Tom D01s02

TheTale: Day One - Dawn
TheTale: …But I mean, what makes a day a "day one" ? The sun's rising just as always over the streets of the waterways - they're stacked three high, of course, those little latticed, ornate framings looking out on the aqueducts that crisscross the city of Sycorax. Tangled with colorful flyers and telephone and power lines. It's a lazy morning just like any other!
TheTale: So, like, when it comes to setting our day one…
TheTale: …Let's start with this day,
TheTale: this dawn,
TheTale: The grocery market on Gong Street.
TheTale: (There was a gong, you know. Once.)
TheTale: There's lots of little food stalls set up. Mostly fresh produce, though there's a salivating line all the way in front of the fish stall - long filets laid out on ice, with others hanging out to dry and cure.
Shiba slithers through, looking for a good breakfast. Fish, eggs, fish eggs, myth wraps… maybe splurge and get enough for the Circle in Roses at their next meetup, probably.
Lucnephwyr ambles onto the scene, robe flopping this way and that as his tail happily thrashes that and this way. Messenger bag shouldered, taking measured steps assisted by a walking stick- he puffs at the air with a smile on his dragony face.
TheTale: "Morning, Shiba." An ogre-maned bear nods to himself, chewing on a long stalk of grass as he slices filets of fish for her, packages them in paper. Scoops up some bronze talents (don't worry about them, by the way - you have enough.) from her, thumps his cash-register a few times in irritation, and - "…You don't need the receipt, right?"
Shiba: "Naaah. How's business been lately?"
Dog‘ brings a tennis ball back to a snake-haired woman; by the way the ball is worried, it’s not the first time. They drop it by her, and do a little dance, chasing their tail. "I found it! I found it!" And, you know, it's on the second spin that dog happens to spy Lucnephwyr, and they bark bark bark and bounce towards him. "Hello! Hello hello!"
Lucnephwyr sniffs about, slowly homing in on a batch of cupcakes sitting in a nearby stall- he's cut off by a bouncing, barking dog!
TheTale: "Pretty happy the scare on meat isn't affectin' me, that's for sure. Dorn hadta go up the mountain, take a loan from Yhe-" Pause, interrupted by dog.
Lucnephwyr: "Dog! Hi!" He whirls about, scurrying towards the white pooch, giving him light scratches as he kneels for a hug.
Dog: "I like you!" , Dog says, hopping up into Wyr's arms. "Are you here to shop? There's long lines for delicious meats. Will you get me a meat?"
Lucnephwyr: "Sure!" He blinks wide, accepting eyes, and smiles. "What smells good to you today?"
Shiba scoops up the ball with her tail and absentmindedly tosses it at Lucnephwyr's feet. "Huh. Is the scare just seasonal, do you think?"
TheTale: The bear, Bellir, lowers his voice, and leans over the counter - which causes it to creak with his weight. "
TheTale: "Not seasonal. Some folks, their bodies went wrong."
TheTale: "People are jumping at anything they can."
Dog: Sniff sniff, sniff sniff - "The fishes are - ball!" Dog says and leaps out of Wyr's arms to catch it. The next natural step, of course, is to return it to whomever threw it, so they trot over to Shiba and drop the ball down. Their ears twitch back, though, as they hear what the bear has to say.
Dog: "… what do you mean wrong how?"
Dog: (Never mind that it's not dog's conversation.)
Shiba just jerks her head at Dog. Yeah, basically what she was going to say.
Lucnephwyr follows, as the fish line is that way anyhow! He also curiously looks up at Bellir, wearing an expression not unlike Dog's. He catches only Dog's portion of the conversation, but that's enough to get him curious.
TheTale: "Sick and mad. Mostly… sick."
TheTale: "I mean, one goes violent, suddenly everybody's…"
TheTale: "I think it's human poison. Fiend or something."
TheTale: "Not just…"
TheTale: "Meat."
Dog: "So people are sick because of meat?"
TheTale: "Hope not."
Lucnephwyr: "Human poison!"
Lucnephwyr: "Do their skins change color?"
Shiba: "Hmm. Might bear investigating at some point."
Lucnephwyr: "Do they grow eyes and teeth?"
Dog: Dog lays back their ears and whines. "But why would they do that when we're not involved in the war?"
TheTale: "…They do, actually. Uh-"
TheTale: "That's the thing, they cough up more teeth than they're supposed to have."
Lucnephwyr nods sagely, and crosses his arms. Such a smart boy! And then he doubletakes- "Um, wait. Cough up?"
Dog: "But if they're really sick, they can just find a new body like we always do, right? Right?"
TheTale: Bellir gets a far-off look for a moment, makes a sort of grumbling noise, and then - "…Anyway, I got some fish to sell. Top morning to you."
Shiba: "I'm not sure, but we can probably find out."
Shiba flashes a gleaming, fanged grin from underneath her hood. "Take care. See you sometime again soon!"
Lucnephwyr: "Um. Yes!" He recomposes. "And a good morning to you, Bellir!" He then gives him the big eyes, the big dragonling eyes, holding up a small bronze talent, and subtly nodding in Dog's direction.
Dog: Dog cocks dog's head and looks at Bellir, ears pricked.
TheTale: He takes the talent, doesn't bother to pack up the slice of fish, and hands it to Lucnephwyr. "He's gonna be doin' that to ya every day now, you know."
Lucnephwyr giggles, takes the fish. "Aww, then we'll be seeing a lot more of you! Bye for now!"
Shiba scoops up the ball again and makes a swishing motion, only imitating the ball being thrown.
Dog: Bark, bark! "Fish! I'm so happy! I'm so happy for this fish! I want it? Can I have it? Can I have the fish?- ball!" And the dog runs off to go and catch a ball which was never thrown in the first place.
Lucnephwyr whirls about again, and there goes Dog.
TheTale: There's a bunch of burly monsters wearing red bandannas setting up a makeshift stage on one side of the market. Whatever they're about to do, it involves big speakers.
Shiba slithers around Luc, sizing him up and down. "You. I think I've seen you travel around. Near the Via - "
Lucnephwyr looks up at Shiba, attentive!
Shiba glances over at the rowdy bunch. "Eh. Not too important. Something's brewing over there, though."
Dog‘ reappears, whining. "I cannot find the ball. I have failed? The ball is gone? I cannot find it? Where is the ball."
Lucnephwyr: "Heh! Well, I’m Lucnephwyr! You can call me Luc, or Neph, or Wyr!"
Lucnephwyr: "Or the whole name, but that takes a lot out of people, usually!"
Shiba: "I'm Shiba, and probably the worst trickster you'll meet."
Shiba rolls the ball in Dog's direction.
Lucnephwyr comfortingly pets Dog, offering the fish in lieu of a ball.
Dog‘ picks up the ball, puts down the ball, and then snatches up the fish. "I have caught the ball and now I have a fish! I am most happy! Thank you my very good friend!" Their tail wags as they devour the fillet.
Dog: And, you know, looks up once it’s done. Tail wags. Thump thump thump. "Hello I am a dog!"
Lucnephwyr: "Yup! Let's figure out what's going on with the stage!"
Lucnephwyr ambles that-a-way now, taking care not to run into anyone.
Shiba: "Just what I was about to suggest."
Dog: "They have nice grey bandanas. I like and enjoy them." Dog trots off after dog's friend.
Shiba slithers along behind Dog.
Shiba: "Anyway. Just be careful in the Mana Lands, alright? Go too far in, and there's weird stuff wandering around."
TheTale: A small crowd, more out of curiosity than anything else, as a deer-antlered monster (some nondescript beast, his body looks nothing like whatever he made it from) takes a microphone - a screech of feedback - and calls out:
TheTale: "The people of Sycorax are strong and vital."
TheTale: "Our land is flourishing. We are honest, and brotherly to one another."
TheTale: "But yet we are being driven back and wounded by the fangs and claws of cowards."
Lucnephwyr: "Oh, yes! Weird stuff and monsters that'll take a meter off your tail if you're not careful!" He sadly looks at his own tail… which is fine, but then the camera cuts to his face and he's grinning, cheekily.
Shiba: "More than just monsters."
Dog: "Your tail is not cut off!" , points out Dog, obviously.
Lucnephwyr grins wider at Shiba's comment, and then pets Dog, obviously. He tilts his head now, listening to the speech.
TheTale: Someone else in a red bandanna puts on a backing track of some sort of vaguely patriotic music. (The album was pulled out of the ruins, so… it doesn't have any particular significance, and it's unfamiliar to everyone there, but it has the right sort of sound.)
TheTale: "Why is that? People come to me all the time. They ask me: Why is that?"
Dog: Dog tilts their head, listening to the deer-antlered monster.
TheTale: "Well, there's a few reasons. First, they'll use weapons we won't. Bows that rip out your guts. Boats they sold their souls to get. And, oh, there isn't a people on our fair earth that loves poison more than them."
TheTale: "For generation after generation, they have been willing to stoop to evil, to reduce themselves to the trash of the gutters, to harm us in any way that they can."
TheTale: "So they are cowering in their icy corner of the world, in their palace of graves which pile ever higher, and they have sold themselves out to some unknown power from across the ocean… and they, shivering with terror, are…"
TheTale: "…Mothers, they are killing our children."
Dog: Dog whines, tucking their tail between their legs.
TheTale: The hand he's holding the microphone in is trembling.
Shiba: "Desperation like this…"
TheTale: "The other reason is… well, we won't fight them."
Shiba: "I pray we don't turn to worse measures than they've employed."
TheTale: "Sure, we'll meet them on the battlefield."
Dog: "This isn't a good speech to listen to," Dog says, quietly. "Let's go play fetch?"
Lucnephwyr is captivated, and he is mouthing words… asking questions?
TheTale: "And sure, we'll kill their agents. When we catch them. How often do we catch them…?"
Shiba leans down to pat Dog comfortingly. "I'll catch up. But I do want to listen."
TheTale: "…But they hold the heart and name of our beloved princess. They concoct greater evil with every passing day."
TheTale: "For Sycorax to survive and endure, we must stand. We must stand together."
TheTale: "And we must break their will and hold them - the spine of their nation - to judgement for their crimes."
TheTale: There's a smattering of applause and 'hear hears' from the crowd.
Dog: Dog whiiines.
Lucnephwyr doesn't applaud or say much, but he's still listening pretty intently.
Shiba: "The spine. What could they refer to by that?"
TheTale: It… sort of goes on like that.
Lucnephwyr: "- huh? Oh."
Lucnephwyr: "Uhh… metaphrically, maybe?"
Lucnephwyr: "Unless there's a literal spine to the human settlements?"
Lucnephwyr: "How would they even get the curvature… oh, hills, duh!" He smacks his forehead.
Dog: "They're talking about bringing humanity to its knees," Dog says, "by taking hold of their most important things."
Dog: "Their rulers. Their institutions. Their people."
Shiba: "Or Glozenfeld, if you go for a literal interpretation."
Lucnephwyr nods along. "They teach us that during Martial Arts, sort of. Where'd be the best places to strike, on a human. Around a human. Not a real consensus if they're tasty though."
Shiba: "But yours seems more likely. An eye for an eye."
Shiba: "But enough of this." She picks up the ball again and wanders along to a less crowded place on the waterway.
TheTale: Little red fliers get passed out to the crowd. Vigilance tips. Recruiting for the frontlines.
TheTale: …There's been more and more of these demonstrations everyday.
Lucnephwyr: "The palaces, the courts." He says this pretty matter-of-factly. "There's some bits like the waterways, but not as nice, apparently? Really packed dense with human!"
Dog: Dog trots along behind her. They seem less bothered when they get a bit further away from the Yhe Holmat congregation.
TheTale: Little staircases run up and down the water-ways, one of which leads all the way down to the water-level.
TheTale: …This one's clogged up with shopping bags and egg containers and bits of foil, among other kinds of trash.
Shiba slows and tosses the ball back at Luc. "You've heard word from travelers like yourself, I take it?"
Lucnephwyr hop hop hops around the garbage- catches the ball! "I've heard a loooooot of various things from caravans."
Dog: Dog watches the ball carefully as it sails from Shiba to Wyr. Tentatively wags tail.
Lucnephwyr: "They're all sorts of weird though. Some of them sound pretty human-y, and then others are just- weird stuff you'd think only monsters could do!" He lobs the ball high- a pop fly headed for Dog!
Lucnephwyr: "I haven't seen a human -personally- so uh…"
Dog: Dog bounds off after the ball, leaps up, catches it!
Lucnephwyr: "I can't really say what the real story is! (Except maybe… two arms, legs, eyes, hair in specific places?)"
Shiba: "That's the long and short of it."
Lucnephwyr: "(Hair, not fur, that's a specific bit!)"
Dog: "Dobe ih madder whud hyumams," they say, with their mouth full. They trots back up to Wyr and release the ball before attempting that again. "Does it matter what humans look like?"
Lucnephwyr: "Well… yes!" He crosses his arms, teaching mode. "It's said that they keep specific bodies."
Lucnephwyr: "Instead of finding different ones."
Dog: "Yeah," Dog says, "but you might still meet one again, even after you kill them."
Shiba: "They're different in that way, but does it matter?"
Lucnephwyr: "And if you do, they'll look the same, probably!"
Lucnephwyr: "Um…" He tilts his head. "If you were looking for a friend it'd be a lot easier to find them!"
Lucnephwyr: "Other than asking a bunch of people if Carl has been stomping about lately in a different body!"
Shiba: "There are a few monsters that want the same recognizability. Some ask me to sculpt a body they can later migrate to."
Lucnephwyr flaps his tiny wings for emphasis.
Dog: Dog wags their tail. "But even with those differences… they're more like us than different! They just all look basically the same and don't change shape or anything!"
Lucnephwyr: "Hmm…"
TheTale: Racing up the stairs behind Shiba, it's Marzel! Here's some important facts about Marzel, since she's just shown up:
TheTale: 1. She's mostly a bunny, like, if a bunny were a person? Whatever you're imagining right now is probably correct. Blouse. Reasonably long pencil-skirt. Fluff.
TheTale: 2. She's out of breath!
TheTale: 3. She's about to volunteer Shiba for something, watch:
TheTale: "Shiba! I'm about to volunteer you for something."
Shiba: "Okay."
TheTale: "Yeah! I'm happy you're warned." SLAM a stack of papers - wow, these are all kinda thick, like, industrial staple bound - "So I just set up… a new thing…?"
Shiba nods. "Go on, go on."
TheTale: "Would you mind handing these out for me? One to the Ark Mien house, one to… well, Silke asked for one, so if you could get her one, that'd be great - and maybe just leave one at the trading post up the road of the mountain. And swing by the Roses when you're done."
TheTale: They are, apparently, a guide to connecting to a new BBS.
TheTale: …It's, uh, reasonably in-depth. The first chapter is "Using a Mouse and Keyboard (Not the Kind that Squeaks!!)"
Shiba glances over one of the guides. "I'm reasonably certain that keyboards don't squeak."
TheTale: Marzel gives dog a little "you see what I have to deal with?" smile.
Lucnephwyr giggles!
Dog: Dog wags their tail and opens their mouth in a doggy-grin, which is not /quite/ like a smile but you make do when you don't have humanoid lips.
Shiba brightens up, speaking in a more chipper tone than she had been for the day. "But sure! It'll be good to connect everyone like this, and I needed a task like this to take my mind off of some heavy stuff."
TheTale: "Meanwhile, gosh, that stage up there sure looks like a fire violation or two, doesn't it?"
TheTale: "Tha~nk you!"
Dog: "I'll help! I'll help! I am helpful!"
Lucnephwyr: "I am also a helper! Let's to chores!"
Shiba divvies up some of the stacks. "Would you guys mind helping me out here? They're a little heavy."
TheTale: Marzel rolls up her sleeves and strides forth to let the people living over the market have a fighting chance of sleeping in.
Lucnephwyr 100% starts thumbing through one of the guides as soon as its in his hot little claws.
Dog: Dog stands up, wraps dog's stack in their bandana, ties it back around their neck. Wait, what?
Dog: (Apparently dog's paws are very canny.)
Shiba: "Ark Mien first."
Lucnephwyr: "Lead the way!" …he says, because he'll be keeping one eye on Shiba's tail and the other in this guide.
Dog: Dog barks affirmatively!
Shiba slithers along. "I knew these folks a while ago. But it's been ages."
Dog: "They're good people!"
Lucnephwyr: "I know mostly stories- but they're all good!"
Shiba: "I'm curious to see if they're still devoted to their original cause. It'll be good to stop by."
Lucnephwyr: "'Descended from the sages that once guarded the Mana Tree, the scholar-knights of Ark Mien balance their lives between wine-soaked nights and contemplative days.' That's how they were told to us, at least."
Dog: "I don't know about anything like that… but their food is really good!"
Dog: "I like them!"
Shiba stops in her tracks, a realization jolting through her spine. "'Descended from?' Cripes. So, literal ages."
TheTale: Judging from the construction of the Arkhouse, it was once, long ago, a temple - tiny edits have been made to its frescoes, its monsters carved to be heroes, its heroes carved to be villains. There's a little flower-garden out front, with an enormous, flat-bladed, rust-pitted sword embedded in the earth in it. The doors are open.
Dog: "Hello! Hello!" Bark bark bark!
Lucnephwyr pokes his head through the doors, carefully looks around.
Shiba slouches and lowers her hood some to better hide her face. She's a bit self-conscious of her age now.
TheTale: An airy knights-hall. There isn't anything like a front desk - it just opens right up onto their courtyard, where knights are honing their skills at spear and sword against row upon row of training dummies.
TheTale: There's usually the scent of meat and smoke here, but this morning, it's just smoke - well, that, and grilling carrots.
Lucnephwyr gasps into a wide smile- the knights at practice! These drills are a lot more complicated than the ones he's participated in!
Lucnephwyr scampers forward a bit, peering here and there. He's looking, looking…
Shiba ambles along, waving a guide in the air to beckon someone that isn't occupied with drills.
Dog: Dog trots right in and heads for the scent of food, as normal.
TheTale: One of the instructors, a plume of smoke in a wire cage, nods to Luc. (As dog goes scampering inside, of course.)
TheTale: "Morning, Luc. Looking for somebody?"
Lucnephwyr: "Ah, hi again!"
Lucnephwyr: "Um, sort of! We have a delivery from Marzel for Ark Mien!"
TheTale: "Oh, is that for the flower fes-" He takes a look at it.
Lucnephwyr: "It's -something else-!"
TheTale: "Oh, for the uh - the computer thing. Yeah, Ykare's been shedding feathers over that all night. I think she's in the projection room, if you wanna just run it down to her?"
Lucnephwyr: "Can we?!" He looks expectantly at Shiba, then to the plume, not sure who to get approval from.
Shiba looks between Luc and the instructor. "Go right ahead."
Dog: Dog trots back to the group. (Dog now smells of carrots.)
TheTale: (Gently caramelized, purple carrots.)
Dog: (They were delicious.)
Lucnephwyr immediately bounds away, heading one way… another… uh, where's the projection room again? There's a moment where, a distance away, he turns back and looks at the plume.
Dog: "The projection room, right? Still in the same place, right?"
TheTale: "Yup, you…"
TheTale: "Better go catch em, dog."
Dog: Dog yips and wags their tail and goes to catch Wyr. "Wyr! Wyr! This way!"
Lucnephwyr chases after Dog! "Right, I remember now!"
Shiba gives the instructor a smile and a wave and slowly follows. "What did a temple need with a projection room?"
Dog: "For movie night!"
TheTale: Well, they've made some modifications.
TheTale: Dog catches up and leads to what was once the little projector closet in the projection room, but has now been taken over by Ykare - resplendent in her rainbow feathers and shining scales, coiled, perched over her tobacco-yellowing computer - in the pursuit of network connectivity and serious computing.
TheTale: The room is loud with the roaring of a giant desk fan pointed directly at the computer's tower.
TheTale: She turns over her shoulder - "Oh, hey dog. Bring some friends?"
Dog: Dog barks and wags dog's tail. "Two! Two friend!"
Lucnephwyr is but a few steps behind. "Hello, Ykare! I'm Lucnephwyr! It's a pleasure to meet you!" A bow and wingflap.
Shiba smiles, fangs gleaming again. She flaps a guide about. "Marzel asked us to hand out some info."
TheTale: "Oh, you're a lifesaver. I've been shedding feathers on this all night-" She takes the manual, flips through it frantically.
TheTale: "I mean, I call Marzie to try to get her to talk me through it, but then it stops working…"
TheTale: "Eeeerrrrgh, whattapain!"
Dog: "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" Dog offers, in the best of faith.
TheTale: Ykare furrows her brow, turns it on and off again, frantically key-mashes through the boot sequence, and treats the entire room to the screeching of her modem.
Lucnephwyr eyes Ykare's setup, winces only slightly at the modem screeching.
Dog: Dog's ears pin back on their head. Dog hearing is awful at times like this.
TheTale: "…I guess this manual is her way of telling me to stop calling her all the time, huh…?"
Lucnephwyr: "It's… probably okay to have on hand, too!"
Shiba: "I mean, we're handing it out to pretty much everyone."
TheTale: She flexes her arm. "Anyway, guts!"
Dog: "Yeah! We're going everywhere!"
TheTale: "I mean, I heard people used to use these all the time."
TheTale: 'Aaaa-a-and I won't keep you. Hop to it! "
Dog: "You can do it! You can!" Bark bark, tailwag.
Lucnephwyr: "Mm-hmm! Have a good time and a good day!"
Shiba: "Take care!"
Shiba: "Oh, where's your daughter hanging around this time of day?"
TheTale: "Uh?" Ykare blinks at Shiba.
Shiba: "Er. Mother."
Shiba: "I always get you two confused. Everyone young enough looks the same to me."
TheTale: Ykare sets her teeth for a moment, doesn't come up with anything clever to say, and - "Uh, just try our place, maybe the garden out back?"
Shiba coughs. "Yeah. And, um. Sorry. Didn't mean to hit a nerve."
Shiba slithers out. If she had legs to put her tail between…
Lucnephwyr ambles from the projection room, across the courtyard, giving the plume a farewell before exiting the temple.
Lucnephwyr also gives Shiba a comforting pat.
Dog: Dog trots out after them!
Lucnephwyr: "Do you know where their manor is?"
Shiba: "Heh. Do you not?"
Lucnephwyr grins. "Just asking!" He leads the way!
TheTale: Silke manor. Stained glass windows and a garden of red leaves. It's rather near the top of the waterways, near the road up the mountain.
Lucnephwyr: "It's always so beautiful near sundown."
Dog: "So many pretty yellows!"
Shiba follows along.
Lucnephwyr jukes the manor, heading right for the gardens. He takes care to let those around know someone is coming- step on a twig here, a polite cough there.
TheTale: Fal Silke, of course, looks a lot like her daughter. (And, well, Shiba too.) A serpentine tail and a human torso - but her scales and the feathers of her four wings have gone completely white. Her hair is impossibly long, with her locks carefully pressed to wing upwards and not drag on the floor. White too, of course, just like her bushy, bushy long eyebrows - and her eyes.
TheTale: She's watering her flowers.
TheTale: "Luc, yes? With Marzel's little book? Put it on the table, unless it's - it's likely wet, isn't it?"
TheTale: "Nip in the back door and set it down somewhere."
Lucnephwyr: "Yup, you got it!" He scrambles for the back door and places a manual on an endtable within.
Shiba: "Morning." At least it's probably still morning.
Dog: "Hi! Hello hi!"
TheTale: "Good morning."
TheTale: "To you too, dog." She stoops down to pet the dog on the dog's head.
Dog: Dog's tail wags swish-swish-swish-swish.
TheTale: "You know…"
Shiba: "Feels like a 'day one,' huh?"
TheTale: "Long ago, on the old calendar, this was-"
TheTale: She smiles.
TheTale: "-Actually a holiday."
Lucnephwyr returns out of the manor.
Lucnephwyr: "Oh?"
TheTale: "Mmhm. On this day, when you met someone, you could say:"
TheTale: "Did you know?"
TheTale: "Those with pure hearts can go to a whole new world."
TheTale: She nods, her eyes fluttering shut.
TheTale: "And it would be good luck."
Dog: Dog tilts dog's head. "But what does it mean?"
Lucnephwyr: "Yeah… that's an odd saying."
TheTale: "And a little gift but…"
TheTale: "You two are too old for them, and dog would just chew them to pieces."
Dog: "Aroo?"
Lucnephwyr is confused, because he's never been referred to as 'old' before. That's a weird feeling.
Lucnephwyr: "Huuuuuuuuh."
TheTale: She pats Luc on the head.
TheTale: "I mean, if you really wanted some wooden blocks, I could try and find them, but…"
TheTale: "You're more at the comic books age, aren't you?"
Shiba: "It was a saying that meant angels had awoken. But they've been awake for a while here, I think."
Shiba nods at Silke, hip to her jive.
TheTale: "Well, I won't claim I'm not having premonitions."
Lucnephwyr laughs a little. "Yes ma'am." He retraces emotional steps back, he's definitely not that young anymore!
Lucnephwyr: "What do you see?"
Shiba: "Anything not cryptically vague and actually non-obvious to anyone paying attention to the news?"
Shiba smiles wryly.
TheTale: "You want the good parts version now, do you?"
Dog: "Yes please!"
TheTale: "And here I was, thinking I had tricked you into listening to my abstract poetry"
Lucnephwyr: "We can listen to that after."
Lucnephwyr: "Uh"
TheTale: "I see…"
Lucnephwyr: "I mean."
Lucnephwyr shuts up.
TheTale: "…The Roaring King, and the Queen of Life…"
TheTale: "…Joined hand in hand…"
TheTale: "…Sharing bread with the lowest of the world."
TheTale: She inhales gently. "…Let's try another."
Shiba: "Do you want me to get a fruit basket, for old times' sake?"
TheTale: "I'm not sure I know that one. But that wasn't too useful, was it?"
TheTale: "…I mean, that's a kick-yourself premonition, not an actually-do-something-useful premonition."
Dog: "It was still nice, though!"
Lucnephwyr: "Yup! It was… inspirational!"
Shiba: "It was … vague. Sorry, I call them like I see them."
Lucnephwyr: "If I was a premonition-worker, it'd be a start! You take what all the words together mean in your heart-"
Lucnephwyr: "And… work towards it!"
TheTale: "Round two:"
Shiba: "So you want me to work on getting Yhe Holmat to have some dinner with people in the underworld?"
Lucnephwyr: "Probably a banquet, yeah."
Lucnephwyr: "Makes sense to me!"
TheTale: Fal stops.
TheTale: "Still…"
Dog: "Better get a lot of food for him!"
TheTale: "What you get from paying attention to the news is probably better."
Shiba coughs again.
TheTale: "So, Shiba…" Fal plucks a flower and tucks it behind Luc's ear.
TheTale: "…You try one."
Lucnephwyr wears the flower with pride!
Shiba: "…Past the statue garden…"
Shiba: "…Past legions of soldiers…"
Shiba: "…A terrible truth awaits, underneath a tortoise's shell."
Shiba: "But don't be afraid of it."
TheTale: "Ah, ah, I like it! Well done."
TheTale: "…One for the road, then."
TheTale: "What do we do, to save what can't be saved?"
Shiba: "Create, then destroy, then create again."
Lucnephwyr: "(We're really filling in the calendar!)"
TheTale: "We cut some in half,"
TheTale: "We make monsters of men,"
TheTale: "We recur, eternally,"
TheTale: "And we freeze and melt our hearts."
TheTale: "To give, and give, and give, what isn't asked for-"
TheTale: "That's a sickness!"
Lucnephwyr: "(Sickness!)" he excitedly whispers to Dog.
Dog: "(Sickness!)" Dog whispers back.
Lucnephwyr: "-That's- a good one!"
Shiba: "Hmm."
Lucnephwyr: "Jeez, it could mean… it could mean a lot of things! But this is supposed to save people??"
Shiba: "I think the salvation is what's being given."
Shiba: "And this is our call to … cut them off?"
TheTale: "An unasked for salvation…"
TheTale: "…"
TheTale: "I think there's a poison like that, at the root of things."
TheTale: "But it's buried too deep to care about that right now, so let's lock it away."
Dog‘ tilts their head. "That sounds really complicated!"
Lucnephwyr: "(Poison!!!!!)" he excitedly whispers again.
Dog: "(Poison!)" , Dog whispers back affirmatively.
TheTale: "Shiba, if you’re ever heading north, let me know."
TheTale: "I think I could spare a few gold talents for a visit to our neighbors."
Shiba: "Yeah, that's at the last dance card, I'd imagine."
Shiba: What, exactly, is north?
TheTale: The Via Via runs north - she's probably talking about human lands.
TheTale: I mean, by probably, I mean she is.
TheTale: Fal Silke giggles softly. "I talk like that because I have white eyes…"
TheTale: "…You actually sound like you know what it means."
TheTale: "How curious!"
Shiba: "I just have really good contact lenses."
Lucnephwyr: "What's a dance card?"
Dog: "It's a card you send to people you want to dance with!"
Dog: "Like a birthday card. Or a get-well card!"
TheTale: "That's not quite it."
Shiba: "Or a bullet hell card."
TheTale: "It's a card with all the dances of the night written on it."
TheTale: "And when someone asks a dance of you, they write their name on it, so you don't forget."
Dog: "Ohhhh." Dog wags their tail.
Lucnephwyr: "Ohhhh."
Shiba: "Kids these days."
Lucnephwyr doesn't really get it.
TheTale: "Well, I think I need to go check the oven."
TheTale: "Feel free to drop by and chat anytime about how things are going, yes?"
Lucnephwyr: "Oh! Yes, thank you!"
Shiba: "Sure thing."
Dog: "Okay!" Dog yips.
Lucnephwyr: "Have a good day!"
TheTale: Fal Silke pats dog, smiles mysteriously to Shiba - not that she's very mysterious, of course, but it's the look that matters - and heads back into her estate. "Same to you."
Lucnephwyr looks over a bush to the mountain beyond. "Not that far from here."
Dog: "The mountain's next, right?"
Lucnephwyr: "Yup!"
Shiba: "The trading post, at least, not all the way up."
Lucnephwyr redoubles his efforts with his walking stick.
TheTale: There's a little shack right at the start of the mountain trail. It looks like a rural japanese bus stop, because that's basically what it is.
TheTale: The road to Hightower, to the palace of Yhe Holmat, and the Roaring King…
TheTale: …What's this ominous pressure?
Dog: Dog whines.
Lucnephwyr has both hands on the walking stick, gripping it tightly.
Lucnephwyr: "Air… sure is thin. And thick."
Lucnephwyr: "And… something."
Shiba: "Drop off a few manuals here and get out quickly, then?"
Lucnephwyr: "Y-yeah."
Dog: "It's strange," Dog says, obviously bothered by it.
Dog: (Dog's fur is standing up on dog's neck.)
TheTale: There's actually a procession coming down the mountain. Flying mourning flags, coming just along the bend.
TheTale: …And whenever you see it, there's always that moment where your first thought is - "Did someone die?" -
TheTale: …But no, that's just how the princess is attended, now. (Some say she chose it herself.)
TheTale: "Clear the road for the princess of Yhe Holmat!"
Lucnephwyr shuffles off the road.
TheTale: "There's no need." _ says.
Lucnephwyr peeks his head out from behind the shack at the reply.
TheTale: She picks up one of the manuals. "What's this?"
Shiba: "Ah." Some sort of revelation, at least.
Dog: Dog pauses, already most of the way off the road. (Dog had dropped theirs in their rush to clear the road.) "It's a manual, your highness!"
TheTale: "Oh."
TheTale: Any dress she wears turns to white. Her hair freezes whenever she washes it.
Lucnephwyr: "Manuals! For connecting to a-" glances at the cover "-BBS," he says, carefully. "Bulletin Board System." He read it in the manual!
TheTale: It's as hard to breathe around her as it is at the top of a mountain.
TheTale: What was done to her was a grievous sin.
TheTale: "I see."
TheTale: _ pauses.
TheTale: "I would prefer to connect automatically."
Dog: "Oh… um… there's a bit in there about that!" Dog pauses, whispers to Wyr. "(Is there a bit in there about that.)"
Lucnephwyr: "(It. Uh. I didn't get that far.)"
TheTale: She takes a manual.
TheTale: The letters on it instantly fade, leaving her holding a stack of blank white paper.
TheTale: "I will continue on." she says, and her procession scrambles to go ahead of her.
TheTale: She flips idly through the now-empty pages.
Shiba scrambles on out of the way.
TheTale: "Good day."
Shiba: "Likewise."
Dog: "Good day, your highness!"
Lucnephwyr: "Good day!" He bows.
TheTale: She looks at Shiba. Then at Dog. Then at Luc.
TheTale: Then she goes.
TheTale: …You can breathe a litle easier now, in more ways than one.
Dog: Dog puffs out a sigh of relief.
Lucnephwyr exhales a breath he's been holding for who-knows how long.
Dog: "She's still unwittingly scary…"
Lucnephwyr: "Considering 'everything'…"
Shiba: "It's just an early glimpse of a fate that'll befall everyone."
Lucnephwyr: "I feel bad for being so scared."
Dog: "What do you mean?" Dog asks Shiba, ears pinned back.
Lucnephwyr catches himself, at 'scared.' A word he didn't know he meant to use.
Shiba: "It's just how things go. Stories end, winter arrives, and new ones begin after. But if the only context you have is the brief moments you experience that story, it's natural to be scared."
Dog: "Do the people wake up for the new story? It wouldn't be so bad if no one really died."
Dog: "Like changing bodies!"
Lucnephwyr: "It… I don't know. It…" He starts, stops again. He's looking for some word, descriptor, obvious as the snout on his face.
Lucnephwyr: "Uh, maybe we should just… go to the Roses, now, since… we're done!"
Shiba: "I'll let you know when I find out, how about?"
Dog: "… yeah! That's what we should do! Go to the Roses! I like them!"
Dog: Dog nods to Shiba, and then shakes their coat out, nose to fluffy tail.
Lucnephwyr also nods to Shiba, getting some pep back in his step.
TheTale: The Circle in Roses has their community house right by the biggest baths. Because they're in charge of the changing rooms for them, just keeping the lights on and them cleaned up, so it just ended up being natural. They run swimming classes, too!
Dog: Dog trots up and scratches at the door. "Hi! Hello! Hello!"
TheTale: Marzel gets the door, scoops up Dog, and gives the dog a hug.
Lucnephwyr is back to being his normal self, and he effortlessly flits about.
Lucnephwyr: "Hi again! The manuals are all delivered!"
TheTale: "Great! Good work, Luc."
Dog: Dog licks Marzel, tail going thumpa-thumpa-thump. "Hi Marzel! I like you!"
TheTale: "I like you too, dog." She sets the dog down.
TheTale: "But I mean, you don't see me licking your face."
Dog: "I don't have lips! It's the closest thing to a kiss I have!"
Dog: "Well, I mean, I have lips, but…"
Dog: "Not like," Dog scrunches up dog's face and it just kinda looks like dog's growling because dog's facial muscles don't work like that. "You know!"
Shiba shrugs at Marzel. "Hey. The princess took a liking to one of the manuals."
TheTale: Marzel smiles. "Well, I'm sure her dad has a computer sitting around here somewhere."
TheTale: "It'd be nice to see her posting, you know? She's had a little bit of trouble… socializing."
TheTale: "Though I mean, we'd save a mint if we had her serving ice cream at the festivals."
Dog: "Maybe online will be better for her!"
Lucnephwyr laughs a little.
Shiba: "Would the computer freeze when she uses it? She might need to dictate her messages…"
TheTale: "…Worth a shot, right…?"
Lucnephwyr: "We did what we could for a better tomorrow!"
TheTale: Prologue ~ Welcome to the Neighborhood - COMPLETE
Shiba: "I'm sure it'll be fine. Had to make a bad joke."
TheTale: +10 EXP.

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