If and when that time comes, I'll hopefully have developed them enough to feel that such a change befits them, and that the event at the time may warrant it.

    Working With a Large Cast:
    This, is a very, VERY difficult thing to do. The more often you see the characters, the more likely you're going to think they're supporting cast rather than just minor characters. An easy solution to that might be to make them one-note characters so that readers won't develop any particular feelings towards them, and thus their presence or the lack thereof will hold little interest in their minds.
    On the other hand, the supporting cast might be rather big. I do confess that this could be the case for Frequency. The main cast is a fair amount as is, but when you add in some of the others who may be swept up by the main cast and their complex plots the number increases substantially. Thankfully, since most of the cast have intertwining plot lines, if they are to become a part of the supporting cast they'll appear frequently enough with reason, and enough to develop and have a complete arc.
    Some of the minor characters would be those such as Cleo, Emil and Zosia and co. An easy way to tell them apart is that they don't have any complex issues that need to be addressed. Cleo, for example had a bit of a history with Axle, and though their current relationship might not be entirely resolved, she could still be a part of his character growth without it being the focus of the story. Since he has a much more complex issue at hand, such a thing could be carried along by conversations between allies. I know, show don't tell. But in this case more often than not readers would think that to go into a supporting character's sub-sub plot would be the worst thing possible. I've seen it happen. The reactions were...well let's just say they were uncivilized.

    Nevertheless, taking some time away from the main cast to focus on the others works well. They all have things they need to attend to--Peorth has duties as a guild master and Kooh has duties to her. TJ is more or less a free spirit. He goes where he's needed, and Su goes where he goes. When the Sinners appear, they're there, and when the time comes to summon them they do that too. Thus, in interludes such as the defeat of a Sinner and the arrival of the next, another character's storyline could be explored, such as Amata's.
    The great thing about this is that it lets me move the main plot line forward in two different ways--the first being that the God's Governors can complete their trials and move forward towards the culmination of their efforts, the Xenadia arc. On the other hand all the while the Sinners(who are also a part of the cast, odd as it may be) can appear between these events to shake things up a bit. Their defeat leads towards the final showdown. Throw in Choen Palm and friends and you've got a recipe for a myriad of interesting events to take place all the while.

    Girls Being Girls, Boys Being Boys:
    A lot of the time when writing I ask myself, "What would George R.R. Martin do?" This is a terrible question and I shouldn't ponder it but I do. This typically leads to discourse within my own mind and results in the conclusion that trying to emulate that man is beyond me and will result in tears and disaster.
    Instead I try to take from my own life--experiences, memories, and the things I might see around me on a day-to-day. Not all of it could be useful, mind. Some more harmful than not, so it's best to choose wisely, and also to keep a level head when writing. Actually, having a level head all the time would be a great boon, but a difficult task nonetheless.
    Now then, as I've mentioned before there are times where I consider it a good idea to just have a moment or two for the character's where they can just be...themselves. I don't mean like they normally are, because they're all weird. No heroic adventure stuff, no murdering people for reasons, just...people.

    The playful banter between the guys and girls on their way to Lemanin was a good example of this. It shows another side of their characters, and that they too, despite all the hardships they face and journeys they make are people. They hurt and get hurt, fall in and out of love, and build camaraderie with their allies. But it's not something that just...happens. No of course not--they need to take steps, to open up to others, to take a chance and see those around them for all that they are, and all that they aren't. For better or worse, their relationships gain the potential to be much stronger than ever before, and to get where they are that day, they overcame challenges both on and off of the battlefield.
    All the while, TJ and Peorth are seen practicing Ardoss' song. On one hand, this can be seen as an act of diligence and pragmatism, but looks can be deceiving. Perhaps the truth at the heart of the matter is in fact, that the two enjoy the time they spend together and that obtaining a new song is for them to be close once more.

    We all have reasons for doing things, or just a tradition we might share with someone else. You might like to bake with your significant other, or call a friend over for Netflix and chill. It differs from person to person, but to take the opportunity once in a while to give these characters those moments, to me, makes them feel truly alive.

    Sanctuary Going Forward:
    I think I've said all that needs to be said on this piece. I've completely burnt myself out, so I'll finish with a bit about the next chapter before I call it quits for the evening.

    As I mentioned before, the next chapter will be Amata focused. With this, we're finally gonna go beyond Elfa's territory, but this time rather than going to Atlantis, they'll go to Ves and that which lays beyond it. So that means another Iris Stone(City version), another Haven, and a new Indun! Technically not an Indun, but a dungeon nonetheless. Unlike the others however, the party dynamic will change so it'll be a fresh take on the usual 4-5 man parties I've done thus far.
    That aside, a fair portion of the chapter is finished. I'll update it here when I can make the time to do another review. I'll continue to write it up until I get to the dungeon itself, since most of the chapter is storyboarded but the dungeon itself isn't designed. While I do that...or rather when I can be bothered to do it, I'll use the concurrent time to continue where I last left off Innocent. Since the semester's almost over it's gonna be on an indefinite hiatus until I work out a schedule for it.
    Complex, I know.

    Nevertheless, whether I continue on solely with Sanctuary or make time for Innocent in between, things will be done. Sanctuary will take the longest, so I'd probably put most of my effort towards that. We'll see how everything shakes out when it gets to that.
    If you're curious the chapter name for 10 is 'Young Dragons'. I'll try not to spoil the reason for the name until the overview again lol.
    That's all I have to say for Chapter Nine! Until next time!
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Wed May 04, 2016 10:15 am

    Ch.10 (Pages 409-420):
    The Tenth Harmony: Young Dragons
    “They say that a cat can’t roar and a lion can’t meow. But looks can be rather…deceiving.” (Alvaro Seitz)

    “You really can’t come with us Chief? I dunno if just Amata and I can manage something that important.” TJ muttered under his breath as he gently brushed his hair in the mirror.
    The two had returned to his home in Belos after the summit had come to an end and began to get him ready for his journey first thing in the morning. The sun just barely peeked over the horizon in preparation for a new day.
    “That is the truth of the matter TJ. There is no denying that a Governor’s trial is meant to be completed by the Governor themselves, but it is said that should there be anyone to accompany them, it may be, and only can be, the Abellan.
    “Naturally one would suspect that a trial is best completed alone, but one of the Cerebians strongest beliefs is that we must overcome challenges together. Just as our progenitors had, we oft must band together in order to succeed where one would fail.
    “It is also believed that to overcome challenges together builds greater bonds, which could lead to a duo completing the Pledger’s Rite.”
    “What’s the Pledger’s Rite?” He asked as he stopped brushing to turn to her.
    “The marriage contract.”
    He gasped as he furiously began to brush his hair. “W-we’re not going to get married! I mean me and Amata? N-no way!” He said as he laughed under his breath.
    Peorth let out a gentle chuckle. “Yes, of course. Such events take time. The folly of youth is to be too headstrong, but in this case, I feel that Amata is sure of what she wishes to do.
    “If she is to succeed in her trial, I feel that it may be the push that the other God’s Governors need in order to spur them into action. It will be a daunting event for the both of you, I am sure, but it is a good opportunity nonetheless.”
    “To get stronger?” He asked as he looked at her from the corner of his eye.
    “Yes, and no. You will be meeting with Rayinth, or at the very least, Rayinth’s Einherjar. The five God’s Governors were present during the Agasuric War, so they know much and more about the past. Should you have questions about yourself, they may have the answers that you seek, so consider taking the time to see what knowledge Rayinth can share with you.”
    “C-can we really defeat a God’s Governor? I mean…they did defeat Agasura King Asmodeus. I’m not that strong yet.”
    Peorth stopped folding clothes and walked over to him. She gently draped her arms around his neck and rested her head against his.
    “TJ, you must have courage,” She gently whispered into his ear. “If you do not believe in yourself, go forward knowing that I do, and though I will not be with you in person, I will be with you in spirit.”
    He nodded as his eyes wandered to her smiling face in the mirror.
    “This is a challenge that you will not fail to overcome. I can assure you of this. Go forward as the Abellan and as TJ, and be the pillar of support that Amata requires in her time of need, so that you may assist her in overcoming this ordeal.”
    He clenched both his fists as a fire was lit in his eyes.
    “I will Chief. I’ll make sure Amata clears this trial!”

    With his things slung over his shoulder and his warp crystal in hand and at the ready, he stood at the door to his Belos home.
    “TJ, I have prepared some snacks for you and Amata to share on your way. It is quite a long journey, so I would highly recommend that you take a break once you reach the outskirts of Orca Beach. I have also attached the hat to your pack so that you might wear it to resist the sun’s rays and perhaps channel the strength and courage of your comrade.”
    He nodded to every suggestion she made with a bright smile on his face. She worried a lot for him, and he was thankful for it, but he could not help but think that she reminded him of Yuna. They both took such good care of him, he could not thank either enough.
    “Most of all, be well, and be safe. Should you have need of me at any time, you may contact me through your guild badge or the Heart of Yggdrasil. If you come across any unfamiliar Agasura, be sure to consult your Monster Manual. There may be some entries that could serve to be of use to you.”
    “I’ll be sure to, Chief. Once I get to the cities I’ll contact you!”
    She nodded. “Please do.”
    He looked to his shoes for a moment before he looked to her. She tilted her head quizzically, but her bright blue eyes did not shift from their positions. He took a step forward and wrapped his arms around her in a warm embrace while she looked startled for a moment. When that moment passed, she followed suit with a gentle smile and rosy cheeks.
    “I’ll see you soon Chief. Take care of yourself until then, okay?” He said as he hugged her tightly.
    “I shall. Until we meet again.”
    As the two broke apart, he took a few steps back and in a flash of light vanished as he waved to her, his destination, the City of Elfa.
    She brushed her hair over her shoulder and let out a quiet chuckle.
    “I did tell him to have courage…but his growth surprises even me at times.”

    “What’re you doing with him?” Amata asked as her gaze zeroed in on Alessa.
    “Nothing officer!” She said as she rolled her eyes, placed her hands behind her back and began to whistle.
    “You’re terrible at feigning ignorance Les,” Reina laughed.
    “Don’t you be giving him any trouble alright? I dunno what you’re after, but I’m gonna keep him under my protection, and I’ll need his help in turn, so you better not sneak off somewhere!”
    “Way to rain on my parade Ammy!”
    “Don’t you dare start with that!”
    “Ammy! Ammy!”
    “TJ, a moment?” Reina asked while the sound of the two fighting was drowned out by his curiosity.
    “Hm?” He asked as he turned to her.
    “…May I?”
    “What?”
    Much to his surprise she suddenly approached and placed both of her hands to his face. She gently felt out all of his features, from his chin to his eyes, the shape of his eyebrows and his hairline and ears.
    “…I see…” She said as she smiled gently, with flushed cheeks. “A beauty like that of milk and honey…without a doubt, something that could only belong to the Abellan.”
    “You really surprised me!” TJ said as he let out a relieved sigh.
    She laughed at the comment. “I get that a lot.”
    Her smile faded as she turned away and seemed to raise her head to the sky.
    “What’s wrong?” TJ asked as he eyed her curiously.
    “I can hear the voices of my guild members. Can you hear it too?”
    Between Alessa teasing Amata and the muddled din from within the Guild Hall, there was not much else TJ could hear.
    “Nope.”
    She smiled. “Well, now’s a good a time as any. Do you want to meet with some of my guild mates who came as bodyguards?”
    “Sure.”
    The two made their way down the walkway where a group of four stood, seeming to be in a heated argument. The closer they got, the easier it became to hear what they were saying, but not quite make sense of it.
    The first one to speak was a young man with semi-long emerald hair and brown eyes. He wore a white t-shirt with unfamiliar characters written upon it. Atop it, he wore a leather coat, blue jeans and black and white sneakers.
    “Got a problem with my methods? Reina put me in charge, so deal with it,” He snarled.
    The second to speak was a young lady with black hair tied in a high ponytail, violet eyes and an angry look. She wore a navy blue zip-up hoodie, tan khakis and black boots.
    “The only reason she put you in charge was because you’re the tank! If she picked any other Temple Knight they’d be in your position too!”
    The third to speak was a mature looking girl with dark blue hair covering both of her eyes. She carried a guitar on her back, wore a violet keyhole sweater and black leggings over white boots. Of the four, she towered over all of them.
    “Now now you two…” She said gently as she tried to calm them down.
    The last one among them was a second young man. He did not seem to have anything to say, but instead rolled his eyes and placed his hands in his pockets. He had long black hair tied in a ponytail and muted grey eyes. He wore an auburn pea coat, black jeans and white and green high-top shoes.
    “These are my guild mates.” Reina said sheepishly as she gestured to them.
    “What? Are you saying I’m not cut out to be a team leader?!” The young man shouted.
    “And if I am?! What’re you gonna do about it?!” The young woman shouted in turn.
    “Now now…” The mature Bard said.
    “The better question is, what wouldn’t I do about it!”
    She grabbed him by the shirt and put her face close to his. “I’d like to see you do it.”
    “These are…my guild mates…” Reina began as her mouth curled into a wry smile.
    “I think they’re gonna fight! We should stop them,” TJ added hurriedly.
    “Watch me.” The young man answered before he pulled her in by her the sweater and kissed her.
    “That the best you got? My mother kisses better than you, you wuss!”
    At this point Reina had her face in her hands as she muttered, “These…are my guild mates…”
    The silent young man turned to the two and opened his eyes slightly. “Well, if it isn’t Reina herself. But who’s that with her? He asked.
    The two stopped kissing and turned to where he was looking.
    “That’s her, isn’t it?”
    “It totally is.”
    Reina approached and the two trouble makers attempted to fix their appearances before she neared.
    “Guys, this is not the time or the place to be fighting amongst yourselves,” She scolded them.
    “S-sorry,” The two answered in unison.
    She sighed as she crossed her arms. “They say first impressions are everything, but you two are off on the wrong foot again. Nonetheless, I’d like to introduce you guys to TJ, the Abellan. Introduce yourselves properly.”
    “T-the Abellan?” The young man scratched the back of his head. “It’s nice to meet you TJ. My name’s Vincent, one of Reina’s Temple Knights, and leader of the guard today. This is my wife Mira.” He gestured to the young lady next to him and she elbowed him.
    “She said introduce yourselves properly, we’re not supposed to use nicknames, doofus!” She cleared her throat and smiled. “I’m Miranda, one of Bastion’s Bards.”
    The young girl standing behind them seemed to perk up after Miranda spoke and smiled. She lifted her bangs from her face revealing a pair of beautiful golden eyes before she beamed. “My name is Pamela. I’m one of the other Bards in Bastion. It’s a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance TJ.
    “Our guild master has been looking forward to meeting you for some time now.”
    The last guy held out a hand and TJ shook it. “Name’s Felix. I’m a Blader. Good to meet you.”
    “Bastion has a lot of interesting people. You guys must have a lot of fun huh?” TJ said with a grin.
    “Fun doesn’t even begin to describe a day with the idiot couple,” Felix muttered as he sighed.
    “You wanna go?!” Miranda hissed and he glared at her in turn.
    “What’re you gonna do? Suffocate me through make-out sessions?”
    “I’m gonna rip that uvula right out of your-”
    “Okay! That’s enough!” Reina said as she stepped between the two.
    “TJ, why don’t you head back to the Guild Hall? I need to have a stern talking-to with my guild mates before they cause a scene.”
    “Sure Reina. See you later!” He said as he waved and walked off.

    As he found himself in Elfa he chuckled at the recent memories he had made. Shortly after Amata approached and waved to him.
    “Hope I didn’t keep you waiting. Let’s get moving,” She told him.
    “Nah, I just got here.” He answered with an affable smile.
    As she approached she seemed to appraise him. “Looks like your hair’s back to normal. I’d say that’s the best way to wear it—it feels really….you.”
    His face brightened at her comment. “Thanks! I couldn’t wear it like this at the summit because of the hat, but the earmu—headphones don’t get in the way.
    “As for the style, I can’t do it myself yet, so the Chief helped me with it.”
    “Oh?” The Governor raised an eyebrow. “You two are like a pair of…girlfr—roommates.”
    “W-we don’t live together, she was just stopping by! Helping me pack and stuff for our trip…” He hid his hands behind his back as he averted his gaze.
    “Well I’m glad you two are getting along. Be sure to keep it that way, alright?”
    As they made their way through Elfa towards the harbour the Abellan took in the sights and reminisced on his past visits. Just a short time ago the two had met here as enemies, and soon to be allies. Now they were on a journey together as friends. He could not help but smile at the thought.
    “You seem awfully glad to be here. There something you want? You’ve been looking around an awful lot.”
    “I do? It’s nothing like that, though!” He answered with a sheepish smile.
    Elfa had been a place of change for him-the penultimate destination to where he would face off with Choen Palm for the first time, and also where he forged a bond with Peorth—a time where he felt accepted, despite being an Agasura. He felt closer to Reina also after the chat they had, and knowing that she too had gone through such an experience, he could not help but think perhaps the bond between himself and his guild master could also grow ever stronger.
    “If you say so.” Where she would typically eye him warily, he instead received an acknowledging gaze.
    Amata pursed her lips for a moment as she seemed to mull over her thoughts.
    “Better I tell you now than later—we’ve got a bit of a trip ahead of us, so you should be ready. It only takes about a day and a half to get to Ves from Elfa if you know the way through the jungle.”
    A jungle? As far as he could recall, he had never been through one such place, and the mention of it excited him somewhat. It had been quite some time since he had been on a real adventure, and exploring unseen places once more would certainly spark a fire within him.
    Of course, he could not forget what they were here to do. His top priority was protecting Amata and ensuring that she saw her trial to completion—a difficult task, but not one that was not beyond his current ability.
    “I’ve been there plenty of times so I know as much as one of the locals,” Amata continued. “If we keep a steady pace we can make it their by nightfall. Breaks included, of course. I’d have to be half-crazed to make you walk that way non-stop.”
    He laughed gently. “You don’t need to worry about me. I’ll match your pace as best as I can.”
    As she climbed down the ropes to the beaches she eyed him with a hint of disbelief. “Has anyone told you that you’re too kind? Honestly…”
    He chuckled. “Yeah it happens sometimes.”
    She chuckled in turn this time. “All in all, I can’t say I hate that side of you.”

    As the two made their way towards Orca Beach TJ took a lasting look at the sword in the ground and removed his hat and tightly held it to his chest.
    “Straw Hat…” He whispered as he knelt down, his eyes focused on the weapon. “So much has changed…but I’m doing well. I hope you are too, wherever you are.
    “And maybe…just maybe we’ll meet again. I’ll be hoping at least!”
    Amata already leapt down and walked off. After a brief period she turned to see him as he rose up and placed the hat back on his head.
    “You coming or what?” She shouted to him.
    “Yeah I’ll be right there!”
    He caught up with her shortly after.
    “You know, I’ve always wondered about that thing. It’s not everyday you just see a weapon laying around like that.
    “…Did you know it’s owner?” She asked.
    “You could say that. Rather…he knew me.”
    Amata closed her eyes as she nodded knowingly. “I won’t pry any further than that.
    “But I do need to commend you…you’re strong. Both you, and Peorth.”
    She looked ahead of her as the two walked on. Their footprints were left in the sand and the sound of the tide as it came in created a peaceful ambience. The Orca Beach crabs began to emerge from the water and made their way on to land as the two continued on a safe distance away.
    “With that knowledge I…” She scratched her cheek gently as her face flushed pink. “I’m glad you came with me today. I know I was the one that said I wanted to take the trial but even I still have some doubts about my own ability. But with you by my side I feel a bit more confident. So…thanks TJ.”
    He beamed at her words. It seemed that he too, could be a pillar of support for someone; it seemed that he, despite being an Agasura, had some redeeming qualities.
    He understood how she felt very well. He had not quite lived up to the title of ‘Abellan’, but little by little he would get there. To see her safely through this trial was just one step towards that destination.
    He hit his chest twice with his fist and grinned. “You can count on me Amata! I’ll definitely protect you!”
    She furrowed her brows before she poked him roughly. “I don’t need you to protect me! Just do…whatever it is you do, okay?”
    They eased up slightly, but they remained knit. “Your moral support will suffice.”
    “You got it.”

    As they moved further down the beach the Abellan noticed it was much more populated than the previous sections by crabs. Unlike those from his memories and those he had seen now, their shells were a deep violet and they had sharper and much more prominent fangs. Their unnaturally large size, however, remained unchanged.
    “This is the first time I’ve seen these crabs.” TJ muttered as he reached into his rucksack and took out the monster manual.
    He flicked through it quickly and found that they were indeed included within the book. It mentioned that they would create foam to release acidic bubbles and harm potential hunters.
    “You’d best be careful with these ones TJ. They’re even more vicious than the normal crabs. They’ll chase us down if we don’t take care of the ones that see us, so let’s cull the numbers a bit.”
    At those words Amata held a hand to the sky and in a torrent of flames her staff appeared in hand. TJ warily drew his guitar as he looked to her.
    “You sure that’s okay?”
    “Definitely. One of the problems for visitors to Orca Beach is the crab infestation.” She grinned. “There’s no shortage of civilians looking to be rid of them, and even more so of chefs that would love to cook them.
    “Ever had crab legs? They’re pretty good.”
    He smiled. “I’d take that over mouth peaches any day.” He answered with a laugh.
    “Mouth peaches huh? I hear those are a delicacy.”
    “You and me both.”
    “Hmm…” She rubbed her chin thoughtfully for a moment. “If we do this right we could cook them. It won’t be a five star meal but it’d be a nice addition in place of eating rations again.”
    He looked with surprise. “What do you have in mind?”
    “I’ll show you.” She raised a hand to the sky and snapped her fingers. “Come, Bharva!”
    “Bharva?! Hold on a second Amata!”
    “What?” She said as she turned to him. A small series of flames appeared over her shoulder and as they burnt out, a small dragon became visible and coiled around her neck, from one shoulder to the other.
    TJ got a closer look and she cocked an eyebrow.
    “That’s…Bharva? He’s so small! He looks kinda like a newt actually!”
    The tiny dragon spewed a tiny puff of flames and TJ backed away with a fright.
    “Hey, hey! Don’t be giving TJ any attitude you hear?” She said as she glared at her spirit. “It was a little insulting yeah, but you’re a big boy aren’t you? Deal with it.”
    “I didn’t know you could summon such a small version of him,” The Abellan remarked.
    “He comes in three sizes actually. You’ve only seen him at his largest so I don’t blame you for not knowing. This was what he looked like when I first summoned him.” The Governor said as she pointed to the dragon with her thumb. “Took years to raise him to what you saw the first time we met.
    “But anyway, at this size he doesn’t draw much attention and he’ll be perfect for breaking those legs off.” The dragon turned to her and she looked at him in the corner of her eye. “It’s not like we’re going to eat them all. You’ll get a fair share too.”
    TJ laughed gently at the two. She thought he was amazing for being able to read Agasuric, but she could communicate with a dragon.
    She looked back to TJ and crossed her arms. “A bit off topic but…where’s Su? I expected her to come out and say something rude by now.”
    “You think I’m gonna waste my time and energy helping you clowns get crab legs? Fuck no,” Su hissed from within the gem.
    TJ placed his hands to cover his glowing gem while he averted his gaze to hide his embarrassed expression. Su was putting that ability she had learned to good use. She was never one to waste time, after all.
    Amata’s face seemed to fall slack. “Why am I not surprised?”
    Bharva closed his eyes and Amata glared at him.
    “What did he say?” TJ asked with a quizzical expression.
    “’We’re in agreement on that matter.’ You cheeky little shit!” She pressed her thumb to his face. “If you don’t want any, it’s your loss! More for us!”
    At those words he leapt down from her shoulder and went on ahead.
    “Yeah that’s what I thought!”
    She turned back to TJ and gestured for him to follow. “Well? Let’s get to work!”
    “What should I do?” He asked as he ran after her.
    “Hit things with your guitar like you always do! Just try not to break the legs okay?”
    He chuckled gently as he watched Amata and her dragon approach a couple and moved in unison to strike one of the two down.
    Perhaps it was a tad early, but now was as good a time as any for him to get warmed up. He began to strum his guitar to the memory of songs he had learned in the past. One to make his allies stronger, one to make them tougher, and a note to increase their stamina. He felt there was more, but at this point in time he had not acquired enough memories to perform them. In time however, he would.
    As he had finished playing he caught a glimpse of Bharva blowing fire into the eyes of one of the crabs before Amata smashed the shell with her staff. The dragon bit off the legs and Amata collected them before waving them at TJ.
    “Come on slowpoke!” She shouted with a grin. “In my house, those who don’t work don’t eat!”
    He laughed once more. “I’ll be eating like a king tonight then won’t I? There’s nobody who’s better at hitting things with their weapon than me!”

    How long had Aurelius spent trying to find those two within the massive laboratory? He had half a mind to call it quits and go home but he had need of their services, and first-hand knowledge to share with them. As he entered through another pair of doors he found a pair of scientists who seemed to be studying a strange creature swimming around in a massive chamber.
    “Excuse me gentlemen, but could one of you tell me where Dr. Truong is currently?”
    “I had heard he was doing some tests on his ‘magnum opus’ over in the training chamber.” One of the two answered.
    The other eyed him with a keen curiosity—it was nothing new to him, but rather unwarranted if he did say so himself. Nevertheless, Humans would be Humans, and they had served their purpose.
    He checked the nearest map and drew a line from his current location to where he wanted to be. It appeared he would need to go down two flights of stairs and follow a corridor to one of the far sides of the facility.
    He made his way down the hall and passed a myriad of familiar unfamiliar sights. Massive tubes with experimental creatures, giant silos containing both solid and liquid foods for the creatures, and at times even the very liquids they thrived in. The whirr of machines, the sound of pens on paper, footsteps as scientists made their way through the facility and many other things that once seemed unusual had become commonplace to him.
    After all, to achieve one’s goals they need to engage the appropriate channels. This was but one stepping stone on his path to becoming a ruler.
    He traversed the stairwells and made his way further into the basement, passing by a few other workers as he did. The sounds of drills, jackhammers and a variety of other power tools drew his attention as he entered the corridor and followed the coloured path to his destination. The faded yellow lights that lit his path were rather unsettling, but the area they were within was still under construction. To expect a completed product would be a fool’s errand, so he did not think much of it, but to use one of the facilities in the area seemed to be even more so.
    As he approached a pair of massive steel doors lined with yellow and black stripes, he stopped before them. The moment that he did, the sound of gears turning and steam being released sounded through the area, and the two doors like a massive jagged maw came apart and offered him access.
    He stepped into the room--the walls a square grid-like pattern and dyed a blinding blue, almost silver colour; however, the room itself was dark to allow onlookers to focus on other, more important factors at work. A series of machines sat side by side, each making a variety of sounds from whirrs to clicks, and one of them rapidly printing a long stream of paper. There were a series of tables set about before a glass window—among the seats Choen Palm watched with boredom while Dr. Truong watched his creation flitting about within. All the while, the sound of his pen rapidly making notes during that period of time joined in the cacophony of sound.
    The Heartbreaker took notice of Aurelius’ presence and watched him from the corner of her eye. “So you have come, Cerebian. For what reason?” She asked.
    Could she get any more friendly?
    “I’ve come with some new developments that I feel should be shared with you and the Doctor.” Aurelius said as he crossed his arms.
    She cocked an eyebrow at his statement. “Well? Out with it.”
    “As I had said, with you and the Doctor, but he seems rather preoccupied at the moment. At that, I’d rather not needlessly explain what I have discovered twice.”
    She sighed. “Useless.”
    Aurelius almost smiled wryly but managed a straight face nonetheless.
    He was not a man who enjoyed wasting time needlessly, so he figured it would be in his best intention to find out when Truong would finish his tests.
    Though if Mk. II would be ready for combat anytime in the near future, that would do him a world of good. Going by the fact he had met the Abellan and his comrades at the Summit, leaving aside Choen Palm’s sour mood, she had undoubtedly failed to kill him. If Mk. II was all that Truong made her out to be, perhaps she could outdo Choen Palm, Heart of Yggdrasil or not.
    “Doctor, a moment?” Aurelius asked as he approached.
    “You have my attention.” He answered without taking his eyes off of his work.
    This was proving to be much more difficult than it needed to be.
    “How long will these tests you are performing take? I have some valuable information to share.”
    “As long as they need to, Aurelius.”
    The Cerebian opened his mouth to object, but opted out for saying nothing.
    He looked into the chamber and saw Mk. II and one of Truong’s other strange creatures. Within there were a series of formations as if they were shaped like land itself-hills, trees, rocks and other such things. All of them were a solid white colour, and the way Mk. II moved using them was proof that they were not just a projection.
    The creature she fought against was some kind of two-headed, four-legged beast. It had a rather large torso but short legs and no tail. There were two bloodthirsty crimson eyes and a jagged mouth on each head with a pair of gnarled horns to match.
    Alike to Choen Palm’s transformation, Mk. II had changed the shape of one of her hands into a maw and used it to clamp down on the horn of the beast as it charged at her. With her other hand she held back the creature’s open mouth and slowly forced it back. When she managed to get it a fair distance away from her, she dragged one of the heads by the horn and turned on the ball of her heel to kick the other’s mouth closed and launch it into a nearby tree. Following that she chased after it, skidded towards it and knocked it into the air as she somersaulted backwards. It hit a branch and fell back down only to be met with a shoulder check that shattered the tree as it was forced against it.
    The tree’s trunk broke into pieces and as it fell to the ground, became what seemed to be some sort of liquid that dispersed and entered some of the nearby vents.
    “That…what on earth was that? Slime?” Aurelius asked with disbelief.
    “It is a substance I had created to allow for me to create landforms within the chamber. By heating it to disperse it, assembling it, and cooling it, it takes shape.
    “Though you cannot see it the chamber does use projections and weather patterns to allow me to test differing climates and how Mk. II would fare under them. Since the laboratory is built with this concept in mind, she can freely move about within. However, the time spent outside of it can cause physical and mental distortions.”
    Aurelius blinked slowly as he took it in. It would explain why he saw Choen Palm here so frequently. If she was not affected by this, she would likely have went for another round against the Abellan.
    “And that creature?”
    “…A failure.”
    If that was what he considered a failure, what warranted success? Truong considered it nothing more than fodder for his stronger beasts! With that thought in mind, how exactly did he feel about Choen Palm?
    As he mulled the thought over for a few more moments he decided to disregard the idea. It seemed like they were on bad terms as is, so he saw it better not to get involved.
    He turned his eyes back to the battle as it unfolded and saw the beast rapidly lunging at Mk. II with vicious bites and thrusts of its horns as it did. She leapt back to avoid each and every attack, but had very little time before she found herself between it and one of the rock formations. She glanced back and caught a glimpse of it, then turned around to see the creature approach her once more. It slowed down to a walk, snarled for a couple moments and lunged once more with both heads. Mk. II leapt back towards the rock and used it as a jumping point to flip over and face it in mid-air. One of her feet transformed to a spear and when she descended upon it she forced it into the creature’s torso. As it’s legs quivered under the pain she used her foot to bring it down to the ground and transformed one of her hands into a giant fist. When the creature struggled to get to its feet she brought her fist down upon it and crushed both heads under the weight of it. The remnants of its heads turned to a black slime and the rest of the body soon followed suit.
    Truong took a small mic attached to the desk before him and cleared his throat before he pressed a button. “The simulation is over, Mk. II. Your time is 07:47:89. You have improved, but there is room for further improvement. You may return now.” He told her before he flicked the mic off.
    She turned to him and nodded solemnly before she made her way to a nearby exit.
    Truong scribbled a few more notes down on the paper upon his clipboard and flipped the paper over before he turned to Aurelius.
    “My work here is done for the time being. Let us discuss what information you have brought us.”
    At those words he went over to the desk and sat a couple chairs away from Choen Palm.
    “No tea to accompany this discussion?” Aurelius asked as he looked on in disbelief.
    “This is a laboratory, not a café.”
    He was regretting his decision every moment that passed since.

    “Would it bother you any if I requested a look at those?” Aurelius asked as he pointed to the clipboard.
    Dr. Truong cocked an eyebrow but relented nonetheless. “Do as you wish,” He answered.
    The Cerebian received it and scanned the papers for any interesting information—none of it would do him any particular good, but it would sate his curiosity. Much to his dismay however, he could hardly read any of Truong’s handwriting.
    “So? Have you finished wasting my time? You had something worthwhile to say, did you not?” Choen Palm asked as she lowered the hand her chin rested on and eyed him impatiently.
    “That is correct, my lady.” He answered as he put the papers back and handed the clipboard over.
    Aurelius cleared his throat. “I had recently attended the Cerebian summi-”
    “I care not for your settings, Cerebian. Whatever information you learned, speak it.”
    She was even more agitated than usual. What a pleasant surprise. Nothing for it, then.
    “There is a very high possibility that the Abellan and co. will be coming to the City of Iron,” He began.
    “Oh?” Truong asked as he intertwined his fingers. “For what reason?”
    “They require a machine that could bring the stone that allowed the brothers and sisters of Xenadia to traverse the ocean. There’s no better place to find such a machine, but here.
    “To that end, they’re working with the pair from a machinery workshop by the name of Zosia and Rufus.”
    “Then our course of action is simple, no? We find these Cerebians and do away with them, putting their plan to a grinding halt.” Choen Palm said as her lips curled into a devilish smirk.
    “Those two are not our greatest concern,” Aurelius hastily added. “It is the Master Meister Berkhart. She is one of the few people who could build the machine. Alas, I’ve little interest in her life, but killing her may be unnecessary. What we need is the removal of the Abellan.”
    “I am in agreement with Aurelius. If we were to do away with either of them, it would defeat the Cerebians’ purpose of coming to us,” Truong said.
    Choen Palm clicked her tongue at his words.
    “Their arrival here would be advantageous to us. Such a suffocating atmosphere will weaken the Abellan, and preparation ahead of time will allow for us to turn the tides on them.”
    “So be it,” She muttered. “Then I shall go and do away with them.”
    “I would not recommend such an action, Choen Palm.”
    She grit her teeth and glared at him, her violet eyes bore through his unflinching expression. “And why would you say that?”
    “Within your body remains an influx of divine mana from your last battle and it is currently upsetting your body’s biorhythms. That matter aside, though your body may have recovered on the outside, there are still weaknesses within that need further time to recover, alongside your mana due to that very fact.”
    “What is this ridiculous recovery duration?!”
    “I had warned you of the consequences of using such a powerful gem. The capacity for mana is expanded, but the time it takes to recover it is increased exponentially. Your body has surpassed it’s limits also, but the trade off is the same.”
    “What would you suggest we do than, Doctor?” Aurelius asked as he knit his eyebrows.
    “I will take Mk. II and head them off myself.”
    “You…?” The aristocrat looked on in disbelief.
    The doctor likely had one or two tricks up his sleeve. Without a doubt, if the presentation he had just seen was any indication, Mk. II could handle herself in a battle. Though Truong described it as a ‘simulation’ that creature was as real as any other within the laboratory.
    At that moment Mk. II stepped out of the chamber through a pair of silver double doors. She wore a lab coat and was dressed as she usually was, however she held a towel to her hair and steam arose from her body. Did that mean there was a shower inside of there also?
    “Yes. I have a plan in mind.” Truong said as he smiled. “Of course, we may not outright kill them successfully during this endeavour, but I would like to use it as a training exercise for Mk. II.”
    “I would say that is less…live training and more along the lines of a field battle.”
    “True, but there is a much greater outcome I would have in mind.”
    “That being…?” Choen Palm asked as she placed a hand to her chin and leaned on it once more.
    “To see her transformation to completion.”
    Aurelius looked to her, looked to him, then back to her and finally, once more to him.
    “Did you not say that Agasura who can obtain and maintain a humanoid shape are the most dangerous of them all? If so, she looks rather complete to me,” The aristocrat said as he crossed his arms.
    “Indeed.” The doctor intertwined his fingers. “But that, she is not. There is an emotional attachment that she has, that despite my best efforts I cannot remove, and it hinders her progress. On multiple occasions I have attempted to lure it out and eliminate it, but to no avail.
    “However! I am thankful for this.”
    Aurelius gave him a questioning look.
    “In order to do away with that attachment and give Mk. II the drive to complete her transformation, I would have her do it with her own hands.”
    “And this attachment is what?”
    “Her elder sibling. A young man we neglected to capture, and who has gone on to become a thorn in our side.”
    The aristocrat found it hard to believe that Mk. II had emotions at all, considering how expressionless and silent she was all the time. He found it even more incredible that one man was giving them such a hard time, but he was not likely the first, considering that the Usurper also escaped Choen Palm’s grasp. He was beginning to have some doubts about the capability of the people he sided with.
    Perhaps it would be best if he suggested a formidable plan of his own?
    “Theoretically, should they successfully have this vessel built, allow me a suggestion.”
    “I am listening.”
    “You could create something that could do away with them while they’re at sea, can you not? Consider this: The God’s Governors of Fire and Earth are both at their weakest at sea, and the God’s Governor of Wind would pose little threat—not that he is one concurrently, mind. Should their sea vessel be destroyed, the chances of them escaping with their lives is highly unlikely.”
    Choen Palm smiled devilishly. “You do realize this poses a threat to your precious Cerebian’s life, do you not?” She asked.
    “I am well aware.” Aurelius answered as he closed his eyes. “However, I assume it safe to say that they would not put her in such danger in the first place. The God’s Governor of Earth and the Abellan, however, are bound. Where one is, so is the other. To take them down at sea would be a simple victory.”
    “The Governor of Water may pose a threat, but she will be separated from the others as she will be diving to locate the stone.”
    Dr. Truong rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he mulled the idea over briefly.
    “I think you may have something, Aurelius.
    “Come. There is an experiment I would like to show you.”
    At those words Truong rose and walked past Choen Palm and through the doors with Mk. II following closely behind. Shortly after, the Heartbreaker got up and followed and so Aurelius did also.
    As they walked up the flight of stairs to the first basement floor, Truong explained his response to the concept.
    “Following the last battle Choen Palm took part in, I had ran some tests to see if I could recreate an effect similar to the spell the Abellan had used known as ‘Zealous Creature.’ If the actions that the God’s Governor of Earth used were any indication, it was an incantation from our realm, likely that which was shared with her by the Usurper. Of course, I could not replicate the runes or the means in which to give them form, but the effects of it are not beyond my realm of knowledge. It had taken a couple of attempts, but beyond the shadow of a doubt we’ve come this far already.”
    He held his key card to the door before them and the silver doors slid open. They stepped inside to a dark room where the only light came from a tank that took up most of the room. Within, a fish that looked large enough to swallow a grown man whole swam back and forth. Its body was a solid black with purple splotches and veins across it, its head a deep violet and massive fins and a tail to allow it to wade through the water effortlessly.
    However, it was not just the size that made it so impressive. It was the fact that Aurelius had seen it before—at the time it could barely take up a goldfish bowl, but it had become some sort of terrifying monstrosity, and its appearance had been changing over that period also.
    Truong placed a hand to the glass and grinned.
    “We have time—plenty of it, at that. And as the Cerebians make their efforts to reclaim that relic, my experiments will grow ever stronger. Be it on land or at sea, we will be ready for them, of that I assure you. Little will they know they’ll be walking right into our trap, and their Governor of Water will be the first victim to this creation.”

    “Crab legs crab legs…” Amata sang as she placed the crab legs they had gathered into a pot of boiling water.
    “How are things on your end TJ?” She looked over her shoulder to the Abellan as he hauled a wooden log for the two to sit on.
    “No problem!” He grunted as he pulled it over to where she was crouched down.
    He laid it down and let out a sigh of relief. “That should do it.”
    The God’s Governor grinned at him as she took a seat. “You’re stronger than you look TJ. And people say Bards are weak…”
    He placed a hand to a curled arm and grinned back at her. “I’m no ordinary Bard!”
    She let out a light chuckle. “You could say that again.”
    The two had moved a short way off the coast of Orca Beach and settled down amidst the lush vegetation of the Jungle. As one would expect, tall palm tress and a variety of other types littered the entirety of the area. It was a myriad of greens as far as the eye could see—tall bushes, fruits, and colourful flora and fauna. The squawks of tropical birds and other animal calls added to the wild ambience of the surrounding area.
    TJ brought his rucksack over to the log and rummaged through it for a couple of moments.
    “What’re you looking for TJ?” Amata asked as she raised an eyebrow.
    “The Chief said she packed a lunch in here somewhere for us to share. Oh! Found it!”
    The Governor looked surprised. “How are you two—are you sure you didn’t get married and forget?”
    He fumbled the box and managed to catch it. “N-no…we’re not married…” He said as he placed it down carefully. “I mean, we haven’t been married. You have to be engaged before you get married right? That aside, she’s already engaged.”
    Amata sat up straight as she locked eyes on him with a sharpened gaze. “She’s what?”
    “Engaged.”
    “To who?”
    “Aurelius R…Ro-something. That guy from the weaving guild Atropos.”
    She placed a hand to her face and turned away as she muttered, “Hold on a sec’. I need a moment.” She took a long breath, exhaled and raised her head to the sky before she looked back to him. “So you’re telling me, Peorth is engaged to that asshole Aurelius?” He nodded in response. “Why?!”
    TJ knit his brows. “I don’t think it was her choice. She said it was her father who wanted that, and he decided it years ago.”
    If his memories were anything to go by, the king had still been around while he was on Asgard. Since Peorth was the last of the royal family, perhaps he had perished during the war.
    That aside, he did not quite understand how marriage worked or for what reason her father would want her to be wed to Aurelius, but she had decided to go through with it once their battle was over.
    The Governor furrowed her brows as she muttered something inaudible. After her anger passed, she let out a sigh and knit her them as she looked to him. “And what about you, TJ? How do you feel about this?”
    “How do I feel?” He tilted his head quizzically. It would probably be best if he gave her an honest answer. Those murky feelings he had when he thought of it then and now were not things he understood, nor could put to words. “Well…the Chief knows what’s best, so if she’s decided on marrying him, then I’ll follow her lead.”
    “Did she?!” He nodded in response and her entire demeanour seemed to have a damper upon it. “TJ…you haven’t ever had your heart broken, have you?”
    He placed a couple hands to the Heart of Yggdrasil as his eyes began to swim. He had not the foggiest that it could break. What would happen if it did?! Would he die? “N-no! Thankfully! Will I die if it does?!”
    She placed both her hands to his cheeks. “I don’t mean a physically broken heart I mean mentally. Though you may actually die if that breaks, that’s beside the point! Judging by your reaction it means you have no idea what that means!
    “I can’t help but wonder if that love Peorth has shown you thus far really has been nothing more than a maternal kind. If so then…well…it may be best if you move on. It won’t be easy but…maybe I can…if I…”
    She shook her head rapidly. “Su! Come out here would you?”
    “What do you want?” She asked from within the gem. Both of their eyes shifted to it.
    “We need to talk. Now.”
    Amata got up and took a couple of steps back as Su manifested before her. She took the Governor of Earth’s hand and made her way deeper into the forest, through some tall brushes.
    “TJ watch the pot! We’ll be right back!” She said as they vanished.
    The sounds of bird squawking again drew his attention and his eyes shifted from the pot to the trees briefly. “O-okay,” He muttered under his breath.

    Amata and Su came to a sudden halt after the Governor of Fire deemed them a safe distance away from the Abellan. Once they did, she turned to her younger companion and glared at her.
    “You knew about this didn’t you? Why haven’t you said anything to him?!” Amata hissed.
    Su glared daggers in turn. “I’m God’s Governor of Earth and his contractee. You think I’ve got time to be playing ‘best girlfriend’ to him? Fuck no! I kill his enemies, I help him master his powers, I don’t let him die and that’s that! That’s all I need to do for him.”
    The Governor of fire grit her teeth as she furiously rubbed her temples. “Are you kidding me?! Peorth probably has her reasons—maybe she doesn’t even know he sees her in that light, but you’re with him all the time! You could take five minutes out of your day once in a while to teach him some things about a Cerebian or a Human’s lifestyle!”
    Su crossed her arms. “So you’re telling me to fill his head with useless shit? Screw that.”
    “You’re impossible, you know that?!”
    “My affairs have nothing to do with you! So why don’t you just keep your nose out of it?”
    “Is that really how you feel?” Amata’s glare slackened slightly, but it seemed to shift from one of anger to subtle disgust. “I’m well aware of what you’ve been through, but that’s no reason to put him through the same things that you have.
    “He may not be yours, and he might not even be as young as he looks to us, but even so, he’s counting on us to learn the ways of our world. He wasn’t born here or on Asgard like us. If you plan on raising your children to be ruthless killing machines, fine! But don’t make the Abellan into one too!”
    She clenched her fist and waved it in her anger. “If you wanna do things with pragmatism, that’s fine! To understand the hearts of those around him will help him to get a better foothold on the Divine Arts. But you should keep in mind he’s a person just like the rest of us! And just like the rest of us, he suffers.” Her gaze sharpened. “For all of us, including you.”
    “I never asked him to. I never asked you to either. I don’t need your concern.”
    Su sighed. “We’ve got more important things to concern ourselves over, if you haven’t noticed. If you wanna get into stupid love affairs and teenage romances, be my guest. Just leave me out of it, and don’t drag him in too deep. We still have duties to fulfill as the God’s Governors, and if he goes soft and can’t kill a Sinner because you think it’s better that he ‘loves’ them to death, we’re gonna have problems.”
    The Governor of Fire clicked her tongue. “You’re starting to sound like a Sinner yourself. Just you watch. Your method of doing things is just going to be a slow burn to an imminent disaster. But I won’t let that happen.”
    “Will you? Then I’ll add you to the list of nuisances. Try and corrupt him, I dare you. I’ll make sure you don’t.”
    At those words Su turned around and began to walk away. As she did so her body faded into a series of spheres and Amata gnashed her teeth.
    “She hasn’t changed at all! That troublesome girl!”

    At the sound of rustling bushes TJ got to his feet and drew his guitar. Was it a bear? It may have been a bear. Were there boxer bears in the Jungle? Or Musclings? He decided he would wait for it to show itself before he decided to fight.
    Amata stepped through them looking exhausted.
    “Amata! Thank God Ah it was just you.” He said as he strung his guitar and let out a sigh of relief.
    She looked to him with a puzzled glance. “What did you expect? A tiger?”
    “Bears!”
    She opened her mouth to refute him but instead burst out into laughter. “Bears? In the jungle?” She began to laugh harder and wiped her tears away. “I dunno where you get those ideas from, but you won’t be finding any of those out here. You won’t be finding the candy kind either, so relax.”
    “But there are tigers, aren’t there?” He asked with a glint in his eye.
    “There are, but you won’t find them two steps into the jungle. You’d need to go beyond Ves before the Agasura and deadly creatures start showing up.
    “So! Let’s dig in shall we? I’d say we worked up a sweat and I’m sure Bharva is getting impatient too.”
    Her dragon had sat down near the pot and occasionally blew fire onto the wood to keep it lit.
    TJ opened the box Peorth had given him and there were a series of sandwiches inside. There were four different sections, each with a different filling.
    TJ picked one up and sniffed it as he closed his eyes. “This scent…salmon!” He said as he took a bite and smiled with delight. “Right on.”
    He held out the box to Amata and smiled. “Here, help yourself.”
    Her eyes shuttered as she smiled slightly. “Don’t mind if I do.” As she took one TJ placed it down and turned his eyes back to the pot. She held the sandwich to her lips as her cheeks flushed. “I’ll look out for you TJ. Promise.”
    “Hm? You say somethin’?” He asked with his cheeks full.
    She grinned at him. “The legs’ll be done soon. It’s first come first serve, so you better get some while you can before Bharva takes them all!”
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Wed May 04, 2016 12:05 pm

    Kill your brother, gain powers:
    If you asked me if I'd kill my brother to gain ultimate power, you'd get a resounding "Oh fuck yes sign me up. Right now." Hell I'd do them both a favour. Jk I love you guys. I also love the idea of ultimate powers. Choices, choices.
    If you see me on the news you'll know why! So let's get down to it!

    Now who wouldn't love a handy travel companion? Which could also be seen as a potential marriage candidate under the right circumstances~I'm looking at YOU Reina. Sooner or later she was gonna get that booty. Innocent is secretly not about her journey and how she did it. Shh!
    Also I was reading USSR earlier today and the hug Peorth did was actually something Alessa did to Meryl. Except it was by no stretch of the imagination cute/romantic. Probably? Jokes aside, one of the things I like about this is that TJ actually didn't get flustered this time. It's proof that he's becoming more accustomed and accepting of any advances that she makes. A sign that there bond is growing stronger, and that he's beginning to see her less as the 'Chief' and more as 'Peorth'. Just according to plan. As for him, he's becoming just a bit more forward with her. It's a small start, but one that will surely move forward as does the story. There will be a certain surprise later on, so before things escalate and de-escalate, let me just say let's all try to keep our heads in the ball park.

    The next part was something I had considered having in chapter 9. The reason I decided against it was because of the way I wanted to end the chapter. Where it left off, ending right where Amata made her declaration was the perfect fit for it. Through it, I was able to end the chapter at such a point that it would allow for me to set up a major focus on what was to come in the next chapter without reducing the tension. If I was to say, for example continue from there and go on right up until the end of the summit, some of the tension from her decision would be diminished and in place of that it would seem almost commonplace amidst all the other potential happenings between then and the end of the chapter. All things considered, such an end would be more fitting for the end of an arc moreso than the start of a new one.
    A part of what Amata says to Alessa is...well it's a double meaning. There are the occasional signs that she's developing a bit of a romantic affinity towards the Abellan. Nothing is more effective for conquering your friends than heartfelt one-on-one talks. Try it at your own peril! Anyway what she meant was that she didn't want Alessa to run off with him and make him her's, and also that she would look after him. And his chastity.
    Anyway, I figured it would only be logical if some of the other guild masters had brought guards of their own as the summit was a pretty important event, and thus we got the return of some favourites from USSR. The team Samson was in charge of, excluding Axle because he's now a part of Yggdrasil, but some of the other kids make their return. Before I get on to that, I'd like to talk about what Reina does. In USSR it was something she did to Samson(I can't tell you how she learned it because it's a light Inno spoiler. Headcanon territory, DWI!)closer to the end. As we all know, it's how she envisions people. The shape and feel of their features along with a helpful friend who can describe colours and other things allows her to draw those conclusions. However, she doesn't do this with everyone--it's typically people she's particularly close to or interested in. On that topic, I had kept the dialogue for it the same as when she did it to Samson--her part, that is. It just felt right being something that hasn't changed over the years and a part of her character I wanted to keep. The reason she could hear her guild members is because a part of her training consisted of relying on her hearing. Being able to discern the sounds she needs to focus on and the noise surrounding it is what allows her to fight effectively and pick up on things others might miss out. Since she also utilizes that in place of her eyesight, it's become less an ordinary part of her life and more a honed skill.
    Back on topic, here we see the return of four characters from USSR. Vincent, Miranda, Pamela and Felix. Again Vincent and Miranda were originally lead by Samson and joined Bastion shortly after it's creation(Not in that particular order, mind). They're a pair of childhood friends who...fought all the time. They got along by not getting along. They didn't date in USSR, but they were pretty close. Somewhere afterwards they wound up married to each other, and to the day, as you can see, STILL don't get along. What does this mean? Angry make out sessions! Angry sex! Angry...make-up sex! Married life. Glorious.
    Pamela originally only had an appearance at the end of the alternate end of USSR. She was one of those 'Guild message' creations before she became a girl in a dragon poe suit. Following that I gave her another appearance in the finalized USSR. She had a growth spurt, so she wound up bigger and uhh...bustier than her comrades. She's also more confident! Less awkward! She doesn't say much and still has her eyes covered by her bangs, but I assure you, she can see. Speaking of, it wasn't until now that I decided her eye colour. Samson never saw them so it remained a mystery...even to me.
    Felix was the odd one of the group, but there's a good reason for this! He was one of the boys Su used to fight with back in Hanamah. A part of Yuta's gang. As you could imagine, he had stayed there up until the fall and was one of the boys that was evacuated by Bastion. It wasn't long before he decided he wanted to become an adventurer and became a part of Reina's ranks, so he makes his return here. Whether the other boys joined or not, I won't say but they're all still somewhere out there. He's a little on the brusque side, but leaving aside the idiot couple he gets along fine with the others.

    I admit, TJ's refreshers on events are probably unnecessary to readers. Reason being, partially, is because it's less for them and more for him. Think of it this way--imagine you went to Disney World as a kid and you hugged Mickey and had a grand old time. When you were older and went with your kids, you came to the realization that inside of that adorable mouse costume is a sweaty man working a 9-5 job and you'd rather not have your kids near him. The essence of my brief rant is based around the idea of a schema. TJ had been to Elfa plenty of times, and what had happened and what the place meant to him differed every time. If he returned again after a negative experience, he may loathe it and vice versa. That aside, memories to him are important because they're what he bases his actions, his decisions and his responses on. Hence why when he often speaks to Peorth he thinks of training. True, she's a bit of a training nut and most of that is what holds sway in TJ's mind about her currently, but that's because he hasn't seen all of her yet. When that does happen, as he changes, his responses towards her will change also. Character development! Keep that in mind going forward and it won't feel as odd seeing some of his responses to certain events.
    Another slight(currently) but important change for him is his developing confidence. The end of Frequency was the start of it, but throughout then and some of Sanc, more often than not he doubted himself and his ability. A major focus of this chapter, even thus far is the sign that he's changing. Some of the characters like Peorth and Amata have taken notice of this, and so their responses toward him change along with it. Even now it's hard to imagine what he'd be like once it does develop further, but I'm hoping that I can make him a believable and likable hero, but still a bit humble. I can't remember how many months I spent agonizing over making a likable anti-hero/hero/villain. With this I can finally put that effort to the test.

    Next part, there's a butt-load of things that I could say about crabs, symbolism and what they have to do with this chapter buuuut nope! At least not yet. INSTEAD, I'm gonna talk about everybody's favourite dragon newt. He's not actually a newt. As Amata said, he comes in 3 sizes. Spirits become more powerful as their summoner grows stronger. So alike to Bharva, Bane started out as a wolf pup until Julius became a stronger God's Governor. However, Julius didn't see Bane to his full growth. If he did well...he wouldn't fit in their doorways. Maybe he did and we just never saw it? But I'm not here to talk about that! More about that much, much later though! Probably during Su's arc. Back on topic, as we all know Amata is a damn good mage. She gained a handle on her powers earlier than the others, so when she was a teenager Bharva reached his second stage--that being, the size he reached in USSR. That Bharva can't fly and he doesn't have the flaming mane he has in Frequency thus making him...safe...for kids. Go figure! As we all know though, Amata is strong, but she lacks mastery. God I could rant about all the little things that points to this indirectly but it's so painfully normal for everyone else I still feel like an amateur in comparison lol. Someday! Somedaaaaaaaaaaay.
    Anyway, the reason she chose that size is because they're not far from the city, and if he was any bigger he'd likely eat the crabs whole. At that size he's just big enough for breaking the legs off. Handy!
    Also there's a super meta joke about TJ. You will not find a more useless mage in fiction. Imagine if Gandalf was like, "You shall not pass!" And went on a man-slaughter spree by...you know, beating people down with his staff. I'd be scared.

    Next up we get more of everyone's favourite aristocrat. Aurelius! Yay! Of course, he's accompanied by a pissy Choen Palm, Truong and the silent number 2. I wanted to create an interesting dynamic for the villains of Frequency. You've heard a bit about the Sinners, so let me talk about this triad.
    Aurelius...well we all know what he's about. He's a little savvy and of the three most likely on the bottom of the food chain. Due to his lack of ability, he can't fight and so more often than not gets shafted because of it. He does, however actually have some useful points to add and puts his mind to work.
    Choen Palm has been around for a time, so there isn't too much to say on her. For the most part, she filled her role as the generic take over the world and uhh...potentially backstab-the-demon-king-and-become-God-Ah's-right-hand villainess I intended her to be. Not bad, has room for improvement, but she's not the big bad so there isn't as much to her. She has her story, however.
    Truong is mostly about his experiments. He doesn't care much for TJ and friends, but he has unsettled beef with Vanir and so he's trying to create an experiment that could bring him down. I can't say too much about them, but should they meet a portion of Vanir's story will unfold. As mentioned before, Vanir and Axle's fates are intertwined, along with the others in the Madelaine's crew. It's one of the arcs I'm looking forward to writing, and one that I'm sure I'm gonna screw up and piss myself off with. Standard fare for me.
    Anyway, as for the chamber don't ask me how I came up with it. It's uhh...weird. In more ways than one. Truth be told, I wanted to create a changing environment to fulfill the duty it served. I thought of having actual flora within it, but I figured that it would be odd because there would be a single environment, and instead multiple chambers would be required to test her. Thus, I came up with that design for the chamber.
    More on that topic! On the outside they don't see the projections, but they are there. The one used at the time was meant to create something akin to a Jungle and such places like those surrounding Ves and Orca Beach. Hence the trees, bushes, etc. There are vents all over the room that heat it assigned by Truong when he works the consoles. These are intended to create a feel for the place--for example, if Mk. II was to pass through a bush, the heat there would be increase to give it the feel as if an object was actually there. The more solid masses are created from the slime substance Truong created for the land masses and bases of things such as the brush.
    As for the 'failure'? It's exactly alike to those from the end of USSR. They weren't the last of them. They were just some of Truong's test subjects, and those he was willing to part with. Vanir should've killed him then and there, but Jiminy didn't agree with that.
    Now his scientist is in another laboratory. Shame, that.
    Moving on! Much to everyone's surprise Aurelius is a mole! There's always a mole. Having him among the main characters was weird...to be honest. It was as weird for them as it was for me to write it, but hopefully it felt more them than me. They do have pretty valid reasons for being wary of him. Peorth was savage af though. She's a character that doesn't get angry enough IMO. Or emotional...for that matter. Or does she?
    Next! Big things! At least in terms of Axle. If you remember waaay earlier on, Axle mentioned(Chapter 1 I believe) that someone was baiting him out and Peorth was like, "Don't take the bait dude. But if you do, make sure I give you the OK first." That's come full circle, finally. Truong had been trying to bait Axle out for a time prior to TJ awakening. And I mean like, before Frequency. They weren't like direct letters of challenge but they were...actually I won't say. I'll let him do that himself when the time comes. All I can say is they're gonna have it out for each other, and it won't be a happy sibling reunion.
    So you're probably wondering, "Why is this important?" Leaving Axle's arc aside, it shows the flip side to remedying Agasuric transformations. When TJ was struggling to fend off Adonis he was saved by the power of friendship. Not literally. Though the intervention of his comrades did play an important part. His attachments to them, the things that keep him grounded are what allowed for Peorth to reach him. Of all of them, she held the greatest sway in his heart, and like Amu said when she glimpsed into his memories, most of those(as we had also seen through TAD and Frequency) contained her within them. She's his lifeline in their world. If someone were to sever that lifeline by taking her life, there wouldn't likely be a return point for him. If he let his Agasuric blood take over, he would completely and permanently lose himself.
    When you flip that over, it's the opposite for someone becoming an Agasura. What stands between MK. II and perfection is Axle, who is Roll's last lifeline and connection to her Humanity(I don't have a term for Cerebian but it's the same concept). Thus, Truong intends to sever that lifeline and give Mk. II that final push. He just hasn't been able to get Axle, and thus Mk. II has improved, but has not been able to surpass the borders of her current skill level.
    The last part is...odd also. Lemme' tell you something good. I'm a man who loves a good RPG. I'm also a man who loves MonHun. I mean really, who doesn't? Used to play that all the time with one of my bros. The literal kind! And also the not literal kind. So how did this come to be? I watched this show that had a short segment about fishing, and it was less likely a fishing trip and more like an epic battle in a storm and I was like, "Wow! Interesting!" So after throwing some ideas around I figured, "Hey, there hasn't been an interesting giant monster battle in Frequency since...Frequency!" So this and that happened and here we are today. If you asked me what my favourite fight was, it was Jhen Moran. Hands down. Giant desert delox? Sold.
    I mean, they won't be carving parts off of it and making armour out of it but that fight will definitely have inspiration drawn from that series.

    Back on topic, I thought Amata singing was the cutest thing in the world. She has a cute side too, she doesn't typically show it though. As for their discussion, the part where she asks if he has had his heart broken(rather when she says, "It won’t be easy but…maybe I can…if I…") is the exact moment she has her heart set on him. Or in other words, the flag was raised! The ships set sail! Agents are go! Thus Amata becomes an official contender. Like said before, love polygons are not to be underestimated, especially when it's between a being of eld, a christmas cake and jailbait. That combination just spells disaster!
    This, naturally leads to her and Su fighting. I mean, they're prone to fight but this just gave them another reason to do it. Surprisingly one would typically think their roles would be reversed, but take into consideration what the two have gone through and you might see why things are the way they are. It also helps how much Amata has changed since she joined them on the PC expedition. Again, her character growth will be quick, but this arc won't be the end of it. There's still more of her we'll see later on.
    I feel kinda bad for him in that respect. Heck, I feel bad for all of them because it's hard to gauge each other's intentions by their actions, so they draw their own conclusions. Though given the scenario, I wouldn't say Amata's decision isn't wrong by any stretch of the imagination. They're in a very tricky situation...and one that will definitely end in heartbreak for somebody. When that'll happen, I can't say, but I can say prepare your hankies while you can.
    After all, heartbreak isn't the only thing that's gonna happen in this novel.

    That's all for this update! There's more, but I won't cover it today. The story will probably continue on the weekend due to a lack of a very vital resource. Until next time!
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Mon May 16, 2016 3:25 pm

    Ch. 10 (Pages 420-430):
    After lunch the two continued their trek through the jungle. TJ found himself glimpsing about more frequently than he had in actual Instance Dungeons.
    He saw a strange humanoid creature hanging from a tree Amata called a sloth. It looked like an Agasura, but she insisted it was not.
    There was a strange bird with incredibly quick wings sticking its beak into a flower. Also, apparently, not an Agasura, but it had the potential to be one. She insisted that the ones in this part of the Jungle were docile. Those in the Ktuka Ruins however, were much bigger and much more aggressive.
    A rather unusually colourful bird landed in the trees above them and as TJ reached for his guitar Amata placed a hand to his arm and shook her head.
    “It’s just a toucan. It’s not gonna attack you.” She said with a grin and chuckle.
    “I’m concerned for both of us,” He answered matter-of-factly.
    After he saw the swelling she got after getting punched out by the boxer bear nothing could be said for sure.
    Her grin widened. “That so? You don’t need to worry so much though. Have you forgotten? I’m not just God’s Governor of Fire for show.”
    She raised a valid point. “That’s fair.”
    The two continued on and he asked about some of the other creatures that he saw briefly make appearances along the way. He saw tropical fruits growing and all sorts of plants he had not seen during his journey across Jienda. To think that he had missed out on such sights the first time he had neared Ves was incredible. But he was glad to finally have the chance to see and experience all that it had to offer.
    As dusk had come to an end and night settled in, they came to a clearing and found a dirt path that lead to one of stone. Within their sights the majestic city of Ves came into view, and much to TJ’s surprise it was even bigger than most of those he was familiar with. Tall towers and buildings with onion domes reached out to the sky, many of them in gold or tan colours. Though it was night, the lights in each of the buildings lit the city and those upon the streets made the path clear.
    The sight of it was reminiscent to that of Chunsik Land—like a fairy tale place hidden away beyond the sight of the everyday man. It was breathtaking to say the least, and TJ was dazzled by all of it.
    “Welcome to Ves. I’d give you a tour but there won’t be much to see since it’s already dark out.
    “Since we’re here now, I’m willing to bet you’re exhausted huh? Me too.” Amata let out a sigh of relief as she cracked her back.
    “It’s been a long journey hasn’t it? Thankfully we made it.” He said with a grin.
    She raised her eyebrows with a smug smile. “What? Didn’t think I’d get you here alive?”
    He gestured that was not the case and she laughed.
    “Now that I think about it, since this is your first time here you probably should save at the Iris Stone. It’ll do you a world of good, in a lot of ways.”
    “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s find somewhere to rest afterwards.”
    The two entered the city and found the streets to be nothing short of deserted. Thankfully, there was no shortage of light coming from the surrounding buildings. As they walked through TJ took in the sights, the colours, everything. The buildings were all very birght and colourful, some had ornate designs like clouds upon them. Palm trees grew within small patches of dirt and grass grew around them. The ground was made up of small brown square tiles, each neatly packed together to create a brick road for travellers to follow.
    They passed by the bank, featuring Jienda’s standard winged parcel symbol, the fancy shop, what looked to be an apothecary judging by the potion sign and a few other common buildings before they arrived at the Iris Stone.
    TJ looked at it with curiosity, fear and longing. He felt a myriad of emotions come and go in the few moments that had passed. He yearned to know what answers lay within, but felt paralyzed by the fear of the unknown. Amata placed a hand to his shoulder and he looked to her.
    “Whatever happens, whatever you see…don’t stress the details. If it’s too hard for you to face alone, you can confide in me. I’ll hear you out.” At those words she tilted her head and offered him a smile.
    He smiled back and nodded. “I’m counting on you, then.” He looked to the stone with renewed resolve and reached out to it.

    “Will you activate the Iris Stone?” It asked him.
    “Yes,” He answered.

    With a blinding flash of light TJ returned to the place where he had met his previous comrades. As it dimmed, he could see it as he remember it, albeit some slight changes. Once again the number of chairs increased, and in some of them he could see some of his comrades. The tan walls became visible, small tables with crimson cloths and tableware rested in sections where there were no chairs, and at the far end was a wall with a blue curtain hanging from it.
    Directly in front of him stood Velvet, exactly as he remembered her but again without the Mr. Bear pin.
    Her eyes were closed but for a few moments. As she opened them, she reached out to him and placed a hand to his face.
    “TJ? Wow! What a place to meet!” She laughed gently.
    He placed a hand to hers and beamed. “Velvet…it’s you! Do you remember when we last met?” He asked.
    “Yeah of course! You look different again too! But that muffler…did you meet with Ardy?”
    He nodded. “We met him after we defeated Gula. You two are the only ones we’ve seen this far, but I’m hoping if we continue to defeat all of the Sinners I can find all of you guys.”
    She grinned. “Aww TJ, you don’t need to find us. After all, our time is already up. But on the other hand, perhaps we can still help you in some way or another. Did what I tell you back then do any good?”
    He blinked. “You didn’t know about it?”
    “Nope! Fill me in on the details.”
    He nodded solemnly. “As you told me, when I used the name Caritas I was able to summon you to help me out. Both you and Ardoss have been a huge help…so…thanks Velvet.”
    Her cheeks flushed as she made a ‘V’ with her fingers. “Glad to help out kiddo!”
    He smiled, but his face turned serious shortly after. “There’s some things I need to ask you though, Velvet.”
    “Oh? Go ahead. Just do it quickly, ‘cause we’re on the clock.”
    He swallowed the statement hard. He was happy to see her, truly. He wanted to spend more time catching up with her, telling her about how Peorth and the others were doing, and just generally chitchatting. But just as it was with the others, it would not be long before she would vanish and he would not see her again. There were pressing questions he had to ask now. Should they meet again, perhaps then he could do all of the things he could not now.
    “That place where you are now—I mean, all things considered time has to be moving forward for you guys right? This hairpin, Ardoss’ scarf, your memories of me…” He touched each article in succession. “But what I need to know is where you are. If what Reina said is true, does that mean you’re all beyond the gate?”
    “The gate?” She asked as she tilted her head quizzically. She rubbed her chin thoughtfully for a moment, placed a fist into an open palm and grinned. “Oh the one you came out of! Truth be told, I’ve not the foggiest. Unless you come from the land of dead people. I mean it, there are a lot of dead guys, including us. All of them are Einherjars. We’ve just been hanging out and stuff, so we’re all waiting for something to happen. It’s suuuuuper pretty though!”
    Ragnarok. The fact that they were all there and waiting was a sign of ill omens. If he succeeded in defeating Asmodeus, perhaps it would not come to be. It raised the question of what would happen to the Einherjars should he do so. Should he fail however…
    He shook off the thought. “I see. Thanks.
    “I’ve got one more question. The massacre at the City of Iron…what happened then?”
    Velvet looked surprised, which quickly shifted to her nodding knowingly with a somber smile. “Well, to cut a long story short during the escape from Asgard…had been attacked and had her eardrums damaged beyond repair.” Even now, he could not hear their names over the Sound of Frequency, but it had grown weaker and he heard something ever so vaguely. Though he did not know her name, he remembered her face—the girl with the cat ears, the one who said she would fight for Peorth in her mortal life and that which came after. “Peorth caught word that there was a doctor in the Big Apple who specialized in all sorts of surgery, and she had made an appointment with him. He was the one that gave her those cat ears, and since she had them she could hear again. Prior to that, we all spoke using sign language.”
    TJ nodded. He did not know what sign language was, but by Velvet’s description he could understand the use of it.
    “We did go for that purpose, but the little princess insisted that we use it as an opportunity to kick back. Put simply, vacation!
    “During it, however, she received a suspicious letter that had a picture of one of the members of the Artimen Clan, Isidro. She was acquainted with him, and there was no doubt that we’d go to his side to rescue him. We went in knowing that it was a trap…and well, I’m sure you know how the story goes from there.
    “Still, we all promised each other that if it were a trap, that we would have Kooh do what she had to do. We were Peorth’s Keruz, but we weren’t God’s Governors. So long as the three of you, at the very least escaped with your lives, that would be good enough.” She smiled gently, not because she was happy or sad, but to ease the pain in TJ’s heart at her words. “Whatever secrets we kept, whatever uses they could make for us, alive or dead, would be washed away. It was a decision we made to protect you guys…to protect the Cerebians. With that, a sliver of hope still remained. And the fact that you’re here now…talking to me now means…that hope’s...not lost…”
    Her smile grew slightly but round tears began to form in her eyes. “Eh? What’s this? I shouldn’t be getting so emotional!”
    “Velvet…” TJ muttered. In the following seconds her image began to distort and the world started fading away.
    “Don’t look so sad TJ. As Peorth’s Keruz, we had sworn ourselves to her in life and death, and if anything was to put her in danger we would sacrifice everything to ensure her safety.
    “Also…though it was a goodbye…I had a lot of fun during that vacation…”

    The dream faded away and TJ found himself back in Ves. He clenched a fist to his chest and closed his eyes. After all that time he began to understand how things came to be. Someone had used Isidro as bait to bring him and his comrades to the City of Iron, and likely killed him, too. A few years had passed, but TJ promised himself that with all his might, he would find that person and bring them to justice.
    The Iris visual appeared before him and he looked on and listened to what she had to say.
    “This is the City of Ves. Just beyond here lies the Ktuka Ruins, and within it the Heart of Ktuka and Cold Heart. Places housing Coa and the Ocean King respectively.”
    She clasped her hands together. “For us to proceed in our journey, we need to meet with the Ocean King and receive his blessing. I have a feeling that the answers we seek may be sleeping within the sunken city.
    “Save here for future adventures?”
    “Yes,” TJ answered.

    In a second flash of light another of his memories dawned upon him, and through it he found himself in an unknown location. There were tiny star-like lights as far as the eye could see, but no ground to speak of. From where TJ was, he looked down upon an adventurer and her party. As he got a closer look, he came to the realization that it was in fact, Iris and the remaining members that stayed with her.
    Among their ranks were indeed Sir Levi, dressed from head-to-toe in the armour he was renown for, and a incapacitated Muwen and Zoe were also.
    There were some people TJ was not familiar with—a young man with bronzed skin and dreadlocks who wore solid black pants, a white shirt, black necklace and matching armband.
    Another had red hair wore a pink shirt, black pants and yellow sneakers. He wore a green armband and a crimson necklace, while also wearing a maroon bandana covering most of his hair.
    As for TJ himself, he seemed to be some sort of…creature. One consisting of a dark shroud or miasma, he could not tell, but the features of it were no less Agasuric. The left arm was covered in crimson runic markings, and though the right lacked them, the two were still massive enough to crush her. In the center of it was a small open sphere between what seemed a machine—a core, of sorts. In the heart of it was the Heart of Yggdrasil, and lightning crackled about from it causing both halves to levitate, the two held together by chains. The top half had a more Agasuric appearance, horns, dark crimson eyes and in the torso one giant eye. The bottom, however had a series of multi-coloured cords that trailed away from the battle.
    Did that…mean it was a machine? If it was a machine, it had meant that a Human had made it, and the fact TJ could see from it, and knew the Heart of Yggdrasil was a part of it…could only mean that he was a part of it.
    Iris staggered to her feet, but she refused to give up. Battered and bloody, she looked as if she could hardly remain on her feet, but the fire in her eyes insisted that she would do everything to win.
    “I will end this now!” She shouted as she reached into her quiver and drew her final arrow.
    “Fool!” The Shroud snarled. “Destroy me, and you will all be swallowed by oblivion!”
    “I will protect my friends!” She held her hand out before her and a magic circle manifested. She held the bow out and a series of beams fired forth from the circle and pierced the shroud. “For all those who believe in me, for those who may not, and for Jienda!” She nocked the arrow and at the tip of it, a small flaming sphere took form before she finally let it loose. It left a single crimson trail in its wake and shot through the Shroud—a few moments later it exploded and the Shroud began to crumble to pieces as he let out an agonizing cry. Within it, TJ could hear his own voice overlapping with it.
    Iris collapsed to her knees, dropped her bow and panted desperately.
    “Iris…” Muwen muttered as he struggled to raise his head.
    “It’s okay now. We’ve done it everyone…it’s over.”
    “But…you…” Sir Levi uttered.
    The tips of her fingers slowly disintegrated into a series of tiny sparkles and little by little the rest of her body began to vanish as she smiled for them.
    “It was my decision to make this sacrifice…but even so, I will still be with you all.”
    TJ’s vision began to become completely white, and the sight and sound of Iris faded away along with it, save for her final words.
    “I will be with you too, TJ, through the locket. Please…always hold it close to your heart.”

    A fisherman sat in his boat and silently watched for a bite before he caught a glimpse of a naked child floating through Cherry Lake. He got up in a panic, looked around for where he may have fallen from, and immediately began rowing his boat over to him. He picked up the child and immediately made his way back to Aoich.
    When TJ awoke, he found his allies of the past all gathered around him, smiling, waving and greeting him. In the center of them stood Peorth, who looked on with flushed cheeks, her hands clasped together and her head bowed.
    “Thank God Ah…we have finally found you…TJ.” She whispered as she opened her eyes and smiled for him.

    The sound of the Frequency brought him back to the present and he collapsed to his knees. He looked at his hands as they both trembled, his entire body followed, and he tightly held himself as he sobbed.
    “I-I’m sorry…I’m so sorry…!” He repeated those words over and over.
    The thoughts of the Demon King, of his being merged with it, and the truth in the rumour that he had killed Iris. In those final moments as he heard her last words…the truth he sought out came to light.
    “T-TJ?! What’s wrong?!” Amata knelt down and placed her hands to his shoulders. “I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me! What’re you apologizing for?!”
    She took him in her arms and held him close. “Oh whatever. Just…just let it all out. Whatever it is, whatever happened, just let it out.
    “Abellan or not, it’s alright to cry. I’m here for you.”
    After a brief while his tears finally stopped and he wiped his puffy eyes. The pain still lingered, but he did feel a bit better. Perhaps not at this very moment he would speak of it, but soon. Perhaps she could give him some direction following that discovery.
    “Sorry…about that. I’m okay now.” He said as he offered her a weak smile.
    “You sure? No need to put on a tough guy act for me, you know. I just watched you cry your eyes out for a good five minutes so I’d say I earned that much.” She answered with a slight grin.
    He nodded. “It’s true. I’m okay.”
    She nodded with acknowledgement. “If you say so. It’s late already, so I’ll just take you back to my guild HQ. I’m sure they’ll make an exception for letting you in since you’re the Abellan and all.”
    “What’s a guild-” Before he could finish his sentence a rock collided with his left eye and he lurched forward to place a hand to it.
    “What the-” Amata said as she looked to the fallen object and back to TJ who held his eye as streaks of blood ran down his face. “TJ?! Are you alright?!”
    “I-I’m okay.”
    His gem lit up and an enraged Su emerged from within. Before she could charge at the man who threw it nearby, TJ grabbed hold of her hand and stopped her from going.
    “He’s here!” The man shouted before he dashed down another road and out of their direct sight.
    “It’s fine Su, just let it go.”
    “It’s not fine!” She snarled as she tried to break his grip. “You let one of those assholes get away and they’ll come back with a vengeance!”
    “Well we can’t just kill everything that moves!” Amata retorted as she stood in front of her. Her eyes opened wide as she took two steps toward the Abellan but moments too late.
    A hooded figure appeared behind him, and from within the shadows of it a smirk appeared as TJ remained frozen in place.
    “Game over…” He chuckled as he pulled away from TJ.
    The Abellan staggered and collapsed against the Iris Stone as he grit his teeth and blood ran between each and down his cheeks.
    “Bastard!” Su roared as she hunted him down while he ran.
    “Oh God Ah…TJ no!” Amata rushed to his side and helped him up while Su continued her pursuit.
    When she got close enough she leapt up on to the canopy of a building and jumped from it to wrap her legs around the neck of the hooded figure. She pulled back with all her might and dragged him down before she slammed him into the ground.
    “Who do you work for?! Who sent you?!” She roared as she ripped the hood off of his head and pulled him by the hair.
    He only laughed in response and she slammed his face into the ground twice before she dragged him back up again.
    “You better start talking. If not, I’ll start by breaking your fucking nose. Then I’ll gouge your eyes out and chop that fucking tongue off.”
    “All is going according to plan…for Master Asmodeus…”
    Su grit her teeth and pulled his chestnut hair back further to get a look at his face. His nose was bloody and he winced with pain but smiled nonetheless. What caught her eye was the tattoo on his face. Runic markings that rose up his right cheek and surrounded a symbol around his eye—an ouroroboros.
    “Fanatics…” She muttered under her breath. She slammed his face into the ground once more, kicked him in the ribs and returned to the other two.
    Amata reached out to the knife in TJ’s back and the moment her finger touched it black lightning crackled from it and she pulled away.
    “A cursed weapon? Just who was that guy?!” She hissed.
    “We don’t have time to be asking questions. We need to get him somewhere out of sight.” Su muttered as she scanned the area cautiously.
    “Why? He’s the victim here!”
    “Are you stupid? He had a look-a-like running around in the Pyramids killing stupid adventurers and now everyone thinks he’s a murderer. If someone finds him they’re gonna jail him.”
    Su shook her head and sighed. “Where’s that HQ? Take him there. I’ll scout ahead and take out anyone who’s headed your way.”
    “You killing more people isn’t going to help his case any, you know!” Amata snarled as she glared at their companion.
    “D-don’t kill them…just…knock…out…” TJ uttered as he struggled to his feet with the Governor’s help.
    “Ugh…whatever. Just hurry it up. We don’t have much time.” Su said as she rolled her eyes and ran off.
    Amata looked behind them as she heard the voices of the city’s guard and the beams of flashlights illuminating the street.
    Regardless of where Su was, she could find her way back to the Abellan. She looked to the surrounding buildings and people immediately closed their windows, shut their blinds or turned out the lights. Things were going to get increasingly difficult for her.
    The God’s Governor placed an arm over her shoulder and rose to her full height, bearing a portion of his weight.
    “How are you feeling? Can you walk?”
    He nodded with determination. “I’ll try not to hold you back.”
    She knit her brows. “I don’t wanna hear you speak those words now. Rely on me as much as you have to. Do it even more if you don’t want to. Right now you need someone to be strong for you, not the other way around.”
    The two began to walk and he managed a smile. “Thanks Amata. Lemme’ see if I can patch myself up to ease your burden a bit.”
    He removed the hand from his eye revealing the bloody swelling and placed a hand to his chest. A gentle blue glow took form in his hands for a moment, but as it reached his fingertips it faded and only blue sparks emerged.
    “My magic…did they seal it…?”
    As Amata made her way down a side street with him he closed his eyes. The dagger they had impaled him with was cursed, as Amata had said, and he was seeing the effects of it. Magic sealing, it seemed. There was no excruciating pain that followed an attempt to cast as it was with Divinity Sealing, but given the circumstances all of his magic was likely sealed. The only thing he had at his disposal that could potentially work would be the sins. He did not have the strength to sing and have his companions fight in his stead.
    The most pressing question was, would the need to fight come to pass?

    “You can’t heal yourself either? Would that I could but…” Amata shook her head gently. “Hang tight TJ.”
    The sound of men shouting in pain caught their attentions briefly, but it did not seem to be that of someone in their death throes. The possibility that Su had ran into one of the guards was something they both pondered at the time.
    “Nia is really well versed in artifacts and their effects, and Leif knows about spells and hexes. Hopefully they’ll be there. I’ll request them as soon as possible.”
    “You’re such a hard worker Amata,” He chuckled.
    “You can appreciate me all you like later, so don’t talk now. I don’t want you to die in my arms. Not like this…not here.”
    He smiled for her. Her thoughtfulness was not deserved, but he appreciated it all the same.
    As they neared the end of the side street and found themselves back on one of the main roads, the Governor of Fire leaned out from beside the building to secure the area. She caught a glimpse of a beam of light, but found that it remained pointed in one direction. She craned her neck further and saw an unconscious man in a tan uniform and black shoes. One of Ves’ peacekeepers. There was no sign of blood, so it seemed that Su had knocked him unconscious.
    She let out a gentle sigh as she made her way across the street and into another alleyway. She never thought she would see the day where she was running and hiding like a petty criminal, but she had to keep her priorities in line. To the Cerebians the Abellan was a saviour, and someone to be held in high regard. To the humans he was a demon and an existence that could not be kept on Midgard.
    Perhaps she had been too rash in her argument with the Governor of Earth. She did not know that the two had to go through events like this on a day-to-day basis. If she was to be in Su’s shoes, could she protect him? Could she keep him safe when they arrive at Rayinth’s Temple?
    As she exited it she glimpsed about once more and after taking no more than two steps the sound of footsteps echoing across the pavement drew her attention. Flashes of light illuminated the street she had just entered and she unintentionally swore before she pulled TJ into the nearest alleyway and hit the ground with him collapsing beside her.
    “Sorry about this!” She whispered in a hurried voice as she dragged him with all her might behind a dumpster.
    She stumbled back and fell over, dropping him on his back and causing him to wince as he turned over. She gasped as she noticed the knife went deeper and blood splattered on the ground before her.
    “Gods, damn it! Sorry!”
    He grinned for her as he waved it off.
    The flashes of light narrowed and the two guards stopped just outside of the alleyway to regroup.
    “Have you seen anything?” One of the two asked.
    “Yeah actually. Some of our unit’s been knocked out. Whoever that criminal is, is pretty strong. We should probably regroup and stay within a certain radius. If one of us catches our guy, we can all attack him at once.” The other guard answered, a woman.
    The sound of blood dripping to the ground sounded through the alleyway and the first guard turned his flashlight to the location.
    “Who’s there?!” He shouted.
    Amata placed a hand to her mouth and eyed the area cautiously in case they were visible, and as she had feared she had not pulled the Abellan entirely into cover. One of his boots was just barely visible past the dumpster and the realization filled her with dread.
    “Do you see that?” He asked as he pointed to the item.
    “That dirty old boot? Relax Mhasalkar, it’s just a dumpster. A drop of water or a boot doesn’t make a criminal. But at least you’re on your guard.”
    The light turned away from them and Amata withheld her sigh of relief.
    “Anyway, let’s get moving. If we run into any of the others we should let them know what we found, and get a medic on site as soon as possible.”
    Their footsteps faded into the night and Amata exhaled.
    “That was horrifying. Looks like Su can’t get all of them. I just hope she’s nearby…” She muttered under her breath.
    TJ nodded slightly, but the dazed look in his eyes and the half-baked response she received was a definitive sign that he was not faring well. Be it a Cerebian or the Abellan, too much blood loss could end the same way as it would for a Human.
    She draped his arm over her shoulder and helped him to rise again.
    “We’re not through yet. Don’t you dare think of dying on me you hear?” She placed an arm around his waist and assisted him further, continuing on into the street and south towards the nearest side street.
    If she recalled correctly, they were only about three blocks away from their destination. Thankfully, as large as the guild headquarters was, it was in a fairly domestic area. The chances that the city’s guard would search it were far lower.
    She turned a corner and took refuge beneath a tree’s branches that reached over the steel fence that housed it and managed to stay out of the light for a brief period.
    Much to her surprise the Abellan suddenly jerked and she nearly lost her grip. When she turned she caught a glimpse of his arm outstretched with two fingers pointed forwards. With a single swipe an object flying towards them was deflected and he followed it with a second as he snarled, “Avaritia!”
    With that very action he protected her from being impaled twice.
    The Governor of Fire gasped as she caught sight of another robed figure who lowered his arm. Just who were they and why were they hunting the Abellan? The fact that they wore such outfits was a clear sign they were no ordinary murderers. But even more so than that, could TJ truly continue to defend himself in such a state?
    She looked to him and gasped as she caught a glimpse of the crimson flare in his eyes and the red veins that surged from his arm and through his face.
    He outstretched his arm and clenched a fist before pulling it towards him. The robed figure who was once a fair distance away was dragged towards him in an instant and remained levitating before the two.
    “You have a death wish, don’t you? I should tear you limb from limb and devour you so that your soul will know no peace for all eternity…” He cackled with a devilish grin.
    “TJ, snap out of it,” Amata cried out.
    The sound of an object as it tore through the air drew her attention behind her and from above Su descended and deflected an incoming arrow with her dagger.
    TJ closed his eyes and shook his head at her words before he hurled the fanatic behind him and into a second. When he opened his eyes again they became their usual brown and the veins slowly faded away before he placed his hand to his head.
    “Urrgh…this pain…” As he lowered his hand the gold streak he had once received from Avaritia became visible once more, and a series of other streaks followed in its wake.
    Amata looked on with a puzzled glare before Su scolded her.
    “Quit standing around dumbass! Hurry up and get to that building before more of these assholes come!”
    She closed her mouth and knit her brows. Su was right, and at this time she had no reason to argue, nor to stick around.
    TJ had been severely weakened due to having used his sister’s ability and she needed to put more strength into carrying him. If any more enemies appeared, she would not be able to fight unless she put him down. Much to her dismay, it seemed that they were not just intent on harming him—they had all the intention to kill her, and yet they had not done so with him. Not yet, at least. She could not help but feel there was some method to this madness, but she did not have enough knowledge on the matter to come to a conclusion.
    She turned away from the direction she once followed and headed back the way she came while Su went forward to deal with their assailants. There was another way to the guild hall—however, it would take somewhat longer for them to arrive. As she made her way down the street she saw one of the city’s guards coming down also and she took cover by a set of stone steps. They were just high enough to keep the two out of his sight, and out of the light of the flashlight as he walked past.
    She made her way further and turned on another street, walked towards the next street and turned once more. Their destination was straight ahead. If she continued on they could definitely make it.
    Further and further they walked and in time the building came into view, but as it did another robed figure stood in the way. A wide grin spread across his face as he held out a hand and a dagger slipped out of his robe and into his hand. There was not enough time to summon her weapon, and TJ was far too close for her to cast safely.
    She took a hand away from him and held it out as a flame took form before her. She clenched it in her fist and with a wave of her hand she said, “Heed the words of the contract and arise, Bharva!”
    The dragon’s flames coiled around her as it too, did, but despite the sight of it the robed figure continued on.
    At this point it was her decision…her moment, and in that moment everything could change. Did she have what it took to protect the Abellan? As she hesitated he climbed on to the dragon and made his way towards them before she tightly shut her eyes.
    “Destroy him, Bharva,” She roared.
    At the sound of her command the dragon’s head turned to her and soared towards their attacker. As he caught a glimpse of the incoming dragon he leapt into the air to avoid the initial strike. Bharva coiled around and followed after him, catching him between his fangs. The summoned creature bit into the robed figure before it let out a low roar and a torrent of flames engulfed him.
    Amata placed a fist to her chest as she bit down on her lip. The dragon lowered its head to look to her and she met its gaze with tears in her eyes.
    “Do not shed tears, my master, for you have committed no wrongdoing. It is my sworn duty to eliminate those who should threaten you and your comrades. You did what must be done as well, but the blood of the Human is not on your hands.” He closed his eyes and he began to burn again before fading away. “To do what others cannot or will not…that is the way of the God’s Governor.”
    She sniffled once before she wiped her tears away with her sleeve. Did she not promise herself that she would be strong? Perhaps it was the first time she had to kill a Human, but it would not likely be the last. Even if she accepted that fact, she did not have to like it.
    She grit her teeth and furrowed her brows as she renewed her resolve. She shifted TJ’s weight on to her shoulders and pressed on towards the guild hall.

    Amata opened the door and stepped inside. A young woman in the hall looked to the two before she rose and shifted her glasses to get a better look.
    “Amata? What are you doing here so late? Do you have any idea what’s going on out there?!” She asked.
    TJ looked to her, but he could hardly make out her features. His vision was blurry and dark and their voices were rather muddled, but he felt as if he could still make out their words with some clarity.
    “I know. I just came out of there Uma,” She answered. “I know it’s sudden but we need to take refuge here. TJ’s severely wounded and there are guys out there that are trying to kill him.”
    “T-TJ you say? As in, TJ the Abellan?”
    “Yes, the same one. I know how you guys are about non-guild members but could you please keep this a secret?”
    Uma smiled. “In truth I think everyone would be happy to know you brought him, but let’s save that for later. You said he’s wounded right? Here, take him to one of the guest rooms and lay him down there.” She offered the Governor a key and she took it in hand.
    “One more thing. Can you get Nia and Leif for me?”
    Uma gave her a worried look. “Is it that bad?”
    “It’s that bad.”
    Uma nodded and tapped her guild badge twice as she said, “Nia is away on a mission currently, but I’ll find out when she can return.”
    Amata nodded gravely before she made her way up one of the stairwells at the far left side of the foyer and made her way up to the second floor.
    “Hang in there TJ, you’ll be able to rest soon, I promise.”
    The two made their way down the hall past a series of rooms, some with lights on and others shrouded in darkness. They stopped at a white door emblazoned with gold and the Governor of Fire unlocked it before she took him inside.
    It was dark, however the light from the windows at the far side of the room let the moonlight in. TJ could just barely make out a bed with a canopy, a couple of small bedside tables and a large dresser. There was a two-person couch and a chair in the corner along with a closet.
    Amata eased him onto the bed and let out a sigh of relief.
    “Finally made it…are you holding up okay?”
    He gave her a brief thumbs-up in response before he closed his eyes. She rustled his hair and he looked to her from the corner of his eyes as she pursed her lips.
    “I know you’re exhausted and all but don’t go to sleep now! I don’t want you to die or something…”
    He would laugh if he could, but he had used up everything he had by utilizing the sin. Whatever had come over him after, he did not know. Even so, at that period of time it felt like he had more energy than he did prior. Following it however, he felt twice as exhausted and the searing pain did him no favours either.
    A young man stepped into the room and gazed upon the two.
    “I heard you needed help but this is not what I expected Amata. You shouldn’t be using the guild hall to bring boys home,” He said matter-of-factly.
    “Oh shut up would you? Besides, this is no time for jokes! TJ is seriously wounded! Look!” She pointed to the dagger sticking out of his back.
    The young man got closer and shifted his glasses higher on his face as he examined it from all sides.
    “That’s indeed quite the nasty wound, but…it looks like something you wouldn’t require my assistance over.”
    Amata huffed before she reached out to it and the lightning crackled off of it. A violet glow surrounded the entirety of it and crept from the pommel to the blade, leaving a black shroud around where it had pierced.
    “Oho!”
    “Do you think it’s a corrupted artifact Leif?”
    “This?” He asked as he rubbed his chin. “Not at all. It’s a regular dagger, but someone with an artifact must’ve enchanted it. I’d hazard a guess that it was no ordinary Human—they likely had some Agasuric power to have managed this. Though it seems that even a Human could wield it, up until they impaled the Abellan here.”
    TJ’s gem began to glow and Su emerged before she crossed her arms. Leif gave her a golf clap in response.
    “Well? You done with your speculations or what? He’s bleeding out and you two are having a nice little discussion about it.” She said as she glared at him.
    “How fascinating…a contracted spirit? But I sense a Cerebian presence. An Einherjar perhaps? A living, breathing one at that.” He attempted to touch her and she slapped his hand away.
    “Hands off, bastard.”
    “Better not to get on her bad side.” Amata said as she gestured for the two to calm down. “But she does raise a point. I get that understanding the weapon’s important and all, but we really need to remove it and close that wound.”
    Leif crossed his arms as he nodded. “Well, thankfully the curse placed on this one is simple. Once Nia gets here we could remove it easily, but as you know I don’t have as much magical capability as she does. Attempting curse removal is beyond my capacity alone.”
    “Thank goodness,” Amata sighed with relief.
    “So where’s this Nia anyways?” Su asked as she raised an eyebrow.
    “Right here my darlings.” Nia answered as she stepped into the room. “Oh!” She said as she looked to the Abellan and approached without hesitation. “Oh my…” She touched the dagger and the electricity emitted from it caused her to pull away. “I see.”
    “Nia I-”
    She swept on the balls of her heels and placed a finger to Amata’s lips before she smiled. “You needn’t explain a thing Ammy. We’ll take care of it.”
    She turned once more to face their comrade, while Su watched solemnly. “Leif, it would be best if we did this together. A poorly made curse like this is a greater danger when removing it than it is leaving it as is. If we’re not cautious, the accumulated mana used to create it can escape when the item breaks and corrupt the Abellan.”
    Leif placed his elbow in his hand and used his free hand to shift his glasses once more. “What do you suggest we do Nia?”
    “In this case, we cannot perform a direct removal. It would be best if we removed the item in it’s original form before dispelling the curse. However, if you’re interested in studying it, feel free. Just be sure to contain it within Melidas’ Cube.”
    “I’ll bring it immediately.”
    At those words Leif rushed out of the room and vanished into the hallway. As the sound of his footsteps echoed through the hall Nia laid down on the bed next to TJ she placed a hand to his cheek and stroked his gently with her fingers. They brushed the pink strands away from his eyes and he looked to her in the corner of each.
    “You poor thing. You just arrived in Ves and this is the greeting you received hm? Allow me to apologize for this. We already have some of our members investigating the disturbance, but judging by this dagger the cause is them isn’t it?”
    “Who are they Nia?” Amata asked.
    The guild master sat up and crossed her legs before she placed her hands in her lap.
    “I didn’t think you would get dragged into this so I didn’t mention it, but worshippers of Asmodeus have been cropping up across Jienda. As of yet there haven’t been any signs that they invaded Ves and we’ve had regular patrols around the surrounding area of Mezzalone, but it seems they’ve found their way here.”
    Amata rubbed her temples furiously. “But it doesn’t make sense! How would they know that we were going to Mezzalone?”
    “The question is, when did you decide that you wanted to go on this mission? When did you inform the Abellan of such a decision?”
    Amata pursed her lips guiltily. “It was kinda on a whim…at the summit.”
    “Who’d you tell?” Su asked as she leaned against a wall.
    “It was just TJ!” Her defensive demeanour dampened as she pressed her fingers together. “I mean, Reina and Alessa were there, but it wasn’t like I said it where everyone could hear…”
    Su’s gaze sharpened. “So one of those two is a mole.”
    “Now now Suuba, don’t you think you’re jumping to conclusions?” Nia asked as she smiled.
    She cocked an eyebrow in response. “Do you have a better explanation?”
    “Ammy, are you sure they’re the only ones who knew?”
    Amata placed her fingers to her temples as she mulled it over. “I did mail Mom and Da-” She gasped. “That’s right…I wanted to let Mom and Dad know ahead of time that we were coming to visit! Those assholes must’ve intercepted my letter!”
    “There you have it.” Nia said and Su scoffed with a shrug.
    “I’m back Nia.” Leif said as he stepped into the room.
    Within his hands was a black cube with a sphere in the center that had an ever-changing series of colours.
    “Good. Let’s begin. After some speculation I’ve concluded if we’re to remove this without harming the Abellan or ourselves, we should use the Gauntlets of the Warden. Do you remember the incantation?”
    “It won’t be a problem. I’m ready to begin when you are.” At those words he placed Melidas’ Cube on the dresser and approached her.
    “Good. Let’s.”
    She held out both of her hands and he placed his to them.
    “You are the hands that hold. To you, I beseech that you give me the power to face the darkness with strength, courage and an ever unbending resolve. With this light in hand I shall purge the evil in all its forms! Gauntlets of the Warden!”
    The two chanted the incantation as one, and once they had completed it a powerful surge of wind rushed forth from where they stood as a magic circle took form beneath them. Within the center of it was an armoured knight, his visage partially hidden behind the sword he wielded and held pointing skyward. Light gathered like mist and surrounded their arms before becoming words written all around them. They took form as gauntlets on the arms of each and they nodded to each other.
    Both took one of TJ’s flanks and they reached out to the dagger. As they each gripped the hilt the weapon was bathed in light and they slowly but surely pulled it out. Once it was free of the Abellan the shroud faded and the blood that flowed following the removal emerged. Nia dispelled the prayer and placed her hands to his back to heal him while Leif brought the weapon over to the cube.
    He raised it above it and plunged it within, causing it to emit a bright light before it slowly submerged itself within on it’s own. Leif too, then dispelled the effect of the prayer and picked up the cube.
    “Is there anything else you need me to do Nia?” He asked.
    “No, that will be all. Thank you very much,” She answered.
    He flashed her a grin. “Think nothing of it.”
    “If the rest of you girls need me, I’ll be in my lab. Make sure to wear safety goggles before you step inside.”
    “There’s no way in hell I’m going into that dingy dungeon you call a lab,” Amata remarked coldly.
    He sneered at her and she razzed him as he walked away.
    “Thanks, by the way…”
    At those words he raised a hand as he disappeared around the corner.
    “Well now that all that drama is over…” Su muttered under her breath as she turned into a series of spheres and vanished.
    “You didn’t even find out for sure.” Amata glared at her as she did but did not pursue her any further. Instead she approached Nia. “Will he be alright? Nia?”
    “Of course darling. It’ll take some time but I’m sure he’ll heal quickly.
    “There won’t be any lingering effects from the dagger either—it was a basic curse, used to seal magic in the target. Once removed, the effect will vanish.”
    She took a cloth and wiped away the blood that had as of yet to dry and Amata reached out to her.
    “I can do that Nia.”
    Nia shook her head gently. “I’m sure you could Ammy, but I won’t let you.”
    “W-why not?” She asked as she lowered her hand.
    “You can’t bear to look at the wound, can you? Something happened out there.” She grinned. “You didn’t think you could hide it from me, did you? Leave looking after him to me. Why don’t you wait in the living room for the time being?”
    Amata placed a fist to her chest as her eyes were downcast. “Y-yeah…maybe that’d be for the best.”

    TJ opened his eyes and he managed to pick himself up. There was still a lingering pain in his back, but for the most part the pain had subsided and the bleeding stopped. He touched his back and noticed that both the wet and dry blood had been taken care of, and the bandages he once wore as a binder were replaced with fresh ones.
    He noted that his top had been removed and his hair undone. Someone was even kind enough to lay him down and tuck him in. He got up and noticed his top, headphones and choker rested on the couch and he made his way over to reclaim them.
    As he attempted to slip into the top the moment it touched his wound he winced. Even so, he could not bring himself to walk around Devotion’s guild hall with no top on. He decided he would return for the other accessories later that day, but for the time being just to have his body covered would suffice. Thus, he continued his struggle until he could manage to get into it.
    Dressed, albeit somewhat sore, he exited the room and entered the hallway he once traversed with Amata. It was still far too dark for him to see anything within it, but he decided he would be alright nonetheless. Going by memory he made his way back to the foyer and walked down the spiral staircase to the entrance. The receptionist’s desk was empty, so Uma likely went to bed or went home. He was not sure which, but he felt glad nonetheless.
    To be seen wandering about would not likely be a welcome event, but even so after all Amata had done for him that night, the least he could do was take the time to thank her.
    He surveyed the area and caught a glimpse of light flowing into the foyer from one of the hallways. As he made his way towards it his vision blurred and he staggered towards the wall. It took a few moments for him to recollect himself, but once he did he decided to continue on.
    Using the wall to assist him, he continued on to where the source of light came from and eventually found himself in a room with a series of solid white tables and a massive kitchen. Within it a lone girl swept back and forth preparing a meal. Even through his blurred vision he could easily recognize Amata.
    He approached and she looked startled as he did.
    “TJ? What’re you doing up?” She exited the kitchen and came through a pair of doors before she turned him around and hurried him back to his room.
    “H-hold on a second,” He laughed.
    She furrowed her brows as she eyed him warily. “What is it?”
    “Well you’ve went through all this trouble for me today. Some of my memories of the event are kinda fuzzy but…I do remember you helping me get here. So…thanks.” He smiled at her and she pursed her lips.
    “’s fine. You don’t need to thank me or anything…” She averted her gaze.
    “But more importantly, you didn’t get hurt did you?”
    “No, I’m fine. It was because of you I got out of that in one piece, actually, so I should be thanking you. Still, I suppose it came at a cost huh? Sorry.”
    “Huh?” He asked with a puzzled look.
    She seemed to be looking at his hair. Perhaps she had not seen it when it was down before? It did grow an awful lot and it also made him look a little wilder than he was but it was only a slight change. He was the same TJ inside, after all.
    “This.” She brushed his bangs from where they rested and they fell into his eyes.
    As they did he caught a glimpse of the golden hairs among them and he gasped.
    “W-when did this happen? It came back?! Is the snaggletooth still there?!”
    “Yeah you’ve got them both now.” She said with a light chuckle—she held the back of her hand to her mouth to hide it.
    “Nooooo…” TJ groaned.
    “Well at the very least, you’re sounding like your usual self.
    “Since I’m cooking, I can’t take you back to your room. Though since you’ve come all this way…I might as well have you keep me company while I do this.”
    He grinned. “That, I can do.”
    She smiled back for a moment. “I’m making dum aloo. I…like my food a bit spicy, so you better be able to handle it!”
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Mon May 16, 2016 5:05 pm

    Soft Like Velvet:
    After  quite some consideration, I've come to a conclusion. Rather than have the crew go to Mezzalone to fight God's Governor Rayinth, INSTEAD they'll go on an epic journey into Leif's Dingy Dungeon! What kind of mysteries will they unravel within?! Maybe they'll find a sinner. Maybe they'll find his porn!
    With that said, let's get down to it!

    I'm really starting to like the dynamic between TJ and Amata. While I was writing the more recent stuff I took a look back to her introduction in Frequency and her time in USSR for reference and it really got me thinking about how much she had changed. A small part of how she is now is reminiscent to the way she was after her bout with Su in USSR. Then, she had a bit more of a childish stubbornness to her that Samson's PoV helped me expand upon, but now she feels like a proper companion. She still has her tendency towards playful ribbing, but she's much more supportive and trusting than she was when she was re-introduced earlier in Sanctuary.
    As for TJ, he keeps his wits about him more often than not, which is a good trait. Less of a chance to get ambushed, but this won't always be the case. I mean not everything is out to kill him. I mean, if a hummingbird flew over and pecked your eyeballs out or a tiger just randomly mauled you I would have to change the series name to TJ(Insert random last name)-Tomb Raider. Nobody dies in as many possible situations as Lara.

    So he finally reached Ves' Iris Stone! To be completely honest I've not the foggiest what Iris had to say about it because I don't have any reference material of it, so I decided to wing it. I vaguely remember her mentioning something like what I have...or perhaps something to do with Coa I'm not sure, but it wasn't anything too valuable. She sure didn't give a whole lot of hints to where she'd gone in those stones.
    Back on topic, here we're visited by the ghost of Velvet. Just as TJ speculated, time moves for them wherever they are, so those he's already met and those he's going to meet will remember and recognize him as he changes via the Sins and Saints. Though all things considered, it's gonna be some time before another stone appears because he's pretty much covered most of the cities, save for Lilliput and whatever goes beyond Atlantis. ...That's not a spoiler is it? I'm pretty sure someone mentioned it.
    Anyway, as she had said, those are the events that lead to Yggdrasil's Keruz being wiped out. Isidro was the man in the memory TJ had seen in Atlantis. It was him, Peorth, and her old man who's yet to be named because I like to take my sweet time. And by sweet time I mean YEARS. I'll give him a name when I need to...hence why he's unnamed...all of the time. In fact I hardly ever mention him because of this. That's our secret! Moreover, if you're curious about things prior to everyone dying horribly, you can read Inno. It's a light spoiler really, but they do make an appearance in that novel--it was a portion of what I wrote back in 2013. That'll give you some clarity on what Velvet told TJ, and it'll help build the characters both in this novel and that. Though again, they drop ALL the names so if you like to not know...for whatever reason you do, you might wanna just skip over that.
    The next part was a real doozy. Why you ask? 'Cause I had nooooo idea that the...Demon...Lord...thing? I forgot what they called him in LT. Lord of Darkness? I'd have to watch the opening cinematic again. Anyway he had robot parts! And when I saw it I was like "??? WTF is that?" So I had to make some corrections to my original perceptions about his design. This is what happens when you neglect vital information for 7 or so years and then come back to it. Thought he was just some...dark cloud thing. Hence the name. BUT! I can work with it! Of course, saying "FK the canon! I'm a writer!" would be a lot simpler but...well, sometimes it's not all bad. I mean, it's a little more difficult sure, but I think it'll allow me to challenge myself a bit more. There's no denying a part of my goal in making Sanc was to break away from the origins of it and strive for more original content, but I still want to keep some parts of the story grounded in its origins. You know what they say, know your roots. Or something.
    Also uhh...I dunno if I've been playing too much FE but whenever I read Iris' quote about friends I just see Silas. It's unsettling, really.
    That aside, those are the events that took place prior to the raid on the CoI. The order of who TJ's party was is a bit skewered, but if I recall correctly it went something like this:
    1)TJ and Peorth meet at the gate->Time spent on Asgard->Second Asgardian War
    2)TJ runs into Iris->Inner turmoil with Choen Palm and DMP->Hanamah Invasion->Final battle with Malign Shroud
    3)Reunion in Aoich->???->Raid at CoI
    4)Awakening in Belos
    Truth be told, this might not be entirely correct. I've always had a feeling that within the canon--at the very least, regarding these events, there were some things that were out of place. That being, the first match with Choen Palm. Although, if Straw Hat wasn't there when I initially wrote it, it would fit into the canon during the inner turmoil phase. If not, then it's just a canonical error from when I first started out. Reason being, was that I was trying to develop a spanning narrative(that being Sanctuary) from the early phases, but I hadn't had the whole scenario planned out at the time, so getting the order settled was a bit rough. If I ever do go over the whole series, I'll make sure to iron it out because by then it'll be a complete story. For the time being however, I hope this clears it up.
    Also after all this time some extremely vague information about the locket! YES. REJOICE FRIENDS! We've learned nothing of use once more! Also Iris ripped. Don't quote me on that.

    Moving on! That guy who threw the rock actually wasn't a fanatic. He was just some dude who may or may not have had something to do with the fanatics but clearly, obviously wasn't one of them. We'll never know now because a certain someone decided pursuing him was wrong. GOD FINGER OF EMOTIONAL SMITING and blame.
    But anyway, for the first time we see the fanatics at work. They've all got those tattoos, but as far as magic goes who could say for certain? As for the main crew, it does seem that TJ's a victim, and in that case, he is! But it doesn't change the fact that he and Su are murderers. Entropy! Suffering! And more to come! Much more! You know, the more I look back on this chapter the worse I feel for Amata. She's so out of the loop with these guys but she's trying so hard. Someone hug her, she earned it. Her dialogue with him when they're escaping gets me emotional every time. Does not compute.
    One of the things I enjoy about this is it establishes that Humans are no friends of theirs--at least, most of them. It's pretty much Cerebins+TJ vs. Humanity vs. Agasuras. It's ironic, really. But who doesn't love a little discord? Some mayhem? Throw in a little classic misdirection and you'll be in for quite the wild ride.
    Back on topic, the fanatics who followed the first guy weren't aiming to kill TJ. Hence why the first guy sealed his magic, but didn't aim for a fatal strike. The others, though it seemed as if they were targeting him were attempting to kill Amata so they could get her out of the way. I'm hoping that this fact was somewhat made clear by Amata's inner monologues. Though I suppose it was left up in the air, Su's lack of a presence was meant to imply that there were potentially others who may have pursued them but were headed off by her. I won't say it's better to tell and not show, but I do worry that sometimes what remains unsaid can often bring unnecessary questions, or seem like neglect on the part of the author. I'm working on it, but I think I need to mull this over some more before I can say I've got a good grasp on that tactic.
    As for TJ's change, this is the first sign that his blood bond is developing. He's used Avaritia's ability quite a lot(One day, I'll name it. It won't change how he does it, but it'll at least...you know, have a name). I suppose you might have figured this already, but that won't be the only changes he sees--by that, I mean an increase in the characteristic his siblings showed. It's just the early phases. Though I do wonder if the later phases should be more demonic in nature. Like horns...or a tail. Maybe scars? That's something I'm still debating...because after all, he's an Agasura, not a Demon. The problem is, Agasuric characteristics differ by the species, and since he and the others like him have human characteristics, those would be unusual to them. Tbh, those characteristics he acquires ARE inherited from his father...and yet it doesn't feel like enough. I will never be satisfied.
    One of the interesting things about Amata dealing with hat last fanatic is that it was something hard for her to do. As the story said, she never killed a human before. Take into mind what happened during USSR and it serves as a very telling facet of her character, and her reaction here even more so. It's unusual for Cerebians to do that, and even more so for her despite being a God's Governor...and also threatening people consistently, including the Abellan. As for why I had Bharva actually speak(in such a way that readers knew what he said) was because the PoV was Amata's. I know I could've done it with Su in USSR but...well I've talked about that plenty already. Amata doesn't particularly respond to what he says here, but I felt it was better that way. Her actions would speak louder than her words here, and her resolve to go on wordlessly felt like it really implied her conviction despite the inner turmoil. ALL OF THIS IS IMPORTANT. TAKE NOTES. Don't forget, this chapter IS about Amata, so some of these little things will be a part of the emphasis on how she changes further. Coupled with the past events, a lot of things will become clearer about her, along with tidbits of the overarching plot.

    Neeeext! We're introduced to two new characters(They're OCs. Takes me back to when Amata was the first. Ha! She was so poorly written. So, so poorly written.)being Uma and Leif. Believe it or not, Leif is one of Nia's Keruz, hence why he can use prayers. Unlike the history nerd trio, he doesn't have any one thing that he specializes in. Mostly general research and running tests. In that regard, he's a little like Garfitua...but you know, alive. On that topic, he's actual able to read the Cerebian language, so he can understand old scriptures and stuff. However, he's not an adventurer so his abilities are only those that would be of use outside of battle. He's also a man who will only put on his serious face for the guild master. You know a character is serious when they do the glasses push. AND HOW. I do mine by the arms if you were wondering. I'm right handed, so yee.
    Melidas' Cube is indeed a Cerebian artifact. As you'd expect, it's used for containing objects, creatures, just about anything really. BUT. It can only fit one object at a time. If it's too large, the object will shrink down to fit inside, but it has to be placed into the cube, not the other way around. SO of course, you can't try to shove your house into it unless you could....lift the house. ...I've made some poor life choices. If it's a persistent problem I'll make better limitations later!
    A small bit of info but Amata's headstrong nature has much and more to do with many of the events that play out through this chapter, thus further proving that what Peorth had said at the beginning wasn't just her being a snarky girl. Youth at full power!
    Gauntlets of the Warden is a spell that's actually meant to be used in battle, but can be used out of it. If you were in a fight, you'd typically use that to purge Chaos spells. The good thing about them is if you use them, they're guaranteed to defend the wearer so long as they remain in effect, but the more spells purged by them, the more they're worn out. Once the runes vanish, the gauntlets will lose their glow and anything further than that will dispel them. The reason Nia and Leif joined hands was so that Nia could transfer mana from herself to him. Though it hasn't been directly mentioned, she's a Mage, and as a user of the Arcane she has an incredible mana capacity. Thus, anything he would've used through that incantation would be from her pool. If one of them pulled it out, the chances the item would break and the curse itself would corrupt TJ, which is why they did it together. One mistake and bam! As for the knight within the circle, that's the Warden's herald. I'd like to do one for each of the Saints who had undergone apotheosis, so there might be more in the future.

    Nia saw the boooobs. Honestly I'm kinda surprised I didn't have TJ concern himself over that, but given the circumstances that probably would be the least of his concerns. By the time that she had performed all of that, he'd likely already passed out so he doesn't know who did it.
    Finally, well he reunites with Amata. Both for the uniforms of the guards and for the food that Amata was preparing I did a bit of research and picked them out accordingly. There's some other things that I researched, but those are further on. She's really growing on me. This is bad. MY SHIP SAILS ON EVEN IF ANOTHER SAILS BESIDE HER!

    So with that said, that's all I've got for this update! More on the next like...38 pages soon! Until next time!
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Wed Jun 01, 2016 3:56 pm

    Pages 430-436:
    The following morning TJ rolled over in the bed he slept in. He yawned, stretched and looked up to the roof through the transparent canopy that surrounded the bed. The end of the night was certainly one he would not forget anytime soon, due to the fact he was in for a spicy awakening courtesy of Amata. He felt almost certain he drank nothing short of a litre of milk in order to get through her ‘just a bit spicy’ serving of dum aloo, but other than singing the taste buds off of his tongue, he enjoyed it!
    He arose from the bed and rubbed both of his eyes groggily. As he glimpsed around the room through his peripherals he could not help remember the picturesque image he saw of Peorth and the bedroom that seemed too big for the little girl that she was. He smiled at the thought and could not help but feel for a moment that perhaps this experience was what it was like to sleep in a princess’ bed.
    At the thought he suddenly woke up and hopped out of bed to find his clothes and accessories. He had taken his top off before he went to bed, and it had his guild badge pinned to it. He sat down on the couch before he looked at the item nervously for a couple moments, then tapped it twice.

    [Guild]TJ: Chief, you awake?
    [Guild]Peorth: Ah, TJ, good morning.
    [Guild]TJ: M-morning!
    [Guild]Peorth: The day is still young. I admire your diligence, however. How does the day find you thus far?
    [Guild]TJ: Good, for the most part. Last night was a bit hectic, but we made it to Ves all the same.
    [Guild]Peorth: Hectic you say? Would you debrief me on the details of your venture please?
    [Guild]TJ: When we got here we ran into some of these guys that worship Asmodeus. Vanir said they were called fanatics, and they attacked us in the city.
    [Guild]Peorth: Fanatics? Within the city of Ves?! Forgive me, TJ. To think that they had already travelled so far across the continent…nonetheless, time is of the essence. I will have members dispatched to guard you and Amata as soon as possible.
    [Guild]TJ: H-hold on Chief! You don’t need to send Yggdrasil’s members all the way out here for us! It was a bit of a shock, but we’re okay, promise! Besides, Nia took us in for the night and she has her members on the case.
    That aside, I…I wanna do this. Even if it’s just the three of us, I want to continue as is. Like you had told me, sometimes you won’t be able to be there by my side so I wanna learn to stand on my own two feet and protect those who are in my care. Besides, this is just the first of the four God’s Governors’ temples right? If we can manage this, I’m sure we can handle all of them.

    There was a short delay between what TJ had to say and what Peorth’s response. The silence was broken by a quiet, girlish giggle from the guild master.

    [Guild]Peorth: Is that so? Then I shall abide by that wish. It seems you grow ever more courageous by the day, TJ. As you wish, I shall not interrupt your mission, but allow me a request of my own.
    [Guild]TJ: Sure Chief. What do you wanna ask?
    [Guild]Peorth: Though I have little doubt of this in my heart, all I ask is that you succeed. Do so and come back safely to me and all others in Yggdrasil awaiting your triumphant return.

    This made him blush slightly. He buried his face in the couch to hide his embarrassed expression from no one in particular.

    [Guild]TJ: I will Chief. Definitely!
    [Guild]Peorth: You have my gratitude. Alas, as it is still morning, you likely have not eaten a meal yet. I must urge you to do so, as breakfast is the most important of all meals of the day. You still have quite the journey ahead of you and you need to retain your strength through all of it to ward off any danger.
    [Guild]TJ: That’s true. I’ll go find something to munch on, then. Also, thanks for the sandwiches Chief! They were really good!
    [Guild]Peorth: Ah…yes, of course. It is…my pleasure.
    [Guild]TJ: I’ll contact you again after we make it to Mezzalone! See ya!
    [Guild]Peorth: Goodbye, TJ and may our lady light your path.

    He tapped the guild badge twice and began to climb into his clothes. He missed the time that they spent together training and whatnot somewhat, but to hear her voice again brought him comfort. He did feel slightly flustered at arriving in a new and unfamiliar place but since Amata was with him, it was nowehere near as unsettling as it would have been otherwise.
    As he looked back on his journey, he felt more and more thankful that he had one comrade or another along with him as he traversed Jienda. The world was expanding before his very eyes—there was much and more he was as of yet to discover, and even greater adversaries to face.
    His next opponent was God’s Governor Rayinth, Amata’s ancestor and the first Governor of Fire. His only experience against a God’s Governor being Su and a loss at that, but not one that he would forget nor let happen a second time. Progenitor or not, TJ had to see Amata through this trial to ensure that the world they coveted could be saved. He would not fail, nor stand down from fear.
    As he finally placed his last accessory on, he rose to his feet and looked in the mirror. The only thing he could not do, was his hair. He pursed his lips at the thought, wishing ever so slightly that Peorth sent Kooh as she could do that for him, but the moment passed by quickly. Perhaps Amata could help him in that regard.

    Without a moment of hesitation TJ opened the door to the hall and peeked outside. He looked both ways before he stepped out. He could hear the voices of girls behind some of the doors as he walked down the hall into the foyer. He made his way down the stairs and froze up as he spotted Uma sitting at the receptionist’s desk and diligently writing something down before her eyes darted to and locked on to him.
    “Namaste.” She said as she turned to him, placed her hands together and bowed slightly. Uma was a woman with dark blue hair tied in a bun and deep violet eyes. She wore a navy waist-length sleeveless blouse with white polka dots and a bow tie collar, a khaki skirt and a blue dupatta with silver embroidery draped over her right shoulder. She also wore a bindi on her forehead and a pair of small rectangular-framed glasses that rested closer to the edge of her nose.
    He was not familiar enough with Ves’ customs to have the foggiest what that had meant or whether it was normal to do the same, so he decided to greet her in his usual way.
    “G-good morning!” He waved nervously and she smiled as he made his way down the stairs.
    “I take it this is your first time in Ves?”
    He nodded.
    Uma laughed. “I had a feeling. Allow me to give you a few tips to keep in mind. The first, there’s nothing wrong with greeting people as I had you It may take some getting used to, but I’d recommend that over waving as doing it with the wrong hand can get you into a spot of trouble.”
    “R-really?” He asked with a look of surprise. Had he done it wrong? He was thankful Uma was understanding about his ignorance.
    She nodded. “You can do it wordlessly, like so.” She performed it for him once more and he engraved the sight into his mind. “Now you try.” He performed it for her in turn and she smiled.
    “That aside, our report from Amata said that you didn’t have a last name to go by, but it would be best if you referred to people here by them. Using mister or miss is fine and sir or madam also will suffice. As for the girls here, you don’t need to stress over being formal with them.” Uma knit her eyebrows. “Rather…I don’t think they will. After all, it isn’t very often that a man visits the guild headquarters so they can be somewhat overbearing. Should any of them give you a hard time, let me know and I’ll have them straightened out as soon as possible.”
    “Got it. Thanks…umm…”
    She smiled once more, knowingly. “Just Uma is fine.”
    “Thanks Uma.” He beamed in turn.
    “Since you are Amata’s guest, I’m sure you must be wondering where she is. She tends to be a heavy sleeper, so it’ll still be some time before she wakes. Feel free to take a look around, stay in the recreation room or eat in the dining hall with the others. If you need a guide, I can have one of the girls escort you.”
    “Oh! No need to go through the trouble. I’ll hang out in the dining hall until Amata’s up.”
    “I see. It was a pleasure speaking with you TJ.” At those words she placed her hands together and bowed to him once more.
    He raised a hand almost instinctively, but instead placed his together and bowed before walking away. Uma gently laughed as he hurried into the corridor.
    He made his way through the corridor and into the dining hall to find four girls crowding the kitchen area, each of them talking amongst each other while doing a variety of tasks. One of them lifted her head and caught a glimpse of him before she stormed out of the kitchen and sprinted towards him.
    “W-wait if you run like that we’re gonna-” Before he could finish his sentence, she threw herself at him and tackled him to the ground.
    The two skidded to a halt and she rubbed her face against his with a look of satisfaction.
    “Are you a new girl? You have to be a new girl! You’re so small and cute! Can I take you home?” She asked as she continued.
    Her light purple strands of hair brushed his cheek and though he had all the intention to clear up the misconception she had about his gender, the throbbing he felt across his entire torso and the dizziness from his collision with the floor made it much more difficult than he would have liked.
    “Kanta,” One of the other girls shouted. “If you keep glomping all of the new recruits you’ll scare them away!”
    “But Nia gets to play with all the new girls…” Kanta muttered sullenly.
    “But we’re not the guild master,” Another answered.
    “Fiiiiiine.” At those words Kanta removed herself from him and offered him a hand. “Are you okay? I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
    Kanta was a tall girl with a slender body, deep crimson eyes and a bright smile. Much to TJ’s surprise however, she wore a pink negligee and nothing else, as far as he could tell.
    He averted his eyes as he took her hand and answered, “T-that’s okay. Thanks.”
    One of the other girls approached, a young woman with jet black hair and turquoise eyes. She wore a plain white nightgown and tiger slippers.
    “I had to see this new girl for myself and I’ve gotta agree, she is cute. Nia sure knows how to pick ‘em huh?” She said as she approached and crossed her arms.
    “T-thanks.” At this juncture he felt unsure whether or not he should clear up the misunderstanding or just go with the flow.
    For a man to be among women in such a state of undress was not something he felt would be acceptable regardless of where on Jienda he was, but after getting dragged into the girls’ sleepover he was beginning to have second thoughts. Either he ran into odd people, or he was the odd one for being accepted in such circumstances.
    “She’s a keeper huh, Sumati?” Kanta asked as she looked over her shoulder to the other girl.
    She turned back to TJ and grinned. “You must be from a different city huh? We’ll treat you well and teach you all you need to know about Ves, so with that said, welcome to Nia’s harem!” She outstretched her arms grandly before Sumati rapped her on the head with her hand.
    “Don’t call it a harem. That’s a giant taboo for the recruits.”
    “I mean welcome to Devotion.” Kanta muttered as she rubbed the top of her head. “Though we didn’t get your name, let alone who recruited you.”
    “Well to be honest I’m not actually a recruit…I belong to another guild.” He pointed to his Yggdrasil badge and they traded puzzled looks.
    “My name is TJ, and Amata brought me here because we got attacked yesterday. Probably because this was the safest place to be. Thankfully the fanatics didn’t come here.” He knit his brows slightly. “Though she did mention that it’s unusual for you guys to have guests, so I’m sorry for intruding like this.”
    They looked to each other in disbelief, then back to him. Kanta walked around him, seemingly inspecting him from head to toe before pulling his cheeks and squishing them together.
    “This is the Abellan alright,” She surmised.
    “And how exactly did that help you come to that conclusion? Leaving aside the fact she gave you her name?” Sumati asked with a look of disbelief.
    “A cuteness this surreal can’t be genetic.” There was a confident glint in her eye at those words.
    “Anyway let’s skip the formalities! Since you’ve come all this way you need to eat some good food and tell us all about yoursdelf TJ! Come, come!” She took his hand and dragged him over to one of the tables near the kitchen.
    “The little one over there is Padma, and the one who can actually cook is Purnima.”
    “I’m not little!” Padma roared in response.
    Of the four, she was definitely substantially smaller than the others. She had deep yellow, almost golden hair tied in a side-tail and violet eyes. She wore floral print pyjamas. At Kanta’s words she pursed her lips in annoyance, but continued what she was doing unfazed.
    “Hi TJ. Things are always a bit crazy around here, but I hope you enjoy your stay all the same.” Purnima told him as she prepared the meal.
    Purnima was a husky girl with chestnut hair and soft green eyes who had a soft-spoken and calming voice. She wore a dragonfly print night dress.
    “Come on and sit down TJ! We’ve got a ton of questions for you!” Kanta said as she patted the seat by her at the table.
    He took the seat across from her, as sitting next to her on their first meeting was likely too high a hurdle for him to overcome. Despite the fact, she did not seem bothered by it at all. Sumati sat next to her and the two watched him solemnly for a few moments.
    “So where are you from?” Kanta asked.
    “Where I’m from…” He pondered the question for a moment. He was not Asgardian, nor did he come from any of the continents on Midgard, let alone the cities. If his memories were correct, he came from the gate. Though Velvet had said that it was inhabited by the Einherjars—what was his relationship with them? Was he potentially one of them, also? He set the thought aside at the realization now was not the time for questioning his origins.
    “Beyond the gate,” He answered.
    They did not bat an eye at his response.
    “So you said Amata brought you here?” Sumati asked. “She usually keeps her distance, except for when it comes to missions. I take it you two are here for some reason other than you wanting to join Devotion?”
    He nodded. “Our goal is to go to Mezzalone. I want to help her complete God’s Governor Rayinth’s trial so she can receive his blessing.”
    “Being the Abellan is tough isn’t it? It seems like you have to do so much running around and dungeon raiding…” Kanta muttered as she closed her eyes.
    “I-it’s not so bad! It can be a tad busy, but you meet a lot of interesting people and see a lot too!”
    Sumati smiled slightly. “An optimist huh? That’s a rare trait these days.”
    “I have a question!” Padma said as she leaned over the counter and all eyes turned to her. “I heard from Amata that you were a boy! Can you switch between genders or something TJ?”
    He gave her a puzzled look at the question. He was not even sure if the Agasura could pull off such a feat. “Well…I am. Though I can’t switch genders! I mean, are there people that can?!”
    The two at the table laughed and Padma furrowed her brows.
    Now that the truth came to light TJ had suspected that he would be ousted for being among them, but for some reason or another that moment did not come. Much to his surprise, they continued on with their discussion, albeit about that topic specifically.
    “I’ve heard that’s been a hot topic among those who attended the summit,” Sumati said to her companion.
    “More like one of them! Seeing the queen in an Abio Rangers uniform? I’ve never seen the show before, but that’s a sight I would pay to see,” Kanta laughed.
    She turned back to TJ afterwards. “We can’t ignore the guest of honour though. So TJ, are you and Amata hitting it off or what?”
    He tilted his head quizzically and Sumati explained that it was an idiom for getting along. He smiled and nodded. “Yeah, we are. When we first met we had a rough start, but now that we’ve gotten a lot closer I think she’s really kind.”
    “Sounds like puppy love!”
    “Slow down, you can’t forget this is the Amata we’re talking about here. It’s not that easy to get into her good books. Anything past that is uncharted territory,” Sumita added.
    At those words the God’s Governor stepped into the hall with a wicked case of bedhead and plain maroon pyjamas.
    “Would you two stop spreading weird rumous?! I knew you would start telling TJ unnecessary junk when I took my eyes off of you for a minute!” Amata snarled from across the room.
    “You two better get out of my sight before I get Uma on your case!”
    “How terrifying.” Sumati snickered as she and Kanta hurried back into the kitchen.
    “Don’t provoke her too much! That dorm mom might put me on probation if I get into trouble again,” Kanta added.
    Amata sighed as she sat down and patted her hair with frustration.
    “Jeez! I didn’t even have enough time to get ready because I knew someone would be causing trouble for me!” She muttered before giving in to the bedhead.
    TJ laughed gently. “Don’t mind it too much. You and I are in the same situation.” He pointed to his hair, splayed all over and completely unlike his usual straight hair.
    She grinned at the sight. “In spite of it all, you could actually pull off the bedhead.”
    “You think so?” That was a first. He could not imagine going into battle though, as it would be all over the place.
    “Is it getting hot in here or is it just me?” Kanta asked as she fanned herself.
    “I can make it hotter if you like. It can get plenty hotter actually.” Amata said as she rose to her feet. A flame was ignited in the palm of her hand and she wore a maniacal grin.
    “Don’t let her get to you Amata. She just likes to invoke your ire,” Purnima told her.
    “Hmm.” Amata exhaled through her nose and extinguished the flame by closing her palm. “Well whatever.”
    She sat back down and leaned her chin on her hand. “I take it neither of those two took the time to explain anything about our guild huh?”
    He placed a finger to his chin as he mulled it over. “Well they did say it was a harem.”
    Amata covered her face with her hands. “Idiots! I’m surrounded by idiots!”
    “TJ, whatever those two say, ignore them. Especially Kanta!”
    “Mean!” Kanta complained from the other side of the counter.
    “You’re completely guilty,” Amata sighed afterwards. “Please tell me you learned something of worth this morning.”
    “Uma taught me about greetings and stuff!” He said excitedly before he showed her.
    Her face flushed slightly, she averted her eyes and muttered, “That…you don’t need to do that with me. I don’t care enough about Ves formalities and stuff. My parents will love that, though.”
    “A-anyway! Since these useless girls didn’t explain anything, let me fill you in on the ins and outs of Devotion at least.”
    “I’m all ears.”
    Amata cleared her throat before she eyed the girls in the kitchen warily. “Devotion is a bit unusual…in a lot of respects. Originally it only consisted of girls, so right now there’s about 135 girls and…maybe 10 guys? I think? We’re gonna reach the maximum amount of members again soon.”
    TJ blinked in disbelief.
    “The reason being was that we live in a pretty hostile world, you know. It can be dangerous regardless of gender, but girls are more prone to all sorts of harassment. The Cerebians aside, even Humans in Ves faced struggles like homelessness, lack of employment…those sorts of things. It’s a vicious and unending cycle and one that still is a problem to this very day.
    “Nia’s goal was to remedy that somewhat. Following our escape from Asgard, a lot of people who came down to Jienda had nowhere to take refuge. Some had families or homes in Ves and Mezzalone already, if not relatives who had come before them. Some took refuge with strangers, but there was more of us than there were places to house us…and like everything else, it all costs money.” She placed a hand to her chin as she furrowed her brows.
    “Sadly, that’s something even a God’s Governor can’t change. It’s hard to watch, but it’s even harder to look away.” She shook it off.
    “Anyway, Nia founded Devotion before this happened and started taking up quests to raise money to fund her cause. As it grew in size, she bought this building and made it into her guild’s headquarters. She gained renown through her actions, people joined and the guild grew in numbers. As it grew more, she built additional wings to the headquarters, expanded the guild’s size by visiting Elias and recruited more people.
    “Nowadays the guild houses both Cerebians and Humans, so we have to be secretive around certain members. To that end, certain members remain in Mezzalone since everyone can’t go there. Still, the guild headquarters doesn’t just house guild members. Those without work of varying ages also take up jobs here. Housekeeping and stuff, teaching, lab work, all sorts of junk. There’s a bulletin board in the recreation room that have jobs and quests specifically for Devotion that our members are free to browse.
    “Truth be told, a lot of our members are people Nia picked up off the street. We have members from a variety of walks of life, some that double as adventurers. They lend their knowledge to those seeking their help and through their teachings people can acquire the skills they need to make their way in life. Because of that, we often see a lot of people that come and go.”
    “That’s really kind of Nia.” TJ said as he smiled with flushed cheeks. “But isn’t it a little lonely? To see all those people you come to know leave?”
    “You’re asking the wrong girl TJ,” Kanta said from within the kitchen.
    “Shut up! Nobody asked you,” Amata snarled.
    “But you keep your distance from everybody, Amata and you won’t tell any of us why,” Padma added as she knit her brows.
    “I…” She pursed her lips and furrowed her brows. “I don’t have the time to be getting chummy with people. I have duties to fulfill and whatever missions need me, those are my top priorities. A God’s Governor has a duty to the people within their jurisdiction and to the world before all else.”
    Purnima walked over to the window and leaned on it. “I think you may be pushing yourself too hard, Amata. I can’t say I understand what being a God’s Governor consists of, but you shouldn’t force yourself to carry such a heavy burden all alone,” She told her.
    “Thanks for your concern, but it’s alright. I can manage just fine.” She intertwined her fingers and glimpsed at the Abellan for a moment before her cheeks flushed slightly. “B-besides, it’s not like I’m alone anymore. He may not look like much, but I have TJ backing me on this journey.
    “If I complete this trial and eventually become a true God’s Governor, I’m sure with that strength I’ll be able to protect everyone.” She clenched her fists with a look of confidence.
    “You’re so cool Ammy!” Kanta said as she swooned.
    “D-don’t call me Ammy! Only Nia does that and even then I don’t like it!”
    “Nia is really…really…” His eyes began to swim as his cheeks flushed.
    “Touchy-feely?” Padma asked.
    “You get used to it TJ, she’s like that with everyone, especially the new girls,” Sumati added.
    “She’s everybody’s mom,” Purnima told them with a gentle chuckle.
    “That just about sums it up. She turned the guild hall into a dorm and put Uma in charge as the dorm matriarch. Our guild master is a bit of a free spirit.” Amata chuckled dryly as she twirled her finger through her hair.
    “That’s why I called it Nia’s harem,” Kanta muttered through pursed lips, her hands behind her head.
    “Don’t say misleading things!” Amata roared as she stood back up.
    “Eek!” Kanta mock screamed as she took cover.
    “Alright you girls that’s enough fighting. You can continue after, because I’m serving breakfast right now,” Purnima said.
    “Padma, Sumati, Kanta, I’m counting on you guys to get everything prepared.
    “TJ, I hope you’ll join us for breakfast. There’s plenty to go around, so help yourself to seconds.”
    “Sounds good. Thanks!” He answered with a grin.

    After breakfast the duo had changed and made their final preparations before they made up their minds to set out. Nia tied TJ’s hair up and gave a nod of approval to her handiwork.
    “That should do just fine. You look magnificent again today too, TJ.” The guild master said as she arose from the step she sat on just behind him in the foyer.
    “Thanks Nia and sorry for the trouble.” TJ told her as he smiled sheepishly.
    “Think nothing of it. Lending cute girls a hand is a hobby for me,” She answered.
    “But I’m a boy…” He muttered under his breath as he averted his gaze and smiled wryly.
    “If you say so!” She smiled cheerfully, knowingly.
    “Sorry for the wait TJ.” Amata said as she made her way down the stairs, a rucksack on her back. “I really need to get a bigger bag. Trying to cram things in this one takes forever.”
    “No problem,” He replied.
    As she made her way down the stairs Nia awaited her at the bottom and hugged her from behind as she made her way towards the door. The God’s Governor wore a defeated expression as Nia’s embrace grew tighter.
    “Nia…it’s hot…” Amata groaned.
    “I need to embrace you before you go off on a dangerous journey. It could be weeks before I see you again, Ammy,” She answered.
    “I won’t be gone that long. It’ll be a few days at most before we finish this, so don’t worry so much.”
    “A few days is a long time…”
    “Nia!”
    “Okay, okay…” She said as she released her and fixed her wrinkled clothes. “I know you don’t want me to embarrass you in front of the Abellan.”
    “This and that are two very different things!”
    The guild master laughed gently at the response.
    “Before you guys run off you might wanna take this!” Kanta said as she ran down the stairs with what seemed to be a cowl.
    “Take this with you too. It’s a long journey on foot, so having a proper meal to eat will do you worlds of good. It’s just leftovers but I hope it’ll fill you both up.” Purnima added as she emerged from the kitchen.
    TJ put down his things and Kanta helped put the cowl on him while Purnima found space in his bag to fit the extra meals.
    “With this, the chances that someone will recognize you are super low!” Kanta said with a look of confidence. “Besides, we heard from Nia what happened yesterday. Watch out for those weirdoes okay?
    “You’d better keep him safe Ammy, or you’re gonna have to deal with big sister!” She pounded her chest with her fist and Amata glared in response.
    “You’re not cut out to be anyone’s big sister Kanta, least of all TJ’s,” She sneered.
    “They’ll be fine, I’m sure. Ammy can handle herself, and we’ve already brought in their assailants. We’ll be sure to get some information out of them, so you two make sure to get to Mezzalone safely.” Nia said as she gave them both a pat on the shoulder.
    “Keep your wits about you in the Jungle, children. The Agasura have become much more violent of late and I’m sure that it too, has become a much more dangerous place to be.” Uma added from behind the desk.
    “We’ll be alright. Thanks guys, for everything.
    “TJ, let’s get moving. We should aim to be about halfway if not more by nightfall.” Amata told him as she craned her neck to give him an acknowledging nod.
    “Right. Thanks everyone! See you again! Probably,” TJ told them.
    He picked up his things and bowed out as they did the same for him and wished the two well on their journey.
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:11 pm

    Totes Not a Harem:
    Purnima is best girl. I like her character and I`ll likely never have a reason to use her again. Also Kanta for true prophet.
    With that said, let's get down to it!

    This part's a bit short cause the next part is super long. One giant battle, more or less so I'll cover it in bits and pieces if there's a lot to say about it. Or if I get lazy...whichever comes first.
    Anyway! First things first is a short chat between the Abellan and GM. He did good on his word and remained in touch with her. As I wrote about it I couldn't help but think that it really did make them feel a lot closer--you know, how if you're going somewhere or something you might let your partner know. Call them, let 'em know what's up etc. Another step in the right direction for those two and a little bit of development on each's part. Hopefully it was clear as is, but if not the reason for ellipses in Peorth's dialogue was to indicate that she was embarrassed so her thoughts were a bit muddled and it showed through her response. Whether it was known to TJ or not, I prefer to keep it somewhat ambiguous. For him to point it out would show that he's becoming more aware of it, but to readers it would seem patronizing.

    You have NO idea how much research I had to do to properly represent the people that Ves and it's citizens are based on. I checked clothes, greetings, foods, religious symbols and all sorts of other things. I wanted to make sure I did everything right and I'm hard pressed to say it is, but I'm hoping I nailed down most things with some semblance of...tact? Perhaps. I made sure to check and double check so it SHOULD be okay. Possibly. Also I read that to greet someone with your right hand like TJ had could be considered insulting, hence Uma's response. Since she's an adult, however she actually handled it really well. That's something that's definitely not obvious at a first glance, but it's just one of the little things you might catch if you're familiar with the customs. Most of the things she mentioned were what I discovered during my research, btw. What she had to say about Devotion's girls however was specific to the story's characters.

    Though slightly unrelated, there's something I wanted to mention about this. A lot of the things I read, more often than not sometimes things, people or places get lumped together. Like America and Canada. I mean, we might be known as America's neighbour with the hot husband(Yes I mean Trudeau) but we're still a completely separate country. Though all things considered, our cultures are similar in a lot of respects so trying to represent both might be a tad unnecessary, or just downright difficult.
    In my case here, I found myself hard pressed to represent all of the different sects of religions and the peoples who live in that part of Asia. Their way of dress, religious symbols, lifestyles and names varied greatly, even if they lived within the same country. It's no small feat to manage it, really. If I tried to cram them all into one city, it would be more like having token characters instead of a mixture of cultures. The thought of it gave me conflicting feelings, so I tried to settle on one. Like before, there's a lot of subtle nuances that I might miss out on or important facts about the portion of the culture I'd based it on, but...well, we all do what we can I suppose. If I can at least do it some semblance of justice, I'm sure I can move forward without being plagued by what I had and hadn't done.

    I've come to realize TJ's struggle with his gender is like that thing...you know, when you say a word too many times it starts to sound strange? Except in his case if he gets misunderstood too many times he begins to question his own gender and his belief in it. Don't try this at home kids! Or on me for that matter...
    Anyway, we get four new characters that are a part of Devotion! Purnima, Padma, Kanta and Sumati. There's a lot of other girls in the guild but these four are pretty close friends. Their personalities speak for themselves also. That aside, I felt that Kanta would make for a good foil both for TJ and Amata. Her outgoing and happy-go-lucky personality meshes well with TJ's awkward and reserved behaviour, while in Amata's case her playful demeanour bounces off of the Governor's serious attitude. A little different from Su's case making things feel a little fresher when they get into arguments. In a sense, I suppose you could say she's a little like Kooh.
    One of the things I like about their discussion is that none of them find his responses all that odd. Having spent the better half of their time with the Governor of Fire, they're rather familiar with all the unusual Cerebian antics people like her are wont to get into so they can take things in stride.
    Leaving that aside, I'd considered having Amata wear a night gown or something but I figured that might not suit her. Since she's a tomboy dresses are typically a big nope. If she was to, however, it would have to be when she's at home. If it was just her parents and her, she would not mind so much, but if there are others she'd find it too embarrassing to be seen wearing something like that. It's a higher hurdle than wearing a sari for her.

    Next! Kanta called Devotion a harem. Which it is! Technically. When I originally wrote it, I did so with the complete intention of it being a joke. 100%. Then I googled the term and read up a bit about it and I was like, "Wow! The guild is actually a harem!" I had a different opinion as to what that pertained to prior to that but I realized there were other meanings for it also, and it applied to this case. Moral of the story? I meant it as a joke but I realized along the way that using it anyway would make me sound super smart to those who are know-it-alls. Double whammy!
    Now then! As we've seen before, Amata isn't big on the formalities, the clothing and whatnot of her hometown. The food is something she'll do because...well, she grew up eating it. It's often like that for everyone, no? Anyway...I guess to put it bluntly, she's white washed. Like me. Somewhat? Read an essay or something with a story like that during my classes. Think it was called "I'm a Banana and Proud of It", IIRC. Have that book in a pile somewhere round here.
    Now here's something that might surprise you. When I originally wrote Nia and the concept of Devotion, it was built around the concept that Nia liked cute girls so she recruited them. Though just a little bit in Ch. 9, it showed that her motives weren't as one-dimensional as one would suspect...at least that is, pertaining to Amata. As I studied up on the cultures for Ves, I had read about the issues the countries may have faced(that were better off unmentioned, according to the site I read it on) such as those listed in the work itself. I thought about it some more and decided to keep that as a trait of Ves and one that Nia worked against. It gave her character more agency and served as a greater reason for Amata to work with them, since she has a very particular concern for her countrymen.
    Leaving that aside, during one of my lectures(You can actually read an article about it on the Toronto Observer website) we heard a talk about red boot journalism. To spare you a long explanation, it's focused on looking at the culture for all it is--this includes places too, mind. Rather than just the things we might see on the outside like food, attractions, etc. General tourist traps. A journalist's job is to dig deeper into the truth at the heart of the matters they seek out, and I wanted to display that a bit here. I don't mean to show off my knowledge of course! I mean...you know, to look at the places TJ and co. visit not through the lens of a traveller or a visitor, but as a person who can impact the world around them through their actions. This fact is important also, because as Amata says, all of it costs money and that's something a God's Governor can't change. They have power, but the ability to fight and the ability to buy and sell are part of another spectrum of skills. Put simply, they don't have the ability to work the market, and due to that Amata feels powerless in that regard.
    Anyway, the people of Devotion offer their aid to the people of Ves. They teach and take up jobs. The board, though the story says is for the use of Devotion's members, visitors can also. By that, I mean those who might be studying under one of Devotion's members can take up a job they meet the requirements for via the board. A little like job boards at a tavern. Reminds me of FF: Tactics Advance.

    Something I like about the part after, when they discuss how people come and go I felt was a point for Amata. She chooses solitude because to her, her duty is her top priority. It's not a simple choice to make. People often say that a person needs other people to live. Rather, that people can't live alone. Whether that's true or not, I can't say, but I think it serves as a good contrast to TJ's previous monologues and his character arc as a whole, along with hers. Title drop?! Young Dragons! Yeah! I could say more on that but I'll leave some to your imagination lol.
    Little bit off topic but I think something I watched got me thinking about this. Lately I've been watching a show where a guy has a sort of revival power and to get a do-over on certain events, he has to die. Often times the comment sections would be up in arms because of his inner turmoil about using that ability...but when you think about it, no matter how many times you do it, it won't become any easier. Don't we all have an inherent fear of death? Ask yourself this--if you have a fear or a phobia, would facing that fear time and again negate it's effects on you eventually? Perhaps not. In some cases, it may. Something that extreme though...well...I mean the potential excruciating pain and/or suffering that will arrive prior to death wouldn't make it any easier, IMO. Sadly, in most cases for onlookers it's an 'easier said than done' scenario. Something we should all give some thought to before we jump on the bandwagon. We can see, we can say and we can do...but we can manage all of those without understanding. That, is something I feel we should challenge ourselves with first.

    Back on topic! Despite all of that hardcore thought I put into Nia's character, the fact still stands that she loves cute girls. That isn't gonna change. Also she knows something! I can't say if it was the boobs or she just has a sense for that stuff but she might see something in him that he doesn't.
    I like the interactions between Nia and Amata too. It shows a different side of her character you don't often see. Alike with Peorth, she's a bit more respectful, unlike with her other comrades. When with the guild master, she really starts to feel her age. After all, she's just a teenager! The challenges she and Su have taken up make them feel older than they are. As for Nia, she's still pretty young(I haven't settled on an age for her yet, but she'd likely be in her late 20's to early 30's, since most adventurers start out in their youth. Enough time to gain some renown and earn some cash to start up and build a guild) but she's a bit of a maternal figure for most of the girls in Devotion.

    Anyway, I've more or less said all I need to say for this update so that's that! In case I haven't said it already, once I get to Rayinth's Temple Frequency's gonna be on a short break while I finish designing the dungeon. During that time I'll catch up with the updates here and work on Inno while I brainstorm the design.
    On that note, I've gained a greater appreciation for the guys who design the dungeons in Zelda games. It's...hard. Really hard.
    That's all for now! 'Til next time!
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:42 am

    Pages 436-445:
    Ves seemed to be a completely different place during the daytime. The city was bustling with people flitting about hither and thither. Some flocked to certain locations, including one nearby that was closed off by the city’s guard. The sun was high in the sky but as one would expect from a city so close to the desert city of Elfa, the heat was intense.
    TJ held a hand up to the sky and let the light trickle through his fingers so he could see ahead of him. In spite of everything, it was a beautiful day, and he had walked by a series of people without drawing attention to himself, potentially thanks to the cowl Kanta gave him. Was his pink hair truly his bane?
    Following Amata’s lead they walked past the crowd of people who clamoured to see what had happened just down the stret from Devotion’s guild hall. TJ vaguely recalled something happened at the time—Amata had summoned Bharva for some reason or another. The massive, scaled beast coiled around its master was unmistakable, but by that point even with Amata shouting he could hardly make out her muddled words with her dragon companion. The fact that he could not understand Bharva only added to the difficulty of understanding what she had said then.
    “Did something happen here Amata?” He asked.
    “It’s nothing you need to worry over,” She answered hurriedly. She began walking at a faster pace and he sped up into a stride to not fall behind.
    As the two walked through the street TJ saw street vendors hawking their wares from carpets, some buying and selling, even haggling down the prices. There were plenty of citizens who wore colourful outfits like that Amata had worn at the summit. To think that it was an everyday outfit surprised him, but the greater question it raised was why Amata had such a dislike of it.
    He decided to set it aside for the time being. Though Ves was an ordinary city like any other, it did not mean that he was in any less danger than before. Fanatics could be right around the corner and awaiting an opportunity to strike him down, so he needed to keep his wits about him. That aside, the sooner the two got out of the city, the sooner he would be able to consider himself safe. Humanity was not his enemy, but he was certainly theirs.
    As they neared the outskirts of the city, it seemed that they had left the marketplace and entered more of a residential district.
    Though much of it was unfamiliar to him in terms of design, he could recognize the town portal tent anywhere. It was something he had taken notice of in every city he had been in, and though he had never used it himself he felt that his assumption of it’s purpose based on the name was accurate. To have both it and warp crystals, it must have used something else to allow users to transport between cities, but not to just any Iris Stone.
    As they continued on further the buildings ended and all that remained was the concrete path that eventually crumbled away into nothing but dirt, followed by grass and trees. Beyond where they were, there was still a dirt path but the way ahead was obscured by brush and trees.
    “It looks like we’re finally out of the eyes of the public. I suppose you could say it’s safer out here than it is in the heart of the city but…even so I still have my doubts,” Amata said.
    “About?” TJ asked with a hint of curiosity.
    She turned to him and knit her eyebrows. “I doubt that the fanatics would attack in daylight…but out here, there aren’t really any people to get in the way or city guards to capture them. I dunno if they’d attack us this far away but just in case, don’t let your guard down okay? I’ll keep an eye out in case for anything suspicious.” She smiled slightly. “I don’t mean to freak you out. If you see a bush rustling or something don’t panic, it’s probably just an animal.”
    He grinned slightly. “No problem. I think it’d be pretty hard to mistake a grown man or woman for an animal though.”
    “Right?” She laughed. “Well whatever happens, at least I won’t have to hold back as much as I did then. We’ve just gotta make sure to put out any fires before we move on. It’s my biggest concern about fighting in the jungle.”
    “You can count on me for that.” He offered her a thumbs-up.
    “Where would I be without my wizard in sparkly robes?” She asked with a chuckle.
    The two stepped into the brush and took their first steps into the Jungle. As TJ had expected, it was nothing short of colourful. Tropical birds flitted through the skies and all sorts of unfamiliar animals climbed and hung from the trees. The flora was even more baffling and unfamiliar than that which he saw when they had made their way past Orca Beach. That aside, the trees were tall like those he had seen in the Forest just past Belos. How Jienda grew trees of such height he had not the foggiest, but it was no less incredible.
    While TJ looked around, Amata climbed down a ladder to one of the lower levels of the Jungle. Once she reached it she waved him over. He climbed down after her and watched solemnly as she eyed the area cautiously.
    “Something on your mind Amata?” He asked.
    “Yeah actually. Something’s weird here.” She muttered as she furrowed her brows. “Typically this area is inhabited by Agasura called Bukuri, but there’s not a one in sight. I mean, it’s possible that someone cleared them out before we got here, but there’s no sign that anyone was here recently, let alone that a battle occurred.”
    TJ looked around the surrounding area and ahead of them before he caught a glimpse of a pillar of smoke rising in the distance.
    “There’s smoke coming from over there. Do you think that’s where the battle is happening?” TJ asked as he pointed to it.
    “Smoke? Bastards!”
    She ran ahead and hopped onto a small landing before she spread her wings. Two beautiful feathered appendages emerged from her back moments before she leapt into the air with a single powerful beat.
    “I’m going to scout it out TJ!”
    At those words she disappeared over a nearby ridge and TJ found himself at a loss. He looked for a rope or ladder to pursue her, but found neither available to him. There was however, another path that lead into the lower sections of the Jungle, but proved to be exactly where he did not want to be.
    “How am I supposed to get up there?” He muttered as he scanned the surrounding area.
    If he had any acrobatic ability, he could climb the tree and jump from a branch on to the landing to pursue the God’s Governor. On the other hand, if he returned to where they began, he could jump from the landing to the trees and make his way across that way. One wrong move however and he would find himself with nothing short of a few broken bones.
    “You’re hopeless without me.” Su said as she emerged from the Heart of Yggdrasil and rolled her shoulders. She hopped on the spot, cracked her knuckles and spread her wings. “Watch and learn!”
    She ran towards the tree and ran a few steps up the trunk before she leapt from it. She soared towards the ridge and used it to jump once more. As she neared the tree trunk once more she used her wings to backflip onto the branch and landed with perfect accuracy.
    “Well? Come on.”
    “Both you and Amata are incredible in your own ways.” He answered as he looked up to her from far below. “I don’t have either of your abilities.”
    She sighed. “Ugh…fine.” She sat down on the branch before she leaned backwards and hung on with her legs, her arms outstretched.
    He took a deep breath as he spread his own wings. One good jump and he would be able to reach her. He got a running start and ran towards the tree branch. He managed to rise a couple steps and leapt from it before he fell away. As he soared through the air he looked to Su and backflipped once more towards the tree. Using it as a jumping point again he bounded from it just high enough to grab onto his companion’s hands and used his own momentum to get her to swing.
    “I’m gonna count it down!” She shouted to him as she swung back and forth. “Three...two…one…go!”
    She let go of his hands and he flipped through the air towards the top of the ridge. His body turned over in the air but he lacked the movement to be close to an upright landing and found himself on the verge of landing face-first into the grass. In a last ditch attempt to correct his landing he used his wings to extend his ascent, to which it did somewhat, turning his body over and causing his feet to narrowly touch the ground. In place of that, as they brushed against the grass his body continued to turn over and he fell on his back before he skidded to a halt.
    “Urrgh…” He groaned as he gripped his head.
    “Nice landing loser!” Su laughed as she caught up with him.
    He was getting better, but he still lacked practice. He should have added that to his list during his off time with Peorth. Perhaps he let his confidence following their adventure in the Gourmet’s Valley get the better of him.
    He picked himself up from the ground and dusted himself off before he lowered the cowl.
    “I’d scold you about laughing at me but that can wait. Whatever’s out there, Amata’s fighting it and she could really use our help. Let’s go!”
    “Don’t need to tell me twice.”

    As they went further in TJ caught a glimpse of a series of tiny people—hot air balloons, archers and cannons all firing at a group of knee-high people dressed in leaves, wielding spears and boomerangs. They had short, curly red hair and wore painted shells for masks. All of that aside, they seemed to be engaged in battle with Amata!
    “Amata! Are you alright?!” TJ shouted to her.
    “I’m fine, but these guys have us seriously outnumbered! Come down here and give me a hand, would you?”
    Before he could even turn to Su she leapt from where they stood, right into the heart of the battle. He climbed down the nearest ladder he could before he pursued the God’s Governors.
    “Giants!” One of the Lilliputian soldiers cried out.
    In response to it a group of soldiers turned their cannons towards TJ as he neared and he raised his hands in surrender.
    “It’s alright guys, they’re here to help!” Amata shouted  as she locked weapons with one of Bukuri.
    Su flipped over her head and brought a foot down on it before dealing a fatal blow with her dagger.
    “But aren’t those…Humans…?” TJ asked with a look of surprise.
    “There are some humanoid Agasura around the jungle and in the Ktuka Ruins! If you see any like this, don’t be fooled!”
    The other Bukuri started shouting in their own tongues and more approached. They surrounded the group and had them pinned together in a small circle, the three Cerebians on the outskirts of it.
    “TJ!”
    “I got it!” TJ drew his guitar and raised a hand. “Doctrine of the Warden!”
    As he began to play a massive shield erected itself around them moments before a torrent of boomerangs were hurled their way. When the majority of them had been thrown TJ lowered the barrier and the God’s Governors went on the offensive.
    TJ eyed his surroundings cautiously. There was not much time for him to act, but if the Lilliput soldiers could cover his side he could provide enhancements for his allies.
    “Cover me please!”
    He began to play his song as the archers took the vanguard from him and began to fire arrows. Some of the Bukuri approached with their spears drawn but found themselves repelled by the cannonballs from the artillery units.
    “Dragon Dive!” Amata roared. From above his head a figure wrapped in flames soared down towards the Bukuri before him and blew them back with a head-on collision. Within the blast Amata emerged and hid her wings upon touching the ground. She bashed a thrown spear aside before she raised a hand skyward. A series of flames surrounded her before she shouted, “Ten Flames!” They all went off like a series of bombs and the Bukuri fell quickly.
    TJ finished his song and quickly made his way to her side to encounter an incoming Bukuri. As he skidded to a halt he blocked its spear with his guitar and shoved it back before pointing towards it.
    “Hailstorm!” A series of icicles were launched in its direction and quickly made a bloody target of it.
    “Thanks for having my back TJ!” Amata said beaming.
    “Anytime,” He answered.
    “Less flirting, more fighting!” Su roared as she hit the ground like a missile and skidded to a halt, causing it to rise in waves before her. The Bukuri were flung through the air and she created a frozen bow. She let fly a couple of arrows and dispersed the weapon to turn around and stomp the ground once more, rupturing the earth on her other side.
    Amata spread her wings once more before she took flight and held a hand skyward. “Scorn!” She closed her fist upon the flame before she hurled it to the group caught in the aperture Su created in which they all were burned alive.
    “Only four left!” TJ shouted as he followed in the wake of a bomb thrown by a soldier riding what seemed to be a Puwagra.
    As it burst in the face of the Bukuri he followed it up with a punt and spread his wings. He dashed after it and leapt into the air. He spun once as he performed a double-jump and placed an arm beneath the other.
    “Radiant Blast!” A jet of light was fired from the palm of his hand and the Bukuri was launched back towards the ground. He landed and held a hand skyward as water took form and froze into an icy spear. He hurled it with all his might and it pierced the Agasura’s chest.
    “That should do it. Three to go!”
    “Reel ‘em in!” Amata shouted to Su as she took the focus of one of the Bukuri and her companion the other.
    “Fine, I’ll help,” Su added.
    The Governor of Earth somersaulted out of the way of a boomerang before she rose to her feet and flipped over a stab of the Bukuri’s spear. She placed both feet to its mask and leapt off of it, causing it to stumble into the other focused on Amata.
    The Governor of Fire leapt from where she stood with an increased height courtesy of her powers and placed both hands downward before she unleashed her next attack.
    “Falcon Torrent!” A series of flames rained down upon the Bukuri and kept her suspended in mid-air for a time.
    In a series of bombs and arrows the last Bukuri stumbled away before TJ approached with his guitar. With one fell swing he bashed it over the head and the sound of bones cracking beneath the weight of his weapon signalled the end of the battle.
    “Job well done guys,” TJ said with a bright grin. He walked off to put out the remnants of flames and correct any earth that was out of place.
    Amata sheathed her staff and sighed. “As always, something’s off around here.”
    She approached the group of Lilliputian soldiers and crouched down to get a better look at them. “My name is Amata Seitz.” She knit her brows. “I suppose you could say I’m the keeper of this region. What happened that had you guys leave Lilliput?”
    One of the Puwagra riders drifted over to Amata. “The Bukuri have become severely aggressive of late. They’ve set fire to the Jungle, to the woodheads and even the trents, and the smoke has been leaking into Lilliput!” He cried out desperately. “We don’t know the cause or the reason, but we came to put a stop to it before they set our city ablaze too.”
    Amata furrowed her brows. “They’ve been igniting the Agasura? Also, none of the adventurers had anything to do with this?
    “But the Bukuri shouldn’t have any access or powers that allow them the use of fire. Their tactics aside, these ones seem to be more or less normal.”
    “I agree, but we all think there are more of them out there. Our vanguard went ahead, and we’ve sent three scouting parties to find them, but none have returned as of yet. Whatever’s out there, we think that they’re engaged in combat with them, and the Bukuri you saw here were those that escaped the battle.”
    “So there are others out there that may still need our help…” Amata rose to her feet. “Is it possible that the Hotkuri and the Fikkuri left the Ktuka Underworld?” She shook her head rapidly. “Now’s really not the time to be throwing ideas around.
    “TJ, Su, we need to investigate this!”
    “O-okay!” TJ said as he ran over to regroup with her.
    “Good. I’ve been itching for a good fight. Watching you two stuff your face and have nice little chitchats for the past day has been getting on my nerves.” Su answered as she crossed her arms.
    Amata turned back to the soldier. “Which direction did your vanguard go?”
    The soldier pointed and she squinted to see but could not see him properly. “South-west, if I recall correctly.
    “We’re thankful that you came to our aid, but there are still others fighting out here that need your help so please, hurry! We’ll mobilize and make our way over there as soon as possible!”
    She nodded solemnly. “No, it’s fine, I understand. You two, let’s get going. Where we’re headed is roughly in the direction of Mezzalone, so let’s get there and put an end to the Bukuri hostilities.”

    The group continued on through the Jungle cautiously and quietly. Amata kept a keen eye for any signs of the battle, and as they struggled to get through the tall brush and past the trees the aftermath of the battles came into view.
    Multiple pillars of smoke, ever-burning flames and the unmistakable stench of death.
    “Hurry you two!” The Governor of Fire shouted as she ran ahead.
    What lay ahead began to seem less like a battle and more like a one-sided slaughter. Broken cannons, downed Puwagras and more bodies and bloodstains than any of them could count. Even so, the engagement still raged on with the last of the Lilliputian soldiers fighting against a horde of Bukuri, and among them one that stood tall—taller than that of the average man, of the three that arrived and commanded the others from a throne carried by four Bukuri.
    Like the others, it wore a garment of leaves wrapped around its waist. It had the same dark skin tone and its face obscured, but not by a shell—in place of it, it wore a wooden mask with an ecstatic face painted on. Upon the mask were a series of colourful feathers, the neck, a necklace made of fangs and the wrists and ankles bands made of shells. It carried a gnarled wooden staff in one hand, likely taller than the wielder itself. Upon its rotund body were a series of crimson markings and it cackled loudly as the soldiers fell to the onslaught of fire and spears.
    Amata stepped forward ahead of the two and looked on in disbelief. “What the hell is that? A Bukuri Chieftain?” She asked.
    “Hell if we know! This is your region after all, so you tell us,” Su sneered.
    “I would if I knew! I’ve never seen this Agasura before!”
    “Guys, let’s not argue right now.” TJ said as he gestured for the two to calm down. “The fact still stands that the Lilliputians need our help, so let’s join in the fight right away.”
    Amata sighed as she drew her staff. “You’re right. There’s no time for this. Let’s go, you two!”
    At her words the Abelland nodded and the Governor of Earth shrugged before they followed her into battle.
    “Your reign stops here, Kuri Chieftain!” The governor of Fire snarled before she slammed her staff down.
    Her declaration alongside their sudden arrival created a temporary lull in the battle that allowed for the Liliput soldiers to retreat somewhat.
    The bukuri and their chieftain all turned to the group solemnly for a few moments before the leader began issuing commands to them. Without a moment to spare, a cacophony of war cries signalled the start of their engagement and Bukuri by the dozens stormed towards them.
    “You two ready?” Amata asked as she took up a battle stance.
    “I’ll do my best,” TJ said as he drew his guitar.
    “I was born ready.” Su said as she drew her dagger and grinned devilishly.
    “Leave no survivors!” Amata roared as she spread her wings and took off.
    “Just the way I like it!”
    TJ swallowed hard. “Here we go! Ice Shield!” With a single strum of his guitar he raised a finger skyward and a mist-like substance surrounded him and his allies.
    “Vulcan Rain!” Amata roared as she came to a halt for a moment before she dashed through the skies. A series of fireballs rained down on the Bukuri as she made her way directly towards the chieftain.
    “I guess you and I were thinking the same thing huh?” Su asked as her grin grew wider. She placed her left hand to her wrist. “Freezing Wave!” She fired a beam of freezing liquid and as it passed through the Bukuri a series of them were frozen the moment it touched them. “Catch, losers!” She stomped the ground before her and the earth cracked and arose. She pulled a foot back and kicked it with the bottom of her shoe, launching it forward and shattering any frozen Bukuri in its wake. She stormed after it and made her way directly towards the chieftain alongside Amata.
    “Guys! Don’t do anything reckless! Also try not to get surrounded!” TJ shouted to them before he eyed his surroundings.
    For once, he was glad the surrounding area was split apart. There were roughly six different platforms the Bukuri inhabited, and the chieftain was surrounded by some at the highest point. Where he, Su and the others were currently was the lowest level of land, and so their forces were split up. Though it would be hard to keep up with his allies due to his lack of acrobatic ability and moreso flight, he could help the wounded soldiers escape.
    The bukuri that were too low to defend the chieftain pursued the wounded Lilliputians and TJ immediately spread his wings to go to their aid. As he ran through the jungle he forced his way through brush and other flora alike before he tripped over a root and got a face-full of dirt. He picked himself up from the ground and wiped his face before he looked to the escaping soldiers once more. Those who still had arms to fight with defended their wounded comrades, but there was not much time before the bukuri caught up with them to finish what they had begun.
    The Abellan took a deep breath. There was no way he could reach them in time on foot alone with all of the potential obstacles in his way. He looked skyward and glimpsed the sun through the leaves of the trees. To protect his allies, he had to go beyond what he believed himself capable of. He got a running start and leapt towards one of the trees to launch himself towards a branch. Unlike Su, he could not swing himself onto it, but he used his momentum to swing from it and flip through the air to land on another. Shortly after he lost his balance, but used his wings to ascend high enough to grab onto a hanging vine and climb across it. He dropped to another branch and hopped from it to another nearby.
    He placed a hand to the trunk to steady himself and take a few breaths. He was not far off. If he could get into the next four trees he would be just above the wounded soldiers. At this juncture, the bukuri were close enough to throw boomerangs and spears at the defending Lilliputians. As he watched one of the spears pierce a Puwagra and it get launched away as the air exited the balloon, he grit his teeth. Time was of the essence.
    He crouched down and leapt to the next tree. From there he hopped to a lower branch and jumped twice to reach one of the higher branches. He squinted to gauge the distance to his final destination and jumped down towards it.
    The time to strike back had come.
    He drew his guitar, took a breath and raised a single hand. He rapidly began to strum it as he shouted, “Twenty-five Arrows of Light!” The small arcane spheres surrounded him and followed in his wake as he sheathed his weapon and leapt into the air.
    His body twisted as he jumped a second time and aimed his right foot out before him. “Starfall!”
    At the apex of his ascent he began his descent like a comet and hit the ground within a burst of light. His memories obtained after the Gourtmet’s Valley included a follow-up spell that he could utilize.
    “Ascension!” He lowered both his hands to his side and he emitted a blinding light and levitated on the spot. It surrounded him like an extending sphere and repulsed the bukuri within range while healing the Lilliputians.
    “Go!” He shouted as he touched down and his arrows surged past him and pelted his incoming adversaries.
    He felt almost certain his spells would be more effective had he awakened his powers with the Heart of Yggdrasil, but conserving mana to assist his allies would come first for now. He would only resort to that if the need arised, but without the Frequency he had confidence that he could protect the Lilliput soldiers.
    He clenched a fist and drew his guitar as the bukuri approached, likely cursing him in their native tongue.
    “I’ll take on all of you, so come! I will protect everyone!” He snarled as he pointed his weapon at them.

    “Dragon Dive!” Amata roared as she launched herself towards the chieftain.
    He arose from his throne and slammed his staff down before he pointed it at Amata. A torrent of thunder surged forth and clashed with her descent, forcing her out of her stance and to land.
    “Gh!” She groaned as electricity crackled through her body and paralyzed her briefly.
    A pair of bukuri took to the chieftain’s side and raised their masks slightly as they inhaled deeply. Without further ado they blew a torrent of flames her way and she desperately attempted to defend herself with her weapon.
    “What’re you doing idiot?!” Su roared as she leapt into the air behind her with a massive iceberg backing her. Her body turned as she kicked it and it shattered to pieces. “Shattered Berg!”
    The multitude of shards of ice rained down upon the landing—those that lodged themselves in between Amata and the bukuri took the heat of the flames and left only melted chunks in their wake.
    The Governor of Fire lowered her weapon as the steam passed and said, “I owe you one.”
    Much to her surprise the Governor of Earth flipped onto the landing from below and hurled two shards of ice into the hearts of the bukuri before them. “Yeah you do!”
    When the steam cleared the duo caught a glimpse of a barrier of flames that protected the kuri chieftain from Su’s spell. He slammed his staff down once more and the bukuri that carried his throne placed it down. Wordlessly, he pointed to the two and the bukuris began to chant and dance.
    “Don’t let your guard down!” Amata said as she took up a defensive stance.
    “What’re they gonna do? Blow fire at us?” Su sneered.
    The four stood side-by-side, two on each side of the chieftain and the moment they pointed their spears, a wind tunnel surged forth and pushed the two from where they stood and into a group of bukuri on a lower platform. Su managed to keep her balance and skidded to a halt while Amata collapsed upon some of the others and just barely managed to hang on.
    Su raised a finger skyward before she swept her hand in a wide arc.
    “Hailstorm!” She roared. A series of icicles took form around her and launched in every direction, piercing those unfortunate enough to be in direct sight of them.
    “I could use a hand!” Amata shouted to her comrade who turned with a glare.
    “I know, I kno-geh!” She stumbled back as a boomerang collided with her face. She placed a hand to the spot it hit and had one of her legs impaled as she faltered. “Goddamn little shits!”
    One of the bukuri stepped on Amata’s fingers and she lost her grip on the landing. As she began her sudden descent she spread her wings and narrowly managed to right herself before she took to the skies, out of the reach of her adversaries.
    “These Agasura are way stronger than she used to be…” She kissed her teeth in her annoyance before she set her sights back on the chieftain.
    Take out the leader, and the chain of command would be lost. The quickest way to victory.
    She glanced to Su who in her fury, performed a sweeping kick and knocked all surrounding enemies down.
    “Now you’ve pissed me off!” She roared before she hurled her dagger into the ground.
    She jumped into the air, performed an ascending flip and stomped it into the ground, causing a rift in the landing. After she reclaimed her dagger she leapt from the heads of the bukuri to another landing as the last fell to pieces and crushed those caught in the rubble and those beneath. Without a doubt, Amata need not concern herself for the well-being of the Governor of Earth. Wounded or not, she would find a way to slay her enemies in the most destructive way possible.
    She held a hand skywards and clenched a fist on the flame she created. One good Scorn and she would at the very least be able to remove the bukuri surrounding the chieftain, or so she thought. She hurled the spell towards them and they retaliated with a second tunnel of wind. The moment the wind touched it, it burst and the flames were turned against her and carried, creating a flaming typhoon.
    The spell launched Amata back and she began a sudden descent to the ground below where she crashed into more of the bukuri. She sheathed her wings and stormed out from between their numbers. She jumped down and hit the ground hard before she rolled over and took cover in the brush for a moment of recovery.
    The battle had just begun and she had already suffered a series of wounds. Until she could regroup with TJ, her wings would likely remain too damaged to be of any use. Much to her dismay, the bukuri were much more persistent than she had expected, and they followed her down into the brush of the ground level.
    She grit her teeth and closed her eyes. How was she to defend herself in the Jungle without setting everything ablaze? She cursed her ancestors’ decision to put the surrounding region under the Governor of Fire’s jurisdiction. Alas, both as its protector and that of the people’s she would do what she must do.

    TJ took a deep breath as he eyed his surroundings. There were a series of bukuri before him, but the surrounding area had enough openings for others to slip past him and pursue the Lilliputian soldiers. He could not allow them that opportunity. As he caught a glimpse of some running past he took a step forward and outstretched a hand.
    “Hailstorm!” He roared and fired a seriesi of iciles both to cut them off and wound them.
    Time was of the essence. He had a means to protect them—he just needed to choose. He clenched a fist. With this power…
    He placed his hands together before he lowered them to his sides and spun around once.
    “Ice Fear!” The moment he lowered his left hand icicles emerged from the ground between the trees trapping the bukuri in with him and he did so for his right flank with his other hand.
    With this power…
    He clenched a fist and a bright light took form in it.
    “Sunlight!” As he raised it to the sky a blinding sphere of light arose to the sky and burst briefly after, blinding all who had set their eyes on him.
    He clapsed his hands together and closed his eyes. “Lend me your aid, Caritas!”
    Velvet appeared before him and bashed her mace against her shield before she swung it away. “I’ll protect you TJ!” She said before she vanished.
    Velvet’s transparent armour took form upon him as she faded away and he readied his weapon.
    “With this power…I won’t be defeated by anyone!” He roared.
    The only place the bukuri could pass through, at least those within eyesight of the Lilliputian soldiers was behind him and if need be he could block that off also. There was no way he would let them get past, however.
    The bukuri began arguing amidst themselves before a group of four charged at him. He lunged forward directly at one of their spears before he evaded by turning on the ball of his left heel. Once behind it he bashed it in the back of its head with his guitar before he transitioned into a leaping strike. The second bukuri attempted to defend itself with its spear but his metal guitar split the wooden weapon and struck home.
    As he withdrew one of the other bukuri that attempted to get past him struck him with his spear but did not pierce his armour. Before it could withdraw he kicked it in the face and to the ground before he stood over it.
    “Hailstorm!” He snarled as a torrent of icicles were fired directly into its mask and pierced through the shell, splashing blood over his pants and shoes.
    The last one that had approached continued on and he outstretched his free hand. “Freezing Wave!” A beam of freezing ice was fired from it and his hand shot upards until he cancelled the spell. He could understand why Su used her second hand to steady her aim—the sheer force of it made his hand veer off target.
    Putting the thought to rest he dashed after it and leapt towards it to bash the frozen back of the bukuri. With a single hit from his guitar it shattered and the felled creature collapsed to the ground, missing the broken part of its body.
    He created two more icicles with Ice Fear and eyed the others that he maintained through his SP, but doing so was quickly draining him. He had to end this engagement quickly because he could only maintain them for so long. If the Lilliputian soldiers escaped, his goal would be accomplished.
    As he turned around he caught a glimpse of a boomerang whizzing towards him followed by bukuri. As the weapon neared, the ice shield that surrounded him slowed it down enough for him to step aside and did so for his oncoming adversary. He leapt over the bukuri and somersaulted aside from a second that attempted to impale him. Others quickly followed afterwards and he soon found himself surrounded.
    He quickly hopped to his feet and as they lunged at him with spears once more. He spun on the spot as he shouted, “Hailstone!” Hailstones rained all around him and stopped their attack while freezing most of them in place.
    Those that were out of reach hurled spears, so he spread his wings and took to the trees. He bounded towards one and off of it to avoid the initial attack and found a series of boomerangs colliding with the tree he jumped from. With a boost of his wings he managed to get into a tree branch and clasped his hands together to form a frozen sphere.
    “Icy Bomb!” He hurled the sphere to the ground and those that were partially frozen were coated in ice, while those who were not also faced the same fate.
    He rose to his feet and channeled a sphere of water which he shaped into a mallet through Caster’s Workshop. “I’ll break you!” He snarled as he leapt from where he stood and jumped a second time. He came down with incredible momentum alongside the force of his swing and slammed the ground, shattering it and all the frozen figures that surrounded him.
    As he rose to his feet the icicles from his Ice Fear shattered to pieces as did his mallet and he looked upon the aftermath of the battle. His hands trembled from both the force of his impact and the adrenaline running through his veins.
    He needed not the power of the Agasura nor Su to save him. He was definitely getting stronger, and it felt great. But there was still so much room to improve.
    He clenched his fist and pumped it with a quiet, “Yes!” Following it, he eyed the rest of the battlefield.
    There was no sign of the Lilliputian soldiers, so it seemed they escaped safely, much to his relief. Putting the thought aside, he realized he had not seen any of his comrades since the battle had started.
    He made his way through the brush and into the clearing. The sight of all the fallen Lilliputians was hard to take, but he knew he had to press on—the engagement he was in may have ended, but the battle was nowhere near over. He could see the ruins of a landing and the weapons and corpses of bukuri buried within, without a doubt Su’s handiwork. Though far, he could see her battling at another place. Despite being outnumbered, she still handled herself well and managed to stave off the bukuri…but where was Amata?
    “Amata? Amata where are you?!” TJ shouted as he looked around the battlefield.
    He caught a glimpse of the kuri chieftain and some of his followers at the pinnacle of the battlefield, but they seemed to pay him little mind. Where they were looking, however drew his attention. Bukuri by the dozens leapt down from the platforms they once inhabited and scurried into the jungle out of TJ’s sight. Was it possible that Amata was somewhere in there? He had to help her!
    Without a second thought he spread his wings and leapt into the trees to pursue the bukuri.
    Amata crawled out from under the brush and leaned against a tree to catch her breath. She gripped her arm tightly to staunch the pain for a moment and sighed. If she was not the Governor of Fire only God Ah knows what would have become of her after getting caught in that returned spell. She was thankful for her heritage, but she set the thought aside as she acknowledged the fact that now was not the time for such trivial things. She was in a dangerous situation and if she used her powers recklessly she could endanger herself also.
    She peeked out from the tree she took cover behind and caught a glimpse of bukuri leaping down from the platform she collapsed upon recently. They likely followed her descent and without a doubt there were more to come. To return the way she came and get out into the clearing, she would need to fight her way past them. On the bright side, for them to come to her meant they were that much further from the chieftain. If she could regroup with TJ they could thin out the numbers and weaken the defense around the leader, making it that much easier to strike him down. She took a deep breath. Running directly there could be reckless…she would have to fight while she escaped.
    A bukuri ran past the tree she was hiding behind and she pressed herself against it as she held her breath in hopes that it would not see her, but much to her dismay it turned and began to shout, likely calling the others.
    “Gods damn it!” She hissed as she pointed her staff at it and a torrent of flames engulfed it.
    As the burned creature fell to the ground the sound of others drew her attention and she knew that at this juncture her only option was to fight. The element of surprise was blown almost immediately.
    She dashed out of her hiding place and hopped over a series of brushes before she found herself cut off by more bukuri coming from the clearing. She swore under her breath at the sight. It was worth a shot, but it seemed even if she went away from the path she originally took, they would find her because they had the entire perimeter covered.
    Her best bet would be to fight her way out towards where she seperated with the Abellan and regroup. Su was beyond her reach, but if she kept an eye on her back and what lurked ahead, reaching him was not an impossible feat.
    It was not long before the bukuri appeared in great numbers in pursuit of her. She lowered her head as a pair of boomerangs whizzed past her followed by a series of spears.
    “Back off!” She snarled as she leapt back and skidded to a halt. She dropped her staff and clapped her hands together, then pulled them apart to create a flaming sphere. She spun as she hurled it into the oncoming group of bukuri. “Lion’s Dance!” The flaming sphere shot towards them and once it got in range it released a torrent of sparks as it bounced through the air and set her adversaries aflame.
    Bukuri stepped into her vision upon both her flanks and she grit her teeth. She could only pick one side to defend! She stole a glimpse to her right and noted they were still approaching. On her left some were readying to hurl spears. A direct attack could stop it.
    “Sear!” She shouted as she stretched out a hand. The ground beneath the three bukuri who attempted to strike her down crumbled apart and a torrent of flames erupted from the aperture.
    She spun on the balls of her heels and backed away almost immediately but fumbled her step as a spear pierced her right bicep.
    “Shit! Shit, shit, shit!” She staggered to her full height before she placed her right hand to her left wrist. “Ember!” At those words both sparks and flames erupted from her hand with enough force to push the bukuri within range back and set them aflame. Those that followed in their wake were met with a second blast from the God’s Governor.
    She searched the area and took note that there were no more bukuri in her immediate area. She took to the cover of a tree and some bushes to nurse her wound. She leaned against the tree and let out a sigh as she leaned her head back, then set her eyes to the spear and the wound it created. She took a deep breath as she gripped the spear and dug her fingers into the dirt. She clenched her teeth and held her breath before she ripped the spear from her bicep and let out a brief, but agonized cry. She laid the weapon down and placed a hand to the wound and cauterized it with her magic. She exhaled and groaned gently, but she reminded herself that she had to keep moving.
    The Governor of Fire reclaimed her weapon and the spare and continued her escape into the jungle. There were bukuri that made their way into it and she kept her head low. She ran from one tree to the next, dashed into brushes and crawled through them to avoid detection.
    As she got to her feet and prepared to sprint, a fireball fell from the sky and crashed to the earth like a mortar. After spending a moment in utter shock, she looked to the smoke trail it left and noted that it had come from where the kuri chieftain was. Much to her dismay, there was much more to those bukuri than any of the others, and they were starting to agitate her. The effect was most likely due to Asmodeus’ Dominion and it served as an even greater incentive to deal with the chieftain and succeed in her trial.
    Taking note of the location of the attack, the bukuri immediately followed in the wake of it and pursued it. It would be impossible for her to escape them without detection and to take defensive maneuvers now would cause her to stray from the path where TJ while putting her on the path back towards Ktuka Ruins. She decided she would stay her path and take out any who head her off.
    Amata steeled her resolve and leapt over the flames before she broke out into an immediate sprint. Four bukuri took notice of her. Two of them straight ahead, two more on her left flank. The two at her front drew their boomerangs and hurled them. She took cover behind a tree and dropped the spear she held to create a flame in her hand.
    “Eat this!” With a wave of her hand she hurled a fireball at one of them. The moment it touched the Agasura it burst into flames and ran away screaming before it collapsed. One down, three to go. She hurled a second but the Agasura took note and collapsed to the ground, narrowly avoiding the spell.
    She clicked her tongue before she leaned to the other side of the tree to see the other two. She watched as they made their way towards her and also towards a narrow path they would have to line up to get through. She counted down the seconds before she stepped out from her cover and hurled the spear.
    “Sacrificial Arm!” She snarled. After a couple of seconds in flight, the weapon combusted and exploded upon hitting one of the bukuri, blowing them both to pieces. The path was clear!
    She immediately broke out into a sprint for a brief time, but slowed down as she realized she had exerted too much stamina getting to this point. She had not shaken the fourth bukuri yet, and the fact that it still pursued her at a fairly competitive speed despite its short legs meant she had to act. Fight? Or escape? Perhaps she could do both.
    She armed her staff and pointed it towards the bukuri. A sky blue sphere took form at the tip and she fired it off before creating another. A common magic missile spell for staff users but one that did not take enough SP to really be considered exhausting. Also one with little power, but the enemies before her were nothing more than fodder in great numbers. As she ran she continued to fire them off but none made contact.
    She hit a tree and fell back after. “Mmnn…” She muttered under her breath as she rubbed her head. As the bukuri neared an icy spear pierced its mask and it collapsed to the ground.
    TJ descended from the treetops and rolled over onto his back before he got up and dusted himself off. A terrible landing, but one befitting of a clumsy person like him.
    He hurried over to her and offered her a hand. “Amata! I finally found you!” He said with a look of sheer relief in his eyes and a bright smile to accompany it. “Are you alright? Can you stand?”
    She took his hand and he helped her to her feet. The strength he put into it pulled her into him and she placed a hand to his chest with a look of surprise. Although…she did not mind this too much.
    “TJ! You don’t know how glad I am to see you!” She laughed with relief. To see a friendly face after being bombarded with spears and boomerangs was the best thing she could ask for.
    “I-I’m glad to see you too!” He said as he averted his gaze, his cheeks flushed. “You’re not hurt are you?”
    “Just a little bit.”
    She looked directly at him and his nervousness increased somewhat. It was fun to tease him a bit…but it was probably the first time that she got such a good look at him up close. A distance she often did not cross with anyone…but one he and Peorth were close enough for. She felt slightly envious at the prospect but decided to set it aside for now. For the next few days the two would be together, so there would be time for shortening the distance between their hearts. They had to finish this fight before all else.
    “Can I count on you for that?”
    He beamed. “Leave it to me!”
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:45 am

    Pages 445-452:
    For a time TJ sat down and healed Amata’s wounds with his song. She sat down and listened intently with a pleased look up until the song finished. Once it was done the Governor rose to her feet, rolled her shoulders and spread her wings.
    “Better?” He asked.
    She grinned. “Good as new! Thanks TJ!”
    He beamed. “Perfect.”
    Amata put her wings away and picked up her staff before she turned her eyes to the battlefield they once were upon. “Now that we’ve regrouped, all that’s left to do is to get back that crazy girl and take down the kuri chieftain.
    “Was everything okay on your end?”
    TJ got to his feet and placed his guitar on his back as he nodded. “I managed to repel the bukuri and the Lilliputian soldiers escaped safely. Do you think they’ll be able to get back to Lilliput?” He knit his brows.
    “Honestly, they’ll probably have the others that were following up after us to escort them back. It’d be for the best, anyway. We can handle things here, right?” She grinned and winked.
    He felt a bit more courageous upon hearing those words. “Yeah. Definitely!”
    She gestured for him to follow after her. “Well come on then! No point in sitting around when there’s a fight to be finished!”
    Without further ado the two hurried back onto the battlefield. As both had expected, most of the bukuri that once inhabited it had become nothing but corpses in a one-girl slaughter. What surprised them however, was the fact that one girl was not alone. Several Suubas flitted about the battlefield, armed the same as their creator and bringing death in their wakes. When their duration had ended, they would crumble into dust and vanish. One of the Suubas would stop, create another mud golem and it would take her shape before both continued the fight.
    “Why am I not surprised she would do that?” Amata sighed as she shrugged. “Like really! What a waste of mana!”
    “She certainly is effective though…” TJ said with a gentle chuckle. “Let’s help her out. If we work together we can cut down the mana she uses among the three of us.”
    “I suppose you’re right.” Amata spread her wings. “I’ll play it a bit safer this time with the chieftain. Will you be okay getting around on your own TJ?”
    He gave her a thumbs-up. “I’ll be alright, so you don’t have to worry. Just be safe, okay?”
    At his words she looked startled for a moment, but it quickly subsided and in place of it she smiled with rosy cheeks. “Thanks for worrying about me. See you on the field.” At those words she took off and TJ looked upon the battlefield.
    There were vines that would allow him to ascend the platforms but they were far. Now was as good a time as any for him to practice with his wings…or at least put them to use in a practical situation. He spread his wings and looked up to his destination. He got a running start and jumped into the air and performed a second that allowed him to flip through the air. He ascended above the platform and began his descent, skidding to a halt beside a Su who took a couple stabs at a pair of bukuri and cut them both down.
    “It’s about goddamn time you idiots decided to show up!” She hissed.
    “The fuck took you so long?!” Another snarled.
    “You’re both fucking slow!” Anoter shouted from across the field.
    TJ watched in disbelief. They did not stop what they were doing to berate them, but they still made the effort to do so. To add insult to injury they all sounded exactly like the real Suuba and this made it difficult to tell which of them was actually her.
    Before a fourth could speak up Amata dodged a mortar and roared, “Would all of you just shut up?!”
    They all clicked their tongues in succession and set their sights upon what they were doing. TJ took note of this—childhood friends never seem to get along. Despite this, they can complete the marriage contract. Something to remember for the future.
    As the lower platforms were cleared of the bukuri Su’s mud golems began to vanish and TJ decided he needed to ascend further. As he flew ever higher he touched down on top of one of the bukuri and found a dagger hurled between his feet and into the back of the head of his adversary.
    “Quit gawking and start killing things unless you wanna join them, dumbass!” Su snarled as she kicked a bukuri in the face with her boot and turned to grab her dagger. Moments before she found herself impaled she parried the head of the spear and charged the bukuri into another, hurling them both off of the landing.
    TJ immediately hopped off of the felled Agasura and defended his back with his guitar from two incoming bukuri. He held one back with his foot until he could finally force the other two away. He reeled his foot back and bashed it over the head with his weapon.
    “Icy Wind!” He shouted as he strummed his guitar with a wave of his hand. A chilly gust surged forth and caused the bukuri to take up a defensive stance. TJ charged forward with his guitar and bashed both off of the landing causing them to fall to their demise.
    It felt like he was at the Temple of Pluton all over again! He grinned with delight for a moment, but his happiness was short lived.
    “Watch it, idiot!” One of the Sus roared.
    An earthen spear collapsed where he stood all but a moment ago and shattered the platform he stood on. It crumbled to pieces and he frantically ran as it slowly fell away from the rest. He leapt towards the nearest one and jumped a second time, nearly landing upon it until he was caught in a sudden vicious torrent of wind. His skin was cut and he was splashed with his own blood and tossed off course.
    “Crap…!” He uttered as he fell away, his hands grasping at what was once within his reach.
    Much to his surprise a hand reached out and grasped his, pulling him just above the platform and dropping him down where it was safe.
    “Watch the kuri chieftain and his entourage while you fight TJ!” Amata shouted as she touched down next to him, the two surrounded by bukuri.
    She plunged her staff into the ground. “Ring of Entropy!”
    Just as the spears touched their skin flames emerged from around them and caused the bukuri to pull away and jump to the nearest landing they could. A majority of them fell to their demise.
    “Thanks Amata!” TJ said as he took to her blindside.
    A massive ball of flames soared towards them in an arc and TJ immediately raised both his hands to create a sheet of ice to block the spell. The flame hit his wall and it melted almost immediately, disarming the threat. He took note that he was the caster among them. Taking him down wouldn’t be easy, but if he could get those bukuri out of the way the others could likely manage.
    “Nice save,” The Governor of Fire said. “Looks like most of them are out of the way. Su’s got that last group under control, so you and I can target the chieftain and co. Any questions?”
    “Yeah, just one.” He said and she raised a brow.
    He eyed the group warily and they seemed to be jeering and cursing at him—or at least he assumed they were. The chieftain stood tall and solemn among them and somehow it gave him an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.
    “Think we can get them off of that platform?”
    She knit her brows. “It’s possible but…why? Wouldn’t it be easier to knock them off of it like the rest?”
    “It’d be nice yeah, but I just have the feeling they’d be weaker in close quarters. I mean…they have the power over the elements, so it’s hard to get them with spells isn’t it? Fire, earth, wind…” He raised a finger as he listed off each.
    “Though I assume, like any other mage…Su aside, they’re weaker when you fight them in close combat. They need time and distance to cast effectively.”
    Amata blinked. “You raise a pretty good point. I’m not all for trashing this place, but for the sake of the Jungle and the cities within its radius, let’s do what we’ve gotta do.”
    She stepped forward as a torrent of flames was launched towards them and repelled it with a single hand.
    “I’ll keep them busy TJ! You focus on shattering the platform! If they fall to their deaths, good! If not, we’ll take the battle to them on the ground level!”
    At those words Amata took flight again and TJ set his sights on the landing they stood on. While half of the bukuri set their sights on Amata, the other half had focused on Su, but the chieftain continued to watch TJ as if he saw something in him or knew something about him. The look of the mask gave him the shivers, but fear would not diminish his will to fight.
    There was nothing to it but to engage them. Amata rapidly hurled fireballs down at them and they retaliated with torrents of ice to put out the flames. It seemed that it was not just the chieftain, but all of the bukuri that fought alongside him that could cast spells. He would have to strike them down one by one, if so.
    He held out a hand and an icicle took form. He caught it in his palm before he winded his arm back and hurled it at one of the bukuri who were facing away. As the spell neared it the chieftain raised his staff and a barrier of fire melted the icicle before it made contact.
    TJ eyed him warily for a moment but took notice of this. It served as a good test, but also proof that he would need something far stronger.
    “Here I go!” He said as he took a step forward. “Shattered Berg!” Behind him the massive iceberg took form and as he raised a finger skywayrd it shattered to pieces. He outstretched his hand before him and the shards of it shot forward toward the group. As they neared the kuri chieftain outstretched his staff and a wall of flames took form and moved forward steadily for a couple of moments, melting TJ’s spell before it could reach him and his men. “Damn it!”
    Amata flew back towards him, but continued to face their adversaries. “Don’t forget what you said TJ! You can’t challenge a mage from afar.” She furrowed her brows. “Neither can I, but since Su’s preoccupied at the moment we have to figure something out.”
    TJ rubbed his temples. “I dunno what I should do!” He complained in his frustration.
    “Remember that every element has a weakness. Fire is strong against earth, earth is strong against water, water is strong against wind and wind is strong against fire. Among the three of us, we have three of those four elements!” Amata kept up a barrage of fireballs to stall for time. “If you wanna beat them at their own game, you’ll have to play the waiting game to strike their weakness!
    “But then again, this is you we’re talking about. You’re the Abellan and our plan guy. You always figure something out, so do what you do best.” She gave him a smile that boosted his confidence somewhat alongside her words.
    “Alright just gimme a bit and I think I’ll come up with something.”
    He placed a couple fingers to his chin as he mulled over her words. What he had seen thus far was that the bukuri surrounding the chieftain were, more or less his offense. Not once had the chieftain attacked, but he had plenty of defensive spells to prevent TJ from taking out his men. That aside, he could easily counter TJ’s ice spells with fire, and due to his lack of skill with earth magic and Su still fighting the bukuri on the other landings he could not rely on her for that. Though to his dismay, they could counter that also. What else did he have at his disposal?
    He placed a fist into his hand with a look of realization.
    The Frequency! Of course! How did I not think of it sooner?! He thought.
    Through it he would be able to tap into his greater powers—something that only he could do. Light and darkness were elements also, but a pair that could only counteract each other. The two gave him a strength that could not be competed against through the use of normal spells. But what skills did he have at his disposal that could allow him to fulfill the task Amata had suggested?
    Warden’s Wrath could work, but considering his current position he would not be able to reach them with the spell. It was close range, after all.
    Starfall had impact, but not enough to smash the very ground the kuri inhabited. That aside, he had to use himself to bring the spell into existence, so he would only find himself blown away and falling to his death.
    Lightning spells had great impact, but earth was resistant to them despite how powerful they were. Better used against living creatures than just land itself.
    He sighed. He did not want to have to use anything within his chaos repertoire if he could refrain from it, but more often than not the situation seemed to call for it.
    “I’m gonna be real with you TJ, I dunno how long I can keep this up. I still have plenty of mana, but I dunno if my stamina will hold out through all of this.” The God’s Governor said as she breathed heavily. Beads of sweat ran down her face and TJ found himself hard pressed not to worry.
    “I’m sorry Amata! I’ve narrowed down the options so it won’t be long, I promise!”
    She half-smiled. “Well I am putting you on the spot, so you do what you have to do. I’ll put my all into keeping this up for as long as you need.”
    He nodded with a smile, but his joy was nothing more than a mask to ease her concern. He slapped his cheeks and closed his eyes as he thought even harder.
    Chaos spells were exactly what he needed. They had the sheer power and impact to both break through the kuri defenses and shatter the ground they walked. If he tried hard enough, he could recall the spells and what they did, but there was so many of them and so little time. He needed an idea…a push in the right direction.
    “Amata, how do people normally break earth or really hard things like rock?!” He asked desperately.
    “H-huh? That’s…well…you know, pick axes and stuff. Though that’s the hard way. Drills…they’re good too. Especially those. Umm…the Abio store sells mine bots and they have a built-in drill which makes mining really easy, I hear.”
    Drills…drills…that was it! If he recalled correctly there was one spell within his repertoire that could do just that. He would have to tap into his powers, moreso than he was used to and even more than he would like to, but it was his duty as the Abellan. He was the only one that could, and he would have to master those powers in order to defeat Asmodeus. He could not be afraid of them or he would never improve and overcome them.
    “I have a plan!” TJ said with newfound confidence.
    “Music to my ears,” Amata chuckled.
    “Su, can you hear me?” He asked as he looked down to his gem.
    From the far end of the battlefield Su kicked a bukuri to the ground and impaled it with its own spear. As it wriggled and let out a dying cry followed by a gurgling noise she answered, “Good timing. I just cleaned this place out.”
    “Perfect. How quickly can you get over here?”
    His gem lit up and the Governor of Earth emerged from it and stood before him. She crossed her arms and raised a brow solemnly.
    “Oh…right, of course!” He had gotten so wrapped up in everything else he was forgetting the obvious things. “I need your help to tap into the Chaos Frequency. I’m gonna use that to break through their defenses and bring this thing down.”
    “You are?” She snorted. “Ballsy. So? That all you need me to do?”
    “Well…no. Two things!” He raised a finger. “The first thing I need you to do is help Amata keep the kuri busy, preferably with Chaos spells.” He raised his second finger. “The second is…if I lose myself…um…do what you have to to bring me back.”
    She grinned. “That’s all? You sure know how to set the bar low, don’t you?”
    He smiled slightly at her remark. He was glad to have a partner who he could count on. “I’d expect no less from you.” He took a deep breath. “Okay, let’s show them what we’re made of!”
    “Time for a bloodbath!” Su roared with delight.
    TJ pounded his fists together and Su pounded an open palm. “Frequency,” They said in unison. Both of their irises flickered to crimson.
    “Alright, I’m gonna get started. Can you two buy me just a bit more time?”
    “No problem. I’ll take the rear.” Amata told them before she zipped off.
    Su cracked her knuckles and her neck. “Those dirty little shits are in for the best kind of treat!”
    TJ took a deep breath and raised a hand to the sky. “Wrath, Pride, Sloth!” A crimson and black vortex opened up in the sky above him and three tethers emerged from it and gathered upon his arm.
    “Didn’t expect that.” Su said with a bored look. “Just don’t get us caught in that, would ya’?”
    “I won’t, I promise.”
    “Alright, I’ll give you the time you need.” The Governor of Earth grinned. “Let’s see how long those little turds can keep up their guard.” She raised a finger to the sky and snapped her fingers. “Dance of Blades!” Three swords appeared around her and moved to attack the bukuri at her command.
    The moment they set out for the kuri chieftain intercepted each attack with a wall of ice that disappeared as briefly as it appeared.
    The Governor chuckled mirthlessly as she changed her fighting stance. She raised both arms to match her shoulder’s height and a single leg. Both feet gained a pink glow. “Malignant Spitfire!” With every kick she performed, a pink crescent was launched at her targets. The bukuri conjured and hurled rocks to deflect the attacks but struggled to keep up with her onslaught.
    “Just a bit longer…” TJ muttered as he looked to the sky. The vortex began to shrink and the last of the tethers gathered upon his arm. It had taken the appearance of the vortex, completely black with pulsing red veins swirling throughout it and his hand. “I’m ready! Can you give me a boost Su?”
    She stopped cackling and turned to him. “Seriously? Man you’re hopeless. Alright, come on, let’s do this.”
    She cupped her hands and he nodded. Without further ado he ran towards her and placed a foot into her hands before she hurled him into the air.
    “Now’s my chance!” He aimed his hand down and caught a glimpse of the Agasura dropping their guard to back away. The bukuri that followed the chieftain turned and began to chant—he was prepared for this. “Gula,” He roared. A tornado surged forth towards him and with both hands he engulfed the spell. Power surged within him—he felt stronger both physically and magically, and he put that power into his next spell.
    He aimed his hand at them and a crimson beam was shot from it and pierced through the landing. “Executioner’s Calling!” The crimson veins in his arms emerged and gathered around it to form a swirling drill.
    His body lunged forward carried by the arm and he hit the ground the kuri chieftain and his men fled from. Within a matter of moments his drill pierced the earth and the ground began to crack and break apart. In the few moments he was there, he could see a magic-pulse ripple through the landing and the mana within drift away before the landing began to fall to the earth.
    Lead by two of the bukuri, the chieftain and the men following him leapt off of the landing before it broke apart. TJ pulled his arm out and attempted to escape also but lost his footing as it collapsed with him in the center. He dug his fingers into the dirt as it began to fall and he looked to the skies to find Amata nearing.
    “Take my hand!” She shouted as she reached out to him.
    He reached out for her and she took his hands in both of hers. She rapidly began to flap her wings to ease their descent and she let him off at the ground floor.
    “You saved me again. I can’t thank you enough.” TJ said with a sheepish grin.
    “This is…nothing…! For a God’s Governor!” Amata uttered through heavy breaths. The few beads of sweat had multiplied.
    Su emerged from the gem and looked into the cloud of dust as the remaining pieces of earth fell to the ground. “I take it that didn’t kill them?” She asked.
    The three covered their faces as a wave of dust was pushed in all directions, including theirs and the kuri chieftain and his men drifted down gently via a powerful gust from beneath his throne.
    “Fuckin’ figures…” She shrugged. “Well there isn’t much standing between them and my dagger so…first come first serve!”
    “You mean first in and first out…” Amata muttered with an exasperated gaze.
    Without a moment to lose Su rushed towards them. One bukuri lifted his mask to blow a series of flames at her and another chanted before firing a torrent of wind in her direction. She somersaulted away from the first and dashed in another direction to avoid the second while closing the distance. The kuri chieftain summoned a shield of ice and placed it down before them, but not even that could hold the Governor of Earth back. She vaulted over it and descended upon them with a spinning slash, but found her blade met with a hardening barrier of mud.
    She withdrew but remained in close range of them. As she touched down she backed away as the earth arose in spikes at her feet with every step she took back until she hit the wall. Before two more pierced her legs she leapt against it and leapt from it to lunge at the chieftain. The other bukuri surrounding him stepped out and launched her back to her allies with a surge of wind.
    “Pain in the ass!” She snarled as she wiped the blood from her arms and face and arose once more.
    “I saw that one coming from a mile away.” Amata muttered under her breath.
    “Did you now?!” Su hissed as she stomped the ground and a wall of earth protected them from an onslaught of flames. “Great! So what’s your plan, smart one?”
    Vicious winds began to lash against the wall and pieces of it began to shatter and fall away.
    “Let’s just attack together. They can’t defend all of their sides at once.” She eyed Su warily. “Why don’t you summon some of your clones?”
    “Against these guys? Fuck no!”
    “We don’t have much time to argue the point. We’ve gotta put this plan into action, and fast.” TJ said as he took cover from a piece of rock that broke from the top of Su’s wall.
    “Suppose you’re right. Think you can come up with another plan in the meantime?” Amata asked as she glanced at him from the corner of her eye.
    It seemed that his role was being further established as the team’s ‘plan guy’. Not exactly his specialty, but doing that and leading the team were not so different after all. If his allies could count on him, all the more reason to strive to improve.
    “I’ll give it a shot,” He answered. “In the meantime, let’s try and find a weakness.”
    “Alright, break!” Su shouted and they all dashed out from the wall.
    Su ran right while TJ and Amata took to the left.
    “Hailstorm!” TJ shouted as he outstretched a hand and fired a series of icicles. One of the four bukuri met his icicles with fire and Amata took to the skies before she soared above them.
    “My turn now! Falcon Torrent!” She outstretched both hands and unleashed her flames down upon them. She fell away briefly after as steam rose up and burned her skin. Upon her falling back she caught a glimpse of the kuri chieftain shielding them with ice once more.
    Su stomped the ground and hurled a chunk of earth in an arc, then followed it with a second sliding across the ground. Two of the bukuries stepped out to block it with earth of their own and neutralize the strikes.
    “They’ve got us in spades! They’ve got all of our strengths covered and there’s no easy way in!” Amata shouted to them as she landed.
    “Maybe there is! Shadow Dive!” TJ leapt into the shadows and traversed them to get into their range. It felt as if he was swimming through the ground and all the while had to hold his breath. Once he emerged he gasped for air but still found himself stuck within and struggled to pull himself out. The chieftain took notice of this and started bashing his head and torso with his staff until the bukuri turned and lifted their mask in preparation for more fire.
    “This idiot!” Su muttered as she dove into the shadows after him. Before they could set him aflame he vanished into the ground and the two emerged shortly after in Amata’s shadow.
    “Don’t use spells you don’t know how to use!”
    Amata looked at them with a hint of terror in her eyes, but it quickly subsided. “Couldn’t you have jumped out of another shadow? Jeez…” She sighed.
    “I…figured it was worth a try.” TJ muttered apologetically. Su had always done it so skillfully and easily. He knew the effects of the spells and how to utilize them, but he did not know the finer details of them, and those in his chaos repertoire were in a league of their own, regarding difficulty.
    “It almost worked,” Amata said as she took his hand and the three started running to avoid an onslaught of spells.
    The kuri chieftain and his men left the throne behind and began to pursue them.
    “I mean, you did get in there, but you just didn’t…you know, actually get to do anything with it.”
    The trio dived for cover behind some of the fallen landings to catch their breath and heal their wounds. TJ began to play his guitar and Su stood guard.
    “Maybe if we had Su do it instead it would work better?” He suggested.
    “The only way we could pull that off is to exit through the chieftain’s shadow. The others are too small, which is why your big ass got stuck.” Su retorted with an exasperated gaze.
    “My ass is not fat!”
    “I didn’t say fat.” She grinned devilishly. “But I beg to differ.”
    “Enough of your squabbling,” Amata muttered.
    “More importantly, if we’re gonna kill these guys we’re gonna have to do it without being seen. We could have them come over here and ambush them.”
    TJ finished his song and sighed with a bit of relief. “I used Sunlight on the bukuri to buy me some time for an attack, but in this state I can’t do that. That, and it has a short effect time. We can’t do much with only a couple seconds.”
    A powerful torrent of wind passed around them and they were immediately pelted with massive stones. They fled from their hiding spot and immediately split up once more.
    “That…was a bad hiding spot.” TJ said as he wiped the blood from his head.
    “Figures.” Su sighed as she ran alongside him. “Why don’t you just use your sister’s power and disarm the asshole? He’s probably powerless without his staff.”
    “Probably isn’t good enough!” He complained. Su tackled him aside as a mortar collapsed upon where they were running. “T-thanks.” The two got to their feet and decided to turn back around to back up Amata, who became the preferred target.
    As they did TJ pondered his options. The best way to close the distance would be to do so undetected. To use Shadow Dive was a good way to get in, but it left them vulnerable while they emerged. However, so long as the bukuri and kuri chieftain could not see them, they could not counteract their attacks. If light would only blind them briefly, what if they were able to trap them in darkness? It would still be some time before night, but was it possible they could do so artificially? Perhaps through phantasm magic…
    “Su, I have an idea!” TJ shouted to her as he used Dance of Blades this time around.
    “Another one of your ideas? Your last one didn’t go so well now did it?”
    “I-I know…but this one’s better!”
    “Ugh…fine. What is it?”
    “The bukuri can’t counteract spells if they can’t see what we’re casting. Do you have any phantasm magic that can coat the area in darkness?”
    “Phantasm?” A series of icicles flew over Su’s head as she crouched down. “Hell no.” She somersaulted aside as a pair of mortars descended upon her and exploded within a short radius. “Chaos? Absolutely.” She frowned as she ran to his side. “But you know how damn long these things take. It’s got a long ass cast time.” She paused. “Actually, just do something so that they can’t see what I’m up to. I just need to get close. A few seconds will do.”
    He grinned. “Leave it to us.”
    “Amata!” TJ shouted as he ran towards the bukuri and they turned their spells on him.
    “Yeah?” She shouted back as she took to the skies.
    “We need something big! Huge spell! Huge and distracting if possible! We’ll cover you after if need be!”
    “I’ve got something in mind, but I need you to contain the flames! Can you do that? It’s a little like Falcon Torrent.”
    He nodded. “I’ll go and set up, so you get ready!”
    At those words she nodded and soared ever higher.
    If she was gonna use a spell like Falcon Torrent, it would have to come from above. All he needed was something to funnel the flames directly on to the Agasura. That, he could do. He just needed to get a bit closer…
    He charged directly ahead towards the two bukuri who watched the chieftain’s back. One of the two blew fire while the other hurled pieces of earth in TJ’s way. He had to side step multiple times and leap over the remnants of the flames to avoid getting burned. As he continued on one of them began to chant and he expected the upwind to force him back, but instead he was caught in a downwind and began running too fast for his mind to process each step. He began to fumble in an attempt to slow down and the flames he once avoided were carried by the wind and burned his back. He hit the ground hard and rolled over to put out the flames while the wind stopped briefly allowing him to rise again. When he did another surge came forth and cut him apart but he decided to force his way forward.
    He put one hand to the gust and as the skin was torn from his fingers he snarled, “Negate!” At his command the wind came to a halt and he charged through the flames in one last desperate attempt to see his duty through. He leapt through the air and slammed a fist to the ground as he raised his head. “Necrotic Pillars!”
    Several massive violet pillars arose from the ground and surrounded the Agasura, trapping them in completely. He rose to his feet and raised a hand, summoning a second, third and fourth set to create what almost seemed to be a tower of pillars.
    Afterwards he fell back in the grass and groaned. “You’re up, Amata…” He let out a dry chuckle as he put out a small flame on one of his strands of hair.
    High above them all the God’s Governor remained in flight, a ring of flames surrounded her arms and feet like bracelets and a mantle covered her body. Half way to awakening, she looked down upon the battlefield as TJ erected the pillars and trapped the Agasura in.
    She clenched a fist and a flame surrounded it. When she opened the palm of her hand a sphere took form as she aimed directly beneath her. “Die! Hellzone Torrent!” Flames shot downwards with the strength and speed of a laser and rained down upon the Agasura within for several seconds before the spell dissipated and the Gods’ Governor heaved. “If that didn’t kill ‘em, Su’s plan better.”
    TJ could hear the cries of the Agasura within, but none were the sounds of them dying if his experiences were any indication. At the very least, her spells wounded them to some degree. When the flames came to an end he destroyed the pillars and glimpsed the five Agasura surrounded by embers and steam. Their skin had suffered severe burns from the attack and a greater portion of the chieftain’s staff was burned and steadily crumbling away.
    “It’s my turn now!” Su said as she rushed ahead.
    Much to his surprise, she wore a mantle like crow’s feathers. Where did she get it from? Or was it possibly a spell?
    As she neared, the bukuri turned on her and started blowing fire to keep her away. While one aimed directly ahead, the other created a wall of flames. Su cackled as she neared and leapt above them all. The chieftain weakly raised his staff to create another wall of ice, and as he did Su spread the mantle open and it took on the appearance of a wide cape.
    “Crowstorm!” She shouted. From within her mantle feathers dark as night rained down upon the five and pierced through the shield and those beneath. “The fun’s not over yet! Murder!” She covered herself in it once more and vanished, leaving only a thick black cloud. From within it a series of crows emerged, squawking together and creating a cacophony of noise before they descended upon the five and attacked mercilessly as if they had already become carrion.
    Suddenly a shade fell over them all and as TJ looked into the sky he saw the mantle drifting down, all the while blotting out the sun. A single crimson eye took form upon it and as it did Su’s voice echoed, “Nevermore.” The mantle spread like a veil of darkness over the whole battlefield and a shade was cast across it.
    As the final effect came in a mantle like that of Su’s appeared around him and when he spread it, it took the form of crow wings. When he looked to the Agasura they were huddled close and searching the area though he still remained within their direct line of sight. She had done it!
    “Alright, I did what you asked. Now we’ve gotta pick these guys off before our time is up. We’ve only got a minute, so let’s make short work of them,” Su said to him through the crystal. The light drew the attention of the bukuri and one of them launched a fire ball in his direction.
    He took to the sky and it continued to fire them until it felt certain there was nothing there.
    “Hey bitch! Give us a distraction!” Su shouted as she took to the skies to meet Amata.
    “Seriously? After that you still want more out of me? Fine.” Amata pointed to the ground and a blue flame appeared. “Will o’ the Wisp!” She pointed at a few more places and more were scattered around the Agasura. “That should get their attention.”
    As she had speculated, the bukuri took it as an attack and attempted to put out the flames with ice.
    “Perfect.” Su said with a grin. “Alright TJ, follow my lead!”
    She spread her wings and shot down to the ground like a torpedo. Once in range of the Agasura she grabbed one and pulled it from the others and into the sky. Following that, she plunged her dagger into its neck and hurled the corpse aside.
    Bird of prey tactics?! The Abellan looked on in disbelief. Following her lead was the one thing he could not do, but he would be damned if he would not try!
    He ascended to a fair height and took a deep breath before he swooped in and attempted to abduct one of the remaining three bukuri. His inability to fly properly caused his descent to continue while he struggled to ascend and the two crashed into the ground—all the while they tumbled over each other. TJ dragged himself from the ground and drew his guitar and decided to pull a coup de grace. He violently and repeatedly bashed the head of the bukuri in until the sounds of its skull cracking and death cries came to an end.
    He heaved and wiped his brow before he turned to the remaining Agasura and caught a glimpse of Su flying away with the last bukuri.
    “We’re almost out of time, so take flight and get his back!” Su commanded him through the gem once more.
    “What do I do then?” TJ asked. He did not have enough time to review what the spell’s effect was—the memory was there but he needed to sift through his own to get a clear idea of it.
    “Just go. It’ll happen regardless, as long as you do what I say.”
    He took flight and carefully descened near the kuri chieftain who had put himself in the fettle position with his staff above his head. It was not long before Su descended before him, and the darkness they created encroached upon them and gathered to the two. Once it did, their bodies were enveloped in it and the two took on the form of massive crows with crimson eyes, sharp talons and beaks that were ready to tear apart their prey. Without further ado, they did exactly that. Their talons dug into his skin and their beaks ripped his hair out and pecked at the muscle, tearing the Agasura limb from limb and leaving only scraps and bones.
    Finally, the two touched down and the shade was cast off, leaving only the God’s Governor and a horrified looking Abellan.
    “…What was that?” TJ asked in disbelief.
    “Nevermore,” Su answered matter-of-factly.
    “We just ate that Agasura.”
    “Yup.” Su seemed to have her tongue in her cheek. “I think I’ve still got some of him stuck in my teeth. Got a toothpick?”
    “Aren’t you bothered by this? Like at all?!”
    “Oh stop being such a wuss about it would you? You’ve got Agasuric blood! Live a little!”
    “That’s disgusting!” Amata hissed as she touched down. “I mean, it’s a good thing that you killed him and all, but did you have to eat him?!” She hid her wings and glared at Su.
    “What’re you lookin’ at me for?! You should be worshipping the very ground I walk! I did what neither of you idiots could!”
    “You mean would. Who the hell would want to eat a humanoid thing?!”
    “Keep talking like that and I’ll tie you down and feed you the rest of his corpse! So?! How about it?!” The God’s Governors were beginning to get heated—they had gotten in each other’s faces again and it seemed a fight between them was imminent.
    “Girls, come on. I’m not happy about it either but…at least he’s dead, right?” TJ chuckled sheepishly as he stepped in between them and pushed them apart. “Let’s just leave it at that.
    “The sun’s setting, and we’ve still got a long way to go before we reach Mezzalone. Let’s think about setting up camp instead. Preferrably not here. Not anywhere near here, actually.”
    Amata sighed, “Yeah I’d rather not look at this place either. We pretty much trashed it.” She looked over it with a forlorn look in her eyes before she shook her head. “Follow me. There’s a cave nearby we can take shelter in for the night.”
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:14 pm

    Profound Sadness:
    You know, when I initially wrote the Starfall/Ascension combination, I originally intended for Ascension to be a rising kick. Then it dawned upon me that that it was awfully similar to the attacks Spiral Arrow and Cannon Spike. Had a moment where I was like, "Who's he supposed to be?! C*mmy?!" From that point on I decided to change the way Ascension works.
    Been a while, but for some reason or another I'm here, so let's get down to it!

    Leaving aside the stuff TJ doesn't know(that which we do because it followed Amata then) I'll jump right into the part about the town portal. As he suspected, it does just that. Unlike buying capsules directly or using the Warp Crystals, the town portal lets users travel by using Jienda tokens. On the bright side, since it takes you directly to the town portal in the other cities there's no need to save at the stones to travel to them. Thinking about it now, I might use them for other characters in the future since TJ has a warp crystal, but I still haven't decided on how Jienda Tokens would be acquired in the novel, let alone if I'll do anything regarding the hologram who manages it, Ramua. The game certainly did(which I won't go into detail about for various reasons), but I'm not sure if the story will access that place and everything regarding it.

    Next! Throughout these updates you can occasionally see how TJ's acrobatic ability is steadily improving. It's still rough around the edges, so more often than not he botches the landings, but he's able to do some new things like backflips, a bit of wall climbing and balancing on narrow things such as branches. It's seen quite the change since he first used them in Kimara. As the story goes on I'd like to have him find more time to practice, both in the field and off of it so it really feels like he's worked towards the skill level he achieved later on. Until then though, the girls are gonna make fun of him for messing up lol.

    So after quite some time we're finally introduced to the people of Lilliput. The city isn't far from where they are, hence why they've come out to fend off the Agasura. As that one unit suggested, the Bukuri have set fire to the Agasura, being the Woodheads and Trents--both made of wood, both pretty damn flammable. As you've seen, bukuri in-game didn't use any magic or fire-related attacks. The majority of them in the novel remain as they are, the spear throwing aside. They DID however have throwing spears, but those were just a misc. drop item, nothing worth noting.
    The Hotkuri have torches and the Fikkuri can use lightning which could potentially ignite the area. Hence why Amata speculated that those types must have left the Underworld, an area just beyond the Ktuka Ruins.
    That aside, it gives some credibility to Samson's joke near the beginning of USSR. He said his map was burned to a crisp by a Hotkuri, and as we all know he had some proof that he indeed went to Ves and potentially that which laid beyond. Whether he went to the Ktuka Underworld or not, I'll leave that up to your imagination. Amata also uses a spell she originally used in that novel, which is Falcon Torrent. Didn't have a name then, but it certainly does now! Go me!
    Bit on TJ! He doesn't actually know what a hot-air balloon is, so he still knows them as Puwagra. Hence why when Amata spoke to one of the people piloting one, he considered them to be a Puwagra rider. That's gonna remain until someone corrects him. On that note, that time he met with Ama she spoke about it, and foreshadowed it somewhat.

    So the next big thing is the introduction of a new Agasura--surprisingly one of my own creation, the Kuri Chieftain. When I originally wrote this portion I was thinking of having all of the Bukuri having magic due to the influence of Asmodeus' Dominion. Didn't though, for whatever reason. Instead they got a leader and followed its command. Those around him fought with magic, alongside him. I'd also considered those within his entourage being the only ones aside form him that could use magic and could move freely about. As the fight progressed I decided to build their tactics around an attack/defense formation. The Kuri Chieftain had incredible defensive magic, but a lack offensive magic, while the Bukuri around him had all offensive magic and no defensive magic. Thus, if you remove the king's men the king falls. This formation required the group to move together, while also creating a near impenetrable defense since they had access to all four elements to counteract any long-range attacks while repelling close-range attackers.
    Like in most games where elements are involved(I live, eat, sleep and breathe RPGs so this is nothing new for me) every element has a strength and weakness. Since Light and Darkness also fall into those categories but are strong/weak against each other, they can be advantageous against the other elements at play. They were like tomes before they got added to the weapon triangle in Fire Emblem. I miss the days of just being able to magic everything lol. I've killed my MC several times against stationary enemies with counter magic. THE. WORST.

    So anyway, Amata got a few new spells up her sleeve, including Dragon Dive and Vulcan Rain. The first speaks for itself. The second is one that rains fireballs depending on where Amata goes. She flies in a set direction, but she can deviate somewhat. It's a move that both increases her mobility and allows her to attack, but one that can, like DD, be easily countered with the right offense.
    TJ on the other hand acquired some new spells along with the memories he collected. He also went full Tarzan. You never go full Tarzan. Anyway, I'd thought about the uses of Starfall a bit. Originally he used it as an anti-air grab, which is certainly an option, but here he uses it as a dive kick. On that note...if anyone wants to create a TJ skin/mod for DiveKick, you have my express permission! That one's on me guys! Take it or leave it!

    I suppose the Kuri Chieftain's thunder spell could be considered offensive, but perhaps if it was a short range burst like that of Radiant Blast it could fall under a more defensive category. TJ calls his from above his target, or just rains it down over a wide radius, which in comparison is a lot stronger in terms of how much damage it can dish out.
    As for Su's retaliation, in most cases Shattered Berg well...it shatters itself. Su prefers to do it herself. Apply the Rule of Cool at your own discretion.
    On another topic, though TJ often says that Amata has acrobatic ability, she just has flight, unlike the Governor of Earth. She's as bad as he is, if not worse. That was a fact that came into play in USSR and holds true to the day. Without her wings, Amata would likely botch landings as she had when the two got knocked down. Su knows how to right herself whether she's the one attacked or the one on the attack. Her training wasn't just for show!

    Onto Amata's part, some of the spells she uses are familiar ones, Sear being used during the Pharaoh's Chambers and Sacrificial Arm during the battle at the CoI. Then, it didn't have the name that it did now, but she had used it against Curt and Robo. As one would expect, the weapon she throws is destroyed, but based on the type the radius of the blast will vary. Perhaps with a spear it'd explode in a line, a dagger with higher vertical height and a sword a wider range? Moving on, she also has a new close-quarters spell, being Ember. A good mage should have one or two skills to distance their opponents, as they'd be at a disadvantage if enemies closed the gap between them.
    Moving on, unlike TJ she has no healing magic. Though water mages/Bards have the most skill pertaining to that, any Cerebians who can use Light magic can learn some. Peorth for example knows basic first aid, but since she's a warlord(she has some magical capability due to her origins as God's Governor) her magic isn't her specialty so it's much weaker than it could be. If Amata learned how to use that kind of magic she could likely ease the pain and speed up the recovery to some degree instead of cauterizing the wound.

    Now a bit about Su's golems: I don't think there were any moments where they spoke before. She's improved substantially since she originally learned to call upon them--now she can do so using leaves, mud and other various forms of earth. Perhaps depending on which she uses, they'd have a different make-up? For example, if rock, they would be stronger defensive/offensively but have poor speed and movement abilities, while using leaves would be the opposite. Their personalities won't change any, though lol.
    As for TJ and Amata, the two used two new spells, TJ's 'Icy Wind' and Amata's 'Ring of Entropy'. Icy Wind isn't very good for freezing targets, especially when it's against their own body heat. Those that lack it however or have low body heat are much easier to freeze.
    Ring of Entropy speaks for itself. It's a ring of fire that surrounds the caster and spreads out over a wide radius before being dispersed. A handy spell when surrounded, but not as powerful as Inferno.

    Looking back, I had some conflicting feelings about the way the elements work according to Amata. On one hand, typically one would think Fire would be ineffective against Earth(Rock) but it can be effective if it's (Wood). To that end, Wind should be weak to fire, and Water strong against Earth(Rock). Despite what she says there, perhaps the strengths/weaknesses would depend on which part and type of the element the casters are using. Since many come in multiple forms in the novel, depending on what subsidiary of the element they're using the advantages differ. Be it Wood/Rock, Ice/Water, Magma/Fire, or Wind/ Thunder(though thunder technically falls under light, it's plasma all the same). Nevertheless, keep that knowledge in mind going forward so you won't get confused.

    TJ is slowly but surely becoming the team's plan guy. I was hoping to make the solution he came up with feel natural, and so he had that short discussion with Amata that lead to him using that familiar spell/stance from the CoI arc. Along with that, Su used another spell from then, now named Malignant Spitfire.
    An important thing to note when TJ uses Executioner's Calling is when the land is damaged and breaks apart. In those few moments, he glimpsed mana escaping from within the landing following the pulse. The importance of this is implied through the fact that it was magic that tore their world asunder in the first place, and in this moment its revealed that the effects of it still linger in the earth that was affected by it. To destroy the land itself, especially to break it apart from the center outwards would cause the mana to escape and the landing to lose its levitation, leading it to fall to the earth and become normal dirt/grass again.

    One of the things I wanted to do was show how Shadow Dive works. We've seen Su use it plenty of times, but because TJ never used it himself, he never knew the inner workings of it--just how to perform it. The Governor of Earth made it look plenty easy. Wasn't though, and it resulted in him getting his face bashed with a staff. A lesson experienced is a lesson learned, I always say. Annnnnd I just realized he inner monologued what I just wrote. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF...
    I've learned something valuable too, today.

    Now once again here we see Amata go through a partial transformation. Going from a normal state to awakening is like going from 0 to 100. Where she was was maybe 50-75% of the way there. Thus, her spells were stronger and she had access to much more powerful ones, but she didn't exert as much energy transforming and maintaining that state. Of course, she'd gain more in doing so, but the cost would increase too. That wasn't necessary in this case. Anyway, that spell is the follow-up version of Falcon Torrent. It's similar in design to Broken/Shattered Wings, but isn't a spell combo like Starfall/Ascension.
    Now a bit more about Spell combos! Su uses a very good example of this. A spell combo is in essence a set of skills that are made to be chained together to cut down the cast time and to keep a steady onslaught of attacks on the target(s). Crowstorm, Murder and Nevermore are a combination of 3 spells that could be used in conjunction without an extended cast time in between. As you'd imagine, Nevermore would have the longest of the three, but by chaining it with the others she managed to perform it instantly without leaving room for retaliation. This won't always be the case, mind!
    Though I didn't mention it earlier, Bonecrusher was supposed to have two other stances that accompanied it to introduce the idea to the novel but I decided not to do it then. Though stance chaining will likely be more common than its magical counterpart, FYI.
    Moving on! Nevermore gives the user the ability of flight. Since both TJ and Su typically use spells in conjunction, this one affected the both of them. The spell lasts about a minute, and once the timer is up the user becomes a crow that will viciously attack the nearest target(s) with both talon and beak until the remnants of the effect wear off...or the target dies.
    As for will o' the wisp, it's a very simple fire spell. The wisps won't attack, but they'll drift towards enemies and burst upon reaching one. They also serve as useful area controlling spells!

    Anyway, once more we see that while TJ is becoming less Agasuric, Su is becoming moreso. Poor kid's got it rough, but her nature makes her oblivious to the fact. How they'll develop in the future I can't say, but it's something they'll have to confront sooner or later.

    So with that said, I've said my piece on that. More soon! Probably. I'd rather be playing TMS#FE than being here but...well you know. At this juncture Atlus doesn't even need to sell me products. They could just insert liquid...Atlus into my bloodstream hee-ho.
    Anyway that's all for this update! 'Magical lesbians fighting demons' will be on break while I storyboard the next dungeon since I've gotten up to the Temple so uhh...Innocent, definitely. Maybe more Another? I'm thinking of naming it 'The Eccentric Anima's Legacy(Might be progeny...I dunno yet)' for future reference. Late Father's Day short story, perhaps. Will I storyboard it? Probably not! Will it happen?! Probably not!
    'Til next time!
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:45 pm

    Pages 452-464:
    As Amata had told them there was a cave a short distance away and they took cover inside. She lit a flame in the palm of her hand and guided TJ in.
    It was small, but dry, thankfully. Within there was what seemed to be a small fire pit, perhaps some scraps of food and bones. They were rather small so it was likely from people eating, rather than any other sort of creature. …Like bears…or tigers.
    “There’s still some wood back here. I guess whoever came here last didn’t use all the firewood they had collected. Lucky us.” Amata said as she picked up a few pieces and brought it over.
    She had suggested that he pick up some along the way and so he grabbed a few along the way. Like Peorth had said, having someone who was familiar with the lay of the land was a very valuable part of any team. If it was just TJ and Su they may have spent days wandering through the jungle in search of Mezzalone.
    She crouched down and began to arrange them in such a way that she would be able to create a pyre. Once finished she pointed at it and it was ignited. She then blew on it until it crackled to life and she nodded at her handiwork.
    She sat down and held her hands out to the flames as she let out a gentle sigh. “Hell of a day…” She opened her eyes and looked into the fire solemnly. There was longing and sorrow in her red and blue eyes that shone ever brighter as the fire crackled before her. “You had to do some tough things back there but…thanks to you and Su, we pulled through.”
    Amata wrapped her arms around her legs and chuckled mirthlessly. “I talked a big game to those Lilliputians but against the kuri chieftain and his men I was powerless. You guys had to pull me through that fight.
    “I’d always had such confidence in my ability. On expeditions and other things everyone looked to me and I wondered if I was too strong. …But now…?”
    At those words TJ got up, walked over to her and crouched down. Wordlessly, he embraced her. One hand gently stroked her hair and the other on her shoulder.
    “T-TJ? What’re you doing so suddenly…?!”
    In his memories, many of the times he carried sadness in his heart someone would do this for him. Perhaps what Amata needed was that same warmth—something to quell those negative feelings deep in her heart. If he could, he would sing but the only song he knew was Velvet’s.
    “Aren’t you putting too much of a burden on yourself Amata?” He asked. “You’re God’s Governor of Fire but…well…you can’t carry so much all by yourself.” He held her tighter. Those shoulders that carried the whole of Ves and Mezzalone belonged to one courageous but young girl. Perhaps in the past those shoulders looked different and belonged to someone else, but in this time they were hers. “Just like you told me…I want you to depend on me. If there’s anyone that can walk side-by-side with the God’s Governors, it’s the Abellan, right? I mean, even our ancestors thought so! It’s why I can take this trial with you after all!”
    She chuckled lightly. “I guess that’s one way of looking at it. …I really am glad you came.” She looked up to him with a twinkle in her eyes and a bright smile on her face. “I spent so many nights worrying about what-ifs about my trials but…now…I don’t feel so nervous anymore because you’re here.”
    She lowered her head and rested her head against his chest. “You know…through the gem I can hear the sound of the waves. It’s…calming.”
    “I don’t think there’s any water in there though.” He answered as his eyes began to swim. There were certainly a lot of other things…like a tree.
    She laughed. “You’re such a dork, you know that? You can’t read the mood at all. But that’s fine too. Just…let me stay like this a little longer, would you?”
    After a brief while she fell asleep and he laid down too as he looked up at the roof of the cave.
    How long had Amata went keeping up that tough front before all the others? There was no denying that she had some confidence of her own, but how much of it was actual confidence and how much false bravado? Perhaps she had fears, many of them she never dared to speak to anyone so that they could confide in her instead. After all, she carried the hope of her people and the fate of all of Jienda on her shoulders also…and yet, she was still so young. Was there any more that he could do for her? Could he ease her burden if even just a little more?

    TJ awoke to the sound of birds chirping and a crackling fire. He peeled himself from the ground and cracked his neck as he groaned which transitioned into a yawn. There was a distinct pain in his neck and he was beginning to regret sleeping on solid bedrock. Again.
    “Morning TJ,” The Governor of Fire said as she walked over with a small container. “We probably should’ve eaten after the battle but…well that’s water under the bridge now.”
    “The fact that we can eat more food by Purnima makes everything A-OK in my books.” TJ said with a delighted smile.
    “My cooking’s not that bad, is it?”
    “I think your cooking is great,” He said hurriedly. She just needed to tone down the spices a bit and it would be nothing short of on par, if not better, than Purnima’s.
    She smiled slightly. “I’m glad you think so.” She handed him one of the containers and a fork and sat down next to him.
    “Hey…TJ…”
    “Hm?” He had already began digging in and had his cheeks stuffed when she posed the question.
    “I umm…about Hanamah…” She drew circles in the ground with her finger. “Su told me what had actually happened then, back during the party. I’m sorry for pinning the blame on you when I didn’t know the whole situation.”
    He grinned. “Come on, that was ages ago! You don’t need to apologize for that!”
    She smiled slightly. “But I wanted to anyway. It’s at least a start on the path to atonement. We promised, didn’t we?” She grinned.
    “But more importantly, there’s more that I want to share with you. You are the Abellan after all so…if there’s anyone I can trust with this information, it’s you.” This really reeled him in. He placed down his fork and gave her his undivided attention.
    “When I went to Hanamah six years ago, I had told Su and Samson the reason was because I didn’t think Su was cut out to be God’s Governor of Earth.” She twirled her finger through her hair as she averted her eyes. “It…wasn’t a lie but it wasn’t completely true either. I umm…I’d heard a voice then. I’d never heard anything like it before—the voice of a woman. Her tone was so…silky and dream-like it was absolutely surreal. Every word she spoke was as if she was singing…she had such a gorgeous and unforgettable voice. I thought I was imagining at first, but I heard it more and more and it seemed to be calling me to Hanamah. I made up an excuse to my dad and hopped on the first caravan I could to travel the continent.
    “Still…I felt it was a mission that only I could fulfill and one that shouldn’t have been mentioned to others so I did everything I could to keep it a secret. Due to that fact, I brought a lot of trouble to Su and Samson.
    “As much as I hate to admit it, my search didn’t turn up any results…but I felt certain that the voice was coming from Hanamah. A small part of me said it may have been our patron goddess Lady Amae. It was just a feeling but…you know?”
    Oh he knew. He knew a lot about that. Her description of Lady Amae’s voice alone was absolutely on the mark. But given that knowledge, did that mean Lady Amae was actually on Jienda in the near past? If Amata’s words were right, it meant that she had come down to Jienda from Asgard once more…but for what reason?
    “I guess after all was said and done, well…things turned out pretty normal anyway. Samson helped me make amends and everything was pretty good, up until the Dark Moon invaded. We did all we could just to survive.”
    At those words Su emerged from the gem and glared at the God’s Governor of Fire.
    “We?! Says the girl who up and ran at the first sight of danger?!” She snarled.
    “R-ran?!” Amata got to her feet and TJ caught the food Purnima packed before it spilled everywhere.
    “You heard me! While the others and I stayed back to fight those assholes off you turned tail and ran!”
    “I did not run away! I was helping evacuate the citizens who couldn’t fight! It’s thanks to our efforts Reina and the others were able to save as many lives as they did that day!”
    “Had you stayed and used that power to kill the damn invaders we wouldn’t have had to run away in the first place!” Su hissed as she roughly poked Amata’s solar plexus.
    “And what? Set the forest on fire again?! If we went along with your plan there wouldn’t be a Hanamah to run away from! Let alone a forest for us to take refuge in! We were lucky that we were able to minimize the casualties and the damage!”
    “Do you know how many soldiers I killed single-handedly that day?! Maybe you didn’t lose much, but I had to watch my fa-”
    “Girls!” TJ shouted as he pulled the two apart once more. “Look, we were all there that day. I’m well aware you both had a lot to lose then. You both did what you could…and both of you did well. Su, you fought for your village and in the process I’m sure you were able to buy the villagers enough time to escape. Amata, it was thanks to your efforts and that of the others that their pursuers didn’t get to them.
    “No matter how you look at it, it was working in conjunction that you two were able to save anyone at all that day. After all, isn’t that a God’s Governor’s duty? To protect the people?”
    “W-well…” Amata muttered as she pursed her lips.
    “Hmph,” Su snorted.
    He pulled them both in and hugged them. “I’m proud of both of you guys. Thanks for doing what I, as the Abellan, couldn’t. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
    Amata seemed to lighten up and her lips curled into a slight smile. Su unfurrowed her brows and sighed.
    “I’ve been stuck to you for over a year now and you’re still lame as fuck.” She said with a shrug.
    He grinned. “Don’t count on that changing anytime soon.”
    This made her chuckle. “I won’t hold my breath.”
    At those words she returned to the gem and his left arm fell to his side.
    “You can…let me go now too, TJ.” Amata said as she averted her gaze.
    “Oh! S-sorry!” He let her go and his eyes began to swim. “W-well then, let’s dig in shall we?”

    The trip continued on without any further hindrances on the part of Agasura. As Amata had suspected, they did not meet with the Lilliputians again, but she felt some certainty that they would be able to return to their city without much difficulty. As for them, their trip to Mezzalone was extended by a day due to the time spent fighting.
    “Are you holding up okay TJ? I know it’s taking longer than I initially told you, but we’re not far, I promise.” The Governor assured him as she looked over her shoulder with a sullen expression.
    He chuckled and waved off her worries. “It’s no problem. I’m glad we could keep the peace around here.
    “Besides, a few days spent walking is nothing for me! I’ve been all over Jienda by foot so I’m used to it by now!”
    He was in pretty rough shape following the last battle at Kimara, but he was getting back into the swing of things quickly.
    The Governor of Fire who lead the way pushed some leaves from a tall plant aside and made her way under them before she continued on.
    “You probably had your reasons but…why not just use a town capsule? Unless your goal was to visit each city…”
    TJ brushed the plant aside and let go briefly after, getting hit by it afterwards once it rebounded. He glared at it before he jogged lightly to keep up with Amata.
    “I wouldn’t say going to each city was my goal but…hmm…I think they were all worth visiting. I met tons of people and made some good friends along the way.
    “I met most of my old allies in the Desert too. Actually, that was where I met the Chief!”
    Amata squinted at him. “What was she doing there?”
    “Fighting…stuff?” His memory about that was rather hazy.
    The Governor of Fire laughed. “Guess I should’ve saw that one from a mile away. To think she went all the way to the Desert for that is odd, but then again, so is she.
    “I guess that’s when she inducted you into the guild huh? Shame, that.” She turned away as her lips curled into a small smile. “Had we met you first, you probably could’ve been a part of Devotion.”
    He placed a finger to his lips thoughtfully. “Your guild seems really fun Amata. Though if I didn’t join Yggdrasil I wouldn’t have been able to enter the guild room would I? Or go through all the things I did to become the Abellan.”
    She turned around and started walking backwards. “Rituals and stuff I take it?” He nodded and she closed her eyes. “Makes me kinda curious what they were like.
    “Though even more so I’m curious what it’d be like to be with the queen so frequently.”
    TJ smiled. “A lot of the time she doesn’t say much, but she’s really nice. She worries a lot and she only smiles every now and again, but it’s really nice!”
    Amata blinked. “This might make me sound like that weird barista but…she smiles?”
    TJ laughed. “Doesn’t everyone?”

    After lunch the two continued their journey in a brief silence before they came to what seemed to be a series of tall trees and bushes along with towering grasses. Amata sighed as she took a deep breath and dashed directly into it. The moment she let go of the grass it returned to its original position and she vanished behind the veil of flora. TJ’s mouth fell agape for a moment as he quickly pursued her.
    “Don’t be afraid! None of it will bite! Unless there’s a snake or something hiding in the grass…” The Governor said from what seemed to be the other side.
    “I’ve seen enough snakes for a lifetime!” TJ complained as he brushed the stalks of grass aside to reach Amata’s voice.
    “Try living in Mezzalone for a few weeks. You’ll see a lifetime’s worth and then some,” She chuckled.
    When TJ reached the other side he needed to raise his hand to block out the light of the sun. Much to his surprise, they had arrived in the Haven Mezzalone. Alike to its sister city, it had towering golden buildings, some in brown, orange and yellow. Bright colours as far as the eye could see, the sound of voices and song and banners hanging from the highest rooftops. The sheer size of the city was enough to throw him off, but the liveliness was in a realm of its own.
    “Welcome to Mezzalone TJ…my old stomping grounds.” The Governor said as she held her hands out to the city before her.
    “It’s a big city so we’ll need to catch a ride if we’re gonna get to my house before sundown. But if you’re not in a hurry we could take a look around…I guess.”
    TJ shook off his awe and smiled as he nodded. “That sounds great. If your parents don’t mind waiting a little longer, I’d love to see more of this Haven.”
    The Governor smiled as her cheeks flushed gently. “Don’t worry about them. The longer my dad has with you the more embarrassing home videos and photos he’ll show you. So? Let’s go!” She held out a hand as she grinned.
    He took her hand and before he knew it the two were running through the streets. As they did TJ caught a glimpse of three dancers dressed in colourful clothes from head to toe, side by side and moving in unison. There were men and women handing out pamphlets, some selling wares and others talking about religious things.
    He came to a halt as he heard someone mention ‘The Abellan’ and Amata stopped with him. He stole a glimpse at a robed man who spoke to a small crowd of people and the Governor of Fire pulled gently on the sleeve of his coat.
    “I feel that it’s only fair I warn you that most people, Human or Cerebian know little to nothing about you. I suppose we’re in the same boat but…” She looked to him but his eyes remained transfixed on the speaker. “I probably can’t talk you out of that huh? Well if you wanna listen in a bit that’s fine too, but promise me you won’t get too caught up in his words would you?”
    “You got it. I’m just a little bit curious anyway.” He smiled affably to mask his true feelings.
    A little bit was an understatement—after what Amata had told him he was hard pressed to say that he could doubt what the man had to say because his entire existence was shrouded in mystery. He knew where he was from, what he was capable of and what he needed to do but…there was so much more than that to his very being. If even just a little more, perhaps there was something the speaker knew that he did not?
    The two walked over and the man looked to them with a twinkle in his eye.
    “Ah…what aspiring young lambs have come to join our flock. I welcome you, Governor of Fire Amata and companion.” He said as he greeted them in Ves fashion.
    “Y-yeah. Hi there,” Amata answered awkwardly.
    TJ blinked solemnly but listened intently.
    “Forgive me, allow me to continue where I left off. As it was in the ancient scriptures, the Abellan is said to come in Midgard’s darkest hour to strike down the evils that will plague our world. In doing so, the sins of man shall be purged once and for all.
    “In their demise the Agasura King will rise again! Alongside the Abellan the fallen heroes of eld, of generations past shall band together to bring an end to his reign of tyranny, and upon so doing the threat of the Agasura shall be wiped from the face of this world!
    “Their duties done, the Abellan shall leave this realm to take up their throne in the heavens to govern and maintain order upon the seven worlds.”
    TJ knit his brows. Was it possible that to defeat Asmodeus would bring about the end of all of the Agasura? What of those who cast away their nature like the Vampanelar sisters? What of him? Would he too, die if he was to kill Asmodeus? Or if he lived, would he need to leave everything behind? After all the friends he made and the fun times he had would he…
    His train of thought came to a sudden and abrupt end as Amata poked his cheek a couple of times before she dragged him off.
    “I thought I told you not to get too into it?” She asked as she pursed her lips and placed her hands on her waist.
    He opened his mouth to defend himself but found himself drawing a blank at her question. “You totally did,” He relented.
    She slapped both his cheeks and pushed them together. “You’re damn right I did, so stop thinking so hard about that junk and making that face, got it? What those guys go on about is just legends they preach and whatnot!
    “Now you didn’t hear it from me, but all that stuff in the scriptures and stuff is just hearsay passed down from our ancestors. The only people who could actually know the first thing about you are Peorth and yourself! …And maybe our ancestor’s Einherjars, but we can worry about that junk later!
    “Asmodeus isn’t here yet, there’s no Sinners for you to stress over and you’re in Mezzalone for the first time. You’re also being guided by yours truly.” She pointed at herself with her thumb. “You’re a pretty lucky guy you know! Not everyone gets a chance like this!”
    His cheeks flushed lightly as he smiled. “Can’t argue with that.” Being with her like that made him forget that he was the Abellan. Here, she was perhaps a legend in the flesh and though he was unknown to the people, it allowed him to be among them as one of them—something he could hardly do amongst Humans because of his history with Iris. Now was the time where he could see and do.
    “Anyway, let’s get going. No point in moping around when there’s only so much time in a day.”
    Amata guided him through the city, pointing out things of interest along the way.
    “That shop sells all sorts of great Ves style foods, but it’s pretty expensive so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re trying to be thrifty.”
    They walked through a plaza with plenty of stores that lined it, caravans and wagons that were pulled by giant prirings and in the heart of it a statue of a man with a dragon coiled around him.
    “This is the city’s main plaza. The statue there is of Rayinth and his familiar Grislan. I’ve read the stories about his heroic battles and deeds so many times I know them all by heart!” The Governor said with clenched fists and a twinkle in her eyes.
    TJ blinked slowly with his mouth slightly agape and she averted her eyes as her face flushed.
    “D-don’t give me that look! I know I said you shouldn’t take the old scriptures to heart but this is different!”
    “I believe ya’.” He said with a light chuckle.
    “Well I don’t believe you!” She muttered under her breath.
    The Haven seemed to be built in a somewhat mountainous area. Much of their walking consisted of climbing slopes ever higher as they explored what it had to offer. As they ascended further TJ could see many of the places Amata pointed out along the way. The plaza, the marketplace, the theatre, the store that sold all sorts of exotic pets, both as battle companions and as regular companions. Much to TJ’s dismay, they did not have brownies, but they had some of the colourful birds he had seen in the jungle.
    On another note, many of the people they passed by on the street greeted Amata. She seemed to be extremely well-known around all of the Haven despite being away on expeditions so frequently.
    Time seemed to fly by as TJ took in the sights of a variety of the sights of Mezzalone and before he knew it the blue sky turned the orange and crimson tones of dusk.
    “Ah…here we are.” Amata said as she stopped at a pair of gates. She took a deep breath, but it turned out to be a long-winded sigh. “Brace yourself TJ. It’s time for the boss.”
    “B-boss?” He asked as he looked startled. “Rayinth’s not in here, is he? Is this his temple?!”
    The place before him looked like a rather large house—not quite on par with Peorth’s castle, but somewhere between that and the size of his own home. To think that the temple would be located within the heart of Mezzalone!
    The Governor looked at him as if she wanted to speak for a moment, but her agape mouth shifted into a grin as she giggled. “What’re you getting so worked up for? I meant my parents. This is my house!”
    “House?” He took a double-take. “It’s huge!”
    “Yeah it’s one of the things that makes us stand out around these parts. That…and my dad. He’s kind of…well you’ll see.”
    She opened the gates and invited the Abellan in. He entered after her and took in all that there was to see. The tall scarlet building, the fountain in the courtyard and the tall doors that loomed before them. The Governor of Fire made her way up the stairs and rummaged through her pocket before drawing a keyring.
    Among the keys was a small moon-shaped charm and what seemed to be an oddly shaped ‘S’. TJ watched the charms wave about as the Governor of Fire unlocked the door.
    As she did the sound of footsteps hammering against a wooden floor caught TJ’s attention and he braced himself, this time without drawing his guitar. He knew not what waited beyond the door, but he felt it best that he keep his guard up.
    Much to his surprise but not to that of the Governor’s, a burly man burst forth from the ajar opening and wrapped the young girl in his arms.
    “Amata! You’ve finally come home! It’s been too long Kiddo! Way too long!” The man said as he hugged her, much to her dismay.
    He was a tall, muscular man with his black and white hair tied in dreadlocks. He had dark skin, the same tone as TJ’s, crimson eyes and a wide grin. He wore a black tank top and blue jeans along with pair of navy blue slippers with white cotton insides.
    “Dad! Stop! You’re sweaty and hairy and gross! Also put me down already would you?!” The Governor of Fire complained until he finally released her. She shuddered once before she wiped her face and glared at him. “How many times have I told you not to do that?!”
    The man’s grin widened as he crossed his arms. “Not enough to stop me.”
    “Apparently,” She sighed.
    He looked to the Abellan and the young man instinctively jumped as he turned his eyes up to meet the previous Governor of Fire’s.
    “You must be the Abellan huh?” He asked as he held out a hand with an affable smile. “Looks like we finally meet again. Name’s Alvaro Seitz.”
    TJ took his hand and shook it—Alvaro’s grip was firm and decisive. “I’m TJ.” He answered with a questioning gaze. “But…we’ve met before?”
    Alvaro rose to his full height once more and chuckled. “Well I wouldn’t call it much of a meeting. The younger Kolb and I had been invited to meet you after some castle dogs locked you up. You didn’t take much interest in us back then, though.”
    “Dad!” The Governor hissed as she hit his bicep with her fist. “You don’t just go talking about people’s pasts like that!”
    “Ahh…sorry sorry!” He laughed as he blocked any further fists with open palms.
    “Well anyway, we can talk some more over dinner. A little thing like you needs to eat more if you wanna become big and strong like yours truly.” As he said this he rustled TJ’s hair and the Abellan pondered the statement briefly. “Kavitala made a feast fit for a king tonight!”
    Alvaro did not seem as bad as Amata made him out to be. He seemed to be a genuinely happy-go-lucky man and one that had plenty of love for his daughter. Perhaps she just did not understand his affection…though he and Su had a very similar relationship, so he could somewhat understand the situation the two found themselves in.
    Amata sighed gently. “I’m sorry for all the trouble. That’s my dad in a nutshell. He has a little too much energy for a man his age.”
    “I think he’s nice!” TJ said with a grin.
    She knit her brows as she smiled gently. “I wish I could look on the bright side of everything like you do, TJ. Although…I think that cheeriness of yours can be a little contagious sometimes.”
    It made him happy to see her smiling again. She, like Peorth, shined her brightest whenever she would smile. It was something rare and that he felt they both could and should do more frequently.
    “I’ll show you to the bathroom so you can wash up and stuff. Just…gimme a sec to use it, okay?”
    “No problem.”
    She lead him down the hall and he stole occasional glances around the place, taking in the sights of her home. There were all sorts of lovely works of art that hung on the walls, sculptures that were placed around the house, and of course plenty of pictures that featured Amata, her parents and perhaps others in her family. There was a living room with plenty of chairs and couches and even a strange black box on a stand by one of the walls.
    Amata excused herself as she slipped into the bathroom and TJ leaned against the wall as he let his thoughts drift off.
    It was the first time he had seen a family. He had met siblings before, like Peorth and Freya and even their cousin Kooh. There were the Vampanelar sisters also, but he knew very little of the parents of both families. Was it possible that all beings, be they Cerebian, Human, or beast had parents like Alvaro and Kavitala?
    He thought back to the talk with Avaritia. She had told him that their sole parent was Asmodeus—he and all eight of his siblings. Was it typical for Agasura to only have one parent? Or were they a unique case? What of Lucia and the others? Did they have any at all?
    He stole a glimpse at Amata in her youth and in it he could see how she had grown and changed—how she grew taller, her face matured and her every feature changed with the years. Had he ever seen such changes in his life? Would he ever grow and change as the Governor of Fire had to become as strong or incredible as those he had met in the past weeks?
    He had so many questions about his past and even some about his uncertain future…but who would have the answers to that? If he did not know, nor Peorth, there were very few other options for him to take solace in. If anything, at the very least he knew that he could ask the first Governor of Fire. If his memories held true, they would have likely existed within the same time period. He just had to ensure that he did not lose such an important battle.
    The door creaked open and the current Governor of Fire stepped out with a sigh of relief.
    “As much as it contradicts what I said before, being in my own home again is nice,” She said with a relieved smile. “You can go ahead and use it TJ. Thanks for waiting.”
    “O-oh!” He said with a look of surprise. Her sudden return snapped him from his reverie. “Right. I’ll only be a sec’.”
    “You don’t need to rush for my sake. Take your time.”
    He stepped into the bathroom and glanced around. There were ornate navy blue carpets, a white porcelain toilet with a strange fuzzy cover, a shelf with all sorts of toiletries and a sink that matched the toilet with a set of cupboards underneath. Around the sink were hand soaps and hand sanitizers and to his right a towel rack with a of three hand towels, each with an ornate flower design upon the turquoise items.
    He walked closer to the mirror and looked at the person that stared back at him. How much he had changed since his time in Belos…he was the same person inside, but he had begun to look so different outside.
    He sighed as he blew his bangs aside, the golden streaks flitted through the air briefly before they came to rest further along his face. Vanir had warned him but…those powers extended beyond the boundaries of what he was currently capable of.
    Annoying as the change was, it was a necessary evil. It gave him the strength to protect his allies and putting them at risk to void his Agasuric nature’s growth was not something he was willing to do.
    But even so…that deep fear that lurked within still chilled him to the bone. One misstep and he could become a monster.
    He closed his eyes and turned on the tap before he splashed water in his face a couple of times. He scrubbed his whole face and took a deep breath before he turned the tap off and looked himself over once more.
    He swore that he would remain in control. He was in charge of his destiny and himself—he would not let Asmodeus nor Adonis break his spirit.
    He placed his hand to the Mr. Bear pin Velvet gave him and closed his eyes slowly. He would reject that nature, but he would use it for good. Peorth gave him the chance to turn over a new leaf and so he would not disappoint her under any circumstances.
    He wiped his hands and face and rejoined Amata.
    “Hold still a sec.” She said as she looked to him and wiped his head with her sleeve. “You’ve got water dripping from your hair.”
    “Thanks,” He answered.
    She grinned. “No problem. Now come on, I’m sure you’re as hungry as I am if not more.”
    Amata lead him further down the hall and into what he deemed to be the kitchen. The snow white walls, the bright silver of all sorts of appliances blinded him and the lovely sparkling of the table cloth and entire kitchen dazzled him. He looked around in awe as he took it all in, and eventually discovered a feast laid out upon the table. He had not the foggiest as to what any of it was, but the delectable scent and sight of it all made his stomach growl.
    He held it in embarrassment as the whole family chuckled gently.
    “Come over and sit down you two. There’s plenty to go around.” Kavitala told them as she laid a couple of plates down on the table.
    The Governor of Fire’s second parent was a slender, average sized woman with bronzed skin, sea blue eyes and dark green hair tied in a ponytail. She wore a violet sari with gold embroidery, white pearl earrings and a bindi.
    She looked to TJ as he approached behind Amata and smiled gently. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, TJ.” She greeted him in the style he was taught and he followed suit. “To have the Abellan at our dinner table is truly an honour.”
    “N-no, the pleasure’s all mine! Thank you…for having me…” He said as he gestured that it was not the case and muttered his final words.
    “Can you two stop making him feel so awkward already? Geez!” Amata huffed as she sat down.
    “Sorry Amata.” Kavitala said with a smile.
    “He knows it’s all in good fun.” Alvaro said with a grin.
    Kavitala looked to her husband and blinked slowly. “Will you do the honours today dear?”
    He raised an eyebrow. “As long as you don’t regret it later!”
    The Governor of Fire clapped his hands together followed by his wife, their daughter, and finally TJ who nervously followed suit.
    Alvaro began to speak, but TJ felt unsure exactly what language it was in. It sounded oddly familiar…some of the words he heard were those that Peorth had spoken while reading from Memorius Sanctum, but he could not quite put his finger on that fact, let alone what any of them meant.
    Once finished Kavitala looked at him with knit brows and Amata gave him an exasperated gaze.
    “You’re way too carefree Dad,” The Governor of Fire muttered.
    “You shouldn’t play around too much during prayers Dear.” Kavitala said as she sighed.
    Alvaro laughed. “The gods’ won’t mind any! Right? TJ?”
    He nearly jumped out of his seat as he squeaked, “Yeah! R-right!”
    “Don’t mind him too much TJ. Anyway, let’s get some food in you before he gets into his antics,” Amata suggested.
    She pointed to each dish as she told him the names. “That right there is biryani, this is rajma, tandoori chicken, bhindi masala fry, rumali roti and finally rogan josh.” She sat down and her eyes shifted to her mother. “You really went all out, huh Mom?”
    “Having you come home with the Abellan for your trial is quite the event you know.” She said with a mother’s grace.
    “Maybe we should bring out the champagne?” Alvaro suggested.
    Kavitala crossed her arms. “You should wait until they come back from the trial before you celebrate.”
    “Well that’s just another reason to celebrate isn’t it?” He pointed out with a raised index finger.
    “People in Mezzalone have too much to celebrate as is, don’t you think?” Amata asked as she placed her fork down and eyed him warily.
    “It’s a good thing. Every day that the people can spend celebrating is a day that they don’t spend living in fear of the Agasura and the impending war against Asmodeus.”
    That statement drew TJ’s attention and he began to see Alvaro in a new light.
    Amata sighed as she chewed her food. “I think it’s better that we keep the fact that Asmodeus’ arrival is right around the corner fresh in our minds. We can’t let our guard down or things could go wrong at the drop of a hat. You especially, Dad!”
    As TJ put a fork full of rice in his mouth he pondered the statement. Perhaps if he had his emotions in check he would have been able to see the fanatics before they had gotten to him first. Amata did raise a valid point but…Peorth stood on the other side of that spectrum in regards to opinions. At least, to some degree.
    “Why’s that?” He looked genuinely curious at her statement.
    “You’re God’s Governor of Fire! Mezzalone needs you to protect it, dummy!”
    This made him laugh. “I was God’s Governor of Fire. I’m looking right at my cute little successor.” She pursed her lips at the statement. “It’s a good thing that Mezzalone has a reliable guardian like you now, doesn’t it?”
    She furrowed her brows and averted her eyes. “I’m not reliable. How can I succeed you properly if I can’t even beat you in a sparring match? If you’re still stronger than me what I can do now isn’t gonna cut it.”
    The previous Governor of Fire placed his drink down and chuckled as he intertwined his fingers. “So you say, but I had given you my title years ago.
    “But that’s beside the point Kiddo. Lemme’ tell you something good. Of all of the elements, fire tops them all in terms of raw power. Naturally, if you were to face someone 20-30 years your senior, you would likely lose. Magic is reliant on the wisdom of the user, of course. You lack experience in life and in so doing I have the advantage over you.
    “But!” He closed one eye as he grinned. “The fire of your willpower still burns bright. I won’t say I don’t have any at all, but you have the potential to be a better God’s Governor than I do. I’m not the only one who thinks so, you know.”
    “No elbows on the table Dear,” Kavitala remarked.
    “Sorry.”
    “Who else thought so?” Amata asked with a hint of curiosity.
    “Little Kolb. God’s Governor Julius.”
    “H-he did?”
    “Definitely! He used to say that you’d turn out just like me. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree you know.”
    “That’s definitely not going to happen.” She glared.
    Alvaro laughed. “That’s just your rebellious phase talking.
    “Leaving all of that aside, the fact that you’re here now with TJ speaks volumes, don’t you think? You’re going to do what me, your grandpa and all of your other predecessors never dared to do.”
    “Couldn’t they…not do it? Go to the temple I mean. Wouldn’t they have to wait until TJ appeared before they could take that step in awakening?”
    The Governor of Fire roared with laughter. “Not a chance! The temple was always there and all of them knew how to open the way. That’s knowledge that’s been passed down for generations. We were all just too scared to fight Rayinth, that’s all.”
    The Governor of Fire closed her eyes while the Abellan chuckled gently. “When you put it like that, you old guys are really lame.”
    “Any father called lame by his cute daughter would feel wounded by those words.
    “But on that topic, I never did tell you how to open the way to the temple. I haven’t kicked the bucket yet so I’ll go on ahead and do that for you tonight.”
    “I’ll go too.” She said with a look of resolve in her eyes.
    He waved his fork at her. “There’s no need for you to do that, unless you wanna say hi to your ancestors with me.” He smiled gently. “You and TJ will have to get through the temple before you reach Rayinth in the inner sanctum. You and him should have a good night’s rest. Eat some good food, sleep in a warm bed and then go on an adventure.”
    “You sure know how to make it sound easy Dad.” Amata sighed gently as she turned her fork around on her plate.
    “Do I?” He asked. His eyes looked distant prior to him closing them and smiling. “To be honest, it isn’t. But the reason I phrase it like that is because you’re the one going to do it.”
    She knit her brows in response. “Yeah I got that part.”
    “You misunderstood him Amata,” Her mother told her. Her eyes shifted to her second parent and she raised a brow.
    Alvaro nodded. “Your mother and I have the utmost faith in you. The reason we have no doubt is because you’re our daughter. All those times you sparred with me…sure, you didn’t win against me, but you never gave up. You kept coming back after training harder just to lose again. That spirit of yours never burns out. Wear that as a badge of pride and face off with Rayinth. I’m sure he’ll see himself in you before the fight and after you come out on top.”
    “Do you…really think so?” She asked with upturned eyes.
    “No doubt about it.” Alvaro said with a confident nod.
    “Our daughter will not be defeated. Your father is only good at fighting, after all.” Kavitala told her with a wink.
    Alvaro looked on in disbelief. “Somehow my pride as a man was wounded by that statement.”
    Amata smiled. “Thanks Mom, Dad. If we do succeed I can’t take all the credit though, since TJ’s gonna be with me through the thick of it.”
    “I’ll do my best,” The Abellan said in response.
    “You’ve got guts, TJ! I like you already!
    “So what do you think about becoming my son-in-law?”
    “Daaaaaad!” Amata snarled as she got up with a fire in her eyes.
    “I told you to wait until after Dear…” Kavitala sighed as she shook her head.

    After dinner Amata and Kavitala collected the plates and brought them over to the sink.
    “Do you want some help cleaning up Mom?” The Governor asked as she ran some water over the dishes.
    “I’ll take care of it. Why don’t you go and wash up?” Her mother suggested with a smile.
    “I want to but…” She looked over to her dad warily as he smiled guiltily.
    “Dad, I’m laying down the rules right here, right now!” She said as she slammed a hand down on the counter. He raised his hands in surrender. “First, no embarrassing home videos or photo albums! Second you can’t show anyone my room without my say so! And you better not put any ideas in his head about sneaking into the bathroom!”
    “You know I wouldn’t do any-” Before he could finish she glared at him and growled and he averted his gaze. “Most of those things.”
    “You better not do any of them!” At those words she huffed and stormed off.
    TJ watched solemnly, but realized he had no idea what to do with himself at this juncture.
    “You look lost, TJ.” Alvaro said with a wide grin. “If you don’t mind staying up a little later why don’t you keep this old man company for a spell?”
    Without a second thought TJ followed Alvaro through a set of doors that lead to another corridor and as they did he passed by a multitude of doors along a single wall. On his right was a set of glass windows that extended from one side of the hall all the way to the other. Once they reached the end of it Alvaro opened a pair of orante white doors with a golden finish upon each and lead the Abellan inside.
    It was a fairly dark room—the entire floor was covered in a scarlet carpet and a pair of matching chairs sat facing a single table between the two. At the end of it was a fireplace that was as of yet to be lit. On one side of the room was a single grandfather clock—the gentle ticking as the hands each turned at their own pace drew the Abellan into its solemn metronome for a brief spell. In one of the corners of the room was a cabinet with what seemed to be a series of shelves housing all sorts of alcohols.
    Alvaro walked over to the fireplace and pointed a finger at it. A series of sparks erupted from within the wood and in moments they lit up with ease.
    “Have a seat TJ. I won’t bite.” Alvaro chuckled as he made his way over to the cabinet.
    The Abellan took the suggestion to heart and sat down in the chair on the right. The cushions were comfy and the seat was huge in comparison to his small body. The wooden arms, legs and that which surrounded it made him feel as if he was sitting in a throne.
    “To think I’d be able to have a drink with the Abellan within my lifetime. Ha! If only I had a chronicler here. Or perhaps an artist.” He removed a dark green bottle with a crimson liquid from within the cabinet and brought it over to the table before he paused and placed a hand to his face.
    “I knew this mistake would come back to bite me years down the line and it has.”
    TJ looked at him quizzically but quickly turned his eyes as the doors to the room opened once more and Kavitala entered.
    “I wouldn’t say this is the reason our ancestors believed it a good idea to have a Pledger, but for you it is and many more.” She said as she entered with a couple of wine glasses on a platter.
    She placed them down and Alvaro embraced her before he kissed her on the lips. “I wouldn’t be able to keep my head attached to my torso without you, Kavi.”
    “Oh please,” She chuckled. Once he let her go she made her way to the door. “I’ll leave you boys to your discussion. Just try not to drink yourself into a stupor Dear.”
    “You can add that one to your list.” He answered with a guilty grin. At his words she laughed gently and exited, closing the door behind her,
    “Now then, without further ado let’s have a man-to-man chat, shall we?” Alvaro asked as he unfurled the golden wrapping around the neck of the bottle and began to uncork it.
    TJ eyed the bottle warily before turning his eyes to Alvaro. “Does this have alcoholic content Mr. Seitz?”
    “No need to be so formal! Just call me Alvaro!”
    “Got it,” He answered with a hint of hesitation.
    “Wine does count as alcohol so it’s got some. But it’s not so much that you’ll get wasted after a cup or two I’m sure.”
    The Abellan pursed his lips. “Verun says that minors shouldn’t drink too much when it comes to those things.”
    “Who’s this Verun gu-oh!” The Governor roared with laughter. “Did he say that? Ha! If only he knew!
    “I suppose you couldn’t expect a Confidant to know about that after all. Don’t mind his words TJ.”
    “But-”
    At those words Alvaro raised a finger and waved it solemnly. “I don’t mean to call you old, but there’s no denying that your youthful appearance is deceiving both to lookers and the keeper himself.”
    “I know. I haven’t grown much despite all these years…” He muttered under his breath.
    The previous Governor laughed gently at those words. “True. You haven’t grown much since I last saw you, but that isn’t what I’m referring to. Your appearance and your age are two very different things. You may look like a child, but you’re far older than me and even most of my predecessors.”
    TJ blinked in disbelief. “Huh?”
    Alvaro tipped the glass as he poured enough wine to fill it up halfway and sat it down before the Abellan. “It’s no lie. Be it in the scriptures, the textbooks, even the songs of bards from ages past. They all mention the Abellan. Of course, everyone has their own take on history so most of the information is likely inaccurate, but the one thing that they all agree on is that you existed then. During the Age of Heroes, the years where the Gods and Mankind were tied by the bonds of fate. Prior to Mankind’s fall from grace, of course.
    “Put simply, you can have a few drinks with me without worrying about drinking age and all of those things.”
    “Do you really believe that? Alvaro…?” TJ asked as he took a sip of the wine. It tasted bitter going down, but the aftertaste had a faint sweetness.
    “Course I do! People tend to be skeptical and judge by appearances without even a hint of certainty to their actions. ‘Cause of that, you’d gone through hell and high water didn’t you?” He shook his head gently as he swirled the wine in his glass. “Even I had some difficulties believing it back then, but I saw you on Asgard. I saw you during the war too. Armed with nothing but your guitar and spells I’ve never even seen before, you took the fight to the Agasura.
    “I’ll admit, those made me believe that you were without a doubt, the Abellan. But what really convinced me was that you were able to convince my daughter.”
    “Amata?” He asked with a puzzled glance.
    Alvaro nodded before he took another sip of his drink. “That’s right. She’s a stubborn one, but if you could befriend her and convince her to come all the way back here to take the trial you would have to either be the Abellan or one of Lady Amae’s Saints reincarnated.”
    TJ chuckled gently. “It was mostly her that had garnered the courage to do it though. All she needed was a slight push from the Chief and the others to understand what it is she wanted to do.”
    The previous Governor smiled. “You and your friends are a good bunch. Amata’s in good hands.”
    TJ beamed. “We’re glad to have her among us too.”
    The Abellan took a bigger drink from his glass as he mustered his courage.
    “Alvaro, may I ask you something?”
    The previous Governor raised an eyebrow. “Of course! What’s on your mind TJ?”
    The Abellan knit his in turn. “When I met the Chief…I mean the queen. Do you know what happened then? I mean what brought her to where I was?”
    He closed his eyes and nodded thoughtfully. “I do. The king had called upon one of the members of the Artimen Clan after the First Asgardian War had ended. He and the princess had gone with him to see off Queen Remedi.”
    TJ blinked. “To…see her off?”
    He nodded grimly. “It was her sacrifice that ended the war in our favour. Since the Agasura didn’t have their ace in the hole we were able to push them back and force them to flee from Asgard.
    “Though the battle was won, the war was lost. Our queen had fallen.”
    He took a drink from his glass and turned his eyes to the fire.
    “The whole of Asgard was in mourning for some time afterwards. Wasn’t long after that the princess went on to meet you and from then on I imagine you know where the story goes.”
    TJ looked into his wine glass solemnly. Five words hung like ghosts in the air when he thought back to that fateful moment. Looking into the eyes of the youthful princess he asked her, “Do you wish to meet her?” It was that very question that had set both of their fates in motion. Much to his surprise, it was that which set all of their fates in motion—including that of Su’s and Amata.
    What about Amata? Was becoming a God’s Governor something she felt certain she wanted to do? Alvaro still looked rather young, and if their talk at dinner was any indication, he was no less capable despite being an adult.
    “This is a bit more personal but I was curious when Amata became God’s Governor of Fire.”
    Alvaro gave him a melancholy smile. “It wasn’t until after the Hanamah incident that I gave her my title, but I had planned to do it long before that.
    “Amata was always a capable girl and she had a good head on her shoulders just like her mother. Perhaps if I’d spent more time treating her like a normal girl and less like a God’s Governor she would have had an easier time growing up.”
    He closed his eyes and slumped over as he let out a heavy sigh. “She didn’t have a whole lot of friends when she was young. Most of the time she had, she spent it training by herself or sparring against me…and don’t even get me going on how many times she came out hurt.”
    He gulped down the rest of his wine and poured another glass. “Don’t be shy TJ. Come on, you drink up too.”
    TJ nodded before he finished his glass and hiccupped. His mind felt a little fuzzy, but he felt that he was getting to know the Governor of Fire better. It seemed she had a lot to hide, but her reasons and Alvaro’s may have differed.
    “My little girl was a real natural. She had to work hard to get where she was today, but all of the effort she put in made her one of the fastest growing Governors.”
    He smiled bitterly. “Can’t count how many times she had told me that she’d protect me and Kavi. I used to think she was just a kid with big dreams and a little twinkle in her eye. Little did I know that she was serious. I used to just rough her up a little in our matches so that she wouldn’t overdo it but she was insistent on getting better.
    “Before I knew it she was on the road to becoming a better God’s Governor than I had ever been…and when she came back from Hanamah…hoo boy…” The Governor placed a hand to his face and shook his head. “The look on her face…the twinkle in her eyes…gone. It was the face of someone who had seen the horrors of war and lived to tell. But at the time she was so young. Much too young to have gone through something like that…and I had no idea. I couldn’t be there for her and her closest friend was kidnapped or killed by the Dark Moon.
    “My baby girl had gone beyond my reach and grown up when I couldn’t see her. Wasn’t until then that I realized how much time I’d wasted. I wasted her youth.” He looked to TJ and smiled once more, but this time one without sorrow or melancholy.
    “That’s time I can’t take back for her…but she can still have a future.” He placed a hand to his chest. “From this fool of a father, I need to make a request of you TJ.”
    The Abellan tightly clenched his fist to his lap and nodded solemnly with a look of resolve in his eyes.
    “Please look after my…our daughter. I’ll fight in this war too, but I won’t be by her side through all of it. She’ll have to go to places beyond my reach again and this failure of a God’s Governor can’t follow her there. So I entrust her to you. Let her live to see the day where she won’t have to fight the battle we had started. Allow her to fall in love, marry and live in peace as we have. We owe her that much…but only you can give her that chance.”
    TJ’s lips trembled at Alvaro’s earnest desire and he looked to his shoes. “I…I know I have the strength to do it but…I lack control. I’m afraid I might hurt her or the others.”
    Alvaro’s eyes softened as he looked upon the Abellan like his own child. “You and her are just like each other. She just wasn’t as honest about it as you are now.” He chuckled gently as he reminisced on the fact. “TJ, sometimes there’s no better place to learn to master yourself than on the battlefield. If you feel your powers are too much for you to control, then all you need is a hardy ally by your side. After all, a Pledger is every Cerebian’s greatest asset. Someone by our side who covers for our flaws, emphasizes our strengths and allows us to be the best that we can be.
    “I’m sure the years have taken their toll on you…whether time passed or not for you I can’t say. But what I do know is…you’re young. You have plenty of spiritual knowledge I’d bet, but you lack wordly knowledge. You need to go out there and experience things as a Human or as a Cerebian. Doesn’t matter which—we’re not that different after all. Fall in love and let that person know you do, get in a scrap or two, make some friends or rivals and get in a bit of trouble every now and again. Do some of those things and you’ll see the world for all it is.
    “But even now, as I look at you in the current state I can see your inner strength. You have courage and the will to see your mission through…and to challenge Asmodeus is no small feat. You’ve been tasked with saving the world and you’ve still got the drive to go through with all the steps towards it.”
    The previous Governor grinned a toothy grin. “You might just be a carp now but…you climb that waterfall and you’ll become a dragon before our very eyes. So hold your head high and keep walking forward. If you do, I know this’ll be a simple task for you, TJ.”
    TJ closed his eyes as he took in Alvaro’s words. People believed in him. That desire they carried was a torch they passed on to him, and he would take it as far as he could, no matter what the circumstances. There were many, many lives he could save, those of the God’s Governors included. He had to be strong enough to protect them, his home and the places and people that held both dear.
    “So long as I live, I’ll protect her with all that I am.”
    “Atta boy! I’ll cheers to that!”
    The two raised their glasses and clinked them gently. For a brief moment TJ felt glad that he learned what a ‘Cheers’ was.

    Amata made her way through the corridor as she sighed gently. A crescent moon hung gently in the sky alongside the stars that lingered around it. Bathed in it’s gentle light she stopped for a moment to place her fingers to the window and look outside.
    Thinking of what she had tasked herself with the following day, she could hardly bring herself to lay down and sleep. Her heart raced at the prospect and her mind was abuzz with plans for battle, formations and the potential strength of her ancestor. All the while the fear of loss frayed the outskirts of her conscious.
    Partially because she was worried about her social life and partially because her companion would be stuck with Alvaro for an extended period, she set out to check on the duo. On the bright side, it allowed her some time away from her own fears.
    As she approached the door she took a deep breath and exhaled. What was she getting so worked up for? Alvaro had done some ridiculous things in the past, but she could at least expect him to get his act together in front of the Abellan.
    “Dad, TJ, I’m coming in!” She said as she rapped on the door.
    The moment she stepped in she looked on in disbelief. Both men were roaring with laughter while a rather large silver dragon with bright yellow eyes stood with its wings folded towards its body and an exasperated look on its face.
    “Master, I do not think this appropriate in the slightest. Both the time and place,” She said.
    “She talksh!” TJ said excitedly as he sat up.
    “Dad! You got TJ drunk?! What’re you doing?!” Amata snarled as she stormed into the room and helped the Abellan from his seat. “You reek of alchohol! Just how much did you drink?!
    “Oh we just had a little bit of wine! What’s the harm in that? Besides he’s an adult too.” Alvaro said as he laughed it off and shrugged.
    “You two finished the whole bottle!” She hissed as she picked it up and tapped it. “That aside this percent is through the roof!” As TJ staggered she caught him and held him close. “And what’re you summoning Sorvir inside the house for?! She can barely fit at that size!”
    Sorvir closed her eyes. “Do not mind it so much, young Governor. My master may have his unusual moments but I assure you this only happens on occasion.”
    “This shouldn’t happen at all.” She sighed as she shook her head.
    “I’m gonna take TJ to one of the guest rooms so make sure you clean up and go to bed!”
    She huffed before she walked off and Alvaro leaned over his chair.
    “Oh come now Ama we were just having a little fun,” He shouted in his defense.
    “Rethink your definition of fun, stupid Dad!” At those words she took TJ through the door and slammed it after her.
    “It seems parenting is still a challenge for you, Master. Perhaps you would have better fortune with my brood.”
    Alvaro chuckled dryly. “I don’t think Kavi would accept having any more dragons in the house. Disciplining Bharva took it’s toll on her.”
    Sorvir chuckled gently. “Alas, you have as of yet to tame your own dragon.”
    He knit his brows. “She’s in a league of her own…but I think she’s growing up just fine nonetheless.” He smiled at the thought. “She just needed some good friends to do it with.”
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:45 pm

    Pages 464-467:
    The duo walked down the hall, the Governor of Fire absolutely seething with anger. TJ remained somewhat slumped over so Amata had to partially haul him towards a guest room, but after doing it once she had a pretty good idea of it.
    “That guy! He’s so troublesome sometimes!” She snarled as she made her way through the corridor. “I swear, every time he finds some way to topple the last thing he did! Ridiculous!”
    “He’s a good dad.” TJ said with a grin.
    “I know you’d think so. You could see the good in everyone. Speaking of…” She turned her eyes down to the Heart of Yggdrasil. “Quit slacking off and get out here! Help me carry him to bed!”
    Su emerged from the gem and crossed her arms. “Honestly, when you idiots are together I just get dragged into dumb shit,” The Governor of Earth muttered.
    “It’s not like you’re doing anything worthwhile! Might as well make use of yourself.”
    “Whatever.”
    Su placed one of the Abellan’s arms over her shoulders and the two made their way through the Seitz Manor.
    “You’re both sho….shtrong…” The Abellan giggled before his head fell limp.
    “Honestly…” Amata began to chuckle herself as they walked up the stairs. “You’re such an easy-going guy. Still…I’d rather have you get drunk and haul you around than do it because you got a dagger in the back. If this is the flip side of the coin, I’d take it any day.”
    “Shaaaame!”
    “You meant ‘same’ right?”
    “‘S what I said!”
    She laughed. “Sure it was.”
    Su eyed them for a brief while but turned her gaze back to the corridor before them.
    After a brief time on the upper floor they stopped at a door and Amata used her free hand to open it. The inside was homely, with a double bed, a set of dressers in two portions of the room, a couple of windows with transparent curtains and a wadrobe. There was a nightstand by the bed with a lamp on it that Amata turned on before she returned to the Abellan’s side.
    “You’ve had a long day. Rest here as long as you need to in preparation for tomorrow. There’s no real rush, so you can sleep in as long as you need to to feel comfortable. Don’t stress over it, okay?”
    “Aye-aye!” He said as he saluted her and collapsed upon the bed after Su let him go. “Mm…soft…” He muttered into the sheets.
    “At least properly put him in the bed.” Amata sighed as she corrected his posture and covered him.
    “What are you, his mom? Get over yourself.” Su retorted as she furrowed her brows.
    Amata glared in turn. “You don’t need to be somebody’s mom to show them proper hospitality! Why don’t you go sleep out on the concrete if you’ve got a problem with my way of doing things?!”
    “Were you expecting me to get in that bed with him?” She looked surprised for a moment but it quickly turned to a smug grin. “Heh.”
    “You’re infuriating! Good night!” At those words Amata stormed off and slammed the door behind her.
    “That never gets old.”
    Su turned her eyes to TJ who seemed to be fiddling around with something. “The hell’re you doin’?”
    “I need to…the Chief…” He uttered.
    “Even now you’re worrying about her? She can wait until morning. She won’t die you know.” At those words he sat up and frantically sought out his badge. “It was just a joke! God! Can you relax already?”
    “Found it.” He said with a look of relief.
    “Jeez…”
    Without further ado he tapped the badge twice.

    [Guild]TJ: Chief! It’sh meeee!
    [Guild]Peorth: TJ, good night.
    [Guild]TJ: We made it to Mezzalone!
    [Guild]Peorth: Is that so? What pleasant news. Judging by your speech patterns you had a celebratory drink?
    [Guild]TJ: Uh-huh. Me and Alvaro had shome wine.
    [Guild]Peorth: So you’ve met and forged a bond with God’s Governor of Fire Alvaro have you? This brings me much jubilance.
    [Guild]Peorth: Alas, since this may be one of the first times you have had more alcoholic content than you are familiar with, it would be in your best interest to drink plenty of water and to get rest to offset the effects in the morning.
    [Guild]TJ: ‘Kay!
    [Guild]Peorth: Rest well TJ. I will be praying for your success during your expedition tomorrow.
    [Guild]TJ: Mmk, I will. And Chief?
    [Guild]Peorth: Yes?
    [Guild]TJ: Good night! I love you!

    There was a brief pause accompanied by a quiet gasp.

    [Guild]Peorth: Y-you may have mixed up the order of your words but…alas, I digress. I…as do I, TJ. Good night.

    It was not long before he rested his head against the pillow and fell fast asleep. Su, who leaned against one of the dressers closed her eyes as she shook her head.

    As Amata made her way back to her room she caught a glimpse of a figure moving through the dark and she froze up instinctively.
    “W-who’s there? Is that you Dad?” She raised a finger and a small flame was lit before it, giving her some vision in the darkness.
    After a few moments Kavitala emerged from the darkness and smiled at her daughter. “Sorry Amata, I didn’t mean to startle you,” She said.
    “Oh…it was just you Mom. Were you going to get Dad? He drank himself silly again.” She huffed as she extinguished the flames and crossed her arms.
    “That’s just like your father, isn’t it?” She chuckled.
    “I dunno what you see in him, really.”
    This made Kavitala smile. “That’s often the case with parents and children. But that’s love, Dear. You love and accept everything about your partner, both good and bad.”
    “Yeah…I’ve got the gist of it, more or less.” She said as she scratched her cheek. There was someone she could think of like that, but he seemed too good to have bads. Or perhaps it was his goods that had turned bad. A mysterious person…but one she felt she could learn a lot from.
    “But I’m not here to lecture you about love. I’ve something that I’d like to ask of you.”
    Amata cocked an eyebrow. “What’s that?”
    “Would you meet me out back with Bharva?” Her mother clasped her hands by her waist and the Governor could not help but feel unease.
    “Okay…I guess?” If she knew her mother, she often had a very distinct problem with the Governor’s familiars. Though Sorvir was a victim of this scenario, she had been caught in Kavitala’s ire due to Bharva’s behaviour in his early years.
    Without a second thought Amata made her way to the manor’s backyard and summoned her companion in his second size. Thankfully, the garden was rather spacious so he could fit without too much trouble. So long as he did not use his breath he would not set their garden or house aflame—a concern of her mother’s.
    After a brief spell the doors slid open and Kavitala stepped out.
    “So what did you want us for anyway Mom?” Amata asked as she raised her eyebrows.
    “Oh I just wanted to give Bharva a trim with these little things.” She answered as she closed the door behind her. When she turned around both Governor and familiar alike looked on in disbelief.
    “You call those industrial grade hedge clippers little?!”
    In her mother’s hands were a pair of clippers large and wide enough to easily wrap around a human’s torso.
    “I mean, sure his mane is getting a little shaggy, but don’t you think this is a bit much?”
    The dragon turned to her and huffed and she placed a finger to her lips.
    “It’s for a good cause, I assure you. Now I’ll need you to get Bharva to stay still while I take a few off the top…”
    Amata placed her hand to Bharva’s face and knit her brows. “Sorry…but you know how it is. Mom and Dad are the bosses around here so let’s just try and get through this peacefully okay?”
    The dragon groaned and she grinned guiltily.
    “That’s the spirit.”

    How long had TJ spent in bed? He awoke with a splitting headache for quite some time. Amata had come and gone constantly, apologizing as she did and bringing glasses of water for him until he felt better. He felt a little ashamed that he could not get out of bed to eat, but she assured him that it was not his fault and she understood his pain, before cuirsing her father for doing such a thing.
    Leaving all of those events aside, something else had been bothering him that morning. Most of the night was a blur. He recalled talking with Alvaro, meeting his dragon familiar and Amata yelling at him, but further past that point was hazy. Did alcohol have memory erasing properties to it? Was it possible that someone had given it to him in the past and the course of events lead to his hazy memories? Though it also raised the question of how that person had placed his memories in the Iris stones.
    Further into the day the pain he felt had subsided and he climbed out of bed. He stepped out of the room after making the bed and putting his accessories on. He looked both ways and began to feel as lost as he did in Devotion’s guild hall.
    “Go right,” Su told him from within the gem.
    He nodded solemnly and made his way through the corridor until he found a winding staircase to the lower floor. As he did so he caught a glimpse of Amata as she made her way down the hall with her eyes focused on him.
    “Hey TJ. Are you feeling any better?” She asked with worry dancing on the edges of her voice.
    “Yeah, completely!” He answered as he gave her a thumbs-up.
    She beamed. “Good. Mom and Dad are helping me pack up so we’ll be ready to go soon. If you like you can rest a little longer.”
    He scratched his cheek gently. He spent the better half of the morning resting, so it only felt right that he return the kindness she showed him--at the very least. “I think I’m okay there. Is there anything I can help out with?”
    The Governor placed an elbow in hand and tapped her finger against her cheek. “Not that I can think of…though Mom did say she had something to give you, so maybe we should go see her about it.”
    He chuckled gently. He had been on the receiving end of plenty of useful items lately. The Cerebians were all very thoughtful towards him. “Sounds like a plan.”
    He made his way to Amata’s side and followed her into the Seitz’ living room.
    “Do you think they’ll need bug spray?” Alvaro asked as he picked up a small bottle.
    “Bugs will be the least of their concerns in the temple dear.” Kavitala answered as she placed things into a rucksack.
    “I’m just keeping their well-being in mind. You won’t find any bloodsucking Agasura around these parts will you?”
    “Amata can handle herself. Let’s pack important things they might need in the temple and if there’s space we can fit all of those little extras.”
    Alvaro relented and set the bottle aside.
    “Mom, Dad, TJ’s awake. Are you guys almost done?” Amata asked as the duo stepped into the room.
    “Good morning,” TJ said with a moment’s hesitation.
    “Good morning to you, TJ.” Kavitala said as she offered a bright smile.
    “Morning to ya’, TJ.” Alvaro said as he grinned and saluted.
    “We’re almost done here. It’ll be quicker if you can convince your father you can handle a few insects though.” Kavitala said as she grinned and gestured to her husband.
    “I’ll be fine Dad, stop worrying so much!” Amata said as she furrowed her brows while looking in his direction.
    “But you know what those bug bites do to you. If you’d just stop scra-” He began but was soon cut off by his furious daughter.
    “Ahh don’t talk about that! I’ll be fine, okay?! I’m not a kid anymore!”
    Alvaro turned his eyes back to the bag that he packed. “That’s true. You’re an adult now.”
    She huffed gently before she crossed her arms and looked to her mother. “Mom, you said you had something for TJ right?”
    “That’s right. Hang on a moment you two.” At those words she vanished into the corridor and Amata took up her place to familiarize herself with the contents of the rucksack.
    “There’s a lot of handy stuff in here. Rope, Grappling hook, spare secondary arms…even food. Looks like we’ll be prepared for just about any situation. There’s a lot of water too.”
    “You’ll be entering your ancestor’s temple. The heat might be near unbearable for anyone that isn’t part of our lineage,” Alvaro said with a light chuckle. TJ swallowed the comment hard.
    “We were prepared for this, of course.” Kavitala said as she emerged from behind TJ and he jumped in response. She chuckled gently at his reaction.
    “This is for you.” She held out a crimson cloak with scarlet fibres woven throughout the entire item.
    He accepted it with a look of curiosity while he asked, “This is…?”
    “A dragon’s mane cloak. It’s said that the original architechts of Rayinth’s Vestibule wore them when they built it. It protected them from the intense heat emitted at the heart of Midgard.”
    “M-Midgard has a heart too?!” He asked with a look of disbelief.
    “Whatever you’re thinking, TJ, I don’t think it’s that.” Amata said as she giggled. “Reina said the core of Midgard is pure magma, so the deeper you go into the ground the hotter it becomes.”
    “That makes sense.” He said as he looked over the cloak. “Thanks a bunch Mrs. Seitz.” He said with an earnest smile.
    “Think nothing of it. We owe you our thanks, after all, for looking after our daughter.”
    “I’m glad to help out.”
    “Can you guys skip the embarrassing stuff already so we can go? By the time we get there he’ll already be dead due to boredom,” Amata complained.
    “We’ll be finished in a moment Dear. Just hang on a little longer.”
    “Ugh…” Amata slumped into a couch and frowned.
    TJ laughed gently as he held the cloak close. As he did so he felt that he was beginning to understand what it was like to have a family.
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Fri Aug 05, 2016 5:26 pm

    Yellow Eyes Silver Dragon:
    And the LORD said, "Let them eat christmas cake," and it was deeeeeeeeeelicious.

    So? I'm back...for now. Why you ask? Well firstly, my sub on Hoarder Fantasy 14 ended. Again. ...Sob. Secondly, though I was initially averse to writing about this section because it was too emotionally charged for an apathetic and pessimistic person like yours truly well...let's just say my fate caught up to me. In so doing, it made me realize that there are things I fear to lose, and also that even within me my tears haven't dried up completely. Doing that was one hundred times more difficult than coming face to face with the ghosts of my past.
    Leaving those two things aside, there were many and more voices that I heard that either heralded my return or scorned my very existence. To that end, I've spent the past few months questioning whether I should take heart and believe in the piety of the people who believed in what I could be or take refuge in the shade cast by the venom of others and remain hidden in plain sight. For the time being, however, the former has some people that I just can't turn away from. I dunno how long that'll hold true for, but the fact stands, and I stand with them.
    So, shall we then?

    Remember how I said the fastest way to conquer your friends was through heartfelt one-on-ones? Bam! Laying down the law right there! I stand by my warning too. This part is an important development for both TJ and Amata, because the emotional walls she built throughout the years are steadily coming down but she's coming to terms with having people she can entrust in. Like TJ had said, she carried a great weight on her shoulders but she was still young, and it wouldn't be easy to do alone. As for him, he has more courage now and to that end he's become strong enough to be the shoulder that his comrades can lean on. More often than not, he was in that position as we've seen at times with Su, Peorth and even Yuna. As Amata stated though, he doesn't see the romantic context of his actions and his words add to that fact.
    Two things to note here! TJ spoke of someone who could stand beside the God's Governor, in a sense as an equal. Though it was not his intention,(rather it was mine) it was a reference to Yin and Yang/the Tiger and Dragon. If you look it up you'll see how the two fit into these very important and memorable roles, so go ahead. As for what I have to say about it? Title drop! ...Young Dragons! Y-yeah!
    Secondly, Amata notes that she can hear the sound of the waves in his gem. Only in Amu's case can she see his memories within them. This can be looked at through both a literal and symbolic lens. TJ, here like Freya has a maternal(or paternal, depending on how you look at it) presence like Freya had. We also know that during his time when his spirit had entered the gem, the experience was similar to diving into the deep.

    Moving on! Purnima for best cook. Does she rival Peorth? Questionable. Reading this now I'm repeating the statement, "FREQUENCY IS A BATTLE NOVEL" in my head.
    This needs to be said, AMata is just ughughghgh adorable right now. She also remembers their promise. ...Did I actually write this? I'm having some writer's amnesia.
    More importantly, we finally get some clues about Hanamah from the view of Amata! For the first time she actually mentions the reason why she went to Hanamah and her statements gives credibility to  Su's experiences during USSR with the ghost lady. It also shows that Alvaro didn't have any particular hand in that zeal she had and the actions she took at the time. She had done everything of her own accord, but the fact still stands that she was a brash youth at the time. The fact that she's coming clean about the truth of the matter with someone she trusts is a sign that she's had plenty of time to grow over that span of time. That aside, TJ's knowledge about Amae comes to play here also. He knows about her and her ability to travel to Jienda/Midgard, but also doesn't know whether she was around in the present, or why she would come down. As one would expect, these facets of truth tie into Su's story, and so the Governor of Earth may be the one who knows what had happened to Amae and why she was potentially in the Belos region.
    And finally we get a greater look at the aftermath of what happened during the Hanamah incident. One would think that two God's Governors could hold down the fort, but again, they were still too young to have proper mastery over their powers and were grossly outnumbered. However, Amata rather than choosing to fight them head-on, helped the refugees and citizens escape and evacuate with the help of Reina+Bastion. Su on the other hand(And as we had seen through TJ's memories) fought them with everything she had, and as she had told him afterwards was caught by the same general Reina, Salem and Vanir challenged at the end of USSR. And so, everything comes full circle. You can see how the old general fell by Su's hand, how Hanamah fell and how some of the citizens lived to see another day, to that end including Felix and his recruitment to Bastion. But despite Su's attitude, it shows that there was something she held dear and that she lost in that battle. TJ doesn't know about Grant and Bea, let alone Bane so he's semi-oblivious to that statement. His response however, shows another sign of his growth. Now, more often than not he acknowledges his position as the Abellan and all the while tries to understand what that does and doesn't pertain. In the same vein, he acknowledges his faults and acts as a pillar of support to balance out the two God's Governors. Now he can actually break up their fights without getting yelled at!

    So the next important thing is the arrival at Mezzalone and the speaker. I've attended enough church sermons to get a good idea of what they sound like lol. Then again, I've met some downright strange priests throughout my years so...let's just say this is what the generic preacher would sound like, shall we? Anyway, this was a curious little scenario I thought up for this part. I can't say too much about it because I wanna leave some to the imagination of the readers, but what the preacher says draws an interesting parallel between what the Cerebians know about the Abellan and his duties and what he actually does throughout the novel. In it, we can see that there are some glimmers of truth hidden behind the pious talk of the preacher. Whether the ending that they surmise however could be true or not remains in question. Amata seems to disagree, but I don't think it'll be something TJ forgets so soon.

    So here's where things get really...you know. We're finally introduced to Alvaro, only mentioned in passing during USSR, but here he's...a person. He's black, and Kavitala Indian so Amata is actually mixed. Shocking truth? She got her eye colours from both of them though. This one fact alone is a very telling facet of her character, and I'm gonna go on a giant spiel about why so prepare your body! It might get a little personal, so if you have ANY problems with that, don't read it. I'll spoiler tag it for any complainers.

    There. Read at your own peril.:
    Assuming by now you've read USSR, you know the (fake)reason that Amata went to the Haven. This, is in fact linked to her origins. She didn't trust Su because she was a half-human half-Cerebian and thought that she should give up her title. If you changed the context it might be a bit simpler to understand...but let's leave that concept for now.
    One of the things anybody might feel is a loathing when they see their own faults in someone else. If history has taught us anything, it's that we need to learn from the mistakes of our forefathers. I'm not that different--if you were to ask me if I could go back in time, what would I change? I'd answer that I'd go back and smother my past self to prevent a world of heartache and mistakes. Some things, and some people are better off unknown or forgotten. Nevertheless, this is about Amata after all.
    Though indirect, Amata's actions may have carried the implication that there was something rooted within her psyche that made her act the way she did. Perhaps she had felt uncomfortable at some point about who she was-her heritage, her upbringing, and how it made her stand out among the other children in Mezzalone. To experience such a thing would serve as a bitter memory that hangs like a dark cloud over her years later, and could be the start of a form of zealotry.
    To a much smaller degree, we can see that somewhat in the way she dresses. On multiple occasions she's averse to wearing a sari, something akin to her Indian descent and prefers to wear more Western style clothing(On that note, I read up a lot about this and I think that the west may have had influence on some styles there, alongside the chipao/quipao). But no, it doesn't end there. During the Gula arc, she speculates on TJ's lack of make-up and furthermore his not knowing of what it is and even his typically upbeat attitude.
    There are two very important facts at play here. The first being that she makes a sharp contrast to Su. Su, as we learned in USSR grew up in the Forest with Bane as her parental figure. Things like make-up, clothes and her general image are things she never cared for, and to the day still pays little heed to. Amata who grew up in a bustling city with all of her peers works around the clock to fit the bill, to make the image and to upkeep what she's built. Peorth too, though indirect carries the same burden.
    The second thing is that she's uncomfortable in her own skin. She's conflicted between what she is and what she feels she should be and so she just crashes through her life in one way or another while grasping at things that give her identity some form of clarity. Of all of those things, there stands one thing that regardless of her origins, of what people say and think of her holds true--that she is the daughter of, and now the current Governor of Fire. It gives her agency, an ideal to hang on to and a path to follow in order to do something greater than the sum of its parts.

    It's a tired and told story, perhaps. But one that runs rampant to this day, because change is hard to come across. I've spoken about this before--about the way society will look at people, about how some jobs insist that people should feel bad about who they are and what they look like, and to that end we put everything we have into reshaping ourselves. I can't tell someone else's story--it isn't my place, but I can tell you something about me.
    If my avatar was any indication, that's what I look like. Both of my parents are black, and that's just fine and dandy. Or not. As you'd imagine, I look pretty...average, I guess. Doesn't make my life any easier, however. I can't count how many times someone had something to say about my hair. "It's too nappy! It looks like shit! I just wanna cut it off! Nobody will hire you with hair like that!" I hated it. I still do. And I don't just mean the ridicule, I mean my hair too. It's more or less a curly pain in the ass, but shaving it off makes things a hundred times worse for...reasons. When I was younger I wondered if I cut my hair off, would people look at me differently? Would they like me? Would I finally make the cut and get that job I worked so hard for? None of those worked out, really.
    It wasn't that easy, mind. I tried plenty of things--gaining weight, losing weight, putting on muscle, changing the way I talk, everything. It reached a point where I wondered if I bleached my skin, dyed and straightened my hair and changed my name if my life would suddenly turn around and all the things that went wrong would suddenly go right. Do you think they would?

    Regardless, it doesn't take the media to remind us of who we are, and who we don't want to be. I can't help but think that the opposite of what I believed is what I should strive to be, but whenever it comes to that people dissuade me all the while upholding those beliefs through words and actions. Don't take my words to heart, though. This isn't an angry rant, but rather a dissection of our culture as a whole. It's something I taught myself to do early on...the only way to fit in is to understand, and to do so requires constant reflection. Hence how I've gained greater insight of my own work, of it's faults, and can implement many of the things I've learned to give it a somewhat realistic touch.
    Reality is harsh, but I don't have the intention to change it, nor the power to do so. It might seem that way, but it's actually the opposite, really! There's a good line from HF14 by Odin that I'll share with you, to ponder on. "Here I stand--a god amongst men. Yet here I remain--a mere man amongst gods." The context of course, is different, naturally, but! If life has taught me anything, it's that the context of words are not always so one dimensional.
    Perhaps even for me, there's much and more I haven't come to see as of yet. Whether what I'll find is the truth or not, however, will always be a mystery. Whether it's worth it or not, I'm not sure yet, but my philosophy teacher had always said, "Never stop wondering." If I had...I wonder how my life would've changed.

    Back to the story! Though infrequent...actually this may be the first time TJ's met parents. He knows of families and whatnot but as his inner monologue says he doesn't quite understand how they work. To make matters worse, Asmodeus is a single parent. I'm sure you could imagine what happened there. Or not. I mean Kojima's Norman Reedus' butt simulator exists so??? Dad babies??? Also if it wasn't obvious already I've gotten on the Dads 'o War train. All aboard! Choo choo!
    Jokes aside, now more than ever we're moving forward in the second stage of TJ's development. The first stage being his identity crisis and becoming the Abellan, the second acceptance and understanding of what it means to be the Abellan. The choices he makes, the powers he acquires and the inner turmoil he experiences as he wades his way through the sea of his journey will dictate the realization he'll come to upon the completion of it.
    So dinner time happens. Alvaro comes off as a pretty happy-go-lucky guy but he worries a lot about Amata, and it shows. Kavitala acts as a good foil to him because she keeps his eccentric nature in check with her calm and collected responses. As much as Amata hates to admit it, the apple really didn't fall far from the tree. Still, I feel that finally seeing Amata let her guard down is a good sign for her. As TJ had noted, she worked hard to keep up her brave front, but that didn't make things easier for her. Just as people looked to her, sooner or later she would need someone to lean on and to that end she had finally found it in him. At this juncture, he still confides his concerns in Peorth and follows in her wake, but as I mentioned before, in time their roles will be reversed as TJ will become the hero that the world needs him to be.
    Hmm...a timid Peorth wouldn't be so bad either.

    Most of the convo with Alvaro speaks for itself, but I want to talk about TJ's question+realization. If you recall back during the Atlantis arc he saw the memory where he met with Peorth and the others. As we learned now, it was after Queen Remedi's passing and shortly after the war. What TJ had received then, and released into the gate was the last remnants of her, and on the other side she awaited her daughter. The fact given form by his question, "Do you wish to meet her?" This ties into the discussion Peorth had with Amata during the Gula arc. There's a certain statement she makes that speaks of her, of Su, and of what lies on the other side of that gate...but I won't tell you which! Surprisingly, there's a lot of clues hidden throughout the story that points towards the potential endings.
    Though I have to admit, their discussion gives me feels that are reminiscent of Julius+Rosetta's time with Su. For the Governors of Fire and Earth, the sentiments are similar--that they and their forefathers failed and that they need to entrust their world to their daughters. Unlike with Alvaro though, Su won't find the same catharsis in her parent's wake because they're already gone...but there's much and more to her story so we'll see how it plays out. As for Amata, it's refreshing to know that she's finally found some. Her(present) arc has almost come to a close with this.
    One last thing about this--Alvaro mentions TJ growing from being a carp into a dragon. This references two things--the legend(I think thast's what it is? Or myth? Idk.) and also can be seen as a reference to his second step in awakening. One of the things he lacks right now as Alvaro speculates is worldly knowledge. To acquire that may be a push in the right direction, and through the God's Governors he may just accomplish that.

    So unlike the other Governors that we've seen thus far, those being Amata and Rayinth, Alvaro has a wyvern named Sorvir. She too, is the voice of reason in that master-servant relationship. That however, is unlike Amata's case. According to their discussion it took time to tame Bharva, and as we can see both in USSR and Sanc that Bharva has a bit of a prideful nature that is second only to his desire to protect his master. They argue all the time but they'll still protect each other.
    The reason TJ can understand her is based around Alvaro's mastery. Like Bharva and Amata, Sorvir can be summoned in greater or lesser sizes. The bond the two have reached a point where Sorvir could communicate with others around her summoner, and not just to the summoner himself. It helps that TJ is also the Abellan(I'd say Cerebian but his roots are complicated). And that explains why Rosetta could not and why Amata couldn't communicate with Bane either.
    Also when I wrote this part I couldn't help but think of Taliah--Alvaro and Talin are too different for me to compare in most cases, but Taliah and Amata are similar in some respects. The name calling just sold it for me lol.

    Su and Amata will never get along. They could be embroiled in a battle with Asmodeus himself and I'd bet the two would still try to kill each other. Alas, Su's snark is worse than Amata's bark, so she took the mantle of winner this time around. Speaking of snark and bark, Severa and Brady had the best supports in FE: A. OWain and Noire were a close second. It's a shame Noire didn't make the cut for Fates...I'm still salty about it.
    Anyway, the reason TJ did what he did was well...he toook Alvaro's suggestion to heart and as you can imagine, that was the end result. It was like...drunk texting that girl you like or something. ...I've gotta admit, alchohol is a very, very strange substance. I mean, people don't call it liquid courage for show. And yet, at the same time it seems to have the effect of making one more aware of themselves, of their emotions and of the world around them. You perceive things in a different light--you take note of things you may have paid little attention to and you just...revel in it. In the moment, the experience...the yearning. When you see that person so close you just get sucked into their eyes. You notice just how long their eyelashes are and...you realize now more than ever before that they'll never love you back. It's a shame it can't always be a good laugh huh?
    Anyway! Despite Peorth's response, Word of God says that they're not dating and that she understood the reason why he said what he did. She's a big girl. She knows he had too many drinks and isn't going to take that as his confession. She'll still get flustered about it though!

    The part where Kavi appears I get the feeling as if I was foreshadowing something. I wasn't, honest! Mostly! The occurrence that follows it hints at the fact that Kavi, in fact, did all of their hedges and whatnot. It's a past time of hers. Also she's pretty much the...uhh...man of the house? Or something? I don't wanna say that she wears the pants, but she keeps the family in check. Saying she wears the pants is too...you know, cliche? Not the word I'm looking for, but I'm against things like that. I'll save silly things like that for characters to work through. With a dragon like Bharva there needs to be someone who can put their foot down--though Amata may have tried, Kavi was the one who succeeded where she failed.
    I really like the groan from Bharva too. It gives him a bit more character, alike with Bane. He and Sorvir both sound really serious when they talk, so showing those moments of weakness makes him feel like a well-rounded character.

    That's about all I have to say for today. On an unrelated note, I finished FE:Conquest and I started playing BR. After spending so much time as Nohrian scum it's hard to change sides...and when your waifu is on the opposing team you just wanna nope right out of there. Tough life choices. Speaking of life choices, the other day when I was playing HF14 somebody was like, "Cid best husbando". So I told him how wrong he was. I mean, when Ser Aymeric exists why are there even other men in that game? Everyone else can be female. Even the players! Then someone suggested Estinien. Nope.jpg
    My oh-so-interesting antics aside, TEAL is coming along...steadily. It's almost over, mind. There's like 1 more flashback and a short present portion and then it's over, more or less. Then I'll probably get back to Sanc. I did say I'd work on Inno, but with second year right around the corner I suppose it can wait.
    As for Sanc, I might do a progressive-style dungeon(Yes I made that up FIGHT ME ABOUT IT). What I mean by that is as I design it I might write what I have thus far in between. Some days I might have some interesting design ideas and others I might feel like writing characters/battles and whatnot, hence the concept. It varies. I know what you're thinking. "But TJ," You say, "Writing a WIP is a terrible, terrible, idea!" And you know what? You're right. But will that stop me? Nope! I don't usually do major overhauls after I create the initial design these days. I'm too old for that. Heck, it might not even be exactly as I designed it. We'll see how it all shakes out when it happens.

    Anyway, I've said all I needed to say on this, so until next time!
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:56 pm

    I know people don't like my long angry rants for...whatever reason they do. SO I recommend you watch this instead.
    I watched it today too:

    Sawyer's points are...on point. In truth, he explained many of the concerns I share with a much more optimistic, concise and clearly less complicated language. People tend to misunderstand what I have to say or not understand it all. If so, this is for you. The fact that it made sense to ME of all people speaks volumes.
    Anyway for those of you who feel you might glean something of use from my rage(Naturally, as you'd expect this is on a more personal level, something you're less likely to find through other sources) feel free to read what I'm going to post. Do both if you're into that.

    Where Unity Ends:
    I've said it before and I'll say it again. I've spent most of my life trying to find out just who I am. Not in the simple meaning of those words, mind. We all know the truth now, as you can find a variety of answers on a daily basis. When I had finally found some slivers of truth three years ago, that had only scratched the surface of the truths that I would uncover going forward. But even so...not even that could change my disposition towards myself. Even now I've no intention to get on a high horse and I'm almost certain that should I do so there would be a bevvy of people who would love the opportunity to knock me off of it.
    But I'm here to discuss just that...and at the same time, not. What I want you to see is that we all know the truth at the heart of our world. Most are reluctant to speak of it and more so none will speak of it directly...except for those few times where it has happened. Even so...even so I couldn't help but notice this distinct...aversion to my very existence. I've spent years working around that, minimizing my presence to such a degree that it was nothing short of...creepy. I didn't do it because I wanted to I did it because I had to. I wasn't given a choice. When forced into a corner you it's either fight or flight and to challenge the masses would be nothing short of a losing battle if not outright suicide. It wasn't my place to challenge anyone. It was not something I had founded, nor had been able to be a part of. I believed I had no right. So I didn't.
    But this...it's escalated. Escalated to heights I thought nigh impossible. It's not just over the internet--it's everywhere. Everywhere I go, even for the briefest period people denounce my presence as if its the most natural thing in the world. As if it's normal. Why? I can make children cry with a glance and grown men turn away in cowardice just by walking into a room...and it's been this way for years. So tell me. Why has this become the norm?

    Now if this was me say...13+ years ago I'd be able to reason out a cause and accept it, but my fears from my childhood have not manifested as they once did and as I aged I realized that such minor concerns would not likely be anything to an adult. I've pondered this matter for ages and to the day still do. I wonder even more so now, as children who still walk hand-in-hand with their parents respond the same way that they would. That the elderly would. That a random person I've never met on the street would.

    And it makes me sick.
    I once thought that what would be the undoing of mankind would be the sins of our forefathers--that the weight they passed on to us along with the hopes that we would solve their past mistakes would be what would be the struggle for our generation and those that follow. But I was horribly wrong. Our generation had forgotten the teachings of our forefathers and instead chose to create an unbreakable perpetual loop of suffering that does not just begin and end with a few people. Many...perhaps everyone around the world is dragged into it due to the selfishness of the few.
    Does no one realize that we've created a society that thrives on shaming people? That will bring about its own bane and that of others for the sole purpose of having a mirthless laugh? For what reason?! I told you before that I wouldn't change our society and to this day, I still hold to that belief. Why? Because people are fools. Fools who have lost their cause, but have given up their potential to be something so much more than they've settled with. If humanity is the apex predator, the height of evolution, how could so much of it be so blind to their own needs and wants?

    Look, I'm not that hard to figure out. I don't need anyone's acceptance, their love or their forgiveness. I've long since given up on such notions because they would only be lost to me given time. As I told you before, my clock moves differently from that of others. For me time seems so slow and for others a lifetime and then some passes and just like that, they vanish. I've...learned to accept that. So why is it, then, that people I don't ever dare to get close to develop some kind of fear of me? The homes that I've built...plundered, torn to the ground and washed away by the rain, including all instances of my presence. Only for the cycle to repeat, time and again.
    Tell me truly, what have we learned from our forefathers? What have the creations we made, the history we have forged and the bonds that we've built and broken over all these centuries taught us about ourselves? What have the efforts and beliefs that people fought and died for lead to?
    Generations of men and women who have let themselves become so fear-addled that they turn away from the very thing they seek the aid of? Has anyone actually asked themselves, what they pass on to their children? Has anyone asked themselves what legacy they'll leave for their children and the following generations when they die? To me it seems they'd rather an eternity of suffering in order to avoid something that as far as I can tell, does no harm to them.

    I...I know who I am now...and perhaps what. In a meaning that only some would understand and one that I will not directly state here. I choose to do so for the purpose of that I have no specific cultural or religious affiliation not as the identity I've been given, but the one I was born into. It gives me agency...and perhaps more reason to live a life that I'd once have thrown away easily. Just as I choose to live for that purpose...I am here for that purpose. For those who to this very day have not turned away in fear or disgust. Who know who I am, who could accept that and all that it pertains and wish for me to continue the task I've been given.

    To those who are potentially confused, let me ask you this: Could you expect proper services such as healthcare, police protection and a fully-functioning society without paying taxes? Why does Sweden have all those things? Because they pay huge taxes and receive only the finest. What do you expect to happen when Trump becomes president? America will be saved from the burning wreck many of the people made it to be? The mistakes of those who came before him will be undone? The war against Isis will suddenly end?
    People expect results but make no sacrifices to get them. We live in a world where we would decry our heroes and wonder why they didn't save us when the big bads attack our city. The worst part of it is that this is the status quo. I can't count on my fingers how many times I've heard the phrase, "The more things change the more they stay the same" and it annoys me to no end. The reason things don't change is because people don't want things to change. They like the convenience too much and have become unwilling to make a change to obtain the things that they truly need. People have become selfish and ireful in the years and this will continue so long as they believe that this is the way that it should be and that it has always has been. It's wrong. All of it.

    If we truly believe that and things continue on this path, then the battles through history both within and without have amounted to precious little after only a few centuries.

    Nevertheless, this isn't meant to be a declaration to herald my inglorious return. It's a warning, one that did not get across to everyone through everything I've written up to this point. To some, yes, to the many, no. People need to change. In several ways, that is. I've watched the turn of a century and I won't likely live to do it again, but as I live and breathe I won't fight for a world that cannot look back and realize what had to be lost to be gained. Who had to suffer for us to be where we are today.
    Those who stand at the top will hardly ever look at the foundations of the place where they reside...and by all means, I encourage you to continue to do so. But when the place they stand on comes toppling down under the weight of their own sins, I won't be one caught in the wreckage, nor feeling remorse at the aftermath.
    I've realized there's so much more to my existence than I once knew. If the people wish for death, then they will receive just that. As for me...I have my own destiny to pursue. One that needs no divinity, no esoteric knowledge and no fetters that tighten to the whims of man.
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:03 pm

    Pages 467-474:
    “Been a while since I put these to use,” Alvaro said as his wife handed him a pair of gauntlets. That which covered the wrist was silver, while the hand portion was black with a gold plating. Each of the knuckles had a circular plating and gold streaks ran from them across the entire item.
    “Gauntlets?” TJ asked as he tilted his head quizzically.
    “They’re knuckles. Dad’s a Guardian,” Amata answered.
    “A Guardian!” He repeated with a twinkle in his eyes.
    The previous Governor laughed. “You sound like you’d never seen one before.”
    “I haven’t!”
    Alvaro blinked with surprise. “Where has he been?”
    “Surprisingly, just about everywhere,” Amata answered as she knit her brows.
    “Apples and oranges I suppose.” Alvaro said as he put on his knuckles and pounded his fists together. “Been a while since I put these babies to use. It’ll feel good to get back out there.”
    “You’ve been slacking off since I took up your title, haven’t you?” She asked as she eyed her father warily. “It’s honestly kind of incredible really…that a battle idiot like you could resist fighting Agasuras.”
    He smiled. “You really don’t think much of your father, do you?”
    “You didn’t give me much of a reason to. Mom loves you enough for the both of us, though.” At that, the Governor of Fire smiled.
    “I’ll comfort you Dear.” Kavitala answered with a grin.
    The previous Governor smiled wryly before he turned to TJ. “Don’t you think I’m underappreciated TJ?”
    TJ laughed heartily. “I think you’re kinda cool Mr. Seitz!”
    “You’re a good kid TJ. Do you want my daughter’s hand in marriage?”
    “M-marriage?” The Chief had warned him about this!
    Amata was positively fuming. “You’re talking like your daughter isn’t right here, you idiot dad!” She took his hand and stormed off towards the gate. “Come on TJ, we don’t need him to find our way to the temple.”
    “You’re going the wrong way!” Alvaro said to her as Kavitala crossed her arms and eyed him.
    Amata looked back and glared daggers, mainly to mask her somewhat puzzled expression.
    “Try not to tease them too much, would you?” Her mother asked.
    “It’s a father’s duty.”
    She chuckled gently. “You know, most fathers wouldn’t want their daughters to be married.”
    He laughed as he waved it off, making his way around the house. “I gues that’s what makes me a bad dad, huh?”
    She placed a hand to her cheek. “If only you knew…”
    Amata and TJ caught up with Alvaro and the two followed closely behind.
    “So where exactly are you taking us Dad? The exits to Mezzalone are all on the other avenues you know.” She said as she furrowed her brows.
    “Those are just the exits everyone else is familiar with. We have our own, of course. Call them what you will.” He said with a half-smile.
    “You lost me the moment you started talking.”
    The previous Governor of Fire stopped at one of the grandly trimmed hedges in the shape of a horse standing tall on its hind legs. He pushed aside the leaves at the base of it and from within a small silver handle became visible in the blades of grass.
    “A trap door? You’ve been hiding this here all this time?!” Amata asked in disbelief.
    “We weren’t…hiding it, per se. It’s just a little shortcut we made to get to the temple.”
    “What for?!”
    Alvaro grinned as he opened the hatch. “I wanted one because it takes me back to my childhood. Your mother agreed because she thought it would be a good idea.” She crossed her arms and cocked an eyebrow impatiently. “There’s no denying that we’re the only ones who can open the way to the temples, but once they are, anybody can get in. If one of us were to be followed, God Ah only knows what information and artifacts could fall into the hands of our enemies.”
    Her gaze let up as she climbed after him and seemed to mull it over. “But isn’t the temple only for completing trials? Why would our ancestors keep anything in there?”
    Alvaro chuckled as he climbed down the ladder within, followed by his daughter and the Abellan. “Humanity is a curios sort. If there are dungeons to spelunk, treasure to be found and Agasura to battle, they’ll go. To that end, wouldn’t a place they can’t find or enter be the safest place?”
    TJ had heard similar stories before. Was his cause different? Perhaps it was such things that gave birth to the Agasura—to find no peace in the wake of their demise could serve as reason to hold enmity in their hearts and seek out vengeance upon their return.
    “Mr. Seitz, I have a question.” TJ said as he joined the Seitz in the dark tunnel.
    Alvaro pointed to a torch on the wall and lit it with a single finger. “Sure TJ. What’s on your mind?”
    “Why do you think the Cerebians have to hide themselves from Humanity?”
    He chuckled dryly as he stopped at a silver door with a wheel on the front like that of a ship’s. He turned it and the door creaked open, revealing a long series of stairs into the dark unknown.
    “Why do I, hm? Well isn’t that just how it should be? Regardless of our appearance, Humanity would see us as monsters. To them, we’re the ‘other’. The unknown beings upon their world, and to that degree, enemies to be eliminated. Mankind has evolved and thrived by becoming the apex predator. They made tools, weapons and used those to strike down anything that was a threat to them, and in so doing became rulers of Midgard.
    “At this point in their lives, I think you could call it an instinct. One that demands exploration, combat and the reminder that Humanity will remain upon that seat of power. We know what they don’t, and it’s our duty to keep it that way.”
    TJ knit his eyebrows as Amata furrowed hers.
    “But they don’t know that their world is in danger. It won’t be long before Asmodeus returns. Wouldn’t it be best we tell them the truth so that they can prepare themselves to wage war?”
    In Amae’s memories they were all aware of what happened. Seres was to pass on the message and Amae herself went on to see how their progress came along. There was no longer a Xenadia, a Seres, let alone Lady Amae to perform such grand feats, but somehow, some way, would it not be possible for them to get the message across?
    They continued to descend one step at a time and in the darkness it seemed the stairwell was endless. Upon glimpsing back TJ could only see shadows. Would these stairs lead them to the core of Midgard? Was it possible that it was where Rayinth had his temple built?
    “Perhaps. But that isn’t our decision to make. Our ancestors had passed down the knowledge that our patron goddess wished us to keep our identity a secret, and so it’s been since time immemorial. That is, until Queen Remedi decided to break tradition.”
    “You knew her Dad?” Amata asked with a curious glint in her eye.
    The man roared with laughter. “Did I ever! She had caused more of an uproar with her actions than TJ did with his arrival on Asgard. She used to leave the castle to visit the market, go down to Midgard without permission, dress up as a civilian to attend the festivals—the castle was constantly in tumult in trying to keep her in one place.
    “But that’s beside the point. As it is now, TJ, Humanity won’t just believe anything we say.
    “Think back to the summit you recently attended. I’m sure Peorth had her reasons for keeping her presence a secret, but she had to do some very interesting things to win the trust of the guild masters at the summit.
    “As far as how we know, word travels fast among our kind, especially about important events like that.
    “More importantly, the Cerebians also would likely have their doubts on the validity of her statements. It isn’t unlikely that an imposter would disguise themselves as her—now that the truth is out that she is alive, they might start cropping up.
    “Anyway let’s get back on the topic of Humanity. Like the Cerebians, Humans won’t take our word at face value. There’s not much proof of Asmodeus’ existence, and it’s been hundreds of years since the Legion War happened on Midgard. If there are any traces of our existence, let alone his, only those with the most devoted pursuit of our kind would know of it and all others would probably doubt it.
    “To reveal yourself as a Cerebian would certainly get them to believe we exist. Or think you’re an Agasura which will wind up with you being detained, tested on or killed.”
    Both Abellan and God’s Governor looked shocked and disgusted by the response.
    “That’s a little…extreme,” Amata muttered.
    “That’s just the way things are.”
    “So our cause is lost?” TJ asked with a damper on his usual upbeat attitude.
    Amata ruffled his hair and he looked to her. “You’re the last person who should be saying that. We don’t need Humanity to win this war, and they don’t need to be caught up in it for us to finish it. We’re strong enough to take on Asmodeus and save Humanity.
    “If you’re ever feeling unsure about it, just ask me about any of the heroes of the past. I know a ton of great stories about Lady Amae’s Saints and the God’s Governors and even the Cerebians who had gone through Apotheosis! They were all really cool and managed to protect the innocent all while keeping their identities secret.
    “We’ve done it for this long too. I think the fact that you’ve managed to beat so many Agasura while doing that is pretty cool, TJ.”
    He smiled at her words. Perhaps even with his little strength he could manage. It would be difficult, but certainly not impossible for him and the other Cerebians.
    “I think you’re pretty great yourself Amata.” She always did her best and worked so hard that she learned to awaken. He could certainly learn to be as strong both in magic and personality from her.
    “You kids are already doing a great job. Whatever happens, don’t worry too much about it. You won’t be the first to break the traditions, but you’ll be the ones to end an age-long war.”
    Amata grinned. “You better watch me Dad. I’m gonna become a hero that’ll go down in history just like all the others.”
    “Your journey starts here, kiddo.”
    “If people hear you calling me that I’ll go down in history as a daddy’s girl!”

    Alvaro pushed a giant rock aside with some help from TJ and they came to a clearing. They found themselves within the Jungle once more, but in an area unfamiliar to TJ. Was it possibly on the other side of Mezzalone?
    “We’re close, but not quite…there…yet…” Alvaro’s eyes began to swim as the trees began to shift and rise upon their roots.
    Though much shorter than the actual trees in the Jungle, the Agasura stood as tall as Alvaro and at times more so than him. They were somewhat rotted with moss growing on their worn branches. They had sunken faces, branches like arms and roots like legs.
    “Agasura?!” TJ asked as he drew his guitar.
    “Trents!” Amata snarled as she held out a hand and her staff manifested in flames.
    “Ahh…” Alavaro groaned as he rubbed the back of his neck. “I guess this is what happens when no adventurers come through. Looks like we’re gonna have to fight our way through. You two ready?”
    The Governor of Fire grinned devilishly. “I’ve gotten a lot stronger since you last saw me Dad. Watch and learn!”
    “It’s an honour being able to fight beside the previous and current God’s Governors. I’ll try not to slow you guys down.” TJ said with crinkled eyes and a bright smile.
    Su emerged from the gem and twirled her dagger in her hand before she took hold of it and took up a battle stance. “Make that three, Geezer,” She added.
    He eyed her with a dumbfounded look. “Kasumi?”
    She glared back at him. “Who?”
    “N-never mind that. Let’s settle things here and we’ll talk after, yeah?”
    “I’ll make short work of these guys, so try not to eat too much of my dust.”
    “Just like your mother…” He chuckled dryly. “Nothing for it then. Ladies first.”
    “Don’t mind if I do!” Su said as she dashed off.
    “I’ll be going first then, Dad. You’re our front line so don’t lag behind!” Amata followed in Su’s wake and readied her staff to release a torrent of flames.
    “I’ve got your back Alvaro! I just need a little bit of time to provide some support spells.” TJ added awkwardly as he prepared to play.
    “I’ll leave everyone’s upkeep in your hands TJ.” Alvaro said as he cracked his knuckles. “I’m off!”
    Just as Amata had, with a small burst of flames he launched himself towards the trents and descended upon them with a flaming kick. Two of them flew away and collapsed upon a few others in a burning typhoon.
    “You’ve got some moves for an old man!” Su said as she flipped onto his shoulders and leapt from there to dive into a trent, dagger first.
    She stabbed it once more before she smashed her foot through the wood between its eyes. As a second came behind her and took a swipe at her she grabbed its branch and cut it off with her weapon before she thrust her dagger into it and froze it from the inside out.
    Another that was nearby held out both branches and a green glow surrounded them before vines sprung up from the ground and wrapped around her legs as she attempted to jump away. They pulled her back to the ground and she collapsed in a heap before swearing.
    Alvaro hopped over her as three trents approached and shoulder checked the Agasura in the middle. As the other two attempted to hit him he leapt above them and held both palms to the earth releasing a torrent of fire.
    “You really need to watch yourself!” Amata snarled as she pointed a finger at the myriad of vines and ignited them one by one.
    “I didn’t ask for your help.” Su muttered as she cut herself free.
    “Well you’re getting it anyway!”
    “Amata, Su, look out!” TJ shouted to the two as he rushed to their side.
    One of the trents opened its mouth and let out a long groan before a pair of hummingbirds the size of a small dog flew out towards the two.
    There was no way he would be able to hit them with a direct attack—they were much too fast for him to pinpoint twhere they would go should he retaliate. He shook off his unease and placed his guitar to his back before he outstretched both hands.
    “Icy Wind!”
    At those words an icy torrent was unleashed and the birds caught in it began to slow down in their approach while the rapid beating of their wings came to an eventual halt. Both fell to the ground, frozen in place.
    “Thanks TJ. I dunno how those things got in there, but let’s keep an eye out for more.” Amata suggested as she opened a hand and hurled a fireball at the trent before it could approach.
    “If they’re hiding freakin’ birds in them than I’ll just crush them from the top down. That’ll teach them to stick with trees that aren’t Agasura.” Su muttered as she ripped the remaining vines from her feet.
    “Just don’t get caught this time.” The Governor of Fire suggested with an exasperated gaze.
    Su clicked her tongue before she dashed towards and scaled a tree, disappearing within the leaves.
    Amata turned her gaze to her father who lunged at a trent and smashed his fist through its nose, then reeled it back to follow it with a flaming uppercut.
    “Watch your back, stupid Dad!” She shouted. She dropped her staff to the ground and placed her hands together to create a flaming sphere. “Lion’s Dance!” She hurled the ball towards the trents approaching Alvaro’s blindspot and they were set ablaze in the rain of sparks and fire.
    In its final moments he rushed towards them within a blaze of his own. He barreled through those that were in his direct line of sight and upon reaching the heart of the group the flames that once surrounded him swirled around him before expanding in a wide radius around him.
    “Amata, over here!” TJ said as he pointed to more approaching trents.
    Four of them opened their mouths and a torrent of hummingbirds flew out from within before spreading out.
    “This is a little much.” Amata muttered as she pointed her staff towards one of them and unleashed a torrent of flames with Flamethrower.
    TJ held out both hands and released another icy gust but found himself hard presed to keep it trained on the birds. As he did so he noted that he was rapidly expending mana trying to upkeep the spell.
    “We need a new plan…” He muttered under his breath as he sighed gently. He held out both hands and a chunk of ice took form before him. It shattered and he began to spin as a rain of hail fell upon the incoming Agasura. Some fell to the spell but many remained in pursuit of the two.
    “No good…take cover!”
    Amata acknowledged the order and the moment the two attempted to split up they both found a series of vines wrapping around their legs from within the ground. TJ fell on his face and his companion to her knees.
    “Not this again…” She hissed as she attempted to ignite the vines but quickly found herself putting up a defense against the hummingbirds.
    TJ picked himself up and raised a finger skyward. “Ice Shield!” He cried out. An icy mist surrounded the two and slowed the approach of the hummingbirds somewhat, but they descended upon them nonetheless.
    “Get…outta…here…stupid birds!” TJ shouted as he drew his guitar and started taking swings at them. As one would expect, even with Ice Shield they were too quick for him to hit.
    “I can’t cast a thing like this!” Amata said as she tried to block her face with her hands and staff.
    At that moment four different Sus descended from the treetops, each with their daggers in hand. “Let’s go old man!” She shouted to him before they each ran in one of four directions to take on the incoming trents.
    Alvaro chuckled dryly as he ran towards his daughter and the Abellan. “Mr. Seitz is okay too, you know.” He answered as he knit his brows.
    As he approached he threw a series of punches that unleashed a fireball with every movement. Much to the dismay of the trapped fighters, none hit, but it seemed he had another plan up his sleeve.
    “Stay close, kids.” He said as he pounded an open palm. He waved a flaming hand across his chest before he held it skyward and a ring of flames surrounded the two.
    “Dad, don’t do that with us right her-” Before Amata could finish her sentence the three were surrounded by a rising tornado of fire that burned all that were within range.
    The ashes of the hummingbirds that once attacked them fell to the ground as Alvaro dusted his hands off.
    “Idiot! That was super dangerous!”
    “You know the last thing I would want to do is hurt you, Amata.” He said with a smile.
    “You nearly cooked TJ and I alive!” Though she did not notice at the time, the embers lit the vines and singed them enough for the two to break free without any excess effort.
    The real Su leapt on to a trent and off of it to perform a flip through the air. She descended upon it with an axe kick and shattered its face with her foot. She turned to one of her golems as it ripped its dagger from the face of a trent and made her way towards it. She leapt through the air and hit the ground to come to a skidding halt, raising the earth in the process and impaling two trents that attempted to trap it with vines.
    “Good one,” The golem said to her.
    “Naturally,” She answered.
    The second golem plunged her fist into the earth causing a massive stone hand to arise from it and crush the last trent she fought. The third slid into the roots of hers and backflipped over it as it fell face first into the earth. Once she touched down she slammed her dagger into the trunk and split it in two from the top to the bottom.
    “Bunch of scrubs making some shitty Agasuras look hard.” She said as she rolled her shoulders.
    “Where would they be without us?” Golem #2 asked.
    “Dead. Or worse,” Golem #1 snickered.
    “Alright that’s enough out of you lot. There’s only enough room on this shitty continent for one snarky ninja. Piss off.” The real Su said. The three golems turned to a bundle of leaves that drifted to the ground.
    “I think we’re in the clear.” Amata said as she looked around the area. “Thank goodness for that.”
    TJ placed his guitar on his back and rubbed his neck. “I’m glad we won, but I really didn’t contribute much to the fight this time around,” He said. “It’s a little underwhelming really.”
    “A Bard’s duty is to provide support for the rest of his/her party TJ. The fact you were on the front lines was a little surprising, really.” Alvaro said with a slight grin.
    “He takes the term ‘Battle Bard’ to the extreme.” Amata chuckled as she looked to him through the corner of her eyes.
    “I-I can’t help it! I’m the Abellan! If I wasn’t using these powers to protect my friends that would be really lame!” He said defensively with a hand to his chest.
    “All of you shut up for a minute. Except you old man. I’ve got questions and you’ve got answers, so get ready to spill all you know.”
    “Ah right…I haven’t forgotten. I’m sure you’d wanna hear about your parents sooner or later. Let’s walk and talk. We’re not far from the temple.” Alvaro told them as he gestured for them to continue to follow along.
    Su glared, but not at Alvaro in particular. She looked at her shoes as if she was enraged at just the thought of her parents. “It’s not them I wanna hear about from you. I don’t wanna hear excuses for them from someone’s else’s mouth. I’m gonna get the truth out of their corpses if I have to.
    “I want to know about my uncle. You knew him, didn’t you? I need information.”

    “Samson huh? It’s been ages since I’ve seen and heard from him…but knowing him, he’s hard to kill. I’ve no doubt that he’s still out there,” Alvaro said.
    The group continued their way through the jungle. The sound of the creatures that inhabited it was much noisier than those from the outskirts past Ves.
    “Is he alive or not? When was the last time you heard or saw him?” Su asked with a pointed gaze.
    “The last time I saw him? Hmm…if I recall it was some time after the raid on the Dark Moon. He and Reina came with some of their other members to meet with the guild masters and ask them to join the Dark Moon Counter Allegiance.”
    TJ blinked at the realization. Did that mean Samson was a part of Reina’s guild? He recalled that Amata had described him as Su’s wrangler, and Su just confessed that she was his uncle. Perhaps that was the reason they had a history together? But what had happened that had him separate from her?
    All things considered though, if the Dark Moon was the reason that Hanamah fell, it would make sense that her uncle would join those who fought to prevent something of the sort happening a second time. However, it had been quite a few years since the event and it seemed that Su had not heard from him in some time.
    The Abellan placed a hand to his chest as he felt a pang of guilt in his heart. It would be even more difficult for Su to find Samson because she was bound to him. Since the two were always together and he had to see his duties through, she would constantly have her hands full with problems that were not hers.
    The Governor of Earth’s gaze sharpened. “And? Was that it?”
    Alvaro shook his head. “No, that wasn’t the last time. He had sent me a mail a few years ago. Said that he settled down in Belos with his wife. A former student of his—Meryl Ambrosia, I think? They have a son now, too.” He chuckled. “I remember his teaching days. Never thought I’d see the day where that irresponsible man would be teaching other Treasure Hunters but life’s just full of surprises isn’t it?”
    Su squinted at the previous Governor of Fire in disbelief. “That geezer got married?”
    “You didn’t tell me about his son Dad! I’d have liked to know!” Amata complained as she began to pout.
    “You knew more than I did and you didn’t tell me any of it!” Su said as she shoved the Governor of Fire.
    “If you weren’t so stand-offish about everything and actually talked to us about anything I would know what you were thinking, you idiot!”
    “Girls, let’s not fight here. I’d like to know more about this too.” TJ said with a wry smile.
    Su eyed him warily. “What’s my geezer got to do with you?”
    “N-nothing in particular. Though if you care so much about him any information we can get on him could probably go a long way. I’d bet Lucia or Reina could be a big help on that.”
    “I don’t need their help or yours. I’ll figure this out on my own.”
    “You’re just like Rosetta.” Alvaro said as he smiled slightly. “I suppose I can’t blame you for feeling the way you do about your parents, but try not to hate them. They did what they did with your best interest in mind.”
    She snorted. “My best interest huh? The parents of that monotone bitch did things with her best interest in mind and look how well that worked out for everyone involved. I’ll believe it when I hear their reasons myself.”
    Like Amata told him, nobody can bring back the dead. However, if what Reina told him was true there was a place where she could meet with her parents once more. Was that what she had held in her heart and mind at this very moment? If TJ could take her there, then…perhaps he could fulfill that wish. But he needed to figure out how and if it were possible.
    To give them a chance to reconcile and perhaps start over…they deserved that too. Everyone did.
    “So is the geezer in Belos or not?”
    “I couldn’t tell you. Samson was never the type to sit still in one place for extended periods of time. If he was there years ago, chances are he’s somewhere else in the world now.”
    Su clicked her tongue at the statement. “Another dead end huh?” She closed her eyes. “This trail hasn’t run cold yet. I will find him.”
    “Now then, could I ask you a few questions…Su, right?”
    “Yeah. What?”
    “You were taken captive by the Dark Moon after Hanamah weren’t you? How did you survive?”
    Su knit her brows. “They didn’t kill me. They’d lose out if they did. You should know this, old man. Kill a Governor and another one will take their place. The lineage might end but the Governors always come back. If they kept me captive they could experiment on me and prevent anyone else from taking my place.
    “It costed them, though. I broke out of my cell, killed the bastard who captured me and wound up being taken in as a kunoichi.” She furrowed her brows. “That very day I bet it all on my revenge. That same day is the day the Governor of Earth Suuba died and the kunoichi Setsuna came to be. If it weren’t for Master Tamori they’d probably have tortured me.”
    “Tamori huh? Heh…Samson’s got friends in high places that have more use than one would expect.” Su eyed him warily and he waved it off. “So? What happened after that?”
    “Few years later I met this clown-” She pointed her thumb at TJ and he smiled wryly. “-and I’ve been running the gamut with him since. ‘Til we got into a scrap with that bitch Choen Palm and she fucked us up.”
    “The Heartbreaker? You were there during the Elfa incident?”
    She grinned. “Word spreads fast huh? Yeah, I was there. It’s how I became a contracted spirit. I’m living in the Heart of Yggdrasil now, and with this I can make sure that we save this world or whatever.”
    Alvaro remained silent for a few moments. “You’ve sacrificed a lot, haven’t you?” He smiled mirthlessly. “What a world we live in. One where our children must deny even death itself to do what we can’t.”
    He shook his head gently. “So what part does Samson have to play in all of this?”
    Alvaro walked towards a small opening hewn in stone that had a small descending set of stairs. The inside seemed reminiscent of a grotto, and at the far end of it was a gate—one that was similar to, but not quite alike to that of an Instance Dungeon’s.
    “He doesn’t. That damn geezer gave me his dagger and this stupid stone and pissed off forever. Now I’m trying to find him to figure out why the hell he did and never came back. I hate people who break their promises.”
    TJ took note of her words. He finally began to understand why she had used the old, slightly rusted and chipped dagger rather than replacing it. To her, like his corala guitar, it was a memento of someone from her past. He gave his left arm a gentle squeeze as he mulled the thought over. Though they were far and few between, he felt that at this moment also that he was just a little bit closer to her than he was prior.
    “Is that what I think it is?” Amata asked as she looked at the blue stone in Su’s hand.
    “The Mino Gemstone…haven’t seen that artifact in years. It’s just like him to entrust it to you.” Alvaro said with a grin.
    “I gave him my earring in turn. He better not have lost it, that senile old man.” She clenched her fist as she grit her teeth. “So do either of you idiots know what this thing does or what?” She asked as she eyed the two.
    “I’ve only heard about it,” The Governor of Fire answered.
    “I don’t have even the slightest clue Kiddo. Try asking Reina the next time you meet her.” Alvaro suggested as he held out an open palm.
    Su glared. “That weirdo with the fetish for gay dudes and her clingy best friend? Hell no!”
    “God Ah…why are you so stubborn about everything ever?!” Amata complained as she rolled her eyes.
    Alvaro chuckled gently as he stopped at the gate. “Well, I’ve said my piece on that matter. Good luck on your quest to find Samson, Su. That man is like a lost child sometimes so you’ll have a hell of a journey ahead of you.
    “For the time being, you’re gonna need all the luck you can muster to defeat our ancestor. You kids look out for each other in there, alright? This is as far as I go.”
    “Thanks for showing us the way Dad. Don’t wait up okay? We’ll be back pretty late.” Amata told him as she smiled, and he did so in turn.
    TJ gave him an acknowledging nod as to leave the two to their moment. The look in their eyes was the proof of their bond and the faith that they had in each other.
    “Let’s go TJ. From here on out the three of us will have to watch each other’s backs. Look out for me, okay?” Amata asked as she turned to him and beamed.
    He grinned in turn. “You can count on me, Amata.”
    As Amata took her first steps into Rayinth’s Vestibule TJ took a moment to look up to the gate before him. A pair of dragons rose from the ground up to the top of the gate at the roof of the cave. Their claws and muzzles connecting and bridging the two sides of the gate together. The fire from their mouths seemed to form words, and though he could not understand them he suspected they read out the name of the temple.
    He stepped towards the transparent blue energy that rested within the gate and caught a glimpse of the ripples he created upon entering it. As he stepped through he noticed that he could see both inside and out, and the feeling of entering an Instance Dungeon did not accompany it.
    What truly surprised him, was that the moment that Su stepped through the gate, she dispersed into a series of tiny spheres of light before returning to the crystal.
    “H-huh? Su? What happened?” He asked as he looked at the gate, then at the baffled Governor of Fire.
    “Hell if I know! I can’t get out of this damn thing either, for some reason! What’s up with this place?!” She shouted from within the gem.
    “It’s not an Instance Dungeon…there must be something stopping her from coming in. Dad, I can understand but you? Perhaps it was a countermeasure against Agasura?” Amata suggested as she placed a finger to her lips.
    “Do I look like an Agasura to you?”
    “It was just a suggestion! There are a hundred better insults I could use than that, you midget! You’re better off staying in there!” She crossed her arms and grinned smugly. “I’m willing to bet they designed this temple just in case for someone like you.”
    “You give those ancient losers way too much credit. Though your idea is stupid as all hell.
    “I’d bet that they did this to prevent Agasura in human bodies from sneaking in. Or whatever the hell those things the idiot barista was talking about are. I can’t believe I got lumped in with them!”
    “Nothing we can do about it then, huh? You did say only the Governor and the Abellan can take up the trial, so I guess that applies here too. Even so, let’s not be disheartened. Even with just the two of us I’m sure we can do it!” TJ said as he clenched both fists with a twinkle in his eye.
    “I like your spirit! This is my trial after all so not having her along is no loss for me. Let’s go TJ! I’ll treat you to dinner once this is all over.”
    At those words the two continued their way into Rayinth’s Vestibule and the trials that awaited them within.
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:58 pm

    You know, despite how often I do this I can't get used to it. I'm still gonna do it though!

    A wizard no longer:
    You know, the FF14 Las Vegas Fan Fest happened recently. I sat at home and enviously read tweets by all the cool kids that attended. I'd have liked to shake hands with Yoshi P! I mean, I don't think anyone actually did that but if it were possible, I'd never wash my hands. Then I'd go home, chop them off and sell them on Ebay. Rags to riches! Victory road! Midas Touch!
    However, hope is not lost as there's always next year! WTB>Someone willing to buy my hands...and also pay for my FF ticket+plane fare to god knows where.

    Nevertheless, I still have hands so let's get down to it!

    You thought the Dads o' War train had stopped?! Heh. This is a train that keeps rollin' all night long. As you've seen Alvaro takes action to fight alongside the current God's Governor. Unlike her though, he's a Guardian. The first one properly introduced in Frequency lol. While I was writing it I was like...have there really been no other Guardians? I mean even amongst Peorth's Keruz there were none. Two of them were TKs. The closest TJ got to knowing one, however was Revai. But he and the others don't fall under any particular class structure, save for Leigha.
    As for the design of his weapon, it was actually something I came up with myself. In truth, I do use FF for a lot of my terrible jokes, but I do so because I spend a lot of my own time appreciating it...when I'm not playing it. Or I do both? In this case also, I looked through all sorts of Knuckles that could be acquired in game to get a semblance of an idea for a design. It's rather simple, but it made me realize how tough it is to design good armour/weapons. Especially those that could be both aesthetically pleasing, while offering a good sense of defense to the wearer and onlookers. I need to work on it some more but I'll keep at it!

    Despite how Amata fights with Alvaro and more often than not insults him, she has a deep respect for him. More often than not it doesn't show, but as she understands his motives her opinion(at the time) of him shifts. You can tell a lot about that through her expressions and reactions. On the flip side, Alvaro continues to show his concern for her and her well being--both emotionally and physically. Heck, both he and Kavi show signs of their support for her through their dialogue. I do wonder if it would have been better to define whether or not Kavi was once an adventurer--I left it ambiguous, but perhaps it would serve as a telling facet of her character if I did so. After all, as I've said before the elements and the classes characters choose can be a big thing. If I was to take a shot in the dark, I would say that she'd make a really amazing Blader.
    Anyway, TJ's case is a bit different. It took some getting used to with him being so formal, but I think it helps drive the fact home that he is indeed a guest in their house. The dynamic between them is something almost...what's the word I'm looking for? Exclusive? Not in a bad way, mind. It just shows how the years together have brought out their true selves and how they communicate with each other. In his case, it'll serve as a point of introspection. With it, there will be times where he looks upon his previous interactions with his siblings and those he'll meet going forward. It'll likely raise questions like what do they know about him? What has he forgotten about them and their circumstances? How will their relationship be now that he isn't the Luxuria that they remember, but the TJ the Cerebians recognize?
    The usual foreshadowing of character development.

    Now here's a bit of trivia about the tunnel Alvaro built! If you recall, Straw Hat had introduced TJ to the tunnels that he and the other boys used to get around the capital city. Not all of them were made by the boys. Some that were covered up were from the last generation, including Alvaro and Warlord Turk, hence why Alvaro said it brings him back to his childhood. Those that had become adults had told their children about it and so they carried on that tradition. Perhaps in so doing, things that they may have treasured as children, like time capsules, were hidden in some of those places. I'm sure some groups of boys and girls had their own little 'secret hideouts' or 'bases' where they stored all sorts of goods that they shared with their friends. Then as the years passed, those goods became treasures for the next generation to discover.

    Next is a big part for me. TJ's question gets Alvaro to share his opinion on the Cerebians being hidden. On one hand, this reflects TJ's precarious situation as the Abellan, and on the other it could reflect Human nature, as in our nature. Imagine this--you wake up one morning and when you glance at the window all 9 order of angels are descending upon the earth. I'm sure anyone would be mortified at the sight--would people not be asking what it means? What would their arrival pertain to? What had caused it? I mean, just the images of some of them are just downright terrifying. Regardless of the reason they've arrived, it would lead to wide-spread panic before anything else, of that I'm certain. Just as we would with propaganda, we humanize the things we wish to side with or protect and dehumanize our enemies. It's scary to kill another human and from an objective point of view, wrong. The reason being because we made it so--perhaps that wasn't the case hundreds of years ago. I have this vague memory of Shakespeare talking about this at some point, if not something like it. Does anyone else remember something like that? Or am I just crazy?
    Anyway, if you flip the coin back to the fiction side of things, we have a similar case with TJ and the Cerebians. He may look like one but he isn't one. Just like Amae, Adonai and perhaps even God Ah, his true identity and image could be hidden behind a veil. We've glimpsed a very basic transformation for him through the use of Calling, but we have to remember that's the first of three. Do you remember how Turk reacted to TJ's meager resistance at getting Straw Hat back? When he used the Frequency that was when they started to panic.
    Of course, the Cerebians don't see him as an enemy to be eliminated now. Their opinion varies greatly from Humanity's. However! Given that knowledge we have to ask ourselves what conclusion can we ascertain from it? To put it simply, it's terrifying. Not just the feeling of being pitted against the unknown, but also in the fact that that unknown may have a power that defies logic. That could be beyond what the home team could muster and would threaten their seat of power, shaking the balance of all things in so doing.

    TJ's following question is one that you may come across at times. The battle between the release vs. the withholding of information. I know I said I wouldn't talk about politics(this time it's not opinionated...now that it was the first time!) but more often than not, heck, just about everywhere if you'll hear anything about Hilary Clinton it's the e-mail scandal. Whether that's need-to-know information or people just have a problem with her and the amount of emails, I dunno. What I can say for certain is that it's clear as day that it was something previously unknown and the release of such information caused a giant storm of anger and confusion at her actions. How that fares against what Trump has done, I can't say. That's up to the people who are voting. In your opinion, not regarding this case of course, which side would you take? To keep the secret to potentially protect the people? To tell them the cold hard truth and face the consequences and potential uproar that will follow?
    Back on topic, this is the case TJ finds himself in. In the past the gods and goddesses worked together with the acolytes in order to prepare humanity for the war.(Can I get a Midgard Readiness Meter up in here? Bazing!) Though his speculations aren't entirely correct. There isn't a Xenadia(technically there is, just sunken leagues under the ocean) there is a Seres(Iris, currently MIA but presumably dead) and a Lady Amae(Her descendant Peorth). However his role in all of that is questionable at best, which is a very important part of his growth as a character. What should he do? What would you do if you were in his shoes?

    Last one I'd like to cover is the potential for imposters. If V for Vendetta has taught me anything, one man with a mask can start a revolution. Get others wearing the same mask and you've got hell on earth for a detective. This isn't something that's hard to find in our day and age. People will disguise themselves as others--especially over the internet. That's how you wind up with twitter handles like @realDonaldJTrump or something like that. I think they verify now or something? I'm kinda out of the loop on most things. I just speculate from afar. I can't tell you for what reason or to what gain people would do such a thing, but it happens nonetheless. Then again, some may seek to create scandals on a major scale. The election is a pretty major event and the results before and after can shift things dramatically. Honestly, I never paid much attention to politics but with how connected we are now you almost can't miss it these days...and now it's not just one country. The whole world is getting in on the conversation.

    Next! Finally TJ shows some concern over what the Cerebians can do to save Humanity. One of the things I like about this is that he believes that they should band together to defeat Asmodeus and the Agasura. The guild master is rubbing off on him a little bit at a time. Soon she won't just be rubbing off on him ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). Jokes aside, Amata raises a pretty good point in turn. For her she kinda sees the heroes of eld as...well Heroes, you know? For TJ I'd say the closest thing would be the Abio Rangers. I mean, what's not to like? Though there are people that he admires also such as Amata, Su and especially Peorth. There's no shortage of dependable girls here, no sir!
    Off topic though...I wonder if I should get excited for a new power rangers. I mean...I haven't watched one of those movies in AGES. Especially not in theaters. I wouldn't mind if it's as hammy as I remember it, to be completely honest. I actually found it kinda charming as I got older lol.

    Following that we jump into the next battle and the last before they enter the Temple. Alvaro knows Su's real name, but she doesn't, hence why she asks who when he mentions it. He did know Julius and Rosetta though, pretty well at that. I think their fathers used to go at it, IIRC so those old rivals introduced their respective sons and successors. Also for once they have a party dynamic that makes sense! As I mentioned before, Guardians come from the Knight class line so they're front-liners. In so doing, they have 2 dps(Amata and Su, both Wizards/Sorcerors) TJ as their Healer(Bard) and Alvaro as their tank. Despite that fact Su didn't wait for him to take the front line lol. Rosetta was like that too, but she WAS the front line. She was equally as rude...if not more.
    The jump that Amata does is actually something she picked up from him. Ideally a Guardian would use it as a gap-closer so they could use their other skills for actually attacking. She uses it as an escape mechanism, but as we've seen before she does have some handy skills for close range. Unlike the other casters, Fire Sorcerors are more of a close-mid range fighter and are at their most effective in those cases.

    As for the Trents themselves, they're enemies that appeared both in the Jungle and the Ruins of Ktuka. The Hummingbirds however only appeared in the Ruins. You might have guessed this already but they originally didn't come together. Them spewing dog-sized birds was my thing. Small change to the Agasura, but no major overhauls. The vines they used also were in game. They prevented you from moving and jumping, but you could still broad jump to get around. Handy!

    Most of, if not all of Alvaro's attacks are made by me. He combines close quarters combat with magic to become...well, a wrecking ball of destructive force. The fireball punching he did was actually based on S3's Saint(A guardian promoted) skill. They were stationary while using it, however.

    As for Su, she's gotten really good with her golems. She doesn't need to use phantasm magic to give them her image and they can actually hold conversations now. With each other. Because why the hell not? I mean, when everyone else can't appreciate your greatness, I'd bet your clones could. Or at least THEIR greatness.
    Lastly for TJ, if you were wondering I'm the kind of Astrologian who spends the better half of his time during dungeons in Cleric Stance. In that, we're not so different. Don't judge!

    Moving on! After a long drought of development for Su we finally get some out of her. As she speculated, the Governor of Fire knew Samson and she could get answers out of him. Leaving that aside, you can see that she still holds a grudge towards her parents. She never did get to know them or why they had chosen what they did. If this is any indication, Bane didn't tell her the whole truth of the matter. Of course, that's one possibility. She did say she wants to hear it from them, so even if he, Alvaro or even Samson told her I think she'd still hold that resentment in her heart until she got her answers, her way.
    One of the things I like about these two and their conversation is for once Su shows urgency in the way she speaks. Her attitude isn't what it usually is--she comes off as pointed because she's genuinely concerned and wants to get to the bottom of the matter. Barring everything else, there aren't many people out there who could offer her any clues to Samson's whereabouts, so having one is an important opportunity for her. In TJ's case, he realizes that because they're bound she can't search for him at her leisure. I think that as her story progresses he'll become more aware of what she does for him and how much it means to him. They don't fight as much as they used to, but I'd bet that later on his attitude toward her will grow into heartfelt gratitude. Whether or not it can become romantic affection, I can't say, since his love meter goes onwards and not upwards lol.
    In Alvaro's case, he doesn't pay her interrogative attitude too much mind. As he has a daughter of his own I think to a greater degree he somewhat understands her feelings and so he accepts her questions only and without reservation. If that makes sense?
    The part where the girls start fighting got me thinking. For once Amata actually showed...well, honestly showed that she was concerned about Su. In a sense, she was saying that Su never openly spoke her feelings and if she had then they could understand her. Surprisingly, she wants to get along with her. However, Su's following responses show that she isn't quite ready to open up to them and by extension she neither wants their help, nor the help of Reina and co.

    An important factoid about this part is that it mentions the end of USSR. As Alvaro said, Samson married Meryl so she's a Kolb now, but at this juncture in time they already have their own child. If I can do math, which I can't, it SHOULD be about 6 years since they got married. By now his son is probably walking and talking. Might meet him someday too!

    Now I usually don't dote on the main character, especially because I designed him, but his inner monologue at this part was just too much for me. I hadn't thought about it enough but I created a cinnamon roll and it's too much for me to deal with sometimes. This is one of those times.

    M-moving on! As Su mentioned, the Governors can in fact, get killed. Should the lineage end, potential Governors will be sought out. Those who meet the conditions and have the potential to be one will be marked. The first of them to awaken will become the previous Governor's replacement. As you can imagine, typically it would be passed on through the lineage. If, say Alvaro did not want Amata to be his successor he could hold on to the title until he passed away. Naturally, she would inherit his powers the moment he passes. Of course, as we've seen it can be done prior to their death, as was the case with Julius/Kasumi. If Julius had not done so, Samson may have become the next Governor. Though Su did have the higher potential so...I haven't considered those scenarios, but I'll try to solidify it going forward.

    I don't have much to say about the rest, but the final bits I'd like to cover. When Alvaro departs, TJ's inner monologue shows that he's gotten a better grasp on the relationship between the two and can tell what they might feel at a glance. Something he improved upon by watching Kooh/Peorth's interactions. As for him and Amata, she has developed a deep trust for him(alongside her affection, but he's not so perceptive he'd get that yet) and so he has reason and room to be a bit more confident in his abilities.

    As for the gate, Rayinth's Vestibule isn't actually an Indun. That's why the gate works differently from an indun's. However, by extension it prevents certain people and spirits from entering. Which means, no Su! Like at all. She's gonna be trapped in there from start to finish, so TJ will have to rely on his own prowess. I'll talk more about that next time as there will be some good examples to accompany it.

    And so that's where I'll leave off for today! There's like 9 more pages that I haven't uploaded yet. I still need to go over it a few more times to make sure that I'm satisfied and I caught any minor errors. That aside...I think I only have one or two more rooms left that are storyboarded. If I hit a wall I'll continue with Inno for a bit. I wanna finish that before I get to Su's arc because as you're aware(That is if you read my breakdown of the arcs and who can be involved in them) their stories intertwine. We'll see how that plays out in the near future.

    Anyway that's all I have to say for this week! Until next time!
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:07 am

    Pages 474-484:
    Their first steps in Rayinth’s Vestibule had made them feel as if they had wandered into a deeper section of a cavern. At the far end of the tunnel they could see what seemed like the temple itself—bricks perfectly lined together to create walls and a floor within the dungeon. Though it seemed that time had worn it down somewhat—there were cracks in the stone, moss growing within the walls and weeds through the floor. Even so, much of the temple still seemed to be intact. The duo continued on until they found themselves within and looked around cautiously.
    The initial room had a mural of what looked quite like a man and his dragon—the design was strange and unfamiliar, but simple enough for the two to make out. Was it in fact God’s Governor Rayinth and his familiar Grislan? The bricks were a faded yellow and the torches on the wall gave the temple a deep orange, almost crimson light within the darkness of the cave. Though they were not far in, the warmth inside was much different from that in the cavern.
    Amata walked up the four stone steps to the mural placed between two totems and slid her hand across it.
    “This really is my ancestor’s temple huh…?” She asked if she herself could not believe it.
    “For a place that existed so many years ago it’s hard to believe that it’s still standing tall.” TJ said with a hint of disbelief himself.
    He had never been to such a place himself, nor had he had any memories of them yet he still felt as if there was a hint of nostalgia somewhere in his memories, especially when he looked at the mural. Was it possible that Kera had some sort of relationship with the God’s Governors? Or was it something within Amae’s memories? He clenched his fists as he let the thought pass. The answers he sought out waited at the end of the temple with God’s Governor Rayinth himself. He would give his all to see Amata through this.
    The Governor of Fire placed her hand to her chest and let out a quiet sigh. “Sorry about that TJ. Just needed a moment to take this all in. You know, after coming all this way I actually feel a little bit nervous!” She said as she scratched her cheek gently.
    He walked over and gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “You’ll be fine, trust me.” He said with a grin. “You and I have been through plenty of tough situations. This’ll be just one more to add to the list, don’t you think?”
    Her mouth hung agape for a moment before she closed it to smile. “Y-yeah. Those other dungeons were nothing for us! This’ll be a piece of cake!”
    “That’s the spirit!” TJ said with a grin. “Let’s keep going.”
    He walked to her right and stopped at a stone door with a pair of torches that remained unlit. He inspected the door and found it completely shut. He looked at it from top-to-bottom noting the runic markings engraved within and the spherical shape hewn into the stone itself.
    “This reminds me of that door in the Pharaoh’s Chambers…” He muttered as he reached out to the door. It was possible something needed to go there. It was likely in fact, but if he was wrong better not to find out later. He pushed, hit and charged the door but to no avail.
    Amata knit her brows. “You know, I think it is just like that door. Whatever opens it, we certainly don’t have it.”
    “Yeah I’m gonna have to agree with you on that one.” He told her as he turned with knit eyebrows.
    The Governor of Fire lead the way to the other door and as she placed a hand to it, a crimson glow ran through the entirety of it as it rose into the wall itself.
    “This one’s open, TJ. Let’s head in and check out where it leads to. I bet we’ll find that stone or whatever somewhere in there.”
    “Right behind you.” At those words he ran over to her side and the two pressed on.

    The two found themselves in what seemed to be a long corridor. Torches lined the wall and lit the way up until what seemed to be a round area within the corridor. There was a faint group of lights coming from it and the two watched warily as they approached.
    “Hang on a sec’ TJ.” Amata said as she placed a hand to stop him.
    “What’s wrong? He asked with a raised eyebrow.
    “Just call it a hunch…but…there’s something over there.”
    “Agasuras?” He asked as he tilted his head quizzically.
    “Similar, but no.” She chuckled gently. “They’re spirits, I think. Their presence reminds me of Bharva, but much weaker. My ancestor and those who built the temple must have summoned them as a part of the trial. We should prepare for a fight.”
    He nodded solemnly and drew his corala guitar.
    Amata held a hand skyward and a flame crackled to life in the palm of her hand. She threw it down into the center of the room and it burst to life and remained alight as the two rushed in.
    TJ glanced about the area and caught a glimpse of three spirits—the two on his left were a Fire Sprite, a creature he saw in his Monster Manual and a Will o’ Wisp along with a second on the right. The former was a humanoid-shaped creature with a case of dwarfism, flaming hair and fire magic at hand. It’s skin was a scarlet red and it wore crimson cloth that covered both the chest and waist. The latter was similar to those of the spell Amata created, but they had a more ferocious look to them and were greater in size. The three of them had the power of levitation on their side.
    The moment they were spotted the Will o’ Wisps began to crackle as if agitated while the sprite pointed at them and said something in words neither could understand.
    “I’ll get the two on the left, TJ you get the right!” Amata shouted as she rushed towards them.
    “I’m on it!” He shouted as he took a few steps forward.
    It was just one spirit. How bad could it be?
    It crackled violently and a fireball was launched from it and burst as TJ leapt aside.
    “Okay whoa!” He looked at the blackened stone from where the fireball hit and grit his teeth.
    Though it may have been a trial, the spirits within Rayinth’s Vestibule would kill them without hesitation. He took a deep breath before he charged towards it, his guitar hanging loosely in his right hand. Without hesitation it launched two more fireballs at him and he managed to step aside from each. He leapt through the air and brought his guitar down upon the spirit but missed as it drifted aside. He took a wide horizontal swing and it flew above the weapon before it shot another fireball at him. He leapt back to avoid the attack and narrowly avoided the brunt of the explosion but still got caught by it.
    “A-ah!” He shouted as he tried to pat out the flame on his pants.
    “Stop drop and roll, loser. Don’t you know anything?” Su asked from within the gem.
    Without a moment to lose he fell to the floor and desperately began rolling across it. His original goal was to put out the flame, he wound up rolling to avoid getting blasted a second time.

    The fact that they had sent spirits in such small numbers was a clear sign that the Cerebians of the past had plenty of confidence in the creatures they summoned. Unlike the Agasura, the spirits required a steady supply of mana to maintain their form but were very resilient and undoubtedly strong. Assuming that their summoners had long since passed, was it possible that the temple itself was a power spot of abundant mana? She could not say for certain yet, but now was the time for action, not questions.
    As she approached the Will o’ Wisp launched a fireball at her and she somersaulted aside to avoid it. She felt slightly underwhelmed that hers could do no such thing, but let the thought pass.
    In a torrent of flames her staff appeared and she took it in hand before conjuring a flame with her right hand. As the sprite approached she hurled the flame into the air and clenched her fist. “Mortar!” She roared as it burst and rained fire like bombs.
    As the Will o’ Wisp got caught in the blast and distracted she turned her focus to the Fire Sprite that neared. She caught a glimpse of it as it grinned at her and placed a hand to its lips to blow her a kiss. A long torrent of flames was launched at her and thankfully she was prepared for it. She held out her staff before her and her barrier manifested before her, creating a force strong enough to repel the flames with an inferno of her own. So long as she kept her guard up she could repel most fire-based spells with ease.
    When the attack had ended she took a high horizontal swing at the sprite but missed it. Little did it know that the attack was nothing more than a feint. It had lowered itself within the reach of her next skill and so she performed it without a moment’s hesitation.
    “Flame burst!” She held out a hand where a flame took form and gripped it tightly. As she reeled her fist back the flame surged forth and her body slid backwards while launching the sprite forwards. “You’re mine now!” She said as she slammed a fist against the ground. “Illusion Fire!” A series of flames shot up across the ground towards the dazed sprite and launched it into the air. It hit the ground as Amata rose to her feet.
    That would keep it for a while. She felt something bump against her feet and she turned around to see the Abellan looking worn out and ashen.
    “T-TJ? What’re you doing on the ground?” She asked as she looked on in disbelief.
    “No time to explain! Run!” He said suddenly as he rolled away.
    “From wh-” Before she could ask a flame from the other Will o’ Wisp was launched at her and exploded on her, launching her a few feet away. She hit the ground hard and slid across the ashes before she was blasted a second time by the recovered Will o’ Wisp.
    Before she knew it she landed in the arms of the Abellan. She opened an eye as she caught a glimpse of him with a determined expression and his wings spread.
    “Hold on tight!” He said as with a single powerful beat of his wings he launched himself in the opposite direction and flipped through the air, coming to a skidding halt. “Are you okay? Can you move?” As he posed the questions he started running again.
    “I’m alright.” She said as she moved some strands of hair from her eyes. “I just wish you’d act cool before you put me in danger.”
    “S-sorry…” He said with a sheepish grin.
    “It’s alright. When you’re that sincere about your apology, it’s honestly a little difficult to stay mad.” She chuckled gently. “This has been great and all, but we have to finish this fight so you can put me down now.”
    When he proceeded a safe distance into the corridor he placed her down and she dusted herself off.
    “Though you know, if you’re afraid of catching fire why don’t you put on the cloak now? It’s flame-resistant you know. It’s not just to keep you cool.” The Governor of Fire laughed.
    “Eh? Seriously? That’s super handy!” He said with a twinkle in his eye. He began to rummage through his bag to retrieve the item and she grinned.
    If Bharva was here she would thank him, but it could certainly wait. His sacrifice might have scored her some points. Nonetheless, she had a pride of her own and she could not always be on the receiving end.
    “I’ll buy you some time, so get that thing on and join me back in the arena when you’re ready.”
    He saluted her.
    “Alright, don’t keep me waiting!” She took a few steps forward, spread her wings and conjured a flame that swirled around her before she took off with Vulcan Rain.

    TJ shuffled into the cloak and readied his guitar. He felt cooler already—in both senses of the word. Alas, now was not the time for him to be appreciating his appearance. Without another moment’s hesitation he hurried back on to the battlefield and glimpsed Amata as she flew through the air avoiding one fireball after the next. Though it was difficult to tell which way the Will o’ Wisps were facing he could at the very least catch the Fire Sprite off guard. An opportunity like this would not likely present itself again so he decided he would take a gamble with a long spell cast.
    He raised a hand and the cluster of ice took form behind him. As he did so he watched Amata, who knowingly glimpsed the spell as it took form and winked at him, a clear sign that she was prepared for it. He lowered his hand and it cracked, then held it out before him as he shouted, “Shattered Berg!” The chunks of ice seperated and launched themselves towards their adversaries and as they did so Amata immediately ascended to avoid the onslaught of ice.
    The Fire Sprite caught the brunt of the spell, a series of icicles hit it and were soon followed up with more, shattering those that came previously while both Will o’ Wisps were damaged by the other stray shots. It seemed their flames had diminished somewhat due to the last attack.
    “Good one!” Amata shouted to him as she touched down and hid her wings.
    As the ice faded away he caught a short glimpse of the sprite laying on the ground before it turned into a series of sparkles and proceeded to fade away.
    “Two left! We can do this!” TJ said and she offered a thumbs-up in turn.
    He plucked the strings of his guitar once and raised a finger skyward. “Ice Shield!” An icy mist surrounded the two and he immediately took the lead. “I’ll make an opening for you!”
    “I’ll leave it to you,” She said.
    The Will o’ Wisps were slower than the hummingbirds he fought in the Jungle. With this he could at the very least, get in a few hits on them.
    He hopped aside as a flame burst at his feet and somersaulted to avoid one aimed at his chest. He hit the ground running and skid to a halt before one of the two wisps. He swung his guitar once and it flew just above his weapon. As his body turned and came to a halt he came around a second time and cut through it with the weapon.
    “I’ll take it from here TJ!” Amata said as she leapt over his head and landed on the other side of the wisp. She clapped her hands together and held out a hand just inches away from it. “Combust!” In a matter of moments a ring of fire surrounded it and as it closed on the spirit, the two suddenly blew up in a violent conflagaration.
    As she performed the spell TJ noted the other sought the opportunity to attack and rushed to her side. To push her aside would likely put her in danger of her own spell and he had no time himself to prevent it. It left him little choice. The moment he reached her side he swept the base of his cloak from the ground into his left hand and blocked the fireball that approached her. It burst upon the fabric and though he could feel the intense heat through his equipment, he found that it did not hurt half as much as it would have had he not worn it.
    As he recovered from the attack he turned on the balls of his heels to switch which hand his guitar was in and to use the other to cast. “Icy Wind!”
    He unleashed a chilly gust on his adversary and maintained the spell as it fought against the incoming force and its own dwindling life force. As if with a final spurt it violently crackled to life and forced its way through his spell towards him. He ended the cast and backed away as Amata placed a hand to his shoulder and stepped forward. As it gained momentum it exploded into a burning torrent that met the Governor’s left hand head on. As if it were a vacuum the flames were pulled towards it and encased in a tiny sphere before she closed her palm around it. Blue veins ran through her arm temporarily and immediately faded away as she held out her staff and it disappeared in a series of cinders.
    “That’s that!” She said with a confident grin.
    “What was that?!” TJ asked with a twinkle in his eye. “How did you do that?!”
    She chuckled sheepishly as she rubbed the back of her neck. “Well…it’s a spell I use for draining fire attacks. I can reduce it back to it’s unrefined form, be it mana or special power. It’s good for emergency situations like that.” She placed a hand to her face as she sighed. “It was my ace in the hole against my dad, but I could only use it once in a while so I didn’t often win fights. Especially because he combined physical skills with magic.”
    A flaming kick. The bane of a mage’s existence. TJ would keep that in mind for future reference.
    “But let’s not spend too much time talking about spells. I’d rather show you what I’m capable of than just tell you.” She grinned. “Anyway, we’ve cleared this room so let’s keep moving.”
    “Good idea. It’s hard to see a thing around here anyway. That and God Ah knows what might be lurking in the darkness.”
    “I’m s-sure it won’t be a snake. Who would want a snake as a familiar, right? I mean there are way better choices out there!” Her voice faltered somewhat as she uttered those words.
    TJ laughed at the thought. “Well I don’t think we’ll run into Apep again anytime soon.”
    “It’ll be too soon before that happens,” She shuddered at the thought.

    The two made their way through the corridor at the far end of the room towards the next door. When they finally reached it, Amata placed a hand to it and yet, nothing seemed to occur.
    “Huh? It didn’t open.” She said as she attempted it again. “Something’s definitely not right here.”
    Regardless of what she had done, it would not move in the slightest.
    “If I was to hazard a guess, it might be like that one room in the Pharaoh’s Chambers,” TJ suggested.
    The Governor of Fire turned to him and raised an eyebrow. “You have my attention. Continue.”
    “W-well…” He chuckled nervously, “I’d bet there’s some kind of puzzle we have to solve. It doesn’t look like there’s a slot in the door for anything to go in, so I’d bet there’s something we have to do in here.”
    She nodded as she placed a hand to her lips. “That makes sense. But what in here do we have to do? I can’t help but doubt that it isn’t like the Pharaoh’s Chambers in that regard.”
    “Yeah, me too. So let’s consider what we know about this place thus far.” The Bard pointed to the torches beside the door. “This one, just like the other has these unlit torches. The other one had a slot for something to go in but this one doesn’t so…let’s light the torches!” He clenched a fist with enthusiasm.
    She chuckled gently. “Worth a shot.” She placed a finger to the torch on the left, and released a short torrent of fire into the torch’s bowl and did the same for the second. Much to her dismay however, they immediately went out. “Hmmph.”
    “No good huh?” TJ placed two fingers to his temples as he tilted his head quizzically. “If that’s not it then…” He looked back. “Of course! There were unlit torches in that arena-like section! Let’s give it a try there, Amata!”
    “I can’t say that it’ll work, but I can’t say no to that optimism either.”
    The two made their way back to the round section in the room and stopped at the left side of it. As TJ mentioned, there were indeed a group of three torches on each side. The Governor of Fire moved along the wall and lit each one up, but before she reached the end they went out.
    “Well that’s upsetting.” She said as she furrowed her brows and crossed her arms.
    “I was almost certain this would be it…” TJ muttered as he knit his in turn. “There has to be a reason that these are the only ones that are unlit!”
    “I think you’re right TJ. If they won’t stay lit while I do the others I’ll just do them all at once! You might wanna hit the floor for this one.” She outstretched both of her arms for a couple moments before she clapped her hands together. Once she did so, six flames surrounded her like Will o’ Wisps. “Flashfire!” She roared and outstretched her hands before they crackled to life and shot towards each respective torch.
    The room was alight in moments due to Amata’s actions. TJ removed his hands from his head and arose to his knees to look around. Much to their surprise, all six torches remained lit.
    “You did it! You’re a genius Amata!” He said delightedly.
    “O-oh come on now! It wasn’t anything special!” She rubbed her neck sheepishly.
    “I agree. This girl is dumber than a sack of bricks.” Su said from within the gem.
    The Governor of Fire’s expression immediately soured as an angry vein began protruding from her forehead. “Why don’t you come out here and say that to my face, midget?! Oh wait, you can’t!”
    “Hurry up and get out of this shithole so I can end her!” Su roared.
    “Now now…” TJ chuckled nervously.
    Without further ado the two made their way back through the corridor to the door that they could not open prior and upon reaching it, they noticed the torches beside it had lit up. Amata reached out to it and it slid open.
    “Looks like we can go on. Shall we?” She asked.
    “Right behind ya’.” The Abellan said with a grin.

    The two made their way into the next room and found themselves surrounded by a series of statues. Upon a closer look, the circular shape and incredible height of them were more reminiscent of totems reaching towards the rooftop. Much to their surprise however, the bottom half of them only had a series of holes going vertically around the object while the upper halves had faces. The rooftop also had a series of holes within and the Abellan could not help but feel somewhat skeptical at the sight. Next to them was a single standing torch as high as the Governor of Fire’s shoulders with a blue flame lit upon it, along with a multitude of candles that surrounded it.
    The room itself had a high roof and was fairly wide, giving them plenty of space to move around, but without a doubt their movement would be limited due to all the totems scattered about in what seemed like, at a glance, random placement.
    TJ looked at the roof uneasily. “What do you think are the chances that scorpions or bugs are gonna come flying out of there?” He asked.
    Amata laughed heartily. “I think that’s pretty slim. I mean, at least this time the holes are already there. If something that was alive was in there, chances are it’d already be in this room,” She explained.
    She crossed her arms. “Though there’s no doubt that it’s as easy as strolling through here. If I was to hazard a guess, there’s something we need to do and it likely has something to do with that.” She pointed to the torch and the Abellan scratched his cheek.
    “You’re…probably right. Maybe we should check it out first before we act on it. I’m afraid to trigger a trap.”
    She grinned at his words. “What makes you so sure not using this won’t trigger a trap?”
    At those words he looked dumbfounded. “G-good point.”
    She gave him a pat on the back as she laughed. “I’m just teasing you TJ! I doubt that’ll be the case. Come on, let’s investigate this place.”
    At her words the two proceeded through the room. The Abellan looked around and took in all the sights, speculating on what they were placed there for while the Governor of Fire kept her sights set forward. After a couple of minutes of walking they reached the end of the room and foundthe next door with a standing torch similar to the first before it.
    “Another torch,” He speculated.
    “That’s a torch if I’ve ever seen one,” She agreed, “and I can’t help but think that like the others, it can’t be lit with just any flame.”
    She knit her eyebrows yet smiled nonetheless. “At least figuring out the puzzles in here hasn’t been too difficult. It’s just a matter of overcoming whatever traps accompany them that make me uneasy.”
    “That makes two of us.” The Abellan said as he chuckled dryly. “Well, we know what to do, so let’s give it a whirl.”
    “Agreed.”
    After returning to the entrance the Sorceror knelt down and took a pair of candles with plates in hand. She offered one to her companion and the two looked at the blue flame before turning their eyes to each other, giving the other a nod of acknowledgement.
    “Here we go…” Amata said as the two placed the candle wick to the fire.
    The moment that the candles were alight the whole room sprung to life. Spikes would emerge from the bottom half of the totems at set intervals before returning, spikes also emerged from the roof as it began to steadily proceed lower and the sound of stone grinding against stone echoed throughout the chamber. With a glance the two could see a pair of steel balls emerge from behind the walls and roll about the room.
    “Are you kidding me?!” The Sorceror cried out almost reflexively.
    “If Rayinth wasn’t trying to kill us before, I’m almost certain he is now.” The Bard added with a nervous chuckle.
    “This is nothing we can’t handle!”A fire in her eyes was the proof that accompanied her words showing her burning desire to succeed. “If we’re stopped by this we don’t deserve to fight my ancestor!”
    Without another word she charged off, narrowly avoiding being impaled as the spikes emerged from the nearest totem.
    TJ looked on in shock and disbelief before Su’s words brought him back to reality. “Well? What’re you waiting for? You scared?”
    He pursed his lips at her goading. “I’m not scared! They’re just spikes that could potentially make an Abellan kebab out of me!” His defiant tone was no match for the fearful words he spoke.
    She sighed audibly. “Haven’t you ever heard the phrase, ‘Work smarter, not harder?’”
    “Well…no. What does that mean in this case?”
    “Rather than do what that idiot did and run head first through spikes and balls of steel, just go from above. You’re acrobatics aren’t complete shit, so you could manage a few jumps can’t you?”
    He had been practicing, but he was only doing what he had seen Su do in the past. Jumping and casting was easy and so was using the treetops to help him…but in this case he had little going for him. He swallowed the fact hard as he eyed the distance between the spikes on the totems and the faces that followed. Could he reach that height? He shook off his doubt and spread his wings.
    “Here I go!”
    He got a running start and leapt vertically as spikes emerged before him. At the apex of his rise he placed his hands between them and his feet on a lower set before leaping backwards to rise again. As he neared the height of the spikes and those before him were sheathed once more, he used his wings to urge himself forward. As he ascended he neared one of the totems and grabbed hold for a moment to launch himself from it, the exit growing ever nearer, but it had caught him off guard. Two crimson lights glinted to life within the totem and a torrent of flames emerged as he leapt away from it. Much to his surprise and dismay one of his wings were set alight and caught his eye.
    “Kuh!” He groaned as he attempted to put out the flames with his hand. He collided with one of the other totems and fell back to the ground. He hid his wings but the collision had left him dazed and unable to stand.
    “TJ? Are you okay?!” Amata shouted from nearby.
    He could hear her but her voice sounded distorted and far away. His fingers scratched the stone beneath him as he attempted to muster the strength to stand but froze in place as he caught a glimpse of one of the steel balls rolling towards him.
    “Hang in there, I’m coming!” The Governor of Fire cried out.
    Before he knew it he was lifted from the ground and tumbled across it without feeling the brunt of it on his torso. When he opened his eyes he saw Amata’s determined expression, her face covered in dirt and sweat and her wings that wrapped around him. She had dropped her candle and plate, but she had saved him in the process.
    “Hold on to that okay? At least one of us can’t afford to lose it.”
    Without another moment to lose she immediately rushed forward before the spikes emerged and impaled them both. She side-stepped the next set and used her powers to jump high enough to avoid the second oncoming steel ball. As she proceeded the exit came into their sight and after narrowly avoiding some more of the totem’s attacks she reached it with TJ under her arm.
    She took the candle plate from his hand and set the torch alight.
    “Ahh made it…” She sighed as she collapsed to her knees.
    “Thanks Amata.” TJ said sheepishly as he placed his right hand to his arm and healed himself. The collision had left him shaken and slightly hurt, but he would be fine.
    He picked himself up and dusted himself off before he turned to her and looked on in disbelief. “Amata…you…”
    She smiled sheepishly at his words. Her left wings were heavily damaged. Feathers hung loosely about and blood was splattered and dripping across it.
    “When did this happen?! Why didn’t you tell me?!” He got to his knees and placed his hands to her shoulders.
    “C-come on! There were way more pressing matters at hand, don’t you think? Besides, getting poked once in a while can’t stop a God’s Governor, you know! I’m way tougher than I look!” She said as she raised her head haughtily.
    Despite her words, however, it was clear that there were tears in her eyes and she was sweating even more than before.
    TJ pursed his lips and wrapped his arms around her. “I’m sorry…! I’m sorry for letting this happen to you!”
    “Ow! Oww! Heaven and Hel!” She cried out in a pained panic before she suddenly eased up. “Huh…most of the pain is gone.”
    “Sorry about that.” He said as he let go of her and looked over her as she looked over her shoulder. “It’s a lot easier to speed up the recovery process by touching the wounds directly. I can do a bit more if you like.”
    She grinned. “Who am I to turn down that offer?”
    He got to his feet once more and walked behind her. She placed her hand behind her neck and brushed her hair over her right shoulder. TJ pored over the four feathered appendanges with a keen curiosity. Unlike Peorth’s, they did not rise in the same way, nor have the shape and size of them. They were long and thin and rested on the ground when they were not in use while Peorth’s stood tall and proud and would fold themselves around her body in such a case.
    As the glow from his hands faded away and he deemed it the best healing he could offer her at this time, he reached out a single hand and ran his hands across one of the wings.
    “T-TJ?!” Is this a part of the process?” She asked with a jump.
    He shook his head gently. “No…not really. I just wanted to take a moment to admire your wings. They’re beautiful.” His on the other hand were small and round. Almost childish in comparsion. He had not given it much though until now, but there were many fine differences for each Cerebian. Would his someday grow to such a state? If so, what would they look like? “It’s really a shame that you got wounded like that.”
    “D-don’t worry about it so much…” She lowered her head at those words. “I’m sure you’d have done the same if you were in my shoes.”
    He chuckled gently at those words. “If I could be that heroic that would be nice!”
    She looked over her shoulder through her peripherals. “Me? Heroic? Do you really think so?” He nodded once and she turned away as her lips curled into a smile. “That’s the first time I’ve done anything like that. It’s…nice.”
    “Since you made this sacrifice for me, let me return the favour. At the very least it’ll take maybe 15 to 30 minutes before it fully heals. That aside, I am here to support you, so while we’re still in here let me be your strength.”
    She did not respond, but instead placed a hand to her chest. “You already were, dummy.”
    The Governor of Fire hid her wings and got to her feet before she dusted herself off and offered him a hand.
    “I gues I can leave it to you, then.” He took her hand and she removed a handkerchief from her pocket to wipe the blood from his. “I expect you to do some pretty cool things if you’re gonna top me, though!”
    He grinned and placed a fist to his chest. “Count on it!”
    He opened the next door and the pair proceeded through.

    They found themselves in a wide room that seemed to be seperated into three levels of varying height. The rooftop was high above them giving them plenty of space to move freely, but it seemed there was no stairwell nor ladder to assist them in reaching the differing heights. Before them stood what seemed like an unusual panel with a variety of runes inscribed upon it. It was a dark brown and protruded from the floor, all the while the inner circle upon it protruded even further.
    “What do you make of this, TJ?” Amata asked as she crouched down next to it.
    “It’s…probably a trap.” He shuddered at the thought.
    Much to his dismay, it was just he and Amata within the temple. Su could not aid him here, so one of the two would likely have to step on it to find out whether it was trapped or not.
    “You think so…?” She seemed to be mulling over the possibility of it. “If it’s anything like the last room, I’d bet it activates some kind of trap. I get the feeling we’re gonna need it later though. Let’s scout out the area and see, then come back to it.”
    He nodded firmly. “That sounds like a good plan.”
    As he walked ahead the Governor glanced over the edge of the landing they stood on and knit her brows.
    “Hey, TJ! Come check this out!” She said as she waved him over.
    “Hm? What is it?”
    “There’s two of them down there! They look just like this one too! There’s also a pair of weird statues down there, just like the one over there.”
    As she had said, there were a pair of stone statues that were designed like armoured knights bearing a pair of different weapons. Upon the same landing they inhabited, a similar statue remained knelt down, shield before sword directly in front of the entrance.
    “You don’t think they breathe fire, do you?” The Abellan asked as he squinted at them cautiously.
    She snickered. “Doubt it! Come on, let’s check it out!” Without further ado she took his hand and pulled him along as she ran towards it.
    As they approached he began to realize just how detailed and massive the statue really was. It towered over the two, even while kneeling and he could not help but be impressed by it. To have withstood the test of time and still remained in such a state was proof of the craftsmanship of those who had walked Midgard long before his time.
    “The door’s right over here!” Amata shouted from behind the statue. As TJ approached he saw her with her hands to it. “Can’t open it though. I bet these guys have something to do with it.”
    “Maybe we have to break them? Curt and I had to break a jar back on Toad Mountain so we could find Rabana.”
    The Governor of Fire blinked in disbelief. “You were on Toad Island? And you fought Rabana?!”
    At those words the earth beneath them began to shake and the two flew into a panic. As soon as the Bard had gotten his bearings he took to Amata’s side and held a hand out before her to guard her.
    The statue that sat perfectly still a moment ago rumbled to life and drew both weapons before it turned to them with a yellow glint in its eyes.
    “Holy shit it came to life…” Amata said as she watched it in awe.
    “Watch out!” TJ shouted as he picked her up and dove aside.
    The statue brought its sword down and shattered the stone before it moments after TJ moved. He somersaulted and took a knee as he let Amata down.
    “Good save!” She told him. With a wave of her hand her staff manifested and she gripped the weapon tightly.
    TJ got to his feet and drew his guitar as the statue withdrew its weapon and turned its head in the direction they had dodged before its body followed.
    “Ugh…stone golems. Things like these are a big weakpoint for me. Fire spells are almost useless against them too.” The Governor of Fire sighed. “All of my explosive skills are close range…and those could end badly for both of us.”
    Getting pelted with giant rocks was not on TJ’s list of necessasary life experiences. What skills did he have at his disposal that he could use against it?
    “Don’t worry, I’ll figure something out. Be careful, okay?”
    She huffed gently as she smiled. “Don’t you think that’s my line? I’ll back you up.”
    The Abellan looked upon the golem with a growing anxiety spreading through him, but he had to prove that he was a man who was not just words but one of action. Amata was depending on him. He would not fail her.
    He ran towards the golem as he placed his free hand to his guitar. “Augment!” He shouted as the weapon gained a gentle glow. As he neared the golem drew its sword back and brought it down with a powerful swing. He avoided the weapon but the sheer impact of it hitting the stone nearly caused him to lose his balance.
    “That thing might be slow, but it’s got a good few feet on your short ass. If you’re gonna avoid being crushed into a fine paste you’re gonna have to put that speed training to use.” Su remarked from within the gem.
    “You can say that again!” He roared in response as he took to its flank and swung his guitar with the weight of his conviction behind it.
    The weapon hit but it only chipped a small piece off of the statue. The vibration of the collision staggered the Abellan and he had to grab his weapon arm to stop the shaking.
    “You really are an idiot, aren’t you? You think that weak augment will break through stone? You’re a Bard! Use your head!”
    She did raise a good point. It was time to do what he did best.
    As the statue whirled around a series of fireballs collided with its head and caused it to shift slightly, throwing its aim off and causing it to swing out of TJ’s reach.
    “Take this!” He shouted as he armed his guitar and with a single strum summoned a ring before him. “Hailstorm!” He held out a hand and a multitude of icicles fired at it.
    The icicles hit the statue but hardly seemed to faze it. As Amata’s barrage came to an end and TJ’s followed suit, he caught a glimpse of the statue charging towards him and immediately retreated. It swiped at the floor and he narrowly avoided it by jumping back but neither its charge nor onslaught ended there. It followed the first swing with another horizontal slice that TJ avoided by jumping. The second was followed by a third and TJ had performed a second jump with his wings in a last desperate attempt to avoid the attack. The final attack, however, was with the statue’s shield and the mere size of it along with the force of it launched him away.
    “TJ!” Amata shouted as he hit the ground and tumbled away.
    He urged himself to his knees and wiped the blood from his lip as he muttered, “Not yet…It’ll take more than that to stop me!”
    Amata hurried to his side but as she did so the statue followed in her wake and quickly gained ground on her.
    “Behind you!”
    The Governor of Fire caught a glimpse of it following in her wake and turned on the balls of her heels to meet its attack. As the blade threatened her flank she held out a hand for a flame to take form. “Flame Burst!” The blast forced both her and her target back and she avoided the attack. Moments before it brought its sword down she leapt from where she stood with a single blast and skidded towards the Abellan.
    He staggered to his feet and cracked a half-smile. “That’s a pretty neat trick. What’s it called?”
    She grinned in turn. “Isn’t it? It’s a fire hop. I learned it from my Dad.” She turned her eyes to the statue as it approached and pointed her staff at it. “Can’t you see we’re having a conversation here?! Ten Flames!” At her words a series of flames took form before them.
    Moments after the statue emerged in ash and smoke and brought its sword down upon the two. They split up as they dodged and it withdrew its weapon once more.
    As it did so, an idea had come to the Abellan. As both his ice magic and Amata’s fire magic would be ineffective, he had two options—to either defeat it with sheer brute force or to somehow gain a mastery over earth magic, which in essence contained the same amount of strength he required. However, only one of the two could he do with some certainty. He would just have to dive deeper into the rabbit’s hole.
    “Sorry to put you on the spot like this Amata but can you buy me some time? I’ll provide you some support before I do!”
    She huffed gently before she grinned. “You could ask me for more, you know. I’ll keep it busy, so do your thing.”
    The Governor of Fire’s hair and eyes ignited in scarlet as she rushed towards it and engaged it in close combat. As she was nearest to it, it focused on her and immediately attempted to cut her down with its weapon but just as TJ remembered it, she had incredible movement for a Sorceror. Though she could not trade blows with it, she hopped over, crouched under and outright avoided its attacks with grace. All the while she managed to get in a few light and quick spells.
    As she did so TJ gently strummed out a couple songs to bolster her defense, movement and magical aptitude. Followed by it he placed his guitar on his back and took a deep breath.
    “So what’s your oh-so-brilliant plan this time, smart ass?” Su asked him.
    “I can’t really tell you the whole of it, but I’m gonna try and beat it in a match of strength,” He answered.
    “You? Beat anything in a match of strength? Ha!”
    He knit his brows. “You’ve got a disturbing lack of faith in me sometimes.
    “Still…even if you’re in the gem, I’m still gonna need your help on this. You ready?”
    “Heh. You’re hopeless. I’ll lend you my strength.”
    TJ nodded solemnly. “Thanks!”
    He closed his eyes for a moment before he opened them with renewed resolve. “Frequency!” His eyes flickered to a deep crimson as his aura followed suit. “With this power I think I can make up for what I currently lack. As long as I have the mana to do it…” He said sheepishly as he drew his guitar. “Here goes…”
    He held out a hand and a crimson vortex opened up before him. “Gambler’s Quasar!” He said as he held his guitar above it and let it go. The weapon seeped into the swirling vortex and vanished within briefly after. The vortex shifted over to him and as it did so hands emerged from it and wrapped themselves around his body. They almost threatened to pull him into the vortex itself, but he resisted with all the might he could muster and they seeped into his skin instead.
    He had grown stronger due to the use of the spell, but his speed was no different than it was when he used the Chaos Frequency. He needed more…if he was to rival that which he felt during the use of Su’s Zealous Creature he would have to surpass what he had done thus far.
    He clenched his fists and closed his eyes. “Wrath, Pride, Envy! Punishments of the Sinner! Bestow upon me the strength to crush my foes! Testament to the Demon!” A crimson aura surrounded him and as if the very gravity around him changed, he was forced to spread both his legs to remain standing. He clenched both his fists and his teeth and let out a low groan as the spell took form. Crimson highlights ran through his hair and the hair band he wore that tied it all together snapped as the tamed and brushed hair became wild and dishevelled. His teeth grew sharper and his nails grew into short claws.
    “Oh? I’m actually pretty impressed you were able to pull that one off,” Su said.
    TJ huffed a few times before he rose to his full height and wiped the sweat from his brow. “That makes two of us. I hadn’t realized that buffs used by Agasura can be so straining and difficult. I think that first one could’ve killed me, to be completely honest,” He chuckled dryly. “But the power that comes from them is nothing to sneeze at. I can feel strength pulsing through every muscle in my body.
    “But this isn’t the time to be admiring the powers available to us. Right now Amata’s fighting and she needs my help. It’s my turn to protect her.”
    His typical sprint had been enhanced allowing him to take great leaps to close distance in place of moving forward a step at a time. As he rushed to her aid he considered the facts available to him. Unlike Zealous Creature, his raw strength and speed were not increased as substantially, nor would they continue to do so over the span of time the spell remained in effect. It seemed the spells used a flat amount of mana but did not drain over the period they were in effect. If he was to completely utilize the spell, he would have to defeat this enemy and the others nearby before it wore off completely.
    “TJ? What happened to you?” Amata asked as she looked in disbelief. “You’re not…transforming again are you?!” She asked before she disengaged the statue and he took her place in battle.
    “It’s fine! I mean I’m fine! And by that I mean I’m me!” He answered her as he sidestepped the statue’s vertical swing.
    He backflipped on to its sword-hand and ran up the arm before he threw the weight of his whole body into a punch and lunged from the shoulder to the head. The moment the blow connected he forced the statue back a couple steps and touched down before shaking off the pain in his knuckles.
    “Oww!”
    “That spell is the real deal huh? You actually staggered it!”
    “Yeah but that’s just a start. Step one is to disarm it.”
    “And step two is...?” The Governor of Fire crossed her arms.
    “Destroy it. That’s where you come in!”
    “Oh that’s all-wait what do you mean? Hey! Come back here and explain yourself!”
    As he rushed off he mulled over how he could toughen up his body a bit. He had 10 seconds at best before the statue recovered and got within melee range of him. A quick one would need to suffice.
    He stopped running and came to a halt before he swung an open palm before him and held it skyward. “Serpent Membrane!” The moment he clenched his fist a dark cloud of smoke coiled around him and as it faded a snake black as night took form and hissed but for a moment. It began to fade away and a scale-like effect covered him from head to toe momentarily. He clenched his fist and nodded to himself. “That should do it.”
    “TJ?!” Amata cried.
    “S-sorry!”
    As he turned his focus back to the statue approaching he noted that its stance had changed. It armed its shield before it with its sword held to its hip. It had decided to protect itself. If so, he would just need to break through. Before it could reach him he dashed to it, expecting it to make the first move. To his surprise, it waited and in that moment he immediately noted an opportunity. As it came out of its running stance he jumped on to the knee and from there directly in front of the shield. It attempted to bash him with the weapon and he wrapped his fingers around the top of the buckler as it lunged forward, his feet to it also. He hung on tightly and it seemed to notice him as it dragged the weapon back. Rather than shake him off, it brought its right hand over and attempted to smash him with it. Before it could he kicked off the shield and avoided the blow by balancing on the top with his hands. The collision threw him off and to the other sside but he landed upon its left arm with skill and turned back to the now cracked shield.
    “Now’s my chance!” He reeled a fist back, tightly clenched. “Bone Crusher!” He lunged at the weapon and with a single punch he shattered the remains, taking a large portion of the left arm with it. Before it could retaliate he backflipped from its arm to its head and jumped through the air before reeling his right fist back for a follow-up attack. He turned his leap into a nose dive that seemed to rend the air itself as he descended upon his adversary. “Skull Sunder!” The moment his fist touched the stone it cracked and air surged all around him before he leapt down in front of it and skidded to a halt. “Last one!” As if he vanished from the very spot he stood he appeared beneath its right arm and reeled a fist back as he crouched down. “Blink Spiral!” His clenched fist trembled as a dark energy emerged from his fingers and to his wrist before he vanished once more. When he reappeared his fist collided with the arm of the statue as he arose and the dark energy coiled around him before the fist shattered and his ascension continued to its apex.
    Once he touched down he someraulted twice and held out a hand as a dark violet sphere appeared above his palm. “Amata, get ready! I’m gonna need your help to finish this!”
    She blinked in disbelief. “With that ridiculous strength? I wonder about that.” She laughed it off as she approached but seemed to be willing nonetheless.
    As he clenched his fist upon the sphere his arm crackled to life with black sparks and crimson lightning. “I’ll immobilize it for you. If you can, I want you to melt it with some kind of magma spell.”
    “We don’t have much time. I dunno if I can get from here to it.”
    “Just leave it to me!” He said as the gauntlet took form.
    “You’re…you’re not gonna throw me, are you? With that ridiculous strength? I’ll die!”
    “I-I won’t do that! I’ll use magic, don’t worry!”
    Once the spell was complete he clenched his fist a couple times before he reeled his hand back. “It’s time. Heathen’s Gauntlet!” He threw the weight of his body behind the massive fist and it extended the gap before it hit the statue in a rising arc. Following the attack he slammed it back to the ground and left a massive crack in the body, then reeled his arm back to him and dispelled the effect.
    As it diminished lightning cracked from his fingertips and he gripped his arm as he let out a pained groan.
    “You okay?” She asked as she knit her eyebrows.
    He smiled back and nodded. “Yeah, no problem. Now, it’s your time to shine. Are you ready?”
    “Ready as I’ll ever be. Don’t forget, I’m not like Su so you have to put me somewhere safe after you throw me, okay?”
    “Leave it to me!” He saluted her before he raised both his hands before him, fingers curled. “Avaritia!”
    Amata’s feet left the ground and she floated freely next to him, her staff tightly held between her fingers. “Okay! Consider me completely terrified!”
    Without further ado he shifted his whole uppter torso and she was launched through the air. The moment she was directly above the statue he stopped her and took a deep breath.
    “You can drop me here TJ!” She shouted as she waved one hand.
    Acknowledging the request he lowered both hands and she descended upon the felled statue staff first.
    “Time to say goodnight! Molten Plume!” The moment she withdrew her staff magma spewed from the statue’s chest like a fountain.
    TJ reeled his hands back and Amata soared through the air towards him. He placed his arms at waist-length behind him and clenched both fists. Her body lowered to the ground and her feet skidded across the stones for a couple moments before she came to a complete halt.
    She let out a relieved sigh as she steadied herself. “That was a hell of an experience. I’ve never been so terrified of flying in my life. But you did bring me back in one piece, so thanks!”
    “Yeah, somehow…” He said sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his neck. “Still, it’s thanks to you, we finally beat that statue.”
    As he had said the stone melted in the magma and once there was nothing left it began to harden.
    “Yep. Now we just need to do that three more times.”
    “T-three?! Hoo boy..I don’t think I can hold out that long.” He smiled wryly at her words as he let out a defeated chuckle.
    “Well before we do, let’s at least check out that weird panel. If that was the trap, it should be safe.”
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:07 am

    Pages 484-489:
    The two made their way back to the panel and looked at it with unease for a couple moments.
    “Here I go…” TJ said as he cautiously took his first few steps towards it and finally upon it. He nearly jumped as it sunk lower and a bright glow lit the markings upon it. “Is it a trap?! Where’s the trap?!”
    He looked around frantically while Amata gazed over the room, both expecting something to happen.
    “I think it’s safe.” The Governor of Fire finally said with a chuckle.
    “R-really? That’s a first.”
    She crossed her arms before she gently tapped her right. “So there’s three or four of these things right? We should probably go activate those other ones.
    “If I was to take a guess, we’re gonna need to get all these panels to light up if we’re gonna get into the next room. That’s pretty easy!
    “So about that weird transformation you used…can you continue like that?”
    He nodded once as he stepped down from the platform. “No prob-huh?” As he looked back the pedestal had arisen once more without him to stand on it. “Stupid thing won’t stay.” He leapt back on to it, stomped it once and exhaled through his nose. “That should fix it.”
    As he stepped down once more Amata knit her brows. “You know, I don’t think that’ll do it.”
    He looked back over his shoulder and grimaced. “Yeah…you’re right. What should we do?”
    “I don’t think it’s what we should do but rather what we’ve done.” She pointed to the melted statue and TJ blinked.
    “O-oh…”
    She nodded sagely. “At the very least, we can still keep it held down with one of us. But we should check the others first, just in case.”
    “Good idea.” TJ said as he walked over to the ledge and climbed up the short step.
    It was a fair distance down, but he had much more terrifying falls than this. He crouched down before he hopped off the ledge and landed with ease. Amata stood at the top and looked down upon him, a bead of sweat slowly trickling down her cheek. Was it possible she was not good with heights?
    TJ walked closer to it and held out his arms. He was beginning to understand what it was like when Straw Hat had done it for him. “It’s okay to jump. I’ll catch ‘ya.” He said with an earnest smile.
    “This is so embarrassing…” She muttered under her breath as she averted her gaze. “I’m coming down okay? Get ready!”
    He offered her a thumbs-up in response. Without another moment to spare she closed her eyes and leapt down, to which his body moved almost as if on instinct to hold her in his arms. Even his hand-eye coordination had improved substantially. He could get used to these powers!
    “T-thanks.” She said as her cheeks flushed and he let her down. “I-it’s not that I’m afraid of heights, okay? It’s just I usually fly in cases like this, that’s all.”
    “It’s alright. I’m not so good with heights either.” He responded with an affable smile.
    He had half expected Su to chime in with a witty remark but she had remained quiet. Perhaps she could not be bothered?
    The Governor of Fire cleared her throat and composed herself. “Anyway, we should get a move on before you run out of time.”
    At her words the two made their way over to the lower landing’s panels and examined them. TJ stepped on the left panel but despite him being atop it, it did not budge in the slightest. Amata stepped on the second but once again found that it had no effect.
    “Do you think we need to break the statues to get them to move?” The Abellan asked with a puzzled gaze.
    “I wouldn’t say that’s the case…’cause if we did, how would we hold them all down?. Hang on a sec, I have an idea.” Amata answered before she walked over to him and stepped on the panel. “Scoot over a bit?” She took her place close to him in the center and the panel lowered under their combined weight.
    “Good call!” He said with a twinkle in his eyes.
    “We can’t have the two of us standing on this many, though.” She said with a gentle laugh. “If we can get the statues on these we can go check out the rest, right? So let’s try not to break them.”
    He nodded in acknowledgement. “Right. I just hope we can keep them in one piece.”
    Amata raised two fingers in response. “Essentially there are two ways to defeat a golem. The first is to surpass the damage threshold they can withstand. Things like stone are really tough so they have a high resistance to physical attacks and certain magical elements, but it’s still possible. The second is to time it out. In most cases they can only draw mana for so long, but once they surpass their capacity they usually shut down. In Su’s case, she disperses them so they stop drawing mana from her, so we haven’t actually seen that happen yet.”
    TJ blinked in disbelief. “You’re really knowledgeable about this stuff Amata!”
    She smiled as she closed her eyes. “Did you expect any less? I am the one who trained her, after all!”
    “Oh piss off. All you did was bark orders and act all high and mighty.” Su hissed.
    “You wouldn’t be half as capable as you are now if I wasn’t ‘barking orders’ at you, you know!”
    “Now now…”TJ said as he gestured for them to calm down.

    “Now that we know what needs to be done…are you ready Amata?” TJ asked as he looked over his shoulder to her.
    “Always. I imagine that with two of these guys you’ll have your work cut out for you, so I’ll try to provide you more support.” She responded with a grin.
    “I’ll be counting on you.” He took a deep breath before he sprinted towards the two statues, Amata following in his wake.
    Once in range the two statues stirred to life and arose from their kneeling positions. One bore a great sword in both hands and the other a spear. TJ swallowed hard as they rumbled loudly before the eyes within flickered to life.
    “Bring it on!” He roared as he charged toward them.
    The spearman took the lead and thrusted its weapon at the Bard twice. TJ sidestepped the first and jumped on the weapon at the second. As he ran across the shaft a series of fireballs collided with the spearman’s face. From his peripherals he caught a glimpse of a wide swing from the swordsman and leapt, narrowly avoiding being caught by the blade but landing on it as it drifted by. He remained crouched down until it came toa halt then ran down the blade and hopped on to the arm before he was nearly shaken off.
    “I’ve got your back TJ! Eye of the Storm!” Without a moment to spare a swirling torrent of fire engulfed the a majority of the statue’s upper and all of its lower body.
    “Thanks!” The Abellan shouted as he took the opportunity while the swordsman defended itself.
    He would have to hold back somewhat in order not to destroy it outright, but a few cracks would not suffice to break it. As he jumped through the air he spun once and reeled his fist back to drill it into the side of its helmet. He caught a glimpse of Amata as she took a knee and realized he had to get to her side before the spearman did. Moments before the swordsman regained its balance he leapt to the top of its helmet and hung on with one hand, his torso facing away from its face. The moment it had stopped he lunged from the nose and darted towards the ground between the spearman’s legs. He somersaulted to his feet and dashed a few meters ahead of her to catch the spear with both hands. He slid back and almost bumped into her but managed to hold his ground as he grinned.
    “You alright?” He asked as he looked over his shoulder to her once more.
    “Yeah but you-” Before she could finish her sentence the weapon was withdrawn.
    The Abellan was drawn back with the weapon and as he let go, he found the weapon followed him and thrusted him directly into a wall. The earth shattered and blood splattered across the tip of the spear from his mouth before he fell to the ground and took a knee. The spearman stepped back while the swordsman stepped over and hauled his weapon over his shoulder.
    “I can still-” TJ muttered under his breath as he staggered to his feet, only to find Amata before him.
    Her wings spread, one still wounded and dripping with fresh blood, her hair alight and a single hand outstretched before her.
    “Try it! I’ll make you regret it!” She snarled as the sword came down upon her. The moment it nearly touched her finger the fire in her hair died down and the air before her combusted in a massive explosion. She turned to him and helped him rise to his full height. “Can you go on?”
    “Come on, I’m not that weak.” He said as he wiped the blood from his mouth. “Sorry you had to see me like that. I know now that these guys are even stronger than the first now.”
    As the smoke cleared the two caught a glimpse of the now blackened statue with only a half of its sword remaining. The spearman did not waste any time in starting its offensive anew.
    “I’ll be fine from here on. Let’s keep our guard up!” TJ said as he charged off to meet it once more.
    “I could say the same to you.” When he had reached a fair distance she placed a hand to her wounded wing and let out a low, pained groan. She took a deep breath, exhaled and steeled her resolve before hiding them once more and returning to the fray.
    TJ found himself dodging a flurry of stabs from the spearman but he did so with ease. Left, right, above, below, even a sweeping swing. The final strike was its undoing. He rushed forward and touched down beneath it before leaping from one leg to the next to ascend to the left arm. The swordsman tried to strike him from it with a forward stab but missed as he leapt over it and onto the arm. As it pulled back he hung on to the wrist and placed both feet to it. The moment it passed the spearman’s face he put all of his body’s weight into a single swing and kicked off of it, forcing the two to collide as he descended through the air and touched down.
    “I’ll follow you up!” The Governor of Fire shouted as she ran over to the felled statues and climbed upon the back of one.
    She pointed her staff at its back multiple times and as she did so, pulsing, glowing red swellings took form. She leapt down, ran a safe distance and plugged her ears. “You might wanna do the same TJ! Gambit!” At those words the swellings lit up before bursting in a series of explosions.
    “Hoo…” TJ said as he looked upon the smoke. “Didn’t know you could do things like that.”
    As the smoke cleared he caught a glimpse of the broken statue staggering out before finally kneeling down. The yellow glints in each eye faded out as the damaged remains came to a final halt. Without a doubt, they had defeated one of the two without destroying it outright.
    TJ crossed his arms as he raised an eyebrow. Was that really all it took to defeat them? They had seemed much more capable at the start, but perhaps he was wrong.
    “Leave the other one to me. I’ll make short work of it.” He said as he rolled his shoulder and watched as it approached with caution.
    “Hmm…?” Amata muttered as she eyed him curiously. “I’ll keep an eye out then.”
    Perhaps suspecting he would not move from the spot the spearman broke out into a sudden sprint. The Abellan grinned before he hopped on the spot as the spear threatened to crush him once more.
    “Shadow Dive!” He shouted before he slipped into the darkness.
    His body emerged from its shadow and he leapt onto its arm as it pulled it back. He walked down the bicep and to the wrist before he stopped. He cracked his knuckles while it prepared to brush him off and without another moment to spare, crouched down and shattered the weapon hand with his fist. He hopped onto the wrist before he leapt to the face and kicked off of it, allowing him to retreat a safe distance all while forcing it back. He took the spear in hand and twirled it over his head to aim it at the previous wielder.
    “I’ll break you!” He roared before he hurled the spear with all his might.
    The weapon flew towards the statue and the blow proved strong enough to pierce the chest and leave a gaping hole within. He cracked his right hand’s knuckles with his left and reeled a fist back.
    “Now for a finishing touch…” Air surged around his hand as he slowly pulled it back. “Air Render!”
    He let his fist fly and from it an incredible torrent of wind tore through the air before the two and collided upon the spear, forcing it to plunge even deeper into the gap.
    The statue shuddered as the stone crumbled from the hole within. Just as the first had, it knelt down and the lights within the eyes flickered out.
    His power was growing…and yet there was so much untapped potential still. To bring out that potential, he needed a challenge that could truly push him to his limits. Su, Yuta, Choen Palm…all of them were people who were able.
    He looked to the Governor of Fire who seemed to be admiring his handiwork and in her he saw an opportunity. A wide grin spread across his face before he took two steps towards her. Without another moment to spare he rushed towards her as he reeled a fist back. The moment he stepped in range of her, he threw his fist towards her.
    His very approach and the sudden halt he came to created a wind pressure strong enough to nearly force the Governor back, but despite the fact and even more so his approach, she held her ground. The very fist he threw wrapped over her shoulder and came to a rest upon her back as he pulled her in and leaned his head over her left shoulder while the crimson streaks and disheveled hair upon his head came to a rest.
    “Tell me Amata…do you fear me?” He whispered into her ear.
    She sighed. “Fear you? No.”
    He let her go and took a step back. The vicious crimson eyes had become their usual collected brown and the look in them had become timid and tired.
    The Govenor of Fire stepped towards him and patted his hair down with her hands. “Let’s be real here TJ. I’ve seen you at your worst. You really don’t give me enough credit.”
    “But-”
    “But what?” She placed both her hands to her hips. “I’ve been around long enough to know what Agasuric mana and blood can do to a person. I’ve also been around long enough to know you. The real you. You think becoming drunk on power and losing yourself is gonna deter me?” She snorted. “If you lose yourself once or twice, I’ll be there to knock some sense back into you.
    “Besides, if you were going to attack me with the desire to kill, you’d have done it long ago and even if you did, I certainly wouldn’t make it easy on you.” She closed her eyes as she shrugged. “If it was my time to die, I’m sure I’d be seeing Valkyries by now. But it’s not.”
    He closed his eyes guiltily. It was not the first time this had happened…and he could not help but think that it would not be the last. Had he defeated his enemies any sooner what would have happened to them? Would he really have continued his offensive?
    “Sorry.”
    The Governor of Fire chuckled. “It’s fine, isn’t it? I was depending on your strength, well aware of the risks. If I was to blame you now what kind of girl would that make me?
    “Now hold on a sec’, I think I’ve got a hair tie in my stuff somewhere.”
    She made her way over to their bags resting near the panels and soon returned with a dark blue scrunchie. She walked behind him and tied his hair back into the usual ponytail. Following the event she walked back to stand directly before him.
    “I don’t mind any of the junk that just happened, but there’s something I need to know.”
    He gave her a slightly wistful but thankful smile as he asked, “What’s that?”
    Amata’s eyes remained focused on his, her expression hardened, yet determined. “Is there anyone that knows about that side of you? I mean, is there anyone that you confide in about it?”
    He opened his mouth to speak but found himself at a loss. “W-well…” It seemed that he had gotten through at every other interval on sheer willpower alone…however if he failed to do so, he had not considered the consequences.
    The Sorceror placed her hands to his cheeks and turned his head to face her directly. Her lips were pursed and her eyes even more determined than they were prior. “This is a serious thing TJ. I don’t want this to become something you come to regret later! Don’t. Be. Stubborn. Okay?! It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay not to be strong enough alone…even if you are the Abellan. We’re in this thing together, you know. Even if it’s just you and me right now, you can talk to me. I won’t like you any less for your faults, dummy.”
    His mouth hung agape for a few moments before he placed a hand to hers and closed his eyes. He himself did not know it, but perhaps those words were what he had yearned to hear. His lips curled into a smile as he opened his eyes once more.
    “Thanks…a bunch Amata. I needed that more than I know.”
    She grinned. I’d bet!”

    The two stood before the statues as they s0lemnly examined them. Amata rapped her knuckles against the swordsman and gave it a nod of approval before she sighed.
    “Well they’re as dead as they’ll ever be and I’m willing to bet they’re not gonna suddenly wake up and attack us…but…” She sighed once more in place of finishing her sentence.
    “We’re gonna have to move them ourselves somehow, huh?” TJ asked with a hint of unease.
    “Pretty much.”
    The Bard ran through the possibilities of what he could possibly do before the Governor of Fire rapped her knuckles against his head.
    “Quit making a face like that. I’m sure between the two of us, we could move that thing.” She placed a hand to a curled arm as she winked. “It’ll just take a little elbow grease is all!”
    Her optimism was a refreshing change.
    “Yeah! Let’s give it a shot!”
    The two took their place behind the statue and prepared to push it.
    “Okay, you ready? On three! One, two…” Amata counted their push down.
    Without another moment to spare the two started pushing against it with all their might. The Governor of Fire did so until she was red in the face, then finally collapsed against it as she huffed.
    “A good idea in theory, but our execution is nothing short of piss poor.”
    “We might be at this for a while…”
    “Idiots! If you’ve got the Frequency at your disposal, use it. No point in doing dumb shit like this. What’d you expect?” Su asked.
    Amata looked at the Abellan’s chest and growled under her breath.
    TJ placed a clenched fist to his chest as he mulled over her suggestion. “Su may have a point.”
    The Sorceror looked at him in disbelief. “Are you nuts? After what we just went through?”
    He knit his brows. “I know. But if my suspicions are correct, it only seems to happen after a certain while…I mean, the first time it happened it was a lot sooner. This time I had a lot more self control up until that point. So long as I don’t overdo it, I think I can manage. But in case I’m wrong…can I count on you?”
    She crossed her arms as she knit her brows in turn. “I don’t really like this but…I’ve got nothing better. Besides, I trust you. If you feel you’re losing yourself, cancel it right away, alright?”
    He grinned. “Will do! Thanks.
    “Okay Su, one more time!”
    “Yeah yeah, hurry up and do the thing already.”
    TJ pounded his fists together. “Frequency!” His irises flickered to crimson and he took a deep breath. “Here goes…”
    He placed both hands to the statue and began to push it along the ground towards the panels. It took a bit of extra effort to get it upon the panel itself, but he had managed nonetheless while hardly breaking a sweat.
    “How’re you doing?” Amata asked as he returned.
    “Good to go!” He said as this time he flexed.
    She chuckled at the gesture and he continued the task he set out to do with her following closely behind. Once the statues were upon their respective panels they both lit up and remained that way.
    “That should do it,” TJ said. “I’ve never used the Frequency so much in such a short time frame before. Maybe I should practice.”
    “I just hope you won’t need to. Then again, we’re gonna be facing some tough guys in the future so I suppose there’s always room for improvement.
    “Still, let’s get back to the task at hand, shall we? We’ve still got one more level to check and then we have to find a way to get that panel on the middle floor down.”
    “Right. Let’s head back up…there…”
    As he looked for a way to reach the main floor he found nothing but the length of stone from where they were to where they had come from.
    “No ladder, no stairs, nothin’. Stupid architects!”
    “Suppose we can’t fly up there either.” He placed a fist into an open palm with a look of realization. “Now that I think about it, didn’t you use your wings to get to me? You re-opened the wound!”
    “Wah…are you mad?” She asked with a teasing grin. “It was for a good cause.”
    “I’m thankful for that, but still! I’ll give you a boost up there before I dispel the Frequency, but I’m gonna patch you up again after that.”
    She smiled. “I’m in your care again, Doc.”
    He walked over to the wall and cupped his hands. He could not help but think of his time in Foe Mansion. “Alright, come on.”
    The Governor of Fire took a few steps back before she leapt into his hands. Without further ado, he hurled her through the air and she touched down safely.
    “Thanks!” She shouted back as she waved.
    “I’m gonna throw the bags up there too!”
    “Bring ‘em on!”
    TJ took Amata’s in his left and tossed it up. After she caught it, she set it down and called for the next one which he threw with his right. She called for the next one and he tilted his head quizzically before he understood her meaning. He laughed gently at the thought.
    Once that was done he exhaled gently and returned to his normal state. He looked to the statues before him and climbed up onto the shoulders of the swordsman before he spread his wings. He leapt across the gap and pushed himself up once more before he landed and skidded to a halt.
    “Good plan. Still, we’re gonna need a way to get up there too. I’m glad you’re so reliable with the Frequency, but I’d rather not have you do it again just for the sake of this. You’re pushing yourself too hard.”
    “You…might be right.” TJ said as he scratched his cheek sheepishly.
    “For the time being, lemme’ get a look at your wing. We can consider our options afterwards.”
    The Governor of Fire brought out her wings and as he had expected, one of the two remained wounded. He placed his hands to it and they released a gentle glow to heal the wound once more as he mulled over the options for what they could do.
    It was certainly possible that Amata could make the jump if she was to use her Fire Hop technique. Or was it? He could not help but worry that if she did not reach the required height she would fall hard and be unable to land safely. Even if she was to do so, there was little doubt it would be painless. TJ could not make the jump either, especially without a foothold. Unlike the Jungle, the stones were smooth and so there was very few, if any places he could jump off of. His wings were unlike those of other Cerebians and lacked the ability of flight. To add insult to injury, he was not very strong without using the Chaos Frequency.
    He sighed audibly and Amata looked over her shoulder.
    “Having troubles coming up with something? Don’t stress over it too much. Between the two of us I’ll bet we could come up with something.”
    He smiled at her words of comfort. “Let’s do our best together.”
    She placed a finger to her chin. “If the obvious things like flying are out, we could use skills. I could blast the wall so we can climb it!”
    “I don’t think we should destroy the place!”
    If he was to use his powers, perhaps he could do something. He was able to shift the earth to get Robo to differing heights, but he had never done it for himself alone. If the Divine Arts were out and the Arcane were limited, that only left Synergism, Manipulation and Command skills. At the thought a realization dawned upon him.
    “I’ve got it!”
    “Hm? Got a plan? Lay it on me.”
    “If I summon Velvet I can fly us both up there and fight any enemies without having to use the Frequency!”
    Velvet had everything that TJ lacked in this scenario. Strength, great defense, the body of an Einherjar and the Calling ability. She was in fact, a Keruz.
    “I’ve no idea what you mean by that, but your plans usually work one way or another. Is there anything you need me to do?”
    He got to his feet and shook his head. “No, you can leave this to me.”
    Amata lent him her handkerchief once more and he wiped his hands before offering her his gratitude. He made his way back over to the panel and stood upon it. Following that, he drew his guitar and took a deep breath. As he strummed the first few notes to Velvet’s song, he began to sing the lyrics and upon completing it for the first time Velvet took form before the two along with her signature catchphrase.
    Amata squinted at the sight. “I remember this but...why are you still singing?”
    “Oh…about that…” Velvet answered as she chuckled sheepishly.
    The Governor of Fire’s eyes darted to the Einherjar before she took a cautious stance.
    “I-it’s okay, it’s me!” Velvet cried out as she gestured for her companion to calm down.
    “You as in TJ or you as in that Velvet girl? You talk like TJ but you clearly aren’t. He’s right there.” She pointed to him.
    “I’m TJ. This is the effect of Synergism. After I mastered Velvet’s song I became able to summon her as an Einherjar. It’s just that I have to take control of the body.”
    Amata chuckled dryly while she smiled wryly. “And here I thought I’d seen everything. You’re just full of surprises aren’t you TJ?”
    Velvet smiled in turn. “You don’t know the half of it.”
    “Okay, consider me impressed. So? You said you had a plan didn’t you? Impress me again.”
    “As long as you’re ready…” She took a couple steps toward her and swept her up in her arms. Once she did, she spread her wings before looking skyward.
    Amata’s face flushed pink, her eyes swam and she seemed to be in a tizzy as she uttered, “Okay maybe I talked a big game but I wasn’t r-ready for this!”
    Four lovely feathered appendages surrounded the two before they spread out. TJ could not help but feel nervous as it was his first time flying, in Velvet’s body at that, but he decided that regardless of what happened his top priority would be keeping Amata safe.
    With a single powerful beat the two took off and continued their ascent as TJ carefully made his way towards the final landing. When he reached the designated height he cautiously made his way over, landed and let the Governor of Fire down.
    She let out a sigh of relief as she brushed her bangs aside. “I can’t count how many times I’ve been held today. I haven’t been picked up like that since I was a little girl.” She seemed to be looking at him from her peripherals. “You better take responsibility.”
    Velvet laughed gently. “Sure, sure.”

    “This is the last of them.” Amata said as she stopped on the final panel.
    “I wonder if we can press it down…?” Velvet walked over and pressed her body to the Governor of Fire’s.
    “There’s something else being pressed down.”
    At those words Velvet noticed she was pressing her chest into Amata’s face and she jumped back. “Sorry about that!”
    Her face was flushed again. It was probably hard to breathe, given the circumstances.
    “You need to be more aware of your surroundings sometimes, TJ.” She said.
    “But leaving that aside, despite both of us standing on it, we couldn’t budge it at all. Guess I’ve gotta give some credit to those old guys. They weren’t gonna let us take any shortcuts on this, were they?”
    Velvet grinned. “Isn’t it fine? We’ve beat three of those guys so far. What’s one more to the two of us?”
    Amata smiled. “You sound pretty confident despite being an Einherjar. You don’t have the Frequency on your side this time. You sure you can handle it?”
    “No problem! I trained with the Chief for this!” She said excitedly as she drew her weapon.
    “That so?” Amata placed held her right arm with her left hand. “I’m glad you’ve practiced, at least.” She turned her body to face the final statue, knelt down but still looking threatening while wielding a battle axe in its hands. “For this guy, I’ve no doubt we’re gonna need it.”
    avatar
    TJ

    Posts : 873
    Join date : 2009-03-29
    Age : 24
    Location : Cake Tooooooowwwn

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  TJ on Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:56 am

    It takes two to rendezvous...:
    If you're trying to outrun those gay thoughts, run faster. If you're not, rejoice! Hoist the rainbow flags! Join hands and let your little paper ships sail! The long and short of it? It's gonna get pretty gay so brace yourself.
    With that out of the way, let's get down to it!

    You know, I have to admit, designing this dungeon was a huge difference to what I've done thus far. Barring the PC(Pharaoh's Chambers if you forgot), having puzzles that need to be solved took some getting used to. Since I designed them, I needed to find organic ways for the characters to work to a conclusion, but also to look for potential shortcuts and ways around them. That aside, I've gotta admit, I do feel a bit unsure about the length of the dungeon as a whole. The others typically didn't take as long to get through...but there's a lot of importance here and what needs to be done.
    It's interesting, nonetheless. Given that only TJ and Amata can enter, it really changes up the usual formula I've done. Typically they'd have a full party and in so doing they could make up for each other's weaknesses. This time around it's just the two and so the dynamic changes dramatically. Though it was a running joke in both Freq and Sanc, Su can't save TJ's bacon in here lol. To that end, Amata and him have to come to each other's aid in one way or another.
    I'll talk about this some more as I go along.

    An interesting thing to note is TJ's feelings towards the temple itself--that sense of nostalgia that he feels can be considered foreshadowing on one hand. On the other, considering what he's learned recently from Alvaro, he's becoming more aware of exactly who he is and what that pertains to. Which reminds me! As you read this, I want you to consider this little valuable nugget of info. Though the arc IS focused around Amata, TJ's growth can also be reflected in hers. The two will continue to grow together and what he has to learn from her will be a very important step in him obtaining the Metamorphosis ability.
    IIRC in chapter 5 Peorth talked about forming bonds with the God's Governors. Each of them will visit the temple and in so doing will obtain greater clarity on who they're mean to be...or perhaps who they're emulating in the current time. Just as Peorth and many others have their counterparts grounded in the past, so do they and understanding their origins and themselves is absolutely necessary in order to master their powers. By accompanying them, TJ learns more about them and can also come to understand who he was and who he needs to be. Kinda like the Avatar lol. He won't learn their elements, but their personal growth will serve as a lesson for him and the bonds they form will change him, as we've seen with Amata's case.
    I think the most complicating thing about this is...well I can't say too much about it because it'd be a spoiler, but this is, in a sense, him growing up. Both literally and metaphorically. What will happen during the Xenadia arc might seem sudden, so as you read this keep that fact in mind, and also consider the name of his next transformation. It's still a while away so if you can't fathom it, don't worry!

    Back to the topic at hand! First room! Spirits! Amata knows what's up.
    To be honest, as I wrote this I couldn't help but think back to Project H/H. If you read V3, you got a glimpse at what the inner sanctum looked like. As I was designing that, I debated what the rest of the Temple would be like and considered that if there were to be...unwelcome guests, that if they just waltzed right in and murdered the sage it'd be a problem. In the original they weren't like Induns, just a single room with a boss. Though it was only a headcanon, for the remake I wanted to do something like Rayinth's Vestibule--a little different in design, however.
    To elaborate further, visitors such as acolytes(who managed the temple), Sages like Heath and Isaac or Chancellor Heinrichter himself could bypass the outer sections of the Temple to enter the sanctum directly. Others who did not have such permissions would need to fight their way through an extension of the Temple(in the form of an Indun), fighting past the spirits that would guard the inner portions.
    In Sanc's case, there isn't any shortcuts, even for the God's Governors. Since part of their trial includes fighting past the spirits and solving the puzzles, it's something they absolutely need to do. It's possible that other people can enter and challenge it also, but there are likely to be places they can't progress past due to their lack of magical ability, flight, etc. There's also the matter of the paths to the temple being closed off due to the lack of the original Governor's blessing. As we discussed before during ch. 9, the path to Terramane's Temple was open because Julius did so before his passing in USSR. In ch. 10, Alvaro went on ahead and opened the path for Amata+TJ. Therefore we can assume that Kooh and Lim Yun will have to face a similar dilemma before they can enter their respective temples.
    As for the spirits, of the four present Governors, Amata knows the most about them. Second to her is Su, who did have Bane but she's less familiar with them and their inner workings. Amata had summoned Bharva herself and had seen his growth through to its entirety. She's really good at what she does! Surprisingly. She just gets rekt in most battles. Go figure. As for how they manage to stay...you know, corporeal, there's mana within the temple itself. Like with the Guild Rooms, it's a place that can house mana and in so doing the spirits can maintain their form by gathering from it. It's also what allows Rayinth to manifest as Einherjar(shh! That's a secret!).

    Let's talk a bit about the first battle. As always, TJ is...kinda lame. I mean that's no surprise at this juncture lol. He has his moments, though far and few between. Though Su can't fight alongside him she still offers advice...that she likely learned in school(Which is also something she did during USSR!). No less handy though! Should've called Smokey in back during USSR to teach Su and Amata a valuable lesson. Missed opportunity!
    So there are two spirits introduced in this battle. Will o' Wisps and Fire Sprites. The former doesn't exist in LT, but the latter is an actual Agasura from the game. The spells and skills it uses are exactly as they were in game too, however I don't think I included the fire wheel. We might see them again later, so if the chance arises, chances are it'll be there.
    Amata's skill Mortar is similar to something Bharva did during his battle with Bane. However, hers is a lesser version of it. Bharva's calls down fire like mortars from the sky and covers a much greater radius. Amata's is, as you'd expect smaller, but she has more control over the spell as she chooses where it'll rain down when she throws it. Her feint wasn't entirely my idea. In the immortal words of an old friend, "Whiff and poke!" That was his advice for Soul Calibur 5 lol. Whether that was actually effective or not, I can't say. Try it at your own peril...just not in tourneys. I don't want Daigo coming to my house and being like, "I lost because of your shitty advice".
    Next! TJ actually is heroic for a moment. There's the far and few between. In truth I kinda like the little dialogues between the two. It reminds me of how much Amata had changed from their first mission together. If it was then, she definitely would have yelled at him for what he did, but she's become a giant softy. She smiles and laughs more too, which is a refreshing difference for her character.
    Also I'm just gonna come out and say it now. That freakin' cloak is a goron tunic. We all knew right? Right?! If it gave fire resistance that'd have been cool.
    One thing I like about this fight is how closer to the end the two start working together. Reminds me a bit of Reina and Salem--they fight in close quarters but move to watch each other's blind spots. When they get serious, they make a really good team. Another thing is the difference in the way they cast spells--that is, between Su and TJ. Similar spells, but the actions they take to see them through can be considered a telling facet about their characters. More on that for the next fight!
    Two more things! TJ did a batman cape sweep! Feelsgood.jpg. Also Amata got two new spells. The first being Combust, a close-range explosion type spell. The second doesn't have a name yet, but as she said, it drains fire spells and converts them into mana. The only other explosive skill she's used thus far is Ten Flames I thiiiiiiiiiiink. She has others, but as you'd expect they're powerful, close range blasts. Her mid-range attacks are typically just fire that vary in strength. Of course, she has close range fire attacks too.
    An important thing to note about this battle though, is Amata's strength against fire attacks. In most cases, save for the fight against the kuri chieftain and his men, she hadn't faced any enemies that used much, or any at all. Since they're playing to her strengths, a variety of new defensive skills will turn up throughout the chapter. Well...maybe not a variety, but there will be some new stuff.

    Following that she uses another new spell called Flashfire. This is one of the few long-range attacks she has, but it's pretty weak. She can summon up to six different flames, but if she does so all at once then they're a lot harder to aim. She can fire single shots from the tip of her finger too. They're like a long range, high speed ignite spell.

    Moving on! An important thing I want you to take note of is the methods to which the two proceed through the dungeon. TJ is very cautious, as you can see. He looks around for traps, is wary of anything that may be trapped, and is all around very attentive to the dungeon's design. Amata is more like an unstoppable force lol. She moves with confidence and a little abandon, that really fits her brisk personality. Or was it brusque? Maybe both??? There's also a lot of references to the PC. TJ doesn't have too much experience with Induns, as we know, so when it comes to looking back on his memories that's the best source of experience he has. Reminiscing is something he does often for a variety of matters, so naturally in this case he would do so...not fondly of course.

    Next! Steel ball run! Traps! For days! Also Amata blasting ahead like a fireball. Unstoppable force, immovable object. Those kiddos in a nutshell. Also food puns. There's more ways to make an Abellan kebab than he knows of. Kekekeke!
    The next part was a little more emotional. This time around, Amata had done something she hadn't before. This is a very very important event for her character's growth. I can't tell you all of the details, but for her to use her powers and abilities to protect someone in such a way is not something she's used to doing and it shows. For her, most of the time she did things for her group, it was...well, more a show of strength. As she had said before, she often lead expeditions and was renown for how strong she was. To be seen as a protector and even more so as heroic in someone else's eyes is a special thing for her. Especially because it's the person she likes. Truth be told, at this juncture saying 'guy' would be weird, in spite of everything. My personal headcanon(Not as the author of course) is that TJ would be female rather than male. Hence...why this novel would be incredibly gay. It hasn't reached 'magnificently gay' status for me yet lol. Someday though! Other readers might have a different opinion. If it were a game, I'd like to have his gender be interchangeable like Shep and Fem Shep or P3 MC. Or Fire Amblam. Off topic, but I'm still on my BR run. Also the sword master class looks really cool??? I mean, if you use the spirit katana they wield two instead of one and I was like, why not just do this with every sword?! I mean, sure, Ryoma can't mystically wield two Raijinto but screw the canon! Rule of Cool!
    Back on topic, TJ admires her wings and you can see that he notices the differences between each Cerebian's. Sadly for Amata, Peorth's come to mind, but she doesn't need to know that! Jokes aside, this is actually a pretty important thing. Do you remember how before I talked about the physical distance between characters? Unlike before, the distance between the two has shortened greatly so Amata isn't averse to being touched by TJ at all. For healing is one thing, but he was just admiring her wings and she was okay with it. A part of the reason she does so is because she accepts him and is willing to close that distance.
    His case however is very...tricky. And that's the best part! What we know as readers and what she doesn't know about his character is the little secrets that make up who he is. His tendencies as one of the Sinners, that being Luxuria may be manifesting in ways that would be difficult to recognize for either of them. Sometimes Luxuria herself actually takes control as we saw in chapter 8, but her influence is coming through to TJ and he doesn't realize it. This isn't always the case though, mind! Remember that he's also learned ways of showing affection through his comrades. From Peorth in the present time(See Chapter 1, chapter 7 I believe and/or the final chapter in Freq?) and in the past through Yuna, Velvet and Straw Hat. Kooh was a good example of a more emotionally distant character and Su also, regarding what's-his-face? Nia's friend. Leif!

    I'm cutting it close for time so I'll try to tone it down a bit and cover anything important or new.

    So Amata's jump has a name now. It's a fire hop. Something I picked up from my bro from his Mario Kart 8 days lol. Apparently it's also known as frogging? Das weird. She still can limit the amount of power she puts into awakening. It doesn't really improve her speed or anything--she's actually just really good in close-combat due to all of her sparring matches with Alvaro. I mean, you can only get punched so many times before you look for a means...you know, not to get punched.
    TJ also has buffs, though rarely used! Those being Sound of Heart, Sound of Spirit...I forgot the names of the others. All of them are based on the in-game stuff, so if you know your stuff, good stuff!
    Next! We see the spell he used back in the CoI arc, that being Gambler's Quasar. The first time he used it, he only made some sort of growls so it didn't have a name...also because I fail at naming things. Someone report me for unskilled. As his monologue suggested, it's a very very dangerous spell. If the user is too weak it'll suck them into the vortex...and you know, kill them. No joke, he'd have died in there. I'll talk a bit more about Agasuric buffs after I cover the next.
    Testament to the Demon is...in a sense, a counterpart to Testament of the Hero. One is used for becoming stronger, powerful enough to crush your enemies and the other is for sealing your enemies, but making a heroic sacrifice in the process. It's a little cheesy, but the hairband he wore snapping was symbolic of him giving up his restraint and control over his powers/himself for greater strength. The effects of it change his outer appearance somewhat, giving him the appearance of a demon.
    Now then, about the buffs! Unlike the Arcane or Divine Arts, the Contemptuous Arts are crazy dangerous. They give the users incredible power, but if the users aren't able to handle that, either it'll kill them, force them to lose control or...turn them into something entirely different. This is a very important fact for TJ, Su and Vanir respectively. All three of them are 'heroes' who dabble in the dark arts and doing so requires incredible strength of spirit. TJ uses the Chaos Frequency sparingly, but because right now his mental fortitude is weak he has a hard time keeping it together when he uses it for an extended period of time. Su has a greater mental fortitude because of her past. Killing is nothing new to her and Vanir and this makes them a bit more able to keep their sanity in check. Compare and contrast this with others like Choen Palm, Mk. II and the Cerebians who had become monsters...or as Truong describes them, failures. You can see what happens to those who can't contain that sort of power. This is also a very important focus in this chapter and a part of Amata's arc as a whole. As you go forward, keep these facts in mind.

    I went on a tangent again gdi. My memorization is so bad but somehow I've become more analytical??? FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF NEXT. Serpent Membrane! A CA spell that won't murder the user! Simple enough for even TJ to do. Also new.
    The Bone Crusher chain I spoke about before. Su used BC back in the fight against Choen Palm but she didn't do the full thing. As you can see, it, like the Crowstorm chain has three skills. Bone Crusher, Skull Sunder and Blink Spiral. As I was designing it, I couldn't help but think of the Metsu Shoryuken. Did you know the marking on Akuma's back actually says 'Ten'? All these years I'd seen it and I was like, "I wonder what that says." I feel so enlightened. Thank you based SF wiki.
    That reminds me! An important thing to note about TJ's close-range fighting style(Unarmed, that is) is that he typically fights with his fists, while Su fights using her legs. It's a difference I want to apply to his use of Malignant Spitfire should he use it in the future. Anyway, as you can imagine he's more built around upper body strength while she's lower. Keep this fact in mind too, because you'll be hearing more about it later! Sometime after Inno ends I guess lol.
    New spell for Amata too, Moleten Plume. If she had stayed there she may have melted too. Debating whether or not her magic should affect her. Maybe if she awakens it won't? Next for Amata is Gambit. It's a very powerful explosive type spell, but she has to be practically touching her opponent to set it up and it has a very, very short activation time. By that I mean, if she doesn't activate it within like 5-10 seconds of casting it, it vanishes. Powerful, but difficult to use. She also has a currently unnamed counter spell. Go me! Once again, an explosive skill. Any offensive that comes within a certain radius of Amata will activate it. The weakness is that it has to be within her eyesight, so if it's behind her she can't activate the spell.

    The next part is a continuation of what I talked about before. It's very important that one has self-control when using the CA and so it shows. In TJ's case it can differ at times. He has an Agasuric blood bond but he resists it, so his powers and ability to control them are limited. As always, the more he uses them, the stronger the bond and the more his seals come undone. Or at least, the weaker they become in turn for him growing stronger and more Agasuric. However, his natural tendency is to seek out strong opponents that can...well, bring out his Agasuric blood. He's like my bro when he plays Smash bros lol. When he crushes his opponents he grows stronger, then seeks the next powerful opponent. In this case, once again it was Amata. He nearly attacked her but he timed out the spell and it turned into character development. Har!
    In her case, she isn't afraid of him in the slightest. Not now and not when he had become the TotM. She's very courageous, both in mind and body and it really does show. She knows that he tries to take on things alone so she reminds him that he doesn't have to try to do it all himself, a callback to the attack on them in Ves. In that regard, he became her pillar of support and she truly wants to become his. In this case, she doesn't seek just any ordinary relationship with him. I think the way she sees things may just embody the concept of having a pledger. Another important thing about this, is that it shows that despite her age, she's actually pretty mature. This can be contrasted with Su, who is mature in other regards but still has plenty of room to grow emotionally. She might not be there, but don't forget she has to see and hears everything, so there's plenty of room for introspection.
    Of course, her patting down his untamed hair and offering him that specific colour of scrunchie brings the symbolism full circle. Also it's super cute.

    Last thing I wanted to say is Amata got a face full of boobs lol. The reason she blushes, as you likely guessed, isn't what TJ thought. I suppose if the cat wasn't out of the bag after like Ch. 5, I'll say it now. She's pretty damn gay. I won't give too much about that, though lol.
    It does make me wonder though, if a straight person was in the same situation, how would they have reacted? Any idea? It's hard to say being a guy because...well man boobs aren't the same. Though if I was to get another dude's crotch in the face...Hmm...

    Regardless, leaving the jokes aside, I do take the matter of gay characters seriously. Considering my way of seeing things, most are. Though it's 2016 and people have mixed feelings about being politically correct, I suppose I'm kinda on the fence about that. I won't go out of my way to offend, but I'm still gonna make god-awful jokes about everything. Though if my jokes actually managed to offend anyone even I'd be a little impressed! Though bringing attention to this fact is pretty bad in and of itself isn't it?
    So regardless of how you see this, enjoy it however you like! Or something! It is what it is. What we make of it is another matter in and of itself huh?

    Anyway, I've said my piece for this week. I've been playing a lot of MonHun Gen, or as I call it "Mount your friends and occasionally giant monsters". Good times. But for some reason I can't mount my cats??? I mean, sure they're like knee height but if I could it would certainly make my life a lot easier! Uhh...anyway I think I've said plenty. Inno is progressing? Writing the Madelaine's crew again is refreshing. I hope I can do the places and the people justice both here and in Inno going forward.
    Until next time!

    Sponsored content

    Re: Sanctuary

    Post  Sponsored content


      Current date/time is Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:31 am