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    Remembrance of Phantasms

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    Zev the Reveler
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    Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:24 am

    Chap. 1

    ~ ~ ~

    When I awaken, when my eyes flick open, all I see is darkness. At first, it brings me fear - Fear of a place I'd once been, and fear of that pain I'd nearly died by. Then, I grope out and upward with my hand, and find my fingertips tapping a glass surface. There's a sound of water sloshing, and then a soft blue light that startles me into knocking my skull on the headboard. A starsquid's tiny, gleaming little quintet of eyes look at me quizzically. About the time a name bubbles up in my mind - Mia - Another memory buoys to the surface: This was my own starsquid, for reading in bed, and he'd not been fed in a week.

    Reaching over to a slot in the wall, I retrieve a little canister. My long, lithe arm easily surpasses the height at which the jug is hung, and I gently tap a few flakes of dark green food into the water. The starsquid's gurgling trill seems pleased, and it most certainly takes a shining to the food. As I remove myself from bed, almost running on auto-pilot, I strap on my armor. I'm not sure whether I'll need it, but something about armor, shield, and sword seems very compelling when you don't have any knowledge of your surroundings. As soon as I'm fully equipped, I make my way out of the tiny alcove of a room. I'm not sure what to make of the area beyond.

    It's not quite austere - The place's worn wood, the odd-shaped stones of the walls, the mysterious shadows of the ceiling...All of it makes me feel safe and at home. It would seem to be a simple matter of that its owners couldn't afford much furnishings. Yes, ... and I were saving up to get some urns. ... said he'd bring us an indoor garden. I nearly brain myself on the corner of a table before I stop myself with an outstretched hand. My other hand squeezes my temple, trying to quell the throbbing headache that had just started. As I look around, I start to notice decorations I'd glazed over before - Pairs of Twin Blades crossed in brackets on the walls; on every table but one was a vase of dusty crystal, holding water for bundles of flowers. And as I made my way into a side room, the memories hammer themselves into a solid pattern in my mind.

    Here, in this room, is a small but well-kept forge. Anvil, stone-rimmed pool of water, multiple places to start and sustain a fire; it's all here, just as someone - No, just as I'd left it. As my ears flick and my tail swish, I note that the precise, orderly manner of how the tools are hung on the wall is my very own doing. As I instinctively make my way over to a large chest, and open it up, I find innumerable compartments within; boxes on top of boxes, in rows and stacks. I flip the first layer over experimentally, and on the second layer, open up a random box. Inside is a chunk of hazy white crystal, and beneath it, a notecard - Describing a location that seems familiar. With a jolt to my skull, I remember it: The Rupie Mountains, perfect for finding dragon's tooth quartz. I close the chest up again, and look to a corner of the room that evaded my gaze upon entrance.

    Off in the gloom, I can see a roughly-made mannequin and a sewing machine. It's positively a relic - But as the pain of my memories returning subsides into a dull ache, I recall that it served me just fine. Hung neatly on the wall are sample bolts of cloth, with numbers and letters etched into the stone above them in pairs - Indigo is 3B, vermillion is 4A, crimson is 3A...In an instant, I remember - That's how I started sorting them. I never use those bolts of cloth; I use their numbers and letters to show me where I can find them in the extensive system of drawers, positioned against the wall and behind the sewing machine. I always went out of my way to find excellent fabric - Especially those which would hold enchantments. Only enchanted garments would suit him. Him.

    Just like that, I almost have a memory of a person, a name, a face to go with that name. But like trying to grab for mist, it easily snakes its way out my grasp, and disappears into the foggy recesses of my mind. Something is very wrong here. It seems to me that I used to be sharp as a tack, easily solving problems and planning for my friends. Now, however, it's like trying to play a game of Poker when I can't even see my own hand. At least the cards are slowly becoming visible.

    Returning to the main room, I pull the gauzy, dark blue curtains away from the windows. It's still mostly dark outside, with only the faintest tinge of pale blue to the deep cobalt blue of the night sky. I decide to open the window and watch, for a while.

    Hopefully, I'll be able to see all of the cards, soon.
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    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Yenot on Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:43 am

    Insightful to say the least.
    Not particularly enthralling, but it seems to be setting up for something that may be.
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    Zev the Reveler
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    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:52 am

    Thank you, Ynot.

    I do hope this story forms into something you'll like.

    Onward we go.

    ~ ~ ~

    Chap. 2

    By the time the sun has risen, making visible the foggy grassland outside the house, I've given up on just letting memories come back to me. I manage to attain a semblance of calm via menial tasks - Adding fresh water to the flowers, out of a spotless faucet; regaining the memory of where I kept the broom and sweeping out every trace of dust I can find on the floors; down to removing every last piece of armor, my shield, and my sword, and cleaning them. Twice. It's disconcerting how necessary these tedious routines are to keeping me from losing my mind, here.

    It's the emptiness that gnaws at me. I know that this place should be filled with life, buzzing with activity and laughter - But something I can't put my finger on, deep down inside of me, quietly dreads the thought of causing any more noise than my own motions and actions bring about by themselves. I want to hear something, a noise to break me out of my stupor. I want something that proves I'm real, that I'm alive. If I don't find some way to validate my existence in this mockery of reality, I'm sure that I won't be able to hold onto my waning vestiges of calm and reason. Just as I'm about to set to a ferocious cleaning spree, a sound stops me. A sound that I almost don't recognize.

    Admittedly, it's rather embarrassing how long it takes me to remember that this is what a door being knocked on sounds like. Then, a cold, sick feeling settles in my stomach. Do I want to open the door? Do I want to see what beings I could share eternity with? Do I want to find out if I'm finally starting to hallucinate, that there was no knocking at the door to begin with, and that I really am going mad? Despite all of these worries, something in the very fiber of my being - Deeper even than the source of that earlier aversion to making noise - Tells me that I'm not the kind of person who would be frightened to open a door to the unknown. I keep a hand on the pommel of my sword and gently pull the door open. I half-expect for there to be a shadowy, eldritch apparition before me.

    The last thing I expect is to see a whip-thin female with pink fur and almost vulpid features. Those dark gray, almost black patches, those eyes with merged amber irises and pupils, that intimidating scowl...It's like I should know this woman. She gazes up at me evenly, although I can somehow tell from her eyes that she's feeling much like I am. To my relief, her scowl loses its menace and settles in a calm frown; although neither of us talk for several moments longer. Thankfully, my new visitor takes the initiative - Clearing her throat and introducing herself. "My name is Viriathus," she says in a calm tone, "But everyone calls me Vi. It seems that I've found myself robbed of my memories. I was drawn to walk in this direction, and I was fortunate enough to find your home." She tilts her head down and raises her eyebrows in a curious way. "May I come in?" I nod wordlessly, and move aside to allow her entrance.

    Gazing about the room she's found herself in, I'm grateful to see a complete lack of judgment in her gaze. Taking a seat on the couch, she leans back and begins massaging one foot. Her digitigrade legs possess impressive muscles: Lithe and devoid of extraneous flesh, they're the kind of beautiful and efficient limbs that a life of exercise and activity will bless a person with. Yet even with how anyone could see them to be biologically designed for mobility and speed, it would also be plain for anyone to see that this woman is in quite a lot of pain. Her toes are persistently curved in on themselves, and the entire foot shivers slightly in a way that makes Vi wince. It's the tiniest narrowing of her eyelids, but I know very well that she's walked herself into agony; and I have the strongest suspicion that she was just as desperate for companionship as I was, no matter how well she appears to be hiding it.

    Silently, I make my way over to a cabinet in the conjoined dining area. In a new recollection - One which is almost devoid of pain - I can call up the memory that kept in here were a variety of salves and ointments. My fingers dance across the tops of the vials, until I find one with a narrow, swirled body made of dark red glass. I retrieve this one, and hurriedly, but still quietly, make my way back to Vi's side. She gives the bottle a curious glance, but says nothing as I prop her foot up on my knee and pour the liquid onto my glove.

    With a gentle, careful touch, I work the liquid in through the fur, into the skin of Vi's leg and foot. I can feel the muscles relaxing their tension. Eyes closed peacefully, Vi lays her head back and lets me work. By the time I'm done with her other foot, she's slipped into a peaceful doze. I retrieve a blanket from another set of cabinets, and gently lay it over her.

    I can't say what my future has in store for me, or whether I will ever regain my memories.

    But now, I can say with certainty that I won't have to go it alone.
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    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Klak on Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:53 am

    REVIEW FOR CHAPTER 1:
    This is a well made story. You accurately and poetically describe the character's struggle to recollect the muddy mess that is his memory. Nicely done.
    I can notice similar themes with Sarge's story, "Infected" (at least the half where Tobias didn't remember anything). That shows that writers inspire one another, and I am proud of everyone here.

    My only negative is that at some times it gets incoherent:
    "Yes, ... and I were saving up to get some urns. ... said he'd bring us an indoor garden. I nearly brain myself on the corner of a table before I stop myself with an outstretched hand. "

    I'm probably misinterpreting that, though.

    Will edit this to include a review of Chapter 2...eventually....since you posted it so quickly.


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    Zev the Reveler
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    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:09 am

    Thank you for the review, Klak. Your words mean a lot!

    Actually, the part you quoted was intended to show the holes in her memory. As in, when the memories come back, faces and names and other details are left out. I guess I should have elaborated on that, so thank you for bringing that up.

    Now, I know you likely haven't read Chap. 2 yet, and I don't want to rush into posting Chap. 3. So, I'll keep the Document open until I can post it later.

    Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the story. I feel Chapter 3 is where it starts to pick up, but, that's just me.

    Happy reading, everyone!
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    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Klak on Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:31 pm

    The ending was rather strange, but I'm glad you brought Vi in and go through the person's poetic ramblings.
    Still, a weird ending.


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    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:34 pm

    Thank you, Klak.

    I guess the ending was a bit oblique, but that's by and large how I want this story to progress, for now.

    Here is Chap. 3.

    ~ ~ ~

    Chap. 3

    Once Vi has woken up from her slumber, she comes to the kitchen. After fighting me away from the cooking equipment, declaring that she needs to repay favors done her, Vi sets to work making coffee. She's obviously never seen the kind of brewing devices that are set out. The arrays of brass pipes and crystal vials catch her off-guard, but she's eventually muddled through on the memories that seem to trickle back to her, and manages two mugs of coffee without causing any fires or fumes.

    Now that she's gotten it brewed, I have to say, she fixes an outstanding cup of coffee. Though she couldn't avoid drawing just a smidgen of bitterness out of the brew, Vi makes up for it by instantly going for what I affirm to be the spice cabinet. She retrieves a deep sienna powder which, upon its vial being opened, fills the room with a faint, but pleasant aroma of sweetness tinged by a hint of earthen spiciness. She sprinkles just a tiny bit over both mugs of coffee, hands one to me, and begins to sip at her own. It's only now that I realize I haven't said a word to her since she's arrived. I know that I no longer have anything to fear of the silence being broken, but it still takes a few sips of coffee for me to find my voice.

    "Thank you for the coffee, Vi," I manage. She nods in recognition, before taking another fortifying drink. It would appear that both of us are in need of help to get ourselves talking. Working up my nerve with the warm, fragrant coffee's help, I finally ask one of the many questions nagging at me: "What do you remember, past what's been blocked out by amnesia?" I know that I can remember some vague moments - Fighting monsters with indistinct allies, crafting armor and sewing clothes for them, stolen moments taking naps in green fields when we weren't so, so busy...It's my sincere hope that Vi can recall some things like that, too.

    At first, it seems she doesn't want to answer. The way Vi bites the inside of her cheek makes me worry that I won't like what she has to say. But when she speaks again, I'm relieved to find it must have just been focused recollection. "I was a shipwright," she says at last. "I made wooden sailing ships, airships, and spacecraft. My main ship was originally a fishing trawler that a former police officer renovated. I did a proper overhaul on the thing, and it turned out to be a reliable ship." She takes another sip of coffee, then stares into the mug as she swirls the contents around. I can tell she's wrestling with her thoughts. "When I came to, here," she continues after a few minutes, "I was just outside of a crashed ship. But something about that fighter...I don't know. It didn't fit with my own memories, scant as they still are. Something about it was just off.

    "All I could remember at the time was my name," Vi goes on, now on a roll. "But as I got to walking, I just thought to myself: That ship is not right. It's not mine. I still don't think that ship belongs to me. Hell," she says, voice sharpening and fingers tightening on her mug, "I don't even think I made it. The hull was way too advanced for the crap instruments inside, and those little pea-shooters attached to it were too awkwardly orientated to even hit anything. I don't remember much, but I know that ships weren't just my profession, they were something I loved and put thought into." She huffs quietly. "I know I wasn't the kind of person who would allow someone to make me fly that shoddy clunker, because one of the first things I remembered was that I had three years training in survival and combat." She seems to realize that our coffee is going cold, and quickly finishes hers off. "Sorry," the young woman says with a sheepish undercurrent (One that's almost comically out of place in her rough voice), "I didn't mean to go on a tirade. Anger issues - I remember having those, too." Vi reaches out for my mug, and I become aware that her monologue was more riveting than I could tell in the swing of it. I've downed my entire mug in rapt attention; death by a thousand cuts, or rather, emptied by two-dozen sips.

    I hand her the mug, and she moves to the sink. She takes both of our mugs and begins scrubbing at them. Something about her every movement is fascinating. I can't tear my eyes away as her slender, strong, and most certainly dextrous fingers run a sponge over and within the mugs. No matter how mundane the task - And compared to our respective memories, I will say myself that washing dishes is what I find the epitome of a mundane, if draining and potentially agonizing activity - I find that watching how another goes about it seems to be so outstandingly compelling. I watch how Vi fills the mug with water and empties it twice before giving it a thorough scrubbing with soap, then repeats for the other, and I wonder why she does it that way. What led her to start rinsing twice? Why is she so focused and attentive, watching for stains like a hawk watches for its prey? Did she have to wash dishes as a job in life, and learned to be so thorough out of necessity? My thoughts are cut off as Vi finishes giving the mugs a drying off, and sets them up-ended on the counter. She takes her seat across from me once again and gives me a curious look. Though her eyes themselves don't change, once again, Vi raises her eyebrows in that odd fashion she has. Arms crossed, she asks me, "I don't think I asked you your name. Can I hear that, and some things about you?" She leans in slightly, arms still folded. I resist the urge to ask her to take her elbows off the table - That's hardly worth the time, in a world whose a population is thus far confirmed to consist of two partial amnesiacs.

    Hands folded on the table politely, I begin. "My name is Mia," I begin. "I've managed to gather from my dodgy memories that I lived here with two or three others, and that I was an armorer and a tailor." As I say that, I'm forced to pause. Memories are sprouting up, blooming like flowers after rainfall...Yes, cold winter nights, staying up late to finish inscribing the runes on a piece of armor. Memories of devoting hours through mild, sunny spring days, the kind I loved to spend outside with my yet-unremembered friends, to perfectly adjust the enchantments to his raiments; sewn into the fabric of robes like the careful, loving embroidery done in his beloved turquoise color. I can identify with Vi's all-consuming passion for the matters of a shipwright's craft - I can't remember who it was that I made my best work for, but I do know that money was not what fuelled it. My friends deserved only the finest armor and robes, and thus, the finest is what I learned to produce.

    It's only Vi's hand brushing over my knuckles, garbed in a fingerless glove just as mine is covered by a full leather one, that breaks me out of my revereé. I must have been silent for a minute or two. "Apologies," I say awkwardly, "I just recalled some things from my life. It seems that my love for the crafting of armor and robes matched your passion for building ships." Vi gives me a little smile, the first I've seen from her yet, and waits patiently for me to sort through my thoughts. Once I've gathered myself, I'm able to continue: "I can also remember a great deal of combat. Monsters of every color, shape, size, and order of strength. Together, we dispatched minor pests for neighbors, and took down Marks that threatened entire villages." I stop right there. What is a Mark? Determined not to let this memory get away, I calm myself and let it meander its way back to me. It almost feels like I'm coaxing it to reveal itself to me. Yes, a Mark - A beast that is unique, or a species whose population can typically be counted on the fingers. They're often made the targets of bounty hunters, experienced trappers, or even just travelling warriors.

    The memory unfolding makes me think of something. "Yes," I whisper to myself, "One of them, she was...A trapper. She always wanted to come along so she could gather meat, hides, everything needed from Marks. What was her name?" I look up to Vi. Eyebrows quirked upward once again, she's giving me an interested look with her head angled to the left. "Um," I intone lamely, still a bit stunned by the strange form of recall I'm becoming acquainted with. "I'm regaining memories at a quicker clip, it seems." I can't help but smile.

    For the first time, I hear a little chuckle out of Vi.

    --- --- ---

    Later, we head outside and look around.

    Still, there's no sign of any other life in this world but us. As the sun climbs into the sky and the land heats up, I'm forced to discard my gloves and boots. Likewise, Vi takes off her own fingerless gloves. We eventually set to inspecting the local flora, out of sheer boredom.

    Most of what we see is just variations of tall grass. Yet Vi draws my attention to a small group of trees, which she spotted on her walk to my home. We're lucky not to end up stuck in the rank water and mud. This part of the area seems to be turning into swampland, and the dense foliage above us prevents much of the sunlight from getting through. I find myself gazing into my feline reflection in the murky water - Barely visible as it is - Before I turn to catch up to Vi.

    There, I see her kneeled before a dense patch of weeds. She's carefully digging around, trying to pry something out. Silently I watch, eager to see what she's got. At last, Vi removes the object - A fist-sized chunk of mineral, somewhere between rock and metal. Not even attemtping the futile task of looking for a way to clean her hands, she walks the chunk of odd ore back to me.

    Expressionlessly, she places it in my hand. "I thought it might be useful," Vi says plainly. "I'm not sure, but it looks like it might have some use making armor. I figured it would give you a bit of distraction." For a long while, I'm not able to come up with an answer.

    I just look at her blankly. Everything about this woman is rough. I don't just mean her decidedly coarse fur and her strong hands, toughened by a life of hard work, either. She's quiet; she's given me displays of a very opinionated, temperamental nature; I've only seen her smile briefly while I've 'known' her, and I've seen her laughter even more briefly.

    All the same, Vi's kind, and she's proud of who she is and what she's done, without making a spectacle of it every minute. I consider letting her know how glad I am that I met her, but for now, I just smile and close my fingers on the chunk of ore.

    "Thank you," I say calmly. I don't know if Vi can tell how many things I'm thanking her for.
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    Zev the Reveler
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    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:09 am

    'Kay.

    Not waiting any longer for reviews.

    Posting Chapter 4.

    ~ ~ ~

    Chap. 4

    For the next two days, Vi and I have gotten acquainted with each other. We've recovered some decks of cards and a chessboard with handcarved, painted wooden pieces, and find surprisingly great enjoyment from simple games. I especially enjoy playing chess with Vi. Our styles are such polar opposites, and our skill levels such rough equals, that no game's outcome is ever ensured. Though I presently stand at the lead in wins to losses, it's only a slight edge.

    On our fourth day in this world, Vi presents a thought that I've admittedly turned over and over in my mind for hours beneath starsquid light. "If there are, indeed, others out there in this world," she says, "There's no guarantee they'll be civilized or peaceful. Plus, we're both well aware that this is not the world we've been on all our lives." I nod - I haven't recalled any significant memories in quite a while, but I can say for sure that this is not my homeworld. Satisfied, Vi goes on to say, "So, we might even get other visitors from elsewhere. These games and such are good fun, and will keep our problem-solving skills sharp, but we also need to be ready in the event that we get attacked." I can tell where she's going with this. "You don't have a problem with combat practice, do you? If you have any hang-ups, I need to know." Apparently my worries show on my face, because Vi's brow knits together in one of her more strident expressions. It doesn't help that I can't lie to her eyes.

    I sometimes wonder if that trust-inspiring, share-your-feelings-or-I'll-be-disappointed gaze is just natural for Vi, whether she taught herself, or whether it was part of that training she's mentioned. "I'll admit, it wouldn't be my favorite thing to do," I say at last. "I don't know whether I could bring myself to fight you as seriously as I need. Or, if I can, I might hurt you." I realize that these feelings are quite silly, and I'm sure that Vi can defend herself, but that doesn't alleviate my concerns for the prospect Vi's laid out. From her slightly shorter stature, she lifts a hand up and rests it on my shoulder. No words are shared as she gives my shoulder a gentle squeeze. It's as if she's imparting her confidence to me, because I can feel my own worries melting away at her touch. With a smile, I nod calmly. That's all Vi needs from me.

    Luckily, Vi seems perfectly fine with using a pair of the Twin Blades mounted on the walls. With my own sword in hand - Crossguard of gold color, blade the color of pearl - I follow her outside, where we stand facing each other from a distance. Before my eyes, a stunning blue halo gleams to life above Vi's head. Her eyes gain a similar glow, as her leg muscles tense. I'm very lucky I brought my shield as well as my sword: it takes both of them to deflect the lunging, scissoring attack that Vi sends my way. She doesn't hold back an ounce of her combat skill. Her flurry of slashes forces me to continually backpedal; her strength and speed seem to only be growing more potent as the battle wears on.

    Yet for a moment, such a brief moment, I can feel her letting up to prepare for a finishing slash. I drive my shield outward, bashing into her and knocking her to the ground. As quickly as I've ever moved in my life, I pin her to the ground and hold the edge of my blade above her neck. Vi just smiles up at me, as I pant in utter exhaustion.

    When she stands back up and her halo fades, Vi doesn't seem to have tired in the least. She sets her blades on a stone bench up against the house, and turns to face me.

    "Better remove any armor you won't need, Mia," Vi says. "Our training for the day has only gotten started."

    --- --- ---

    In a number of instances, Vi runs so fast out of habit that she has to come back to me. My legs just aren't in the kind of condition that hers have attained, and I'll admit that I simply do not have anywhere near the level of fitness that Vi has. Lungs burning by the time we're finished, I can only watch, stunned, as Vi proceeds to do more crunches and push-ups than I can count. She seems to be delighted at this exercise, I'll admit.

    While I'm glad to see her so happy and engaged, I'm so thankful that she opts for us to take a relaxed walk back to the house. Upon returning, Vi makes a beeline for the kitchen to fix us both some kind of meal. The only action I can take is far different.

    Stumbling into my room, i collapse in a heap onto my bed.

    --- --- ---

    The meal Vi fixes is quite welcome after that brutal routine. She fries up some kind of chopped meat in a pan, proceeds to season it with a specific mix of spices, and puts the separated portions within two small loaves of bread; both sliced in half down their lengths.

    I enjoy my sandwich gladly, and manage to make it back to the living room. Resting on the couch, the ache in my legs beginning to subside, I read through one of the many books kept tucked away in my room. Vi herself rests at a nearby table, enjoying a cup of coffee she's made for herself. I've long since stopped questioning her caffeine intake.

    As the sun slowly sets and the two of us prepare to head off to our respective sleeping arrangements, we both take a last trip outside. Thus, we're able to notice the groaning of a voice out somewhere in the grass. We hurry over, but the look on Vi's face at the paleskinned young man, with his long, dark hair and skimpy black outfit, distresses me.

    "Envy," she breathes dangerously. He opens his eyes at that, just in time for Vi to tackle him. 'Envy' snarls and tries to fight her off, but his odd movements grow confused, and then slow to a stop. His previously enraged features shift to perplexed, before a terrified look sets in his eyes.

    As Vi shouts, I rush inside to get some rope. Why she wants rope to tie him up when he seems like he can barely even move, I can't fathom.

    It looks like our world is growing more crowded.

    ~ ~ ~

    Act 1, End
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    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Klak on Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:38 pm

    Descriptions in the next few chapters are great, but sometimes a bit excessive.

    The plot is definitely going somewhere, though. I wonder who this Envy character is.

    -THE REST OF THIS POST HAS BEEN CENSORED BY THE GRAND POOBAH-


    Last edited by Klak on Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:20 pm; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:26 pm

    I would like to apologize for throwing a hissy fit.

    -GRAND POOBAH CENSORING INTENSIFIES-

    To celebrate the third rock from the sun still spinning,

    On we go, into this snowy, wintry night!

    ~ ~ ~

    By the time Envy has been trussed up and hauled inside, he no longer gives any struggling. He still levels a cold, hateful glare at both myself and Vi as we leave him on the couch. Making our way into the kitchen, I set about fixing both of us a mug of coffee. Vi is still a picture of agitation, fidgeting in her chair and fiddling with a stray thread on the hem of her shirt. By the time I've finished her cup, she's unwound it up to several inches longer than it was before. It occurs to me that I could mend it, and possibly sew her a new outfit; I consider the idea while we both silently enjoy our coffee.

    Eventually, Vi speaks on my unvoiced questions. "Envy is an old enemy of mine," she says quietly. "Well, he's an old enemy of a lot of people. He should be able to shapeshift." At that, she bites the inside of her cheek - Her eyes are troubled. Vi quickly downs her coffee and makes her way back to the living room. Once I'm confident that she's not going to hurt the young man unnecessarily, I savor my own coffee into the early night. It takes me some time to finish it, as I'm actually taking the time to enjoy mine, before I head over to the sink. As I clean the mugs, I ponder where the water is being drawn from. If this strange world has no native inhabitants, and with no other settlements (Nor even life forms) anywhere in sight, it seems quite peculiar that we should have running tap. Deciding that's a quandry to solve another time, I head back into the living room to inspect the situation.

    To my relief, neither of the two are bloodied. Vi has merely relocated Envy to a chair, pulled up a chair of her own across from him, and is staring him in the eye. It would appear that she's just asked him a question, as Envy finally says, "I already told you, I don't know how I got here. Part of my memories have come back, and I know I have a ton of enemies, but I don't even remember you! There's nothing more I can tell you other than what I already have! I just got to this place when you found me, okay?" He looks very uncomfortable; periodically he'll squirm in his seat, and his jagged teeth are bared defensively. Vi meets his gaze evenly, and Envy glares right back at her. For several long, long moments, they silently keep their eyes trained on each other. The looks they're giving each other could strip paint.

    At last, Vi gives a satisfied nod and rises to her feet. "Fair enough," she says calmly. "This isn't the place for pettiness. It looks like we're all going to need each other to get back home, so for the time being, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt." Resting a hand on Envy's shoulder, she gets closer and stares into his eyes. "Listen," she says in a voice I'm confident could tame a rampaging beast, "I know neither of us have convincing incentive to get along, but we need to try for the sakes of finding out this world's story. If we can work together with each other, then I can promise you that I'll work my hardest to get us all back where we belong. Deal?" Envy huffs quietly. It's plain to see that this entire affair hurts the youth's ego. However, in an impressive show of maturity, he nods in compliance with Vi's proposal.

    I would prefer that Vi be more careful, but for better or worse, she unties Envy as fast as she can. As soon as the rope is undone, it's placed back in my hands so that I can return it to its place back in the cabinets. Envy rubs at his arms, scowling. At the look Vi gives him, he grumbles. "Thanks," he mutters as quietly as possible. Obviously approving, she begins to show Envy around the house. He does a good job of hiding it, but I can see that Envy's intrigued.

    It's fortuitous that this house was built with so many bedrooms.

    --- --- ---

    One early morning, as Envy and Vi quietly debate their own personal philosophies over Vi's first cup of coffee of the day, I head outside to watch the transformation of the dawn. To my surprise, when I sit down on the doorstep, I find an envelope there. I shift to pick it up, and look it over. It's crisp and white, and held closed by a red wax seal. On the seal is imprinted a stylized hourglass, which I find to be oddly familiar.

    Cautiously, I edge my thumb under the seal and tear it off. When I open the envelope, I find inside of it a letter written in sharp, neat cursive on cream-white stationary. The ink is a somber purple, and the letter smells faintly of an indistinct perfume; one that I simply can't place. Intrigued, I begin to read.

    To Whom it Concerns,

    I hope this letter has found you in good spirits. I've become aware of a curious world that is drawing me closer, every night I dream. This world is the world you must find yourself in, if you're reading this letter. I'm well-versed in the operation of alternate worlds, but this place fascinates me for its abstruse mechanics. I will protect my vital memories, how to use my magic, and will let myself be drawn in. I don't know when I will meet you, whomever you are, but I hope that we can get along well.

    - Mae Kyrie, Ethereal Sandglass Guild

    At that moment, there's a crack of thunder. The sky darkens in moments, before a downpour leaves me soaked down to the bones.

    I hurry back inside, not sure what to think of the future.
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    Zev the Reveler
    Gracious Double-Crosser

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    Location : Despite all my rage, still trapped like a rat in a cage

    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:49 am

    What would you all like for Christmas?

    Story updates? I can do that! Merry Christmas everyone!

    ---

    Chap. 6

    ---

    The rain lasts for hours, then hours turn into days. On the third day, I share the letter I'd protected with Vi and Envy. Vi doesn't speak right away; I can't say the same for Envy. "I can't believe," he seethes, "That you didn't share this with us! Whoever this is could be dangerous! There's no telling when he or she is going to show up!" If I didn't know that Envy's violent ways had settled into a mere snappish, disgruntled attitude, I would feel very concerned with his ranting.

    Eventually, Vi speaks up. "Whether or not they're dangerous," she says evenly, "We can't just brush them off in favor of being safe. They seem to be non-violent, from the letter; and even if the rain was caused by them, that doesn't prove that they wish harm to us or anyone who might also be in this world." The sideways look she gives Envy makes it hard not to smirk. "I also seem to recall someone who was violent, but turned out able to put that behavior aside for the common good of others in this strange place." With a huff, Envy crosses his arms and says no more.

    It would seem that Envy is not so much a violent sociopath, than a spoiled child who's learned to get his way through venomous language and physical injury to others. I would hope that we can change him - After my time with him, it's hard to see someone so young act so unpleasantly. Closing my eyes, I try to let that memory float back to me. However, all I get is a dim effigy - Dark clothes, fair skin, and some kind of cap over his turquoise hair.

    With how that young man always dances so close to my memory, I hope against hope that I'll be able to recall his face, his name. It feels like he was important to me.

    I wonder if Vi and Envy have these kinds of feelings about their memories.

    --- --- ---

    Vi, Envy, and I begin to get a case of cabin fever, stuck inside for two more days by the rain.

    None of us feel like playing cards for the umpteenth time.

    --- --- ---

    On the sixth day straight of rain, all three of us have merely taken to drowsing on the couch in-between meals. Yet just as the sun has fully risen - Though none of us can see it through the cloud cover - We all nearly jump out of our skins at the knocking on our door.

    Vi is the first to the door, and opens it right up. Stood outside is a girl with fair skin and a pleasantly round face, whose mostly jawlength, straw blonde hair also bears messy bangs. She has an odd little smile on her face, and dark, unreadable eyes. Her outfit consists of a longsleeved white blouse under a black vest with horizontal pink pinstripes, an ankle-length skirt of dark purple color, and black sandals; meanwhile, my eyes are drawn to the golden hourglass pin over her heart.

    Regardless, the most pressing matter is that this girl is positively soaked by rain. Without letting Envy begin one of his spiels, I usher the young woman inside and draw her to the kitchen. She looks to be sixteen or seventeen, but every facet of her demeanour speaks to me as if she were a grown woman mine or Vi's age. Once she's in the kitchen, I have Vi go to the closet to fetch some clothes. Vi is back in moments, and with Envy locked out, I say politely, "Please, get changed into something dry." I hand her a towel.

    The girl wordlessly takes the offered clothes, sets them aside, and begins drying her hair off. Her hair is still flecked with raindrops by the time she's dressed in properly warm attire, but at least she's begun to be decently remedied of the soaking cold from outside. She still has that odd little smile, not quite menacing nor offputting, but not exactly inviting conversation, either. Not that I feel the need to get an invitation first. I ask her at last, "Are you Mae Kyrie?" She gives an almost imperceptible nod. Out of the corner of my eye, I can tell that Vi is fixing something. Both Mae and I turn to look.

    While Vi's relationship with the coffee brewing equipment is still tenuous at best, that has no bearing on how she makes a cup of hot chocolate. She fixes it properly, melting chunks of dark, rich chocolate into cream over the stove. When she has the cup ready, she sprinkles a bit of a sweet, aromatic spice over it, and hands it to Mae. The mysterious girl takes it, and to our surprise she gives Vi a quiet, "Thank you." As she sips at the mug of hot chocolate, the two of us politely wait for the fortifying warmth and richness to break the grip of cold. Even if she isn't vocalizing discomfort, I could feel Mae's hand shivering as I led her in here.

    It takes her a surprisingly short time to finish the drink off. Setting it down gently, Mae gives us both a slightly more friendly smile. "I appreciate the hospitality," she says. "You both make excellent hosts after days in the rain." Days? How is this girl not a sneezing wreck? I'm unable to question Mae before she continues. "My memories are scant. The most I can recall is that I protected those which are absolutely necessary, to be unlocked later without being blocked by this world's forces, and I kept secure the knowledge of how to operate the magic I need." Well, magic will certainly be helpful. Hopefully it can shave some time off of washing dishes. I just wish I didn't feel like Mae was leaving us in the dark.

    For a while, neither Vi nor I can drum up questions for this young woman. I know there are things we need to find out from her; if only I could sort my thoughts, right now. Eventually, however, I'm able to get a start. "My name is Mia," I begin. "This is Vi, and the rather obtuse young man outside is Envy. Vi and I have been here for about two weeks, and Envy has been here roughly half of that time." At last, I arrive at my questions. "If I may ask, why did you seem eager to study this world? What does it offer you as a subject of research?" I sincerely hope that Mae has recalled those sentiments, and that I don't look like an absolute fool in front of our odd new companion.

    My hopes are fulfilled. "It's a simple matter," Mae says. "Among the magics I study are those that interact with time and space. This place is perfect for such studies." She falls silent, gazing into her mug. Most of my waning energy at this point is being devoted to not showing my exasperation. It's beginning to seem, in my eyes, that a significant part of Mae's mysterious nature is due to a complete inability to answer questions posed to her. From Vi's flat stare, she's getting the same impression that I am. Mae says a few moments later, "I can't wait to begin studying this world. It will be fascinating." She's certainly giving an air of excitement, in her own peculiar way.

    It's then that Vi says matter-of-factly, "Any research you could do would be ruined by this rain, short of meteorology." She narrows her eyes at the contemplative look Mae's face gets at the thought of meteorology, but continues on. "We'll just have to wait for the rain to stop, then we'll help you with your research, if we can." Arms crossed, she gazes evenly at Mae.

    For a while, Mae says nothing. At last, she almost whispers quietly, "I suppose so. Thank you." Vi nods, still working to not get frustrated. Wordlessly, Mae takes her mug to the sink and begins washing it. Something compels me to just let her do so.

    It occurs to me that, depending on how potent Mae's magic normally is, she might just not be accustomed to having to bow to the weather.

    That's a mildly terrifying thought, I have to say.

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    Re: Remembrance of Phantasms

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