[Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

The story unfolds around Osaka, Japan, with the unlocking of one girl's hidden potential, and a gathering of Young mages whom are destined to change the fate of the Earth.
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Kai
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Re: [Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

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Awed by what simply grasping Maelstrom had done, Miyuki took her time to analyze the newly completed staff as the others dealt with the orb; and the fiery godette that came forth from it. Normally quick to react, the young woman was stayed when instead Riley's double handled the situation instead.

"Odd that I'm given a stave inscribed about not needing or using a sword, considering that's what I normally do..." she mumbled to herself, planting the now rather tall staff in the ground for a moment before striding back closer to the group. She remained quiet for the time being but made her presence known by emanating a slight chill; hopefully to aid in cooling down the multiple hot-headed individuals in their group- not that she had much to say; Ice queen or no she was probably just as hot-headed as the rest of them.

"Perhaps instead of discussing our new friend, we should instead head for our destination. We haven't much time and I'm certain we will come across more roadblocks along the way."

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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

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As if they had been directly commanded, the Spriggans that surrounded the former battlefield broke away. The thin line that surrounded the mages eventually began to swell as more of the wooden creatures lumbered out of the woods, their glowing eyes bouncing up and down over the grassy knolls into the yawning craters. These that followed carried clubs, hewn wooden shields, and sharp rocks, a few of them looked more like twisted mirrors of the trees the group saw as they entered into the world.

They began urging the Mages forward, starting with Ruarc; they began tugging at his cape, pointing at the path ahead. The Centrifuge lay beyond it and the small army was determined in keeping everyone together.

One tried moving Aulan, and got a fresh gout of flame to the head, sending part of the host scurrying in a smokey haze. While this distracted her, a squad of squat looking Spriggans scooped her up, carrying her along. They were like a wave of green and brown bushes on the move with little glowing eyes. As they moved, they rattled their heads, speaking in a language that ranged between a rainmaker and a woodblock. They tugged at hems and loose clothing to gently urge the others along. Most of the small creatures hadn't the bravery to approach Jane so they took to leading No Name instead. Most took kindly to Miyuki, almost overly so, as many of them crowded her to show her the way. She had one on each arm, reaching up to tug at her hands like excited children. Riley and her clone were scooped up in the same way as Aulan, with almost a strange level of familiarity. They bounced along at knee-height, happy to carry the tired explorers if they needed to.

"The Spriggans were a creation of Modeka, an instauration of forest spirits that came to life here in the Sprigganwald," chimed Eryl, trying to be cheery, "they follow commands well, but they have minds of their ow-- ow ow ow!"

The docile Spriggans turned on Eryl as she began to speak, throwing acorns at her from pouches at their hips, rattling their head in sharp, short spats. Besides this little outburst, the trip continued in relative silence as a sense of uneasy calm overtook the air around them. Aulan didn't speak, instead choosing to let her eyes wander, taking in the dark, somber world her home had become. She looked and looked, before spying a blonde head in the crowd of mossy, leafy pates. Zulan was quietly following Miyuki, her big-eyes stared ahead, carrying out a silent vigil for something more far distance than their own eyes could see. She didn't respond as Aulan called out to her, and only made any motion to respond non-verbally if Miyuki acknowledged her.

Tulan followed Ruarc in a similar manner, staring into the back of the man's knees. She stopped when he stopped, she turned when he turned. The small alchemist seemed to move in tandem with him. Like her sister, Tulan only seemed to respond to Ruarc, as if he were the only person there.

As the group approached the edge of the town, they could see abandoned, broken buildings of a style reminiscent of a sleepy Irish city. If Ruarc had been there before, he would see it resembled an older Westport. However there was no Ocean in sight, just a range of houses and businesses on a road that lead to the center of town, on the way to the centrifuge.

Before they could go any further, two of the spriggans hobbled forth, in distinct styles. They threw up their hands at Ruarc, signalling a stop for the entire group. The small forestling to his left was shrouded in a cloak of leaves, and made slashing motions with his small arrowheads. The one to his right wore an outer carapace of some large bug creature with a cape that looked like a pair of wings, this one made lunging, stabbing motions resembling a lancer. They chittered in their unknown language, a pattern that would take time for even the mages, who spoke a wide array of languages, to understand. Laoise, however, could make out that they were trying to warn them.

Their performance done, the two Spriggans each pointed in town, tilting their heads to see if their message was received.

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Straken
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Re: [Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

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Ruarc was stoic as he walked along. The initial fight simply upon entering this realm had taken a toll on the party, and one could reason that it would get more demanding as they came up against Percy's other familiars. As such, the druid focused himself on the path ahead, rather than on the myriad of petite spriggans milling around the group. Not ten minutes prior his own familiar had been run through by a hellscape version of the tiny god that now followed him like a duckling, and now he felt as though he were witnessing the Battle of Agincourt presented by Sesame Street. So with his jaw set, he marched as though the next god was just around the bend.

Before long, the group came within sight of what, to Ruarc, was almost as dissonant as the tiny spriggans; a cozy little town that looked like it had been picked straight up off of the Irish coast. Stopping in time with the spriggans' warning, the druid watched the spirits pantomime. Thinking it over a bit, he ran through the catalog of deities his friend kept company with, tipped off by the mimed lancing motions. Turning to look over his shoulder at Tulan, Ruarc asked his question with one simple name, "Akanus?"

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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

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Tulan stared blankly at Ruarc, silent at his word, but attentive that he spoke to her. Her eyes were lost in the distance, but her line of sight passed through him somewhere, that much he could make out through her thick glasses. The small construct's face bunched up in the first reflection of emotion since she had formed, before it washed away again.

She reached in her robe and pulled out a small rope tied into into an elaborate knot, a small silver needled pressed through it. Wordlessly, this small token was offered to Ruarc.

At Ruarc's front, the Spriggans were high-fiving. The one with the small arrowheads pointed at itself repeatedly, nodding his head purposefully at him.

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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

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The mess that was fickle Aulan and the eccentric Riley was neatly tidied up by the onslaught of Spriggans, leaving Jane nought but to follow along.

The gunslinger was afforded a wide, circular berth by the saplings around them, which struck her as odd after a few moments of watching them swarm everyone else. Well, she had two options: own it, or force it.

She decided to force it. Slowly, she approached No Name, where a couple Spriggans had taken to the saddle with Eryl. With surprising stealth she plucked one from the saddle, gave him a mischievous grin, and tucked him into one pocket.

If the Elementalia thought she was all cold steel, she'd show them her softer side. Well, soft leather side at least.

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Kai
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Re: [Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

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Miyuki tried to get something out of Zulan, asking about the Elementalia Magicus, or the spriggans, or anything, but after receiving naught but the most basic of indications with what seemed like no meaning, the Ice Mage gave up, following the swarming spriggans as they went. She stayed silent after that, somewhat awed by the huge number of small creatures, as well as this new area, of which she hadn't remembered from her trips to this realm in the past.

"What do you want us to do then?" She asked the two spriggans whom had mimed a warning or something to the group of mages. "Is that another foe, or a friend whom has lost themselves, like Tulan and Zulan?"

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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

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Jane's Spriggan began shaking its wooden head as it was tugged off the horse, its brethren watched in wide-eyed awe as she placed him in one of her larger pockets. A moment passed when it seemed as though all eyes were on the gunslinger. One of the Spriggans, roughly brambly and fatly circular in shape, was blown across the path in a bouncing manner, punctuating the scene.

Rattle.

Rattle, rattle, rattle!

Suddenly, the berth became a dearth of personal space as some the Spriggans, even those too big for pockets began vying for a ride, tossing their arms up. Jane's pocket-spriggan began throwing acorns at the swarm, protecting its spot.

"My my, I didn't know you had such a winsome side to you," laughed Eryl, giving of a regal air despite the occasional acorn bouncing off her head, "I believe the appellation that the youth use is... cute?"

At the fore of the group, with Ruarc and Miyuki, the Spriggans continued their pantomiming. They nodded their head at Miyuki's assertion, but did not clarify which. With that, they proceeded to continue their act. Another of the leafy people came by on all fours, scooping up the one Ruarc had pointed out as Akanus. As one, they reeled back, giving the appearance of a centaur, and began galloping about. They sped by and caught a group of unaware Spriggans at their side with the less pointed end of the spear. The pair rode on before spinning back around, the spear going to the shoulder and recoiling several times. Those that hadn't fallen before, faked their deaths onto the ground.

The theater continued, as another group came by, pretending to be horrified by the scene. As they patrolled through, one actor of the dead rose suddenly, the hooded Spriggan from before. With a quick stab, it pretended to jab its arrowhead into the chest of their victim before throwing its hood off. The others turned around, looking at the murderer who had taken on an appearance similar to the one they had killed. They all shrugged, including the infiltrator, and walked on a few more steps before they began to be slaughtered by the impostor Spriggan, backstabbed one by one.

The scene froze with a mound of corpses and the three responsible for it standing triumphant; the centaur of two, and the hooded Spriggan.

One of the dead rattled their head, looking at Miyuki rather intently. They waved their hand, pointing to where they had been stabbed, showing the lack of a wound to her clearly, chattering reassuringly. With a thumbs up, and an affirming nod, it slowly set itself back down into the role of murdered Spriggan.

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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

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Jane offered Eryl a sly smile. "More n a couple gents have fought for less n a ride in my pocket," she countered. "But I guess my reputation has truly preceded me."

She spoke while deflecting seed missiles with both hands. Then she came to a full stop, stomping one heel and planting hands on her hips. The acorns ceased, but one final errant seed bounced off her cheek. She glared a moment at the perpetrator, then looked at the rest of them. Slowly, they shied away.

She scanned them briefly, assessing those she deemed the bravest among them, and picked up 3: one for her free pocket, and one for each shoulder. "There. Train's full, chillun." She gave a dismissive, backhanded wave. "Go on."

All while playing this game, she has been watching the performance at the front, assessing just what kind of threat must be ahead. A knight and an assassin, it seemed. Perhaps a third?

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Gwathdraug
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Re: [Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

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Riley, her mask white, allowed the spriggans to her tumble her forward after the rest of the group. While her wounds had been healed, coming out of the incarnation she had donned to fight earlier was leaving her... listlessly - as if her brain was so packed of styrofoam that it couldn't place one thought close enough to another to make sense of anything. Riley, its mask black, on the other hand seemed to be pulling more than enough energy for two. The copied figure was taking one light-footed jump after another and twisted across the crowd of forest spirits. With a few twirls of its hands and snapping fingers the second Riley was pulling shimmering streamers of distorted heat to snake playfully around one spriggan after another.

One such serpent coiled its way back towards the seated Riley and unraveled itself into a warm pop of displaced air - sending the stage magician slipping over spriggantop until her sudden switch in momentum ceased when she came into contact with Aulan. Scratching an index finger against the part of her cheek covered by her new mask Riley looked towards the godling she had hit. "Sorry about-" The brown haired woman paused as the need to apologise for her clone's earlier assault entered her calculations. "-a lot of-"

"-arrogant whelp!" An identical voice cut through the stage magician's apology as from Aulan's other side a near identical woman leaned against the god child - the clone's elbow in full contact with Aulan's head. The second woman's dark, frowning, half-mask was matched by a hungry, teeth-barring grin. "Whelp! Tell me has Decanus been robbed by his current state or will his skill still prove enough to sate?"

From beside Aulan the other Riley gave the young goddess an encouraging smile from the half of her face that was unmasked. "Sorry-" The stage magician repeated softly before rocking backwards passing into her shadow Riley reached out tightly and grabbed for her clone's magic - slipping back out into space up and behind her copy. Peering from around her own shoulder, smile still apologetically in place, Riley grabbed herself in a headlock and pulled her second self off of its perch about the godling's head. "-for a lot of things."

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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter 1.2] The Call of the Centrifuge

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Aulan had inherited a lot of things from her parents, her mother's hair, her father's horns, but she seemed to lack their energetic zest. Where Aurus would have struck out against the taunting, she simmered. Where Zulan would have stood and admonished them both for their lack of control, her divine eyes considered them with a roiling boil bubbling beneath them. There was an unusual glow to the irises, as if lit by a light missing from the sky above them.

"You are forgiven," hissed Aulan, a resonance in her voice that hadn't been heard since the last time they spoke to one of the Gods in the saner days, "You are friends of the Magicus, but you walk with strangers."

The young godling turned her head mechanically away from Riley, revealing what seemed to be moving machinery where the nape of her neck met the rest of her patch-work metal body.

Eryl hunched in her saddle, feeling the encroaching stare, the triclops tried to focus on the moment.

"The Spriggans know people as Mister Caxton does, the beings here all feel his influence," explained Eryl, "If they are wary of you, it means he is wary of you." She looked to Miyuki, who had Spriggans big and small flowing in her wake, "If they adore you, then he must feel the same. Everyone here in this realm can only see the outside world through the lens of his eyes, as it has been since the days I studied here. The Font is an important organ in the Magicus, if it is sick he will be sick as well."

Having spoken enough to satisfy her ego, she changed the subject, "Are you not one for companionship, Miss Smith?"

Aulan's eyes narrowed, but addressed the more immediate threat to her left.

"Ms. Alstad," prompted Aulan respectfully, ignoring Riley's clone, "It's over, isn't it? My home. That's why mother won't respond to me, why I can't feel the others' presence, why the land feels... poisoned. This is what the scholar's called End Sequence, it only happens when they... he..."

Her eyes began to well up, those little lights flickering under pooling tears, "Percival is dead."

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