Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Vergil on Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:38 pm

So she was a woman running from her past, something Wolfgang could never find in himself to do. His own past was inescapable, shackling onto him like a dragging weight which burdened him wherever he went. To Sasha, her past was her home, and to Wolfgang, it was the same. Though home was not a name Wolfgang bestowed upon a place, but instead it was a person. The foreboding sense of despondency began to creep through Wolfgang's very being as he cast a hollow, forlorn smile with a single, quiet, sardonic laugh to himself. Despite the way it made him feel, Wolfgang actually enjoyed thinking about his own pain in a sort of sick and almost masochistic sense. It was very much like the drink placed before him, or as the outspoken Netta referred to it, a "poison". Yes, poison was a heartrendingly accurate word to describe Wolfgang's sad metaphor. Some people would drink to escape reality, however Wolfgang would only drink this "poison" for there were things in him he wished to kill.

Netta, although simple, was intuitive enough to pick up on Wolfgang's guilt in the form of a stench, though she probably didn't realize it. Netta was raised amongst animals, and the actions of animals were arbitrary and instinctive, therefore they weren't accountable for the things they did. Animals were natural and true, so it was only natural that Netta was able to reflect the truth from Wolfgang, albeit in a less obvious sense. Wolfgang never blamed Netta for disliking him so; he understood completely. As much as Wolfgang would have liked to brood in his despair, the reminder that he had company surfaced back into his mind. He had all the time in the world to be alone with his thoughts, so there was no excuse to rub his deep-seated torment on Sasha.

"It's okay if you don't have it all figured out yet; I hardly doubt half the people in the world do. Who knows, maybe someday you'll find yourself welcomed back with open arms. You could be minding your business one day, and the next, an entirely new world of opportunities might just place itself before you... I out of all people should probably know. Why don't we set aside the downer talk for another time? This is supposed to be our night after all, right? We should enjoy it. Why don't we talk about something else or do something fun? Your call."

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Zerifachias on Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:29 pm

Netta flinched a little on the inside. This woman could read her. Granted, she did make herself easy to read, but still, if this woman was able to read her, then maybe Netta couldn't get away just yet. Something inside her turned, however. Did this woman seriously believe her to be stupid? Netta wasn't stupid, she was raised to be clever and crafty and very skilled. Did this woman seriously not understand that? Netta frowned and furrowed her brow, becoming angry. Anger was irrational, but she couldn't help herself from feeling angry that this woman seemed to believe that she would die from simple monsters. Had she not proven she could hide herself from them?

Save her? If Netta hadn't been there, SHE would have been the one dying alone to these monsters. Netta immediately began to regret helping the woman earlier. It went against her code to break stealth except under extreme advantages in the first place, and she had fully intended to flee the fight unnoticed.

Even so, even with all of this, Netta's anger faded because she knew that she had no knowledge of the nature of the beasts that lurked deeper in the marsh. Having one other, even just one, would be tenfold safer than going out alone. Maybe the woman had some knowledge of the beasts within, some kind of weakness or known strengths. Natalia never dropped her guard, her hand gripped tightly to her bow, but she did finally decide to blink.

A single, nearly invisible nod.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Masquerade on Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:09 am

Felicia was relieved.  So this girl wasn't intent on committing suicide.  That was a sound thought.  It was so funny what an upper hand Felicia had.  She was not native to this world and yet she knew one hundred times more about the marsh than this girl did.  She knew that if the girl had run off by herself, the royalty would have claimed her and ate her.  But, now that they were together, the royalty and their shamblers would have a much more difficult time subduing either of them.  Randall's predicament remained unknown.  She was going to give him a call but perhaps now was not the time.  If they bumped into him later, then good.  If not, oh well.  It was no worry of Felicia's.  The woman gazed up past the marshy canopy and into the sky.  The sun was starting to move downwards.  It would set in a few hours for sure.  They had two options.

"Wise choice, Natalia," Felicia confirmed the girl's hesitant agreement to cooperate.  "As you sure well know we will not have daylight but for another few hours.  We can either move deeper into the marsh for the duration of that light, or we can take the time to make sure we set up a proper camp here in the shallows.  I will warn you, however, that shamblers are nocturnal creatures.  The ones you see during the day are child's play.  The ones that roam the marsh at night are vicious monsters that will tear your limbs from your body and devour them.  You've proven to be a clever girl so far, but what do you think we should do?  We could always raid the Shambler's Garden tonight, but it will be a trial only fit for the most courageous and cunning.  What say you?"

>Make a proper camp here and wait out the night.
>Move farther into the marsh and then set up camp at sunset.
>Move to the deepest part of the marsh and prepare to raid the Shambler's Garden.


* * *

Mr. Chang continued to write down stuff on the papers in front of him.  "Nastasia, yes I like name very much.  You know, I give you job, Nastasia.  I expect you uphold those confident words.  You best be good worker; don't make me regret," he said calmly, shifting the paper over to Nastasia.  "All you need do is sign and date.  Make sure you ready to make commitment.  Working here no easy task.  I am hardass boss as other employees say."

>Sign and date, as requested.
>Maybe this isn't the job for me...


* * *

Sasha smiled at Wolfgang's words.  Was there really a world of new opportunities waiting for her somewhere?  She hoped it certainly didn't involve becoming a manager of Exceed or anything involving that lunatic asylum.  It was a comforting thought that she wasn't tied to her destiny, but she knew better than anyone that she would have to return to Atelya one day.  She touched her necklace gingerly and looked down into her drink, giving the umbrella another few twirls.  Dearest Grandmaster, I hope you can forgive me for my desertion.  I know you remain bound to that place.  The bridge must be protected.  And I....I was supposed to defend you.  Forgive my selfish ways, Grandmaster.  Please forgive me...

The girl had gone silent for quite a few minutes and she snapped out of it quickly, offering Wolfgang a smile.  Her eyes were a bit watery but she refused to let a tear fall.  This was a night--their night.  She had to make the most of it.  "You know, you are absolutely correct.  This is no time for depressing stuff.  We will always have other times for that.  How about a dance, Wolfgang?  Do you know your way around the dance floor?  Jazz is so much fun to dance to, after all," she said in delight, her previous sadness tossed out the window with ease.  She dwelt on the problems with her fate every waking moment of every day, and even in her sleep as well.  Now was the time to forget.  Now was the time to have fun.  Now was the time to lose herself in the drink, the jazz, and maybe even Wolfgang's arms.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Silver on Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:28 am

The smile that practically burst onto Nastasia's face, threatening to tear it into two pieces, shone greatly as she eagerly took the pen and signed her name with a flourish. She set the pen down immediately and could not help that her smile remained plastered to her face. "Thank you so much Mr. Chang, sir," she exclaimed jovially, "you won't regret it. I promise!" The young hostess' mind buzzed with what this would bring. Now she wouldn't have to mooch off Claire and Vaughn––perhaps, with enough saving, she could pay them back for their kindnesses. And now she could return home and tell them she had a job: a golden ticket in its own right! Nastasia felt like jumping up and running home, not stopping till she burst through the front door, but she remained seated and brought her excitement down just a tad. "When would you like for me to start?"

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Zerifachias on Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:32 pm

Netta stopped listening some point after the woman called her clever. She had no desire to listen to someone who was trying to talk down to her. She turned around towards the body of the viper and examined the arrow she had shot into it. Broken shaft. Netta collected the arrowhead and stored it into her pouch. She didn't even need to look at the second shambler to know that her arrow was totally unusable. The first one she shot though was still in good condition. She pulled that one out and cleaned off the tip of it in the swamp waters. The head was still sharp.

She didn't want to go deeper into the marsh now. It was far too dangerous not knowing what might lurk during the night. In her experience, staying in high places during the night would provide far more safety than being on the surface. Netta found herself a tree and tested the bark with her hands. Smooth, might be difficult to get a good hold on, but a few knobs showed themselves for her and she began scaling the tree, keeping her eyes and ears at attention for any signs of danger.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Vergil on Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:04 pm

"Do I know my way around a dance floor?" Wolfgang repeated, letting out an anxious laugh at the question. "I'll tell you right now I can sing miles better than I can dance. Doesn't mean I'm not willing to have fun making a fool of myself, though. Let's go." He hopped off the stool and made way to the sprung floor, waiting for Sasha to join him. This was going to be a memorable night for the both of them, probably in more ways than one. Just because Wolfgang wasn't the best of dancers to have ever come out of Paragon, didn't mean he didn't pick up a few things from the dreaded "Step Gang" that stomped up the alleyways, performing their choreographed "Deadly Death Dance Moves of Death" to intimidate their victims. It was beautiful to watch, yet also confusing and ominous for what it entailed.

"I hope you're ready."

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Masquerade on Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:20 pm

Well she say nothing, but her actions speak louder than words. It seems we remain here for the night. Perhaps that be the best course of action. Randall could find us here more easily than if we continued on into the marsh, Felicia thought as she looked around the area. There was still a while before sunset. She really wanted to call her Lord. Or even Randall. She didn't really feel like talking with this Natalia because it was evident that the girl wasn't a talkative person. She sighed. Snapping her fingers, little orbs surrounded her, blinking with a bluish-white light. "Levias, Patrol Formation," she commanded, waving her hand outwards sending the orbs scattering off to a certain perimeter that she established in her mind and relayed to her orbs.

Felicia put her back against the tree that Natalia was in and let herself slide down until she was sitting the damp marsh soil. As highly unpleasant as it was, it didn't really faze her that much. She had always been a traveler--a seeker of new lands and excitement. At least, that was what her previous job led her to do. She grew rather fond of it, but to think that she would be so privileged as to get to see another world. It was wild beyond imagination.

* * *

"You start this Friday, so two day from now. You be ready; we do training program for you then," Mr. Chang answered, nodding his head as he took the paperwork and filed it away in one of the drawers of his desk. "You be in at 11 sharp. No later or you blow it--you lose job. Understood? You free to go; you can see yourself out."

* * *

Wolfgang admitted that he wasn't the greatest dancer in the world. Sasha honestly expected as much; she would have been surprised otherwise. She giggled at his enthusiasm and hopped off of her stool, joining Wolfgang on the dance floor. The jazz player was really going at it with an upbeat melody. She stood before Wolfgang, just gazing into his eyes with a huge smile on her face. A sincere one. The one she wore at work wasn't fake, but this smile was so much more genuine. She took Wolfgang's hand.

"Well, since you're so confident, how about you lead? Show me a dance that'll really knock my socks off," Sasha almost challenged him. She knew quite a few dances from Atelya, but most were very old-fashioned, some even downright tribal. She wanted to see something new, and perform something that wouldn't freak out any of the club goers.

>Sasha awaits Wolfgang to take the lead for a dance. What kind of dance will he engage in?

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Silver on Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:17 pm

"Of course, Mr. Chang," Nastasia responded warmly, standing up and heading for the door. "Thank you so much. I'll see you Friday at 11!" she exclaimed, letting herself out without the slightest hitch. The second she was on the other side of the door she wanted to jump for joy! But, of course, she remained fairly calm and composed––she still had to make her way back to Claire's. Once she got home she could celebrate without any fear of what others might think or without any conspicuous mana usage.

The young hostess quickly navigated the restaurant, heading back out into the city. Brimming with confidence, she was able to find her way back to the speed train, purchase a ticket, and managed to find her way to the right train in ample time. A smile practically split her face in two as it took off. She'd be home soon! . . . Huh... home. Nastasia chose to ignore the thought for now.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Zerifachias on Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:55 pm

Natalia found a branch thick enough to hold her weight comfortably and wrapped her legs around it, hanging herself upside down, using her legs to keep herself attached to the tree while she fumbled with her pouch. Her bow was strapped to her back, using the string to keep it tight against her body. She had covered her quiver with a thick skin wrapping from her pouch, keeping the arrows within locked inside so they would not fall out. She glanced around from her upside-down perch to observe the marsh.

It was kind of pretty in a way. Her forest was beautiful, but the marsh had a certain charm to it she couldn't deny. Down below with the water, the air was humid and murky, but the higher she climbed, the more Netta noticed a cool breeze wafting through the treetops. The woman who decided to stay below would be feeling the wet heat in full force. That was no good, she'd get sick if she stayed down there. Not that Netta cared, but she would think the woman would at least try to reach higher ground. It was too dangerous to stay below.

Natalia paused, glancing at the branches around her. The other woman would weight much more than she did, so there were not many branches that could support her. Except for that one. Netta found one branch that was much thicker than the others, strong enough to hold both of their weights most likely. Netta swung herself up and planted her feet on the branch before using her powerful leg muscles to fire herself over to the other branch.

She easily caught it and swiftly climbed on top of it. Netta took a long rope coil out of her pouch and wrapped it around the branch several times before tying a knot into it to keep it steady. She tested the rope first, pulling hard on it to tighten it and see if it would come loose. Since it did not, Netta threw the rope down to the ground. It would hang right over the woman's head, barely in her reach. Would she see it? Netta took out an acorn from her pouch. If the woman didn't see the rope in a few seconds, she'd throw it down at her head.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Vergil on Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:49 am

Wolfgang would proceed to perform a routine that would reflect the very core of his being. He took Sasha and started with a simple two-step, swaying with her every so often. Wolfgang appeared to be an ordinary man on the outside, and such was the lead of his performance. Deep down, Wolfgang was someone who was capable of an unexpected demeanor, and before long that persona would unleash itself through the soul of Wolfgang's dance. Right when he felt Sasha was dancing with him at a comfortable pace, Wolfgang transitioned his mundane patterns and broke out into "The Twist". An old dance routine that had been thought to be forgotten throughout the depths of the universe as anyone could know it. He could feel all eyes on him as he innovated the long, forbidden art and brought it back to life.

There wasn't a care in the world anymore; there was only the moment. Any outside observer could look upon Wolfgang and Sasha and say, "...What the fuck?" However nobody but them even mattered in this point in time, the onlooking eyes naught but glimmering stars so distant and irrelevant. It was harmony. It was chaos. This was the power... of Wolfgang's dance.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Masquerade on Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:47 pm

Something dangling above Felicia's head caught her attention. What on earth was it? At first she took it to possibly be another viper, but it turned out that it was just an ordinary rope. Tilting her head upwards some more, she caught sight of Natalia up in the tree. It was the girl that offered the rope to her. Did she want Felicia to go up into the tree? Perhaps that was a wiser idea than staying on the moist ground. True be it that she could fair this environment without becoming afflicted with any ailment, but she would rather not have such an unnecessary handicap placed upon her, and it was with that thought that she arose, brushing herself off. She took the rope and began to climb. It took her way back to the days when she rambled through the mountains where rope was your best friend and mountain lions were certainly not. She reached the thicker branch was ease and wasn't surprised to find that it could hold her weight. She was taller than she was wide and in excellent shape.

Felicia made herself comfortable on the branch, leaning her back against the tree once more. The breeze made her shiver a bit considering her clothes were pretty wet. She opened one of her gloved hands and watched a small perfectly rounded sphere of red flame appear. She let the ball hover over her clothes, drying them out instantly. Yes, that was a lot better. Closing her hand, the sphere disappeared and she was free to gaze out into the distance.

"Thanks," Felicia said softly but loud enough for Natalia to hear. She took off one of the longer straps that composed her garments and tied it around her whole body including the branch. Falling out of the tree was something she would rather avoid at this point in the case that she fell asleep, but she wasn't tired yet. "I would have been fine down there but I'll admit this is far more practical," the woman stated simply, a sly smirk on her face not that Natalia would be able to see.

* * *

Nastasia, high on the news of her new job, was able to make it home without any difficulties. Upon entering, however, she was met by Claire and only Claire. "Welcome back. I'm surprised you beat Vaughn home. He never came back," the woman explained. She beckoned for Nastasia to follow her into the living room so that she could sit down at her desk and keep working. "Chances are he went to Acuatl Cone for a milkshake. I worry about him sometimes..."

Laid out on Claire's desk were several maps and a few outlines of strategies and what looked like battle plans and formations. It all looked rather involved for just a simple rescue mission, but she knew that it wouldn't be a simple rescue. The shamblers posed a great threat and they would be everywhere. They needed to be prepared. She would not be caught flat-footed. "So how did your interview go? Judging from your originally stoked expression I'd assume it went well?" she questioned as she scrawled some notes on one of the maps and drew a few arrows.

* * *

Wolfgang's dance was almost enough to end the dimension. Almost.

Sasha was pleased when Wolfgang took hold of her and they began to dance a simple dance. Simple was nice, and being that close to Wolfgang made her smile, but she was hoping for something more exciting. Her wish was granted, however, when Wolfgang broke out into the most unbelievably enthralling moves, she was captivated. Watching him intently, she stood there standing with mouth agape as the jazz music played in the background. Breaking free of his mesmerizing hold on her, she began to try and mimic this baffling yet amazing dance.

As Sasha began twisting as Wolfgang did, she couldn't help but smile and laugh. How entertaining! The only thing better than watching it was performing it. Oh how well it went with the music! She was so filled with glee, her eyes dazzling in delight. What a dance this was! So unexpected, so wild and untamed, and so perfectly fitting!

"What do you call these moves of yours, Wolfgang? Surely this marvelous dance must have a name," she inquired, torso still twisting to the jazz beats coming from the stage.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Silver on Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:20 pm

"I got the job!" Nastasia exclaimed, bouncing on her heels as she made her way over to Claire. "I start this Friday at 11," she continued, heading into the house. As soon as the door was closed behind her she finally let go of all the mana that had been swelling up on her journey home. A shower of multicolored light particles flew this way and that before reaching the climax of their travel to burst into an array of sparkles. Nastasia blushed as she noticed this but did not move to dissipate the mana at all––she was too happy to put a damper on things just yet!

Of course, she came to a rather sudden halt when she took in what Claire was working on. From what she could tell it all looked like a fairly simplistic rescue mission. Nastasia's grin faltered. That couldn't be right. If Claire and Vaughn were scared of what lay within the depths of the marsh then this wouldn't be an easy mission tonight. "You've been hard at work," she commented quietly, glancing over the strategies the thaumaturge had outlined. She started to read the first one, but no sooner had she started did it begin to blur. Damn it, she cursed mentally, closing her eyes. A simple snap of her fingers and her glasses appeared in hand once more––she slipped them on, blinking a few times, but instead directed her attention to Claire. "So... what's the plan?" she inquired.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Zerifachias on Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:46 pm

Natalia was less than enthusiastic about Felicia joining her in that tree, but it was nice to hear some kind of gratitude. The woman had no idea that Netta was able to hear and see everything she said and did. Netta's eyes were like a tomcats, and her ears were just as strong. Even if the darkness was setting in, Netta would be able to see and hear just fine with the light of the stars and the moon. If there was a moon. Netta craned her neck upwards in search for it, but the canopy of leaves blocked it from view, so she couldn't really tell.

She would be fine sitting below? Netta scoffed silently to herself. The woman would far more likely be eaten by snakes or poisoned by bugs or spiders. To couple that, the woman was tying herself to the tree. Typical of a person who wasn't attuned to nature. These people slept too deeply. Netta knew because she could hear the snores from Wolfgang's room making the whole house shake like a mad bear's roar. He slept so deeply he couldn't even breathe correctly. He probably didn't even realize it either. That made it even worse.

Netta ignored the woman for the most part, pulling the rope she had let down back up and rolling it back into her pouch. Then, she searched the canopy. Were any of these trees fruitful? Or did they have any seeds? It would be good for her if she could identify edible nuts or fruit quickly. So she stood on her feet and ascended to the next branch, climbing each one in turn, or jumping to them, until she was at the top of the tree in a bunch of leaves. She snapped a flower bud off of one of them. It had little nuts attached to it, so she broke one off and tested it on her lips.

Non-poisonous. Netta was absolutely certain of it. She climbed back down to where Felicia was, she was only gone for a couple minutes, and handed one of the nuts to her. Netta stared, unblinkingly, waiting to see if the woman would accept the nut from her. After slight hesitation, Netta said, "not poisonous," and that was all.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Vergil on Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:41 pm

"I thought everyone knew 'The Twist'," Wolfgang responded, maintaining his rhythm flawlessly. "Well, at least now you know." When the song would end, Wolfgang would stop, and he took a moment to catch his breath. It had been too long since he was able to have a night like this; one he didn't spend staking out a target or patrolling some dark corridor as a lookout on behalf of whoever signed his contract. Nights like these were a luxury to him, and they became scarce when Paragon went downhill, an era he would never forget. It had also been a long time since Wolfgang had made a companion that didn't later have it out for him, but he could never be too sure. Sasha seemed honest enough at least from what he had seen, as there didn't seem to be an ulterior motive for bringing him all the way here just for a drink.

"I must admit, I am pretty impressed with this place. It's not bad," Wolfgang complimented. "I don't suppose there are other places you'd like to show me tonight?"

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Masquerade on Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:26 pm

"A marsh nut," Felicia spoke simply, graciously taking the offering and popping it into her mouth. She trusted Natalia's words. Even if it was poison, such a miniscule amount wouldn't do any harm to her unless it was extremely potent and even then it was possible to purge it from her system. It was pretty tasty. "Thank you again. You're like a mother hen, even though you're younger than me. My sister can be the same way with people that she's really close to. That side of her rarely comes out," Felicia explained. It also crossed her mind that Natalia was kind of like a cat, showing its human owner how to harvest or live. She refrained from speaking about that thought however. Instead she kept munching on her nut.

* * *

Claire congratulated Nastasia on attaining her job, but when she asked about the plans that Claire was drawing up, Claire faltered and frowned. "I'm trying to come up with plans for every scenario we could possibly come across. The one that is definite and will be the start of this mission will be what happens tonight. We will go to the entrance of Acuatl Marsh and Vaughn will summon his Psyche to determine Netta's location. From there is where our plans diverge based on what happens. If Netta is close and reachable, we will immediately and quickly set off for her location in hopes of retrieving her right then and there and having all of us get out of the marsh unharmed. If Netta has somehow gone deeper into the marsh, we will wait until morning after the sun has fully risen. Shamblers are more active at night. Going deeper into their territory at that time would spell trouble for all of us. So in the morning we will have to relocate Netta with Vaughn's Psyche and proceed deeper into the marsh after her. The worst case scenario from that point is that she has been captured by the shamblers. If that occurs we will have to go into the Shambler's Garden, their metropolis so to speak. It is where the most intelligent and high ranking shamblers reside including the shambler royalty, Wrathful King Don Denne and Vicious Queen Cassandra the Unforgiving. They are immensely powerful to the point where none of the human civilization wishes to wage war against them. Their shambler army is huge--larger than the Myridan Militia. We would have to call militia from other cities to aid us and by that point they could have overran Myridan with plants. They would take a major hit, sure, but so would we. It's not worth it." She took a minute to regain her breath. She realized that she had divulged a lot of information without really taking a break.

"You can see why it is dangerous. If we have to trespass in the Shambler's Garden, chances are we will have to fight them. That is a fight that we might not survive..."

* * *

The music eventually came to a stop, playing a softer jazz melody, and so the great Twist had to come to an end. Sasha and Wolfgang vacated the dance floor and took a seat at one of the tables in the lounge. It took a moment for Sasha to catch her breath; she had Twisted her poor little heart out. It was such a great dance, though! "Not everyone has heard about it, trust me; I certainly haven't," she had said in response to him and it was true. Granted, most of the dances performed in Atelya were of a certain nature, and she had never seen anyone dance like that in Starlights or any of the other clubs she had attended. She smiled when she heard that Wolfgang was pleased with this place.

"I don't know. There's nothing that crosses my mind specifically tonight. Perhaps another time though?" Sasha gave him a warm smile and gazed into his eyes. She could see that he had enjoyed his time here tonight. She didn't know what sort of past he truly had but this seemed very well-needed. They continued to spend the rest of their night at the lounge, sipping on drinks and chatting idly while listening to the masterful jazz tones.

At some point, Sasha made to get up. "I suppose I should be heading home. My cat is used to me being gone for a long time but I'd better go check on him. And I'm sure you could probably use some winding down time back at your place. You should definitely come by the gas station some time and see me. Maybe we can go out again in the near future?" She drew closer to Wolfgang and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"Until next we meet again, Wolfgang."

With that, she was gone, waving a farewell to the man she had such a wonderful night with. That left Wolfgang in the club wondering if he should stay or go ahead home.

>Remain at the club and drink some more.
>Go ahead and go back to Claire's place to wind down.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Silver on Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:45 pm

Nastasia wanted desperately to bite down hard on her lip as Claire relayed information about the shamblers living within the marsh. She wanted to wake up. Surely this would have to be a nightmare. No metropolis of monsters could be this organized––not in a reality she knew of! But the young sorceress did not bite her lip. It would have ruined her lipstick, and she likely would have given herself a bloody lip. That wouldn't look good at all. Nastasia simply nodded silently. This was real. No, not just real, this was a reality in which Claire and Vaughn regularly lived. In which many people much more powerful than Nastasia, herself, lived and survived. As much as she did not wish to believe it, she knew that she was not dreaming and would not back down now.

"So I'll stick close to you and Vaughn," she responded evenly, glancing back at the maps and strategies. "My spells all have a decent range. I don't have to get super close to start whittling them down for you guys." Nastasia's lips pursed into a thin line. She wondered how many fights they would get into in any of the situations Claire had mapped out. "Hopefully Netta is close by and this will go smoothly enough," she whispered.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Zerifachias on Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:51 pm

Netta didn't care what the woman thought of her.All she was really trying to do was figure out if the nut was any good or not. It seemed fine, not quite like the acorns that grew back home. Her mind figured out, Netta jumped up and climbed onto the higher branches to gather more of the nuts she had found in the tops of the trees. After popping one in her mouth herself, she wasn't too surprised by the taste. Seeing someone else eat a nut and not regurgitate it immediately had that kind of effect on her. Too bad the shells were soft, she could really cause some damage by throwing these things.

Netta seated herself in the high branch, mounting it like she would one of the forest wolves. She rested her back up against the base of the tree and watched the sky pass her by. She was high enough to see though part of the canopy of leaves. High enough that any ground-dwellers would have a very hard time of seeing, hearing, or even smelling her. Especially since she was covered in the marsh's scent. Natalia began to wonder, though. Would Vaughn and the others come for her? She hoped not. That would be incredibly stupid of them. This Felicia seemed to have a death wish as well, heading right into the place where the marsh creatures resided. Netta didn't want to have anything to do with that. If she could get past the marsh area and into a less wet forest, like the one right outside the noisy city, she would be content.

Natalia was supposed to be dead, anyway.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Vergil on Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:51 pm

In what seemed like a mere flash, the night had come to a close. The rush of the dance had long died down and the liquor had already lost its flavor to him. Now was the time to return back to Claire to see if she had made any headway with the research, so Wolfgang picked himself up and began making his way back. The full eventide washed over the sky, and unlike the endless night of Paragon, the stars shown in full bloom, without obscurity from the clouding fumes. Wolfgang made it back to Claire's home and knocked a few times on the door.

"I'm back."

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Masquerade on Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:23 am

Claire had nodded in agreement mere hours ago to Nastasia's statement.  The key here would be how far Netta had made it into the marsh.  That girl was so brazen and confident that she could survive, but Claire knew better.  She was the one who had lived in this dimension all her life.  She knew the hazards that threatened to topple civilization itself that stayed right there in that very marsh.  She had asked Nastasia to rest up and relax for the next few hours because she was going to need it.  Meanwhile, Claire would continue tirelessly going over her plans and possibilities.  She packed a bag full of things that might come in handy--provisions, medicine, handy magical artifacts that she had collected.  Anything that would help, really.  There was a key to every plan she considered.  She poured over tomes containing shambler history and lifestyle.  She learned a great many things from her research with one special tidbit in particular that would lead to the shamblers' downfall.  In theory it was easy to put an end to them forever, but no city had ever been courageous enough to attempt it.  In reality, Claire discovered that an army wasn't needed for this; a small covert stealth force was.  To assassinate the royalty and destroy the Seed Chamber.  Those were the two goals needed to end the shamblers' rain of tyranny...forever.

At some point, Vaughn had come back to the house.  He had an empty milkshake container from Acuatl Cone proving that Claire had been correct.  He joined Claire in going over the plans and such and making preparations.  Time continued to pass.  Clare decided to take a nap for the last hour before they were to set out while Vaughn gathered everything near the door that they were taking.  He decided to pile up on the couch and watch a little television.  Claire's alarm on her phone went off at 7:50pm as she had planned.  She had slept well enough and got up with ease.  She was already dressed and ready to go.  Putting on her shoes, she left her room and headed back to the entrance of the house where everyone else would be waiting.  She picked up her bag and put it on her back.  She glanced at the other two and gave affirming nods instead of some rousing speech.  Nothing really needed to be said.  This mission could lead them to success or to their deaths.  It was a shame that Wolfgang wasn't able to help them, but he was out getting accustomed to life in Myridan for the time that he would be here.  Claire could not blame him.  She would make do with what she had.

Inventory updated!

With everything set, the group departed the household.  Claire left the door unlocked just in case Wolfgang returned before they did.  She wasn't worried about anyone breaking in.  She had something set up in the case that that should happen.  Leading the group along, they walked all the way to the marsh entrance.  The city streets weren't too crowded on a Wednesday night.  People were at home with their families and getting ready for the next work day.  The only ones out were singles and people who had no other attachments or responsibilities.  They were the ones that typically enjoyed the night life spending a lot of time at the clubs and pubs down in the South District.  The streets had few people but the marsh entrance was completely deserted.  The visitor center had long been closed for the day and the gates were closed and locked.  No one was supposed to enter the marsh after dark because of increased shambler activity during the nighttime hours.  Upon reaching this obstruction, Claire merely shrugged.  Reaching into her bag, she retrieved a strange white stick that kind of looked like chalk.  Sighing, she began shading in some of the bars on the gate, white material rubbing off on them from the stick.  She shaded four in total and when she was done, she pushed on them only to have her hand go through them like they weren't even there.

"Take caution; it is a one way trip," Claire advised as she ducked in through the space, walking into the large clearing on the cliff that marked the beginning of the marsh.  The wooden cabin that served as the visitor center was dark and locked to be sure.  Only a couple of outdoor lights were on but the sky was clear and the lights from the city were also bright.  

Vaughn ducked in through the space as well, helping Nastasia through it.  "Well here we are.  I suppose it's my time to shine?"

"Nastasia, watch closely," Claire said sharply as Vaughn prepared himself.

"O magnificent watchtower!  Shed your brilliant light and lend your all-seeing eye to me!" Vaughn chanted as he closed his eyes and concentrated.  The Spirit from within him surged outwards and twisted wildly around him like a whirlwind.  "My body, I give unto you!  My soul, we are as one!"  The Spirit storming about him began to shred his body, every part torn and rent disappearing into a cloud of dust before being absorbed by the storm.  "Vizorus!  The time for your presence in this realm is nigh!"  With that, Vaughn was gone and there was nothing but the whirlwind that abruptly stopped and converged upon itself, taking a shape that was definitely not human.  In a flash of bright light and a slight shockwave of Spirit energy, a strange construct stood in Vaughn's place.  It was a tower at least ten feet high and made of a glowing blue stone.  Small windowless openings dotted the construct and at the very top was a large telescope also made of a glowing blue material, the lens focused up at the sky.

"You know what to do, Vizorus," Claire said softly watching as the construct's telescope angled downwards and focused on the marsh.  The lens, previously clear, blinked and became a large eyeball with a blue iris and a slitted pupil.  It scanned the area and eventually became focused on a single point in the marsh.

"An easy find," a deep male voice tinged with age spoke suddenly.  The sound emanated from the tower.  "Marsh Shallows.  Close to the portion of the walkway leading straight to the Conservatorium."  The eyeball vanished leaving no lens in its place.  A blue sphere shot out of the telescope like a cannon, flying through the sky and coming to a halt at a certain point not too terribly far away from their current position.

"Do you see that, Nastasia?!" Claire suddenly let out in glee.  "The location has been marked and it's not too far away!  We can do this!"

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Silver on Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:55 am

As much as Nastasia had wanted to stay and help Claire with her preparations, the thaumaturge had insisted otherwise. The young sorceress supposed she could not argue––unlike Claire and Vaughn, her power would be pretty heavily diminished against these natural-born Spirit creatures. Having all of her energy and being prepared for anything would ultimately be for the best. With that in mind, Nastasia bounded back upstairs and into her bathroom. Although Claire had done a fantastic job with the make up, keeping it on for tonight's activities seemed silly and she quickly went about undoing the masterpiece that the thaumaturge had worked so hard on.

She watched the glorious reds and pinks and blacks and flesh colors swirl down the drain silently. It had taken quite a bit of make up remover (which she had found in the cabinet, likely Claire's doing) but now she looked like her own usual, unfortunately pale self. She did not frown at the thought. As ghostly white as she was, she knew deep down that she did not need Claire's artwork to look pretty––it certainly was a confidence booster though. Maybe the thaumaturge would help her again for some other important occasion? Nastasia made a mental note to inquire about the possibility when it was more appropriate, shifting back to her room and plopping back down on the bed.

There had been quite a bit of time between when she laid down and when she got up again, but this time, surprisingly, had been spent asleep. The manager hadn't even realized that she had been so tired, but no sooner had she fell onto the bed had she fallen into a gentle slumber. Her eyes drifted to the clock on her bed. It read 7:30. With it being so close to the time that she and the others were to leave for the Marsh, Nastasia pulled herself together, heading back into the bathroom to wash the sleep from her eyes and prepare. She manually swapped out of her interview clothes into her old garments, slipping into her heels before she made her way downstairs to join Claire and Vaughn.

Nastasia remained deathly silent as the three made their way to the marsh. She only offered Vaughn a murmured "thank you" as he helped her through the portal Claire had created in the fence. Other than that, she would have stayed perfectly silent and been quite content to if it hadn't been for the little demonstration. The surge of Spirit that Vaughn called for elicited a small gasp from the sorceress––it was quite potent and, even if it wasn't the energy she was accustomed to, she could feel the tinges of its power. Of course, her mouth fell open as the energy began to rend Vaughn's body into many pieces. She wondered to herself if that hurt, but didn't have time to consider the possibility as a tower stood in Vaughn's place, quickly locating Netta, who happened to be fairly close by. Nastasia smiled. "Let's go then," she responded, unable to keep her emotions in check for the moment.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Masquerade on Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:55 pm

"One moment," Claire said sharply, taking Nastasia's hand gently. "Listen, our mission seems easy but we cannot let our guard now. There's also the issue with you not having a Psyche. I want you to know that it really stems from knowing yourself. Do you know who you truly are? If you do you should have that Psyche somewhere inside of you. I feel like in a time of great need, it will come to you. Just keep that in mind. When the time is right, call to it and have great faith. You need no incantation or magnificent display. All you need to do is be real and honest. Put yourself at the mercy of the power inside of you and surrender. It is then your true power will be released and given form in this realm: your Psyche." With that, she let go of the girl's hand and pointed off in the distance. "Now, let us proceed."

The tower shattered suddenly revealing Vaughn's form in mid-air. He fell to the ground and landed on his hands and knees, groaning. "Yes, let's move on already... My legs are so stiff--almost like they were made of stone," he said with the utmost seriousness that earned him a right slap to the head from Claire.

The trio moved along the wooden walkway and slid down the slope that they had ascended earlier when Claire first found Netta, Nastasia, and Wolfgang. They arrived in that same area on the riverbed but wasted no second glance upon it as they continued on towards the floating blue sphere in the sky. They continued along the sand, but Claire stopped. In the distance where things became more marshy, there was a floating sphere, almost invisible to the naked eye, but there was a glimmer upon it that caught her attention. It lit up immediately and zoomed off in the direction of the sphere.

"We've been spotted."

* * *

A loud wailing resounded in Felicia's mind and she opened her eyes instantly, looking around. Her Levias were returning to her which meant there was an intruder nearby. She must have fallen asleep gazing off in the distance. She rubbed her eyes quickly and undid her strap, the Levias assuming their normal formation around her. She didn't know if Natalia was awake or not but if she wasn't then she definitely needed to be. "Natalia, we have company," she said just loudly enough for it to be audible to someone a few inches away from her, assuming she was that close by. Hell, the girl could have wandered off by now but she already made it clear that staying in the tree overnight was the best idea. "Can you see what's coming? Surely those eyes have got to be sharp if you can take such sharp aim with that bow? I could light things up with my Levias, but I don't think that a wise idea." She pointed in the direction of the riverbed nearby. "The Levias that was triggered came from that direction."

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Zerifachias on Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:14 pm

Felicia was making a bunch of noise. Netta gazed down from her perch at her and easily discerned what she was saying from the distance, despite the hushed whispers. Ordinarily, Netta would have dissolved into a symphony of giggles; Felicia was being so silly, thinking Natalia didn't already know about these "intruders" and identified who they were. She had stuck a small knife into a nearby tree and listened to the vibrations when her instincts told her something was off. So of course she was awake and listening when Felicia finally woke up. She'd probably have slept through the night without her weird magic lights.

Netta had been awake the whole time, collecting small twigs and branches which she woven into a headdress of sorts to make her already-greenish hair blend in even more with her surroundings. In this darkness, no one would be able to see her, not even Felicia. But that was more on Felicia not looking up than the darkness itself. When Netta locked up, she could see a blue light coming down from the canopy of leaves. It was not the moon's light, and Netta had a feeling that it was related to Vaughn and the others.

Natalia glanced in the direction that Felicia was pointing. That was where she had initially come from, her mental map confirmed that much. She already discerned that the intruders were Claire and Vaughn and Nastasia. She wasn't stupid. Unlike this Felicia character, who couldn't even tell if these people were people or monsters.

The little hunter stood up on her branch and pulled out her bow, quickly stringing an arrow to it and taking aim in the direction of the others who were trying to find her. She didn't want them to find her in the first place, but if the light above her was any indication they already had. So she would help them out a little bit. Netta raised her aim high, pointing it towards the canopy of leaves, remaining completely still to test the paths of the wind. She turned her body slightly to account for the light breeze and paused there.

If all went as planned, the arrow would land at Vaughn's foot. And Netta wasn't one to miss her shot. She fired.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Silver on Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:14 pm

Nastasia inhaled sharply as Claire grasped her hands. Her psyche buried somewhere deep inside of herself? Did she know who she truly was? It was a lot to process all at once––she had never really thought about herself and where she fit in the grand scheme of things; how her life was made different than anything or anyone else. She paused, not quite following along at her same distance. Just who was she? The sorceress almost voiced that question aloud but felt a disturbance no sooner than Claire had mentioned it.

Mana. Nastasia's eyes shot wide open and she reached out in an attempt to grasp it with her own. The orb of the foreign familiar substance sped off well before she had the chance. "Mana!" she breathed, eyes trained on the spot that the sphere was retreating. "T-That thing was full of mana," she said in disbelief. It couldn't possibly have belonged to Netta. She didn't even know she used the stuff! So that only meant one thing... "There's other mana users here," she whispered, unsure of how to possibly process the information.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Masquerade on Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:27 pm

Claire was quick to conjure her rod, but she cast no spell. Instead, she swung it to the right where Vaughn stood, smacking him right in the chest with enough force to actually knock him back a bit. She could hear him coughing and struggling to catch his breath, but the arrow in the river sands was proof that she had done the right thing. Had she not been blessed with Salari, Vaughn may have been in a bit of trouble.

"There's more than just Mana here. Netta's here too," Claire said sharply, her gaze steeled and focused on the nearby grove of trees in the marsh shallows. The blue sphere hovered ominously above one tree in particular. There was no doubt that that was where they were. Claire went to step forward but Vaughn pulled her back.

"So what's the plan? We can't just approach! Even if the Mana user's magic is weak, Netta can still riddle you with arrows," Vaughn was quick to object, tugging at Claire's arm but she merely jerked it from his grasp.

"I have Salari's shield. Have you forgotten my expertise in the use of Psyche? No offense, but I can use mine far better than you can use yours," she stated coldly, striding forth into the shallows. "Follow me and I mean follow right behind me. I can shield you all from harm but only if you do as you are told." Continuing to walk forth, she called out to Netta. "Listen, Netta! Instead of attacking the ones who mean to help you, perhaps you should rethink your course of action!"

Felicia glared in the direction that the enemies were. Natalia had even gone so far as to loose an arrow upon them, whoever or whatever they were. Her eyes were sharp indeed. Felicia's were getting used to the darkness but this would not do. She wanted to execute a command for her Levias but she knew it would do nothing but attract even more unwelcome attention. A female voice emanated from the direction that Natalia shot indicating that there were people...could they be the others that were brought here? The other Mana users? No...the feeling of Mana was too weak. There was only a slight trace of it. That meant...

"Claire Connors...." Felicia whispered to herself. "Friends of yours, Natalia?" she inquired simply, keeping her eyes trained on the direction from which the others advanced.

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Re: Spirit's Resolution: The Invasion of Mana

Post by Silver on Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:33 pm

Nastasia did not hesitate to fall into line right behind Claire. The singular arrow Netta assaulted them with was proof enough that the girl could easily strike them down without a second thought. If Claire said she could shield them from what would otherwise be certain death then Nastasia believed it and she wasn't going to waver when it came to Claire's instructions. Not in the slightest. "Netta, please! Don't do this! We're only here because we care about your safety and well being," the sorceress added, hoping that the girl would listen to them and not fire any more arrows regardless of whether or not Claire could defend them.

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