[The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

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Kokuten
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Re: [The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

Post by Kokuten »

"It is the park of Creative, where he placed his last works in the city before leaving." answered Bjorn, with an oddly even accent. The odinkine turned to the children in play, others like himself along with a few sprouty spriggans. They were tossing a ball around, a game of playful keep away, "If we are here, then I've been found out."

The weight of her feathered companion grew suddenly, and she felt him slide off her shoulder. First there was the feeling of talons, and then pressure of a person. Bjorn's black feathers melted away into hands, and his dark hair grew into something bright and fair. He landed next to her, and looked down at her with familiar blue eyes.

"You don't like my choice of words, Metal-eater?" asked Creative, revealing himself, "I am quite proud of that one. I have never been able to recall the nightmare as clearly than when I painted it. I think it's very powerful, especially if you view it from the river."

He made to walk to the river, before stopping, "You aren't in the mood for art, are you?"
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Straken
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Re: [The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

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“Oh, you’re havin’ a fuckin’ laugh, now ain’t ya?” Willow asked Creative with a weary look once the Artisan had changed his form. Magic, while neat, consistently presented the newfound mage with situations where she questioned things she would rather take at face value. “Where in this weird world is Bjorn? An’ don’ be saying there is no Bjorn, cause I seen’t the two o’ you in the same room few weeks back, ‘m pretty sure. To say nothing of Bjorn’s backstory with that one female odinkine, the number of times having a person rather than an odinkine would have been helpful like when Noble was on the fence about shooting me, or that ding dang kiss; not going there.”

The British lass planted a hand on her hip while pinching her brow with the other. There were a few other points she could bring up, but decided against side tracking more than needed. Focus on what was important Willow.

“Word’s fine, just misspelled,” she added once she’d taken a deep breath. “As for art, I was always more a fan of gym class. Did like finger painting and throwing stuff at a canvas, but I think that’s more just an affinity for making messes. But… that’s… that’s the Menagerie, right? The humans that cause cataclysms?”
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Kokuten
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Re: [The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

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"Bjorn is getting some well-earned rest," was all Creative had to say in regards to the odinkine. The mural had his attention now, and his silence was only enunciated by the sounds of the children playing. An evident pain struck him, something deep within his heart.

"The people in this scene have no name, all I know is that my Patron is one of them," explained Creative, pointing on, "it is the final vision from the Nightmare. Our story begins here, but it is just one of many that have played out in this cruel world."

The artisan came close to the wall, and placed his hand on the carved stone texture.

"There are always five."

His fingers traced to the dark demon in the center.

"There is always a traitor."

Then, he walked along the length of the composition to some green vines that had started to spread over it.

"The Patron has seen this play hundreds of times. It is this world's pattern, its comfort, its terrible work of the stage. He watches the world end the same way, every time. I am certain he nearly saw it end here, in this scene, if not for one thing..."

Creative pulled away the vines to reveal a white haired woman, winged, singing and carrying a wounded dove in her arms.

"... the presence of a variable."
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Straken
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Re: [The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

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“And this time around I’m the variable?” postulated the Brit, content knowing Bjorn was both real and alright. Setting her jaw and squinting at the mural, Willow did her best to observe the art. How much of this was literal, and how much of it was figurative? How much of it was true, and how much of it was fabricated? All of this was yet more stuff one of the other’s would probably be better suited for. Drysi was analytical, and Kat seemed like she’d been to an art gallery or two; hell, Johann and Vrey might even have insight about these kinds of realms or events. Willow just punched good. That, and running either her feet or her mouth.

“The Architect upstairs said something about me being a variable. Think he bamfed us here to try and scare me back home?”
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Kokuten
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Re: [The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

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The artisan pulled away a few more vines, revealing a three eyed woman, with black hair. She was hunched over a child, with a staff pointed at the others.

"If so, then I will consider it a compliment," mused Creative, smiling at the full work revealed, "The Patron is, at times, inscrutable, it is difficult to understand the motives of a creature who claims to have lived through so many of our lifetimes. Considering how little you know of this world, I don't know what you were supposed to get from it. Especially as you don't even have the word 'Denouement' in your language."

A small gasp stopped the conversation, from an odinkine child.

"Creative is back!" yelled the small harpy. The group of children playing behind her stopped, a mix of spriggans, golems, and another odinkine. In the next moment they came lumbering, flapping and running to them. As they rushed, Creative walked behind Willow to hide, and from the opposite side of her field of vision, emerged the spitting image of herself.

"Not so quick, kiddos," said Willow, looking at Willow, "you'll hafta guess which one a'us is Creative first!"

The children stood, amazed and stumped, their decision made only more difficult as the other Willow grabbed Willow's hands and spun her around. She turned her one way and then the other in a dance that delighted the kids. As they twirled, the other Willow spoke quietly.

"You did what you came here to do," she smiled sadly, "go home and live; what can one person do to change the fate of such a cruel world?"
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Straken
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Re: [The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

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For a bit Willow was happy to go along with the charade, but then Creative had to go and try and change her mind too. It was predictable, but it also spoiled the fun. Creative had been the one to start her down the road, gave her the means to pass a number of trials, and even inadvertently helped her discover a couple new metals. So now she had to put her foot down. Following a spin Willow planted one foot to brace against her momentum, and set her frame to help stop Creative’s leading.

“I’ve finished what I needed to do, but that doesn’t mean that everything that needs doing has been done,” Willow said simply. “And the answer to your question is actually an easy one. Well, at least easy enough for me to get. The thing one person can do to change fate…”

Willow’s face was earnest and determined.

“They can try.”
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Kokuten
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Re: [The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

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Willow felt a woody hand pat her thigh, one of the Spriggan children had cast their vote on her, and soon the rest of the gaggle followed. The pair of odinkine kids leaped and flapped to her shoulders, pulling to and fro.

“We found Creative! We found Creative!” they chanted, rocking back and forth and laughing, “The silliest one is always him!”

“Oh, y’got him!” said the other Willow, planting her hands on her hips. “Good job, kids, I was getting worried there fer a tick.”

Willow’s double looked at her with sad eyes, despite the warmth of her smile. The real Willow had little time to focus on this, though, as one of the more playful golems leaped at her and bowled her right over with its weight. A gaggle of children from the whole field began to dog-pile on her, carried away in their fun. In the spaces between their reaching hand and kicking feet, she could see a raven flying away from them; her double, gone.

“You have to put on a play!” said one child.

“Put on a play! Put on a play!” chanted the others.
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Straken
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Re: [The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

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Willow wasn’t sure what to feel, but one of the options was insulted. If this had been an evil twin scenario these kids would have lost, Willow would be shot, and Creative didn’t even both wearing a comedic mustache. As such, her first instinct was to tell these kids to scarper as she had important business to attend to. Or, she’d had pressing matters to attend to, now however the situation had changed some. She still fully intended on helping with the wayward archetype, but at this point she realized her time frame had expanded some. Manon was ostensibly safe, so that wasn’t a factor; and while getting home and letting everyone know she was safe and not missing was important, she’d already been away for two weeks now. So entertaining some kids and blowing off some steam might just be what she needed. That said, she didn’t know any plays.

“I… think I have something, but I’m not sure if it qualifies as a play,” Willow held her hands up defensively amid the noisy kids.
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Kokuten
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Re: [The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

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Several young smallkin hung off of Willow as she tried to placate them, the spriggan children were especially stubborn. A couple of small, glowing constructs were pulling on her hair, their tiny hands the only form of communication they could manage. A golem held her leg, almost a literal cinderblock to her feet. A few canidaer strode up with sticks, and began striking at the other kids.

“Hey! Don’t bother the artisans,” barked one of the canidaer, a young girl with the lower half of a retriever. The golem grabbed its head, even though the stick that had struck it snapped cleanly in two, “We’ll tell Baba you’re all acting up!”

The rest of the kids let go of Willow, and tumbled to the ground, fearing rebuke, but another girl perched on the Allomancer’s head and proclaimed in a proud caw, “I am an Odinkine of Jotungard! I answer to no one but Creative himself! Now you sit, Aurelia!”

Aurelia, looking at Willow, became suddenly aware of the station that Creative occupied and sat. The odinkine, pleased, leapt off and flapped her way down to the ground to join the throng of children that looked on expectantly. Their words were audible, speaking of the long time it had been since they had seen a show.

Not only could Willow feel their stares, it was more and more apparent that she could understand the meaning of the words defining them.
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Straken
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Re: [The Dorms] A Perilous Acquaintance

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Now, standing in front of so many eager faces, Willow realized just how much what she had in mind wasn’t a play. At best it would be an enthusiastic storytelling. Perhaps that would do… Or perhaps she’d be eaten alive by these little gremlins. Did Creative really stand in front and perform multiple roles? How did a one person play work? Whatever the case may be, she was here now, and none the wiser as to where she should actually be going; so it was time for a side quest it seemed.

“This is the tale of a monster from a land of mist and utter dampness,” Willow began, slouching and miming claws after flipping her hair over her face. She also had the sudden realization that if she had some Brass she could use it to really push the feelings she intended the audience to feel. Perhaps she could be an actor when she graduated; thought the teen who had said one line of a not-play. “This monster was spindly like a spider, draped in shadows, and angry at anything moved. One day, the monster found themselves in a strange land where everyone looked the same, and the monster bristled at the attempts to change her… them…”

Willow began to motion as though she spoke to help with visuals.

“The monster pulled pranks on the look-a-likes, teasing and taunting, and all around tormenting the others so that they could feel like they were apart from all of the rest. The monster’s captors, the ones trying to make everyone the same, in turn would torment the monster as they tried to mold the monster into one of the look-a-likes. The monster never relented. Bound and determined to remain as bristly as ever. She… the monster… won. One time, the enclosure got so tired of dealing with the monster that they sent the monster away. For the briefest of moments the monster enjoyed the victory, until the monster had to face the one thing that truly frightened her; another monster. This other monster had become one of the look-a-likes, and could look normal and boring; but the smaller monster knew the truth.”

Willow’s motions became big.

“The big monster said to the smaller monster: You must do this, just as I did so that you too can walk among the common folk. If you get cast out again, then I will simply gobble you up and be done with it.”

Her motions returned to her normal monster miming.

“This frightened the smaller monster, and for a time the monster even behaved within the new and different group of look-a-likes.”

Willow’s motions were now subdued, but her hair remained over her face.

“Everyday the monster felt like they were suffocating, and little by little they began lose control; returning to tormenting the look-a-likes. It made the monster feel good. Like they were who they were supposed to be, and oblivious to the impact they had on the world around them.”

Willow slouched further.

“Then came a dark and dreary day. Which is saying something for a land that’s most often some degree of dreary. The monster had stolen away from their enclosure; gone out into the town she was meant to keep away from.”

Willow’s tone became somber.

“While stalking through the rain the monster spied something; one of the look-a-likes, standing at the ledge of a great chasm filled with thunder and steel.”

Willow paused, more to collect herself than for dramatic tension.

“The monster was confused, and could only watch silently within the rain. Until, that is, that she saw the look-a-like raise a foot out over the chasm. The monster’s body moved on its own. They don’t remember how they got there, but the next thing they knew they were half dangling over the chasm; desperately clutching at the look-a-like.”

Another pause, and a hand wiping something from under the hair.

“There was shouting, and there were tears, but the monster managed to drag the look-a-like to safety. The look-a-like didn’t thank the monster, for it was because of some of the monster’s tormenting that drove the look-a-like to the edge of the chasm. And the monster wept, seeing for the first time how selfish their actions had been. Realizing they had been blinded by their own gratification to the point where they couldn’t see the damage that being a monster could really cause. The look-a-like left the monster, and the monster was alone. That rainy night, neither being a monster nor being alone felt good, but being alone in the rain felt like what they deserved.”

Willow was crouched, but moved a small lock of hair back in place.

The monster lost track of how long they sat in the rain and the mist. But as time passed around them they realized something. There was a part of them that felt good. A bit of warmth beneath a cold numbness. There had been no reward, as the monster didn’t deserve one. They realized it was because, for the first time, they had truly helped someone. But they were still a monster. They could feel it. But they could also feel a way to change that, while still not becoming a look-a-like.”

Willow tucked another lock, revealing her left eye as she stood into a straight backed defiant pose.

“In their heart, the monster knew that their hands would always be dirty, but, just maybe, the monster could dream of becoming a knight. Clawing out of the much so that one day they might stand out; only this time in the light.”

A few more locks were tucked away, leaving her right eye covered.

“Once the monster had returned from the rain, they had made up their mind on all the ways they could change. The very first task, apologizing as fiercely as they could to every look-a-like she had tormented; it wasn’t a short list, so the monster got good at groveling. Most accepted the apology simply so the monster would leave, some accepted the apology and genuinely thanked the monster before wishing the monster well on the road to absolution, and others turned the monster away feeling the monster’s actions to still be selfish.”

Willow’s pose began to slouch again.

“There was so much to do, and due to the monster’s actions very few believed in them. But they continued to try. Pranks became jokes to try and lighten spirits, teasing and taunting made way for talking and mending, and tormenting became random acts of kindness done in secret. Eventually, the monster began to fade, but they still didn’t feel like the knight they dreamed of becoming.”

Willow was almost kneeling again.

“Then, one day, the monster was approached by someone entirely unlike any of the look-a-likes, and nothing like any of the common folk the monster had seen. A wholly unique individual who saw potential in the monster. Saw the spark beneath the grime.”

Rising.

“The figure said: The issue is the enclosure, wee monster. You have mended wounds your claws have caused, but that does not make you a knight. What will be fostered here isn’t what will help you become what you wish to be. But I can help. I can take you to a far off land where you can start anew.”

Willow stood, and half raised the remaining lock of hair.

“However, the figure gave a warning: never forget the darkness of being a monster. You are merely changing your clothes, but your hands remain stained. Should you lose the spark you risk becoming something far more terrible than what you once were. Do you still wish to follow this path?”

Willow tucked the last lock of hair to the side, revealing her tried and true defiant look.

“The monster said simply: I accept.”

Willow looked unburdened, standing tall.

“Then the figure spoke one last time: Then come, Knight of the Dirty Paws.”

Sudden out of character panic struck Willow. How does someone end a play without a curtain?

“And scene,” Willow announced with a wave of her hands.
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