[GAME] [RP] Transiens Aeternum [SIGNUPS ALWAYS OPEN]

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Reserved for lock.

To sign up, or see the character profiles, go to this thread.

 
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[The introductory post is way too long. I’m sure textile will break, so I’ll break the post into two parts.]

Rina Adams

My eyes fluttered open. I saw white, white everywhere. And clouds, moving lazily amid a sky bluer than any I had ever seen. I seemed to be in a garden of sorts, surrounded by flowers of all shapes and sizes, of pristine white and every other vibrant color in the rainbow. Behind me was a tall tree, with milky white bark and impossibly lush green leaves. Where am I…? What happened…?

“Whoa! You startled me, dear!” I heard a man’s voice to my right. “We haven’t had any souls poppin’ in here for a while!”

I turned around sharply. There was a middle-aged man, dressed in something a gardener would wear, except all in white. He had a jovial look on his face, as though he had happy, satisfying life. And… there was a pair of white feathery wings on his back. What…? Was I seeing things?

“Um…” I began to say. “Can you please tell me where I am…?” Then something he said clicked in my head. “Wait. Did you say ‘soul’?”

“Oh my, here we go again,” the gardener gave a little sigh. “I’m afraid you ain’t gonna like this, dear. You’re a wee bit dead at the moment, and you’re in Heaven.”

Dead…?

Then it all came back.

Oh my god… James! The earthquake! I… I’m dead…? And I’m in heaven…? No… This can’t be… It doesn’t…

But I remembered. The instant of crushing pain as the piece of concrete was dropped on me. The look of shock and horror on James’s face, before everything faded away. And now… I’m dead…?

“I know, dear, a bit hard to take in, ain’t it?” The gardener chuckled a little. “Took me an awful lot of time to get the idea in my head.”

“A bit hard” to take in? Well, yeah, I’m dead and here I am thinking about it! It can’t get any harder than that… Wait. The earthquake… James! Mom and Dad! Oh no, don’t tell me they… “Hey, mister!” I began to walk toward the gardener urgently. Somehow, my body felt lighter than it had ever been. I briefly glanced at my arm, but it didn’t seem to have become any thinner. “Did anyone else, um, die and come here recently? Like, have you seen a guy my age, about this tall,” I gestured to indicate James’s height, “with yellow eyes and kind of spiky brown hair?”

“Sorry dear, nuthin’ like that,” the gardener shook his head. “But you should be askin’ ol’ Azazel for that. He owns the place, not me.”

I was about to ask who Azazel was, but a new voice interrupted my chain of thought. “Oh, do we have a visitor today, Abraham?” The voice was mild, yet held an undeniable hint of knowledge, authority, and power.

Both the gardener, who I assumed to be the Abraham person the voice was referring to, and I turned around. We saw another guy with white feathery wings, this one blatantly defying gravity by levitating about half a meter off the ground, making it hard to tell how tall he was. I’d guess he’s about 180 cm, something like 30 years old, quite good looking in a nerdy sort of way, with short messy black hair and light gray eyes. He’s wearing some kind of priest’s or pope’s robe or something, all in white just like Abraham, but with lots of blue magic symbols on it. He had a kind smile on his face, and I could see his benign intentions, but he had a mysterious aura that made him almost impossible to read.

“Not a visitor, Azzy,” Abraham said with a chuckle. “The poor girl’s just died, and guess what? She popped straight in here, right in the middle of your sanctum!”

The floating guy, whom I assumed to be Azazel, widened his eyes slightly. “Remarkable,” he said after a moment. “Such potential… remarkable indeed. You will make a powerful Angel, child. A very powerful Angel.”

“Um, so wait…” I frowned. “Are you guys all like, Angels or something? And I’m in Heaven?” Well, I’d believe the last part; this was just about the nicest place I’d ever seen. If only James was here with me…

“Well Azzy, you talk to her,” Abraham grinned jovially. “You know I ain’t no good at explainin’ this stuff. I gotta go back to work too. Those flowers ain’t gonna water themselves, eh?” He laughed merrily, then started flying away with a beat of his wings.

“Very well,” said Azazel with a nice smile. He’d look like a real lady killer if someone fixed his hair… “I’m sorry, child, but I haven’t heard your name?”

“Oh!” I blurted out. I couldn’t believe I forgot to introduce myself. But then again, I was supposed to be dead, so… “I’m Sabrina Jennifer Adams, but please call me Rina,” I said, adding a polite Japanese bow just in case. “Nice to meet you! You’re Azazel, right?”

“Yes. Pleased to meet you too, Rina. Now, will you come with me?” He politely held out his hand. “Take my hand, and I will instantaneously transport us to my abode.”

Okay… First he could float, and now he could teleport? But then again, I was dead, even though right now I was obviously still alive. I guess things didn’t have to make sense in Heaven… Tentatively, I took Azazel’s hand. With a flash of blue and white, and the feeling of sinking into a mass of cotton, I was now on a balcony high up in the air, overlooking a magnificent castle of pristine white marble. People were everywhere, some walking and some flying, nearly all of them having feathery white wings. “…wow,” I said, unable to hold back the amazement.

“It is magnificent, isn’t it?” Azazel smiled with pride. “Welcome to Celestia, Sabrina Jennifer Adams.”

I struggled to take it all in. Celestia… So that’s what the place was called. Heaven. I’m dead, and I’m in Heaven. “Um… You haven’t answered my question. Are you all Angels or something?”

“Why yes, we are all Angels,” Azazel said as he spread his magnificent wings. “And upon arriving here you, Rina, have become an Angel as well. See for yourself,” he said, making a gesture with his hand. A bluish white flash, and a large vanity mirror was teleported right in front of me. I jumped slightly at its sudden appearance. After calming down, I peered into the mirror, and jumped again.

Wow. Where to begin… This dress, I suppose. I never had a dress as pretty as this one. It’s just a sundress, nothing fancy, but it fit me perfectly and almost seemed to glow with an aura of beauty and pureness. The fabric almost flowed like water, definitely not something found on Earth. Then there were the jewellery I now wore, the incredibly expensive-looking silver and sapphire that glittered whenever I moved. Somehow they looked completely normal and natural on me, not ostentatious at all. Strangely, I couldn’t quite feel these jewellery on my skin, not even that silver tiara. I tried to remove the bracelet around my left wrist, but immediately stopped; it felt like I shouldn’t remove it. It felt like a natural part of my body; removing it was like cutting off my hand. My hair and eyes were different too; my hair now looked almost blond, and my eyes almost blue. At least my face still looked like me… Lastly, there were the wings, as big, fluffy, and snowy white as Azazel’s and everyone else’s. I frowned; somehow, I never even noticed those wings on me until now. I gave my shoulders an experimental flap, which did nothing. I then tried to will the wings to move, imagine them fluttering and carrying me into the air. And with that, they began to move, propelling me upwards easily. “Wow, I’m flying!” I exclaimed as excitement surged through me, briefly pushing aside all the thoughts that had been warring for dominance in my head for the past ten minutes.

 
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“Quite a nice feeling, is it not?” Azazel chuckled, a hint of nostalgia in his eyes. “And should you ever find the wings bothersome, simply will them to disappear. They will then retract into your body, ready to come back out when you need them.”

I tried that, then gasped as I dropped abruptly to the floor. Guess I should do it on the ground next time… I willed the wings to reappear. From the mirror, I saw streams of light erupt from my back to form the wings; I felt nothing but a gentle breeze between my shoulder blades. Wow, that looked pretty neat. I tried that a few more times, watching in satisfaction as the wings retract then reappear.

I remembered something else Azazel said. “Um, Azazel? What was that you said about potential? And about how I’m gonna be very powerful or something?” I didn’t really want to be powerful. I just wanted to be happy. But then again, didn’t everyone? My happiness just didn’t necessarily have to involve power.

“Ah, yes. Pardon me for my poor memory.” Azazel spread his arms wide, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. “You’re an Angel now, Rina. Do you feel the power in this place?”

I tried to mimic what Azazel just did, spreading my arms out, closing my eyes, and taking a deep breath. I… I couldn’t quite explain it, but I felt… something. Something that flowed into me like water, making me feel cool and calm. “Um… Kind of…” I murmured.

“Remarkable indeed,” Azazel said. “You have arrived not long ago, and yet you can already sense the energies of Light.”

“Light? Is this, like, about good and evil now?” I asked. I never really liked how light was generally portrayed as good and darkness as evil. Please don’t let this be too cliched…

“Good and evil?” Azazel chuckled. “Please do not tell anyone that I said this. You are referring to the usual connotations that Light is good, and Darkness is evil, correct? Well, the Council of Light would like you to think so, but it is not quite like that in reality. Light and Darkness are more akin to order and chaos.”

Order and chaos? Well, at least that’s better than the usual good versus evil thing…

“Anyways,” Azazel continued, “this location is a Celestial Node, a place with the highest concentrations of Light energies. When a Soul arrives in Celestia, it appears in a random location. Now, every Soul has a set amount of potential, which determines how much more powerful the Soul can grow to become. Most of the time, Souls with higher potentials tend to arrive in areas with higher concentrations of Light. Since you arrived in the center of a Celestial Node, your potential is truly remarkable.”

“Well…” I looked down and began to study my silver and sapphire bracelets. “I don’t really care that much about becoming strong…”

“Who knows?” Azazel gave a benign smile. “Perhaps you will change your mind after seeing more of this world. And even if you do not, there is always the Angelic Choir. You have an incredibly beautiful voice, I must say.”

“Thanks…” I smiled shyly. Truth to be told, I actually preferred to sing by myself. I liked to think of myself as a pop diva, like Hatsune Miku. Okay, fine, Miku wasn’t a real person, but you get the point. Singing solo would feed my ego more; I guess I kind of picked up this habit from James.

Oh, no. James.

I turned to Azazel. “Hey, um, Azazel? Can I ask you something?” I said with urgency in my voice.

“Of course, Rina. Anything you’d like.”

“Do you know if anyone else, um, died and came here recently? Like, a guy my age called James Hawking? Or anyone else with my last name, like my parents?”

Azazel summoned some sort of white tome to him, and began flipping through the pages. After a moment, he shook his head. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid that no one by the name of ‘James Hawking’ is currently registered here. And no one of your last name either.” He dismissed the book with another bluish white flash.

My heart sank. A part of me desperately wanted James to be here with me. But that would mean that I wanted James to die, and another part of me was horrified at that thought. That part of me wished James to survive, to live a long, happy life. But that meant James would fall in love with someone else, marry someone else… All the elation and calmness I had felt earlier began to evaporate, replaced by a deep, crushing sorrow that tore my heart in two. “Um… I don’t suppose there’s a way to go back to Earth… is there…”

“I’m afraid not, Rina,” Azazel said softly. “Believe me when I say that we have repeatedly attempted to travel to the mortal world from here. But for thousands of years, none of the attempts succeeded. As far as we are concerned, one can never go back to life.”

I felt tears began to form from the corners of my eyes. Tears… I hadn’t cried since the time James and I briefly broke up. I promised myself to be strong, but… What is strength without the person I love…? I began to sob gently.

Azazel gently put a hand on my shoulder. I flinched, but did not pull away. “If you weep for a lost loved one, Rina… I understand your pain.” I looked up, and saw a hint of hidden sadness in the Angel’s eyes. “But for now… What else can you do, other than briefly taking your mind off of that which causes you sorrow?”

I almost laughed at that comment, I wasn’t a teary wreck already. Taking my mind off James? I hadn’t been able to take my mind off him since the moment we met ten years ago… With him, I felt complete. Without him…

“Go explore this place, Rina; you will find that the local populace is quite friendly. Or ask me any other questions that come to mind. Whichever you prefer. If you need any help, I will always be here.”

“All right…” I said with a sob. Then I jumped off the balcony. As the wind rushed past my face, I spread my wings, and felt my descent immediately slow. Maybe the laws of physics worked a bit differently here, or the wings were just magic… I flew toward a central plaza of sorts, bustling with activity. Maybe that’d take my mind off James for a while… Ha. As if. But still, it’s better than nothing…

[Okay, a few things that I wanted to cover with the intro post but didn’t. First, not all Angels live in castles. Some places in Celestia are quite modern. Second, all newcomers in Celestia will be greeted kindly by local Angels who already know the way around, while the welcoming party is less than warm in Infernus; in Mediorum it can range anywhere between the two extremes. Third, not all spiritual beings have abilities. The vanilla citizens don’t; you guys are all Souls with great potential.]

 
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[I’d write something as James Hawking, but it’s way past midnight already. I’ll do it tomorrow.]

[To elaborate, if you die and appear in Infernus, you’ll most likely be jumped by Demons who want to eat your spirit body to gain energy. Fight them off or eat them.]

[Places with the highest concentrations of Light are Celestial Nodes. Medial Nodes and Infernal Nodes are for Neutral Energy and Darkness respectively. Celestial, Medial, and Infernal Antinodes, which are areas of the lowest concentrations of their respective energies, exist around portals.]

 
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[My time to shine.]

Shade Eclipsion
My first memories after death are ones of chaos.
(but what is ‘death’? and ‘chaos’?)
Well, at least I’m lucid enough to take in such a thing. (and what did I just say about ‘lucid’?)
For starters, the land surrounding me is utterly destroyed, as though by a nuclear bomb (what does that do again… explosions, I think?). Nearby, a river of lava (the hot liquid, right?) flows, leaving the land around it (earth? rock?) untouched, despite what the laws of physics would dictate (what the hell am I saying? laws? and physics? and dictate?). In the distance (that’s far away, I think…), a mountain range of some silvery substance (isn’t silver its own substance? then what does the adjective refer to? and what’s a mountain?) juts out high above the land (again with that land thing…), something which I suspect might be radioactive. (suspects are criminals, though, or possible criminals… and where the bloody hell did I get ‘radioactive’ from? I think it might have something to do with the nuclear bomb from earlier…)
A second after taking in the landscape, a group of creatures straight from a nightmare head towards me. (seconds are to do with time, aren’t they? and isn’t a nightmare like a daymare, but during the night? no, wait…)
And a second after that, I stop caring as the madness takes over, and I burst into a fit of insane giggles.
The creatures end up surrounding me, and one leans down to take a bite out of my face.
I blast its face with a beam of something white, liquifying its head.
The rest of its body follows after in short order.
The beam turns into a sphere which encapsulates all of the monsters.
Two of them begin to attack their allies with various fancy skills.
Another one disintegrates into nothingness.
Almost instinctively, I begin to eat the flesh of the monsters around me.
Minutes pass, and I am finally being left alone.
I must have eaten ten or fifteen of them.
The only one of them left is staring at me, and not attacking.
I make the first move, leaping at it with a bar of the stuff.
The bar does nothing.
I end up crashing into it.
He touches my forehead.
And everything snaps back into focus (that must be something to do with looking at things). Looking up at the creature (but that’s animals, not things like him), he says only one thing to me.
‘Welcome to Hell.’
And then I see my hand.
And I scream.

[And I shall now rely on Blood to decide what this demon looks like, whether it’s of any importance, what its personality is like, and what it tells Shade. The only criteria I’d like is that it will tell Shade about what’s happening rather than trying to eat him.]

 
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[I don’t parse things in this game, BC. You post whatever you want, and if I don’t like it then I object. The Demon shouldn’t be of any importance.]

 
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Jared

Whirling dots… swirlling and spinning all over… it looks like im looking at some sort of light show. They start to come together… and fit together like pieces of a puzzle…
Most of them are white.
I can see them very clearly now.
Im in some sort of…
library…
or a planetarium, maybe…
Oddly, it seems very empty.
I sit up, then take a moment to collect my feelings. I remember. Mom said she was taking me to the KFC to buy something for lunch. I remember driving home , dipping a piece of popcorn chicken into some catsup and tossing it into my mouth. It was good, and then-
I remember. Shortly after, the car had rammed into a semi-truck. Mom managed to get out unharmed, but i was left in the wreckage.
I had no hard feelings against her. If it was my time to go, then so be it.
I stood up and looked around.
Looked around!
I couldn’t believe it!
I could see!
I took in the elegant white marble pillars, each inlaid with the most ancient of architecture, but looking as if it were built just yesterday. Each towering pillar sparkled like it was made out of pure diamond.
I saw thousands of bookcases, each holding some sort of book.
There were more than a few that caught my eye when i looked through them, Energies of the Spirit World, The Dark Land of Infernus, The Celestiarchy, i wanted to read every one of them.
But something didn’t seem right…
I felt like i should be greeted by somebody.
Oh well.
I sat down and pulled out one book, titled The World of Celestia.
I then proceeded to read one of the passages, titled “Death, Souls and Celestia”

When mortal beings die, their soul is taken out of the body and transfered to the Spirit World. It is judged on its moral deeds, then is sent to one of the three worlds. The lawful spirits that follow the way of God and stay good ‘til their end are sent to the world of Celestia, otherwise known as Heaven. Spirits that do deeds neither good nor bad are sent to Mediorum. These spirits have done neither good nor bad, and are therefore considered “neutral”. Evil spirits are sentenced to the fires of the world of Infernus. Infernus is inhabited by Lucifer’s evil demons, and is considered the world of chaos. All beings attempt to avoid being sent to Infernus.

I closed the book, as i grew ever more curious. Am i in this “Celestia?” , How can i see again?
I stood up. I was wondering what i was wearing at the time. It was a small white robe with a scarlet cross on it. I thought that it looked wonderful, which was weird. It felt like the softest cotton or silk…
Yes, it felt like it was made of velvet and pure silk…
It was so comfortable that it felt like a second layer of skin.
I sat in the library, waiting for something – anything – to happen.

 
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[…okay.]

Shade Eclipsion
Shocked is just about how I feel (like with electricity? but what’s that?). My hand is made of… something. Shadows, apparently (the opposite of light… he said Hell, what is Hell?).
Deep laughter pervades my ears (laughing is a good thing, though, this is a bad thing), and I look back at the creature facing me… and still not eating me. (how would he do that, again? we’re both the same size… or he’s at least not big enough to eat my head)
‘You must be wondering what you’re doing here, huh.’
‘…I think so?’
‘Well, you have a ridiculous amount of potential, given that you spawned here of all places and fought off a miniature army of other demons, so I’ll tell you the basics of what’s happening, and then leave you-’
‘Wait, wait… other demons? Aren’t they supposed to be the things that torture humans that die?’
‘Bwahahaha! You really don’t have a clue, do you?! That’s freaking-’
I glare at him. (that’s a form of focus, right? or was it vision…)
‘…well, what did you expect? Heaven? Not with your state of mind.’
‘…what?’
‘Basically… people from the mortal world are born. They live, and eventually they die, and get sent here. Now, you might be thinking to yourself “But I’m a good person! I don’t deserve to be sent here! Mememememememememe-”’
‘Actually, I have no idea what I was like bef-’
‘Shut up! I’m making a point.’
‘And I’m pointing out that I don’t have a clue what happened to me to bring me here.’
‘…that happens. You must have been pretty traumatised for something like that to happen… or just be flatout insane. That explains the giggles…’
‘The gi-’
He removes his hand from my forehead.
I break out into a fit of laughter again, then abruptly stop as he replaces his hand.
‘Oh, right. The giggles.’
‘In any case, your mindset was chaotic at the time of your death – yes, you’re dead, deal with it – and as such, you have been sent here to Hell, or the official name ‘Infernus’. I never liked that name. It sucks. If you were a more orderly person, you might have gone to Midgard, or ‘Mediorum’, or even Heaven, which would be ‘Celestia’. All ridiculous names… traditional names are my preference.’
I snap out of a flashback to a creature who I vaguely remember as ‘princess horse’. (horses are like large ponies… but what does a pony look like? and what’s a princess?)
‘By the way, I can hear everything you’re saying in your head. For the record, My Little Pony is completely gay.’
‘Your small what?’
‘Ignore that, ignore that… we’re probably from similar time periods, but I remember a lot more than you, clearly. Anywho, having died and gone to Hell, you’ve formed a new body which apparently looks like a shadowy creature or something.’
‘…so I’m dead…’
‘And in Hell. And a demon. And batsh!t insane. And filled with the spirit energy of several other demons who you just ate. Does it feel good?’
‘…I dunno.’
‘Close your eyes. Feel the power that runs through this place…’
I do so… I think I feel something. (what’s power?)
‘In this world, it’s spiritual potential. You have tons, given that you spawned practically on top of an Infernal Node and just fought off a bunch of your own kin. I think you’ll do well.’
(kin is relations…)
‘Eh, whatever floats your boat. Anyway, those are the basics… oh, and you can get portals to Midgard at Infernal Antinodes, which are basically the epitome of powerless areas. Then you can warp between the two to wherever you last were, which is awesome. Same goes for portals between Midgard and Heaven, but why you’d want to go there is beyond me. Anyways, have fun.’
He walks off, removing his hand in the process.
And I break down into giggles once more.

 
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MRN
I open my eyes, looking around, I notice that I am on the ground, with my arms lying to the sides of my head, I can’t seem to control them.
“Agh…” I mutter aloud, “where am I?”
I try to regain focus and scan my surroundings, I see lots of wispy clouds close to where I am. It seems that I am enveloped in fog right now.
“Fog?” I ask myself as I try to peer through it.
“Wait, I think I heard a voice,” I hear in the distance, “do you think it’s a new arrival?”
“New arrival?” I think, “I don’t understand, what is this?”
I hear the another voice to accompany the previous one.
“Where did it come from? I don’t hear a thing.” spoke a deep, masculine voice.
“I think it was this way,” the first voice said, “whoever is there, can you call out again?”
At this point I was thinking more about everything that has been going on, and imagining what these two voices’ owners look like. But I snap out of my thinking trance to speak.
“I am over here,” I say to them.
“Good,” the first voice says, “Come on, Evan, he’s this way.”
I await their coming, for I can’t move. All the while thinking on what is happening.

 
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Violet

Ahhhhhhh… That was a good nap. I stretch myself out, yawning loudly. Wait, nap? I wasn’t sleeping… I think. Maybe I randomly feel asleep. But I don’t recognise this place, so… What was it again? There was something strange about waking up here. Oh yes, if I didn’t recognise it, then how could I have fallen asleep here? Where is here, anyway? There appear to be mountains… I’ve never seen a mountain in person before. I think. The ground is carpeted with a thick layer of snow… I scrape some of it away with my foot. There’s a thick layer of black ice underneath. I suddenly realise that I’m still lying down. I jump to my feet. Cor, it’s bloody freezing! I don’t know why I didn’t notice the intense cold seeping into my bones before, but now I do. And I feel as though sleeping in that would’ve killed me. But I’m not dead. So… Good for me, I suppose? Wait, me? Who am I? I quickly glance at myself. I’m a small girl… With chains on her arms? What? Well, to say the least, that is unusual. Not as unusual as the pair of horns on my head, though. Wait, I have horns? I proceed to give them a feel, or something. I run my hands along the length of my horns, anyway. [Sexual innuendo is unintended.] They’re smooth to the touch. And I appear to be wearing a ribbon of some form on one of them. They don’t look like this where I come from. I think.

Wait, where DO I come from? I don’t remember… But it wasn’t here. I flinch as a sudden memory comes to me. A metal monster, hurtling along. Or at least, I THINK it’s hurtling along. I can only remember the beast, not its surroundings. I think it was called a ‘car’, maybe? Well, there were none here, so that was good. I start trudging through the snow. I note that my ‘shirt’, a frilly affair, is the same colour as the snow. For some reason, I feel as though it should be a darker shade. At least the skirt I’m wearing is a very dark shade of blue. Almost navy, I think. Wait, didn’t ‘navy’ have something to do with ships? And what was a ‘ship’? After thinking it over for a while, I come to no conclusion. So I then continue to walk.

I eventually come to a small, somewhat sheltered area. Sheltered by black ice formations, that is. I catch a movement from out of the corner of my eye. I turn to face whatever-it-was, but nothing was there. I begin walking again… When suddenly, several monstrous figures surround me. One of them is a Lizard man with pitch black scales, teeth as sharp as daggers and a powerful tail flicking quickly from side to side. His arms ended in monstrous talons that could tear me to shreds in an instant, from the looks of it. He seemed to be sizing me up, with large yellow eyes. There was also a bat-man with a disfigured face. It looked as though his eyes had been clawed out… Though they hadn’t really been, if he was a bat. He’d have started out with no eyes. He also had large ears, as you’d expect from a bat, and his arms had been replaced by jet-black wings, ending in small hands, with even smaller claws. Another was an eagle-man, who looked just as you’d expect an eagle-man to look, if he had black feathers. His face was dominated by a cruel yellow beak, and hooked talons at the end of his feet scraped the snow and ice underneath him. Just like the bat-man, he had wings instead of arms. His shifty yellow eyes darted from side to side, pausing only for a moment to look at me. The fourth monster was… Well, there wasn’t much to him. He was just a shadowy, pitch black outline of a human form, with a slight slit for a mouth. Male, I think.

The lizard-man spoke up, in a raspy, throaty voice. “Well, it’ssss not much of a meal… Couldn’t you have found something a little bigger?” The bat-man replied in an unnaturally high-pitched voice, but it did seem to have an irritated tone to it. “Kehehehehehehe… A meal’s a meal, right? Besides, not many things live around here, and this one appeared in a concentrated source of power. She’ll taste better than she looks, honestly!” The lizard-man looked doubtful, (Though it was hard to tell with him being a lizard and all.) but made no further comment. I suddenly find myself becoming a lot more vocal. My voice was a bit shaky, and higher pitched than I assumed it was normally, but it couldn’t be helped. “W-who are you? Where am I? And what are you going to do?” The lizard-man gave me a devilish grin. I swear, I thought I was going to die then and there. I was provided a few more seconds to live due to the fact the lizard-man felt like answering my questions. “We’re no-one in particular… Asssssssss for what we’re going to do, we’re going to eat you. Welcome to Hell.”

 
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It looked as though his eyes had been clawed out… Though they hadn’t really been, if he was a bat. He’d have started out with no eyes.

[And I’d now like to point out that bats do have eyes, and are not actually blind at that. They just have somewhat weak eyesight, is all, and use echolocation in the dark. M’yes.]

 
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Originally posted by BCLEGENDS:

It looked as though his eyes had been clawed out… Though they hadn’t really been, if he was a bat. He’d have started out with no eyes.

[And I’d now like to point out that bats actually have fairly good eyesight. They just use echolocation in the dark, is all.]

[Orly? I’ll change that, then. Wait, no. If I didn’t know that, Violet isn’t likely to know that.]

 
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[eyeroll
She’s your character, not you. But whatever.]

 
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Originally posted by BCLEGENDS:

[eyeroll
She’s your character, not you. But whatever.]

[I know she’s not me. But if she knows more than me, things will get awkward, as I can’t back up anything she says. Plus, her mind is a mess, unlike mine, which is in fair working order.]

 
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[…mmkaaay.]

 
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Slander

Agh… What was that? I stand up, wobbly, dazed, confused. I look around my surroundings frantically, I walk a couple of steps before catching myself from falling, everything is on mute to me, everything, is just a blur. I look at my hands which seem grayish, I get on my knees for stability as I try to utter a word. I pay attention to whats arround instead of regaining focus. I see that im kneeling on this gray fllor with red streaks through it, to my left I see a lake of what appears to be rocks floating in queso with some salsa, I look at the lake which has stolen my attention. I stare at it as the lake unblurs and shows molten lava with rocks melting. My eyesight gets alittle better as I do a 360 degree turn. Im in a peninsula of molten fire, lava, ahead of me is a small opening out of the peninsula, I stand up and begin to swurve side by side as I try to exit before being knocked to the ground. I look up and my eyesight focus’ in onto this, this creature of the dark. He had large horns and had to be about 7 feet tall. He had popping muscles and his last strand of white t-shirt hangs by his side. He picks me up and he turned into this black whispy figure, almost like a shadow, black slimy tentacles [Ive seen enough hentai to know where this is going.] came up from the floor and imprisoned me in a chamber of tentacles which slowly got smaller and smaller, tighter and tighter, I feel like a cucumber in a vacuum packed bag. He held out the palm of his hand and slowly making it into a fist, every centimeter closer he gets to a fist, the more he crushes me. A deep menacing force shouts “ENOUGH!!”… it echoed through the sanctuary. The shadow opened his palms and the tentacles went down. I layed on the ground in terror with the heat of the lava filling the place. The shadow figure opened up his mouth which had to be a meter tall and two meters wide. He had 3 rows of teeth as he moved in closer, a fire blast shoved the shadowy figure to the rocky wall, just above the lava, 3 rings of fire tie him to the wall. A another demon walks up to me makes a whip out of a glwoing red loose metal of some sort, he takes a couple of lashes at the side of me, I see the whip coming for me, it lashes at me and in reflex I reach out to grab the whip, I some how caught it at the rapid speed it was being thrashed around. The red how metal burns through layers of skin on my hands while blood trinkled down my wrist, I knew if I let go, I would be lashed to death. I flung the whip backwards which just brought me up to the ground on my feet and made a large cut on my hand which seemed to be boiling. I crawled up onto his shoulders while screaming in pain from my hand, I snatched the whip from his hand and through it into the lake, He tries to shake me off, I hold onto his neck while he goes into a frenzy trying to get me off, he walks around shaking me as he takes a tumble into the lake of fire face first, I crawl back to land by walking on his legs, he gets his head up and looks at me, his face, boiled, he almost doesnt have a face left, I kick his foot making him top heavy and dipping into the lava killing him. In victory I take one of his horns and cut off his leg which I nible on for awhile. The heat from the lave must be getting to me… My vision blurs to pixels. Another demon rampages up towards me in flames, punts me and I hit the rock wall, the force was strong enough to make me bounce back to the peninsula, I wo-wouldnt be suprised if I-I dont have inter-internal bleeding… The same voice shouts “Ive had enough with you!” He faces me “You… come with me before I change my mind about helping you.” I get up, dazed, and attempt to walk towards him, I get into a small passage way and I get off balance and I fall off the side of the walk way into the lake, I close my eyes in mid air knowing im done for, I feel intense heat crawl over my back. I open my eyes to see hot air is keeping me from falling, the person leading me out must’ve been doing it. I spring back up on my feet as I limp my way to where he is taking me.
`New Here?`
“Sort of…”
`Figured.`
“How can you tell?”
`For starters, everybody down here is chasing you down for your soul, they wish to feed upon you to make them grow, grow stronger.`
“Where are you taking me? And how come?”
`Im taking you to my fort, or house I like to call it.`
“Hold on just a seconds, I dont even know where the hell I am! Why is the temperature here more then the sun? Where am I?”
He laughs at my foolishness `Chill out with the questions, and for where you are, you nailed it, and I highly doubt its hotter than the sun here.`
“That still dosent answer my question, where am I?”
`Oh! Where the hell are you? I thought you ment it as in im in hell!`
I grow speechless.
“I-Im de-dead?”
`And then the dumbass gets it.`
My stomach twists and turns.
“Agh… my stomach.”
`Chill out where here…`
He kicks at the ground which feels like an earthquake, the ground breaks apart like the first peel of a banana. He take the ground and peels it, I look down in there which looks like a chasm of sorts.
`Well… are you going to go?`
“You dont think its dangorous? I might fall and di-”
`Your already dead dumb f#ck!`
He shoves me into the chasm which I hit the ground, softly actually. I look up and see its not a chasm, more of a hole. He jumps in after mand closes the ground and lights a couple of lanterns.
AGGHH! My stomach!”
`So the demon is settling in eh? Drink this`
He handed me some purple drink.
“What it suppose to do?”
I drink the weird drink.
`You will find out soon enough…`
His voice fades out as I pass out in his hole.

 
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Fondo

Death is rather like a nap. I don’t know when I drifted into it, if I did.

My first thoughts when I find myself able to think. My first observations, perhaps, about death.

Death wasn’t something I had been unfamiliar to, in my life. Of course, life as a ranger is hardly like the life of a soldier, where death is as commonplace as breathing. But it IS true that I have seen death, and the dead in the face more times than I can count. I have seen friends die, relatives die, enemies die, even people I did not know die. Yet, strangely, I had never pondered into the inner workings of the great ‘life’ system, which would end, without fail, in death. Had never thought of what death might be, or what might happen thereafter.

The forests were not forgiving. One who entered would be wise to know his destination and his motives. I have always believed that nature can sense the temperament of beings, big and small. Those who wish to harm it, always come to a regrettable end, while its lovers will never really die. Nature is alive in itself, yet, strangely conflicting though it may seem, unable to defend itself from its foes by itself. Having spent every year of my life, from the dawn of it all, to the dusk of now, close to wildlife and forestry, I have long since learned that forests are the where nature has its strongest grasp.

It is strange, how I am not at all perturbed by my ability to think even though I am death. Perhaps it is because I am still unable to accept that I am dead for sure. It must have got messed up somewhere, somehow. But…

I know too, by instinct, that something is wrong. Having gone by instinct a lot in my life, I also know not to discard what it says at a whim. No pain. No feeling. No body. It is as if I am just a mind, floating endlessly. Emotions, Memories, Thoughts: but no Being. No Physical Being.

Suddenly, my eyes open, The movement is so sudden that it leaves me momentarily shocked. As a person stricken with paralysis feels a surge of indescribable emotion when he finds himself capable of motion, so do I, who had been a drifting sentient particle for an immeasurable amount of time, feel, able to see, which must also mean that I am alive. Or am I?

With wonder akin to superstition, I look around, examining my surroundings. I am in a moderate sized forest clearing. Sunlight, warm and full of life, plays across my face through gaps between dark and rustling foliage, evoking a comfortable, almost sleep-inducing feeling within me. A faint sound of birdsong reaches my ears faintly, as welcome and familiar to me as music. Judging by the position of the sun and its color, it is hardly past noon.

Slowly, sensation returns to the rest of my being. A dull pain pulses through my forehead, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly. It is almost as if someone is hitting me with a blunt hammer.

Something irks me. I am lying on a warm, hard surface, but, for some reason, I seem to be feeling a bit more than usual. It is difficult to explain, but it is almost as if I have grown additional limbs. This strikes to me as odd, but I push it out of my head. For the moment, I need to find out where I am.

My hands move, and, carefully, I bring them up to my face to feel it. Nothing broken, no damage whatsoever. Strange. They had struck me in the face first…

And then, suddenly, I blink. Twice. I had been lying with my face half raised to the sky, half leaning on the side and, within my range of vision, only a few feet from my position stands a creature unlike any I have seen before. It resembles, to an extent, a tiger, only, those two great wings sprouting from its back can’t be real, can they? As if to answer my question, the creature flaps both of its wings, and takes a few more steps towards me.

That’s when fear grips me. With difficulty, I try to push myself up to my feet. Strangely, I find myself unable to do so. It is almost as if my lower body has become non-responsive. On the other hand, the creature is getting closer now. It will be upon me in a second. Gathering all my willpower, I force myself to my feet. Something happens, a surge of pain nearly makes me go blind, something ‘tinks’ in my head and then, before I know it, I feel as if I have grown two more hands.

It is impossible to imagine my panic as I hasten to examine myself. My heart beats rapidly, and my breathing convulses as my eyes sweep across the body of the horse, seemingly starting from MY waist. “No!” I cry out, my voice cracked and utterly unlike my own as I close my eyes. “NOOO!!!!”

“Peace… er, calm down…” The gentle, matter-of-fact voice, emitting from so close to me, momentarily strikes me dumb. With a double-take, I open my eyes to find the previous creature looking down up at me. Up close, I realize that the apparently ferocious tiger face has something humane in it. Those eyes are not the dumb, beseeching eyes of an animal, but intelligent, commanding eyes of a human. As I stare down, it opens its mouth again.

“Poooh… It has been some time before I saw another half-animal soul in Mediorum.” The voice, now that I am feeling slightly better, is actually quite a charming female voice. A bit on the low-pitched end.

“W-where am I?” I ask, taking a step back, and jumping at the sound of hooves. Oh God, those hooves are mine. Those legs are mine! I am a horse… with a human head and arms…

The tiger raises a paw to its mouth, as if yawning. “Mediorum, silly. How many times do you need repeating?”

“I…I….” I just stammer mindlessly, my head spinning with a mixture of confusion and panic-induced exhaustion.

“Pardon me. I think I have been harsh on you… You see, I was just thinking what a perfect place for resting this is. The environment is so peaceful here, isn’t it? Mostly thanks to the neutral energy radiating from the Medial Node…” I briefly wonder whether the creature is trying its best to increase my bewilderment. As I stand silently, the tiger yawns again, before cracking a rather alarming smile, revealing its mouthful of teeth.

“Pah, very sorry…. I am just so insensible sometimes. Of course you don’t know you are dead…”

“I am dead!?” I ask, my voice growing shriller as I stare horrified. “You mean… you mean…” Well, that actually clears a lot of confusions. That knife was probably the last thing I felt on that side of eternity.

“Precisely, new soul… by the way, we should actually exchange names before we go on further. I am Cerys Elizabeth Mcdonald. You can call me Cerys or Eli.”

“I am Frenos Fondo.” The words slide glibly off my tongue, though I feel a twinge of suspicion. Something tells me that there is a mistake somewhere.

“Pretty name… I will call you, ah, Fondo.” her voice is so drawling that, combined with the pleasant soporific atmosphere, it almost pulls my eyelids together.

“So you were saying…?” I urge her on.

She doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry. “Picturesque, this place. Oh, where was I again? Mediorum. You are dead and in Mediorum.” She grins again, quite happily. “Perfect place for spawning, I think. Also, did you know that you are quite handsome?”

My patience nearly fails, but I try again. “Cerys, can’t you help me a bit? What happened? How did I come here?”

“Petty, aren’t you?” she winks in a good-natured way.. “Of course I am trying to help you. Let’s see. Mediorum is that place between Heaven and Hell, you know. Those souls that are neither too chaotic nor too orderly or whatever get to come here. It is a pretty swell place if you like variety. We have all kinds of people and all kinds of places and such. And the best part is, no one openly hates us.”

“There is Heaven and Hell too?”

“Puh, those.” she waves an airy paw. “Celestia is for angelic good people. Quite a beautiful place it is, or so I have heard. Infernus is hell, and it is quite hellish unless you really like fire and chaos and giggling and talking about pain…” She stares meditatively at the sun, still grinning. “I don’t know why I am feeling so happy today… Anyway, back to you, Senor Fondo. You have popped up here right in the center of Medial Node. Medial Node? Oh, that’s where the neutral energy is most concentrated. You should be feeling its effects slightly.”

“I only feel sleepy.” As if to accentuate the truth of my statement, my jaws automatically part and I yawn.

“Pretty funny way it has shown itself in you. You are currently absorbing the energy, you know. You will get used to it, and then it will be just like champagne. Anyway, back to you. Those angelfish over in Heaven get pretty wings and stuff, while demonic hellhounds get to be… well, hellhounds. They are pretty monstrous up close. We of the Midgard get to be anything! Of course, without much of a choice… You were a nature lover?” The question is sudden, but I don’t hesitate to answer. She nods matter-of-factly.

“Pleased to know that. Many animal lovers get to have half animal bodies. You look quite handsome, as I said, despite being half animal… or maybe because you are half animal…”

“Cerys… er, maybe I should call you a-”

“Perfect. Calling me Cerys is enough. I love all half-animals and things. Since you spawned right in the cneter of a node, you must be quite special. I am honored to meet you.”

“The honor is mine… are there other souls around here?”

“Plenty of them. Just follow me, and don’t walk around without my guidance. I know this place pretty well. Some of them call me ‘Lady Longwinded’. It might have to do with a really long poem I wrote once. Oh, you must read that sometime, and don’t forget to…” Listening, but only just so, I follow the four-legged figure into the forest, having submitted to fate.

 
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Violet

I really don’t like the prospect of being eaten. “E-eat me? Please don’t!” The bat-man addresses me. “Kehehehehe… Do you really think you have any choice?” He then proceeds to rush at me. I do the most logical thing, and lower my horns and try and butt him. He lets out an ear-piercing shriek as I pierce the thin membrane of his wings. The shriek hurts my ears, to say the least. Meanwhile, the lizard and eagle had come up from behind and above me, respectively. The shadow-man just stood there, observing. Not that I knew this. I quickly pulled my horns out of the membrane, tearing it more, but the resultant force caused me to crash backwards, narrowly avoiding a lunge downwards by the eagle. My horns smacked against the lizard, but they didn’t do much. As I tried to run away from them, my chains swung around and caught the eagle around the the throat. It was pretty obvious I couldn’t run now, at least not without untangling the eagle, which would take longer than I had. “Well, it lookssssssssssss like you’re a little stuck there… You’re going to pay, oh yesssssssssssssssss…” The lizard gripped the other chain. The eagle then untangled himself, obviously confident I couldn’t escape. The eagle and bat advanced menacingly towards me.

The chain the lizard was holding suddenly became ridiculously heavy. Or dense, rather. I think. I suddenly realise that the chains were much lighter than they should’ve been in the first place. And why were the chains glowing? Hell, why was I glowing? Last time I checked, I didn’t glow red. Which was only a few seconds ago. The lizard swore loudly, and the bat and eagle paused for a second, apparently suprised. More on instinct than anything, I proceed to take advantage of their distraction. I proceed to hurl the chain skyward with alarming force considering my size. I’m not even sure what I’m doing at this point. The lizard then proceeds to laugh at my aim. The chain then becomes ridiculously heavy, smashing down onto the lizard. Then the chain lightened itself again. The lizard is probably dead. Which makes me a murderer, which is not a comforting thought. The eagle and bat proceed to flee, the eagle by air and the bat rather clumsily by foot.

[Hooray for using clothing and physical features as deadly weaponry!]

Of course, I didn’t like the thought of being a murderer. I was probably a demon due to the horns, but that didn’t mean I was EVIL. I proceed to curl up in the fetal position and cry. And the shadow-man continued to stare at me. Which was not very comforting, seeing as he presumably wanted to eat me.

 
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[Is the shadow man meant to be Shade?]

 
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[No. Violet is in a cold place, Shade is in a hot one.]

[And I couldn’t control Shade anyway.]

[Feel free to take a trip to the Black-Ice mountains, though.]

 
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[Mmhmm.]

Shade Eclipsion
When my next bout of madness ends (or insanity… no, that’s general madness, ignore that), I take the time to observe my surroundings (I suppose those are what surround me… surround, though?). No demons… maybe they saw my fight with those other demons, and ran off scared (scared… scare… what?). Everything else is as it was, though – the lava river is still flowing, the area is still completely decimated (so what the hell does ‘decimated’ mean, then?), and the mountains are still that weird sheen of silver (sheen is a new word, too… wasn’t there this actor who did sheen? no, his name was sheen… erm…). Odd.

 
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Slander

I awaken in the hole laying on the ground. My stomach feels much better but my skin, not so much.
`look, hes awake…. heh heh, feeling alright?`
“Yeah, just my skin, tingles, like as if it were numb.”
`Alright… Eyesight?`
Ive actually forgotten about my eyesight untill he brought it up.
“Its normal”
`Good good… Head ache? Itchy Eyes? Frenzy for Blood?`
“No, No, N- wait what?”
`Kidding… Alright, how abo-`
In mid sentence he did a swift kick to my head, but he never made contact, just but neck, about 2 inches away. He mumbles something and writes it down on a peice of paper.
“What did you say?”
`Nothing… Nothing imporatant anyways…`
“No, you dont just say somthing then act like it never happened.”
`Nothing that concerns you…`
“Alright, im going to take a walk…”
I get up and head to the ceiling and start to push on the ground.
`DONT!`
He used some kind of force to shove me to the couch I was laying in.
“What? Why?”
`You cant leave till it happens….`
“What happens?”
`You will know when time tells… In the meen time make yourself at home, I have some training dummeis you can beat up on.`
“Alright…”
I head over to the training dummy and practice my martial arts.

 
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MRN
The two finally reach my location. As the two come closer, I can see what the owners of the voices look like. Evan is a seemingly thin-looking male, though he is wearing a robe and head covering. The other one, a woman, looks much less fragile than Evan. She seems to be slightly larger than him, not to mention having the obvious presence of scars on her neck.
“Very odd indeed,” I think.
“So this is the new one, eh?” Asks Evan to whom I assume is his partner.
“Yes, I’m around these fields every day, I’ve never seen him before.” Replies the scarred woman.
“Hello, um…” I begin, “I’m ah… my apologies, I can’t seem to remember my name.”
“Hm…” says the woman, “we can probably guess that you died in some kind of full body-damaging incident then.”
“Wait! ‘Died?’, I ask her, shocked, “And what do you mean by ‘full body-damaging incident?’”
“First of all, you have amnesia, meaning you must have suffered brain damage, and second, your limbs are detached from your body.” she says relatively calmly.
“Oh…” I reply, saddened, “so I didn’t survive the explosion…”
“I feel sorry for you,” says Evan, “I’d hate to be in your place.”
The woman elbows Evan, before saying, “I think he means that that was a tragic death indeed.”
“Sure… Now, can anyone help me with my lack of body parts problem?” I asked, “I thought souls came assembled.”
She laughs a little, then says, “Sure, Evan can carry your parts back with us to Asphodia, that’s a city of souls just up this path here.”
“That would be great,” I say, “I think I could use at least a substitute name though.”
“Well, he looks kind of like a puppet, I mean, look at how his veins attach to his limbs like that.” Evan whispers to the woman.
He did a really bad job of hiding his opinion from me, but it’s not like I can see my hands or feet right now.
“Actually, that gives me an idea,” she whispers back.
I lay there with a dazed look on my disembodied face.
She turns to me saying, “It’s better than nothing, but we could call you ‘Marionette.’”
“No thanks?” I say questioningly.
“We could abbreviate it,” she replies, “How about ‘MRN.’”
“Too impersonal…” says Evan.
“Well, if he wants a real name, how about…” she thinks for a while, then snaps her fingers, “Yes! How about ‘Mario’?”
“Seriously?” I ask, “Oh whatever, it’ll do better than ‘MRN.’”
“That reminds me,” she says, “we’re siblings, we died when our house was robbed while we were young, the burglar cut both our throats.”
“That’s why I cover up, unlike the spoiled showoff here.” says Evan.
“You’re lucky I can’t threaten you with death here,” she whispers to Evan.
“So anyway,” I try to break the awkwardness, “What are your names?”
“I’m Evan,” he says, “And my older sister is Natalie.”
“Pleased to meet you both,” I say, “Now, can I go get put back together or something?”
“Sure, let’s go,” Natalie says.
Evan gathers up my parts, with the exception of my head, which Natalie felt like carrying.

“This doesn’t feel any better than how Evan was carrying me…” I complain.
“Sorry, at least I’m not holding you up by your hair,” Natalie replies.
Evan grunts.
“Wait, Evan said there were veins attached to my limbs,” I say, “Does that include my head?”
“Well, they look like veins, but I don’t think they are veins,” she says, “But yes, there is a… thing on your head.”
“Can you try holding me by that then?” I ask.
She grabs hold of the vein, it feels strangely natural compared to being held any other way.
“Much better, thank you, Natalie.” I say.
We then head toward Asphodia.

 
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Jared
I sat there in the library reading a book titled Spirit Energy when i heard the door open, then close. I was so suprised that i nearly fell out of my seat. I had gotten up and knocked the chair down.
I layed there on the ground for a few seconds when i heard chuckling.
A man in a white robe had walked in. He appeared to have a bald head with a long, white beard. He also had the lightest shade of blue eyes, and a long white robe. The robe appeared to have blue symbols on it, of some kind that i couldnt identify.
“Who are you?” i asked.
“Who are you?” he said to me.
“My name is Jared.”
“How did you get in here?”
“I dont know. One minute i was sitting in a car eating KFC when we got rammed by a semi-truck.”
“Ah. I understand.”
“What do you mean? Why have i woke up in this weird library? Why am i dressed like this?”
“You are dead.”
“What?!”
“You died in that car.”
“If im dead… then… then… how am i here now?”
“You are in Heaven, or as we call it, Celestia.”
“I-i-i-i’m in h-heaven?”
“Yes, you are. And you have great potential as an angel.”
“Why is that?”
“Because you have woken up in one of the most powerful Celestial Nodes that exists. You are in the Great Library.”
“B-but… what about Mom? Is she s-still alive?”
“Yes, but… there is something you need to know…”
“What?”
“She wasn’t your mother.”
“T-that isn’t true. You’re lying.”
“I can assure you, i am telling you the whole truth.”
I take a moment to collect myself. How isn’t she my mother? Shes taken care of me for as long as i can remember…
“Then who is?”
“I’ll show you, if you follow me.”

We proceed to walk out of the doors. I still seem to be astonished by the fact i can see, as i take in every detail of the chestnut doors. After walking out of the room, i see some sort of courtyard. There are thousands of angels walking back and forth, to and from buildings, along paths. As we walk down the marble staircase (I slid down the banister), three angels walked up the stairs. One of them giggled a little when he saw what i did.

“By the way, i never caught your name.”
“Technically speaking, your laws of physics would prohibit that. My name is David.”

I sit down on a bench to rest a little bit.

i wish i could fly… that would make things so much easier…

Suddenly, i felt the bench lift out from under me.
I opened my eyes.
Or rather, I was floating above the bench.

Wow! Im floating! this is cool… uh… Left!

I swerved to the left.

Right.

I floated to the right.

i heard David give a small chuckle.
“Well, i guess you now know how to fly!”
“I do?… Oh, i do!”
“By the way, whenever you dont want your wings, just think of them gone. They will then go away.”

I floated back down to the ground.

Cool.

 
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James Hawking

Rina was dead. I attended her funeral today.

Now I sat on the bed in my locked room, photos of her spread all around me. Loud music blared through my headphones, Rina’s heavenly voice drowning out all else in the world.

I looked at the large mahogany framed photo in front of me. It was taken during the night of our graduation dance. Rina looked absolutely stunning, her white dress complimenting my dark suit perfectly. Our arms were linked, our hands held, our fingers intertwined. We were beaming happily, having the time of our lives.

I looked at another photo. This one was a fake wedding photo, something we made for fun when we were bored, Photoshopped to make it look quite convincing. And another one, this time Rina by herself, wearing a white sundress, standing on the beach and winking at the camera. And another one, Rina wearing a blue and purple traditional Japanese kimono, holding a paper umbrella of a similar color scheme. And another one, Rina cosplaying as Hatsune Miku in an anime convention, her hair and eyes a vibrant turquoise. I chuckled a little despite myself. Mistaking Vocaloid for an anime was one of the few ways to annoy my girlfriend; I found out the hard way years ago when I asked which anime the girl with teal twintails was from.

…pazuru noyouni tsunagi awaseta mirai
boku ga naku shitano wa doko no
piisu darou
[…future that fits like a puzzle]
[the piece I lost]
[I wonder where it fits?]

sabishi sade yogoshita kokoro
masshirona kuuhaku ni uka bete
munashi sadake ga nokoru kono heya de
sotto meguruyo kimi no kioku wo…
[mind tainted by loneliness]
[in this emptiness-filled room]
[separated by white space]
[wrapping around your memory…]

How ironic. This song was the last song we performed together. I didn’t really understand the Japanese, but Rina’s translation gave me a gist of what the song was about. And now, the song fit my current situation just a bit more accurately than I would’ve preferred. I felt as though I lost a piece of my heart. Here I was, my mind tainted by loneliness, in a room that seemed empty without the person I loved, my entire being wrapped around memories of Rina…

From what I understood, the song was something about a couple breaking up. I remembered listening to this when we briefly broke up last year, during the time when many teenagers entered their depressed or “emo” stages. Luckily, we got back together, and I “found the piece I lost”. But now I lost the piece again, and this time it’s permanent…

I remembered myself from back then, before I met Rina. I was antisocial and hostile to everyone around me. Then came the girl who lifted me straight out of my dark, gloomy hell, and took me to heaven where all were bright and sunny. Then I lost her, and sank back into the black abyss. Then I found her again, and we soared higher than we ever did. And now… I didn’t think I could ever escape this bleak place again.

Or could I?

Of course I could. I glanced at the knife beside me, its steely edge gleaming in the half-light. I could escape this place. I could reach the zenith, reunite with Rina, and never go back to that place again.

I began to laugh, a bitter and mirthless sound. I thought about my mom, my stepdad, my friends, and everyone else I knew. I’m sorry, guys, but… It’s been a nice life, but there was one person that I could not live without. That person was no longer in this life. Goodbye…

I did not feel much pain as the steel blade cut my veins open; I was too numb for that. As blood oozed out of the wound, I began to recall all the memories I shared together with Rina. The world began to fade away. All that remained were the memories, and Rina’s lovely voice echoing in my mind. Even those slowly seemed to meld together. Rina, see you soon…

- – -

It hurt. My whole body burned. The agony was indescribable. It charred my flesh, vaporized my blood, and seared my bones. I hissed, sending a blast of red and black flames toward the bleak sky covered in volcanic ashes.

My mind was a haze, a chaotic maelstrom of thoughts and memories that made little to no sense. Who am I? What am I? Where am I? Why am I here? I hissed again, red and black flames vomiting from my mouth to burn a piece of obsidian to ashes. A distant part of my mind wondered how that was possible since rocks weren’t supposed to be flammable. But the excruciating pain was too great for me to dwell on such thoughts.

“Hey, look at that!” I heard an ugly slurping sound behind me. “Fresh meat!”

“Fresh meat!” Several more voices added in. I examined them. They looked like creatures straight out of a horror film, but the agony I felt overpowered any fleeting thoughts of fear. The leading one was a vaguely humanoid creature, its entire body coated by a sickly green and black sludge that hissed and burned when it made contact with the ground.

Fresh meat? I did not like being fresh meat. If they saw me as fresh meat, then they must burn.

“Not gonna say anything, huh?” The sludge creature sneered. “Infernus too scary for ya? Well, no worries, newbie, in a minute you aren’t gonna be feeling anything!”

This creature disgusted me. I wanted it to feel the same agony I was feeling. It must burn. Opening my mouth wide, I hissed, unleashing a wide blast of red and black flames that engulfed the creature. The sludge monster screamed. Yes, this was more like it. Less pain for me, more pain for my enemies. Letting out a screech, I stood fully upright and spread my arms to the side, dark flames erupting from both palms. Minutes later all the demonic creatures were gone, reduced to nothing but charred ashes. I allowed the flames to cease, feeling my own pain subduing as well.

Infernus; was that what this place was called? Why am I here? What was I, and what have I become?

[BC, if you want character interaction, then assume that James spawned in the same Infernal Node as Shade. You can see the pillar of Abyssfire he released, and go toward his direction.]