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 (Storyline) Fireflies

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LittleMariko
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PostSubject: (Storyline) Fireflies   Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:58 pm

.The Great Crystal Abbey
It was high noon on the northern coasts just outside of Mare Maris. No clouds marred the sky or obstructed the rays of sunshine as they shone with resplendent splendor down upon the Great Crystal Abbey. The building, a product of light and good as much as it was composed of glass and stone, returned the illumination in kind, casting light over the landscape. Bits of gems jutted up at angles from the ground where they'd been uncovered by whatever had ended the previous age. Benign grass plains stretched out in all directions where deer and rabbits munched placidly on the grass, and in the distance, one could see sparse and lively woods where the creatures slept at night.

All in all, a more peaceful scene was hard to find in all of Terra Regnum, but problems had been brewing within the Abbey walls. Horror! Terror! Scandal! The Elder had gone up to the waterfall to meditate and on his way been intercepted by a horrible beast. His body dissolved in its black, inky maw. Ashes to ashes, alas, but spirit to spirit. The Elders soul escaped back to the safety of the celestial realms, and he even wrote a letter apologizing for his delay and explaining the circumstances.

The churchyard night had been filled with celebrations and fireworks the night the letter had come to them, carried on a mystical wind, but the words also held bad news. A world-wise warrior was required to escort the spirit of the Elder back to his home where he might be revived by his fellows.

And so, the monastery put out a notice in Mare Maris.

All Warriors of Virtue!
All Who Aspire to Higher Things!
Please Come to Our Aid at the Crystal Abbey!
We Have Naught but Knowledge to Offer
Please Find It In Your Heart to Aid Us
And We Shall Bless You As Best We Can


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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:15 pm

He drew up short, the notice catching his eye only due to it's nondescript nature. It was not the brazen, formulaic attempt at offering gold for the return of a buxom maiden, or perhaps the slaying of some monstrous beast. It was a cry for help, desperate and simple. Not even a true reward was posted, simply the offer of blessings and knowledge. Luckily for these folk, he was the kind of person to seek these things out. Yes, money was fine, and it brought many joys in to his life, but as far as he was concerned, the money he had was all the money he needed. He wore finery because it suited him, and he carried himself with all the air of latent aristocracy. Not because he was rich in material, but because he was rich in mind.

Lijo came upon the resplendent Crystal Abbey, and had to pause only to take in the brilliance of such a place. How it had existed so long without his knowledge, he had no idea. He stepped carefully and quietly, doing his best to keep from disturbing any grasses, beasts, or even coming close to the various crystals that remained brilliantly jutting from the earth. He was perhaps not the warrior they were looking for, dressed in a forest green riding coat and pants, with properly manicured hands and the face of a younger gentleman, but he was the warrior who would answer such a call.

Material things meant so much to this world, despite the fact that they had existed only twenty years. Knowledge was what this world needed, and it had far too little of it in abundance. That was why he pressed close to the doors of the Abbey, before knocking casually on the door. His leather-clad hand hid considerable force, for he wanted to get an answer quickly. If they were desperate enough to hire someone such as himself, then it was up to him to prove he was worth their while. A place such as this did not seem to be the type to conscript men who could not care for themselves in times of stress.

He waited, quietly, for a response, gripping his hands behind his back.

( 401 EXP. +1 TEXP, 2nd thread of the day. 3rd post for the day. )
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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:53 pm

.The Great Crystal Abbey
For several moments, no one answered the door of the abbey.

When the door did open, however, the figure standing there might not have been what the other young man expected. It was obviously a kamikonjou: the broad, pure white wings; the benevolent, though curious blue eyes; and scattered, straw-blonde hair advertized that much. The entity was slightly muscular and his skin was an almost radiant, milky color. Much of that skin, in fact, was visible due to the fact that he was clad only in his heart-pocked boxers, a pair of fuzzy bunny slippers, and a few other peripherals. He smiled at the stranger as a soul that knew not the definition of "awkward".

"Hey! It's been forever since we've had guests!" He began cheerily before an aged hand fell on his shoulder.

"Rigel, by all means calm down." The owner of the hand's mouth was lost in a white forest of hair that blotted out the motions of his jaw. It seemed to be making up for his perfectly bald head that glinted softly in the ambient light of the abbey, and his simple sackcloth robe had enough material to make decent both him and the picture of youthful welcome in front of him. "I am sorry about my young friend. He is new in our ways. Come in! Come in!" The older angel waved for their guest to proceed across the resplendent marble floors to the cavernous interior of the temple. The large room had a large altar at the far end, where many kami knelt praying or sat meditating. A teenaged-looking female kami sat at an organ adjacent that altar, fidgeting like a child waiting to be given permission to eat. "What brings you to the Abbey, my friend?" he continued, low enough as not to disturb his peers in prayer. "Rest for your soul? Charity? Or perhaps you found the advertisement we put out?"

"I made it," Rigel cut in proudly. "I wanted to put a fair maiden on it and an offer of gold, but the others told me not to. I'm sure we would've gotten some cool guy with an even cooler sword if I had. Can you fight well at least? We wouldn't want to put a human in harm's way."

The old man frowned beneath the cover of his beard. "Rigel, hold your tongue. Do you not know of Saint Alexandria, the most powerful light magic user we've seen among us? She took the form of a mouse and defeated three dire dragons alone... in Hell! You will not underestimate our guest."

The younger man seemed to wilt a bit. Even the ears of his slippers fell a bit. "I didn't mean anything by it. I'm sorry."

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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:12 pm

As it just so happened, the door was opened by someone who would have, under any other circumstances, caused his jaw to drop. After all, he was scarcely clad, and despite that, he looked quite good. The glorious wings that remained behind him only seemed to heighten the effect. Inwardly, he tsk'd himself. After all, it wasn't polite for someone to drool over a Kami. Especially one who was apparently going to hire him. He was interrupted - or at least cut short, by a man who spoke eloquently and wisely, meaning his age was no ruse.

"Gladly, Sir." He murmured, stepping inward, careful to bow his head appropriately as he did so. A mumbled prayer of thanks came from between his lips as well, and a sensation of warmth wrapped along his chest and midsection. A gentle flick of his ear made him bite back the desire to smirk.

On the third try, the older man got his reason for approaching. He'd almost got the affirmative out, when the young Rigel spoke up, emphasizing his youth and forcing Lijo himself to cover his mouth. He wanted nothing more than to laugh aloud - after all, he was probably right. Had it been a more typical sign, it would have gotten a much more boisterous and indolent adventurer. The kind that might not look on this place with the reverence it deserved.

At his scolding, the boy seemed to falter.

"Please, Abbot, do not scold him too harshly. He has not offended me, nor has he spoken incorrectly. Perhaps a bit out of turn..." He gave the young angel a knowing smile. "But not poorly. I have come to aid you, in your time of need. My name is Lijo, and while I carry no sword, I do have methods with which to protect myself, and others." He said, easily, with all of the necessary affectations of his perceived stature. After a few moments, letting that rest in the air, he glanced about once more. "However, I might ask - what sort of deed needs the care of a warrior? A place such as this does not seem to need protectors. What ill threatens you here?"

It was, of course, a simple question, but one that meant a lot, here. It would determine if he was capable of helping them. Perhaps he could refer them to another adventurer, should his services seem not adequate for such a situation? No, for now, he would move under the assumption that he could handle anything the Abbot said.

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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:43 pm

.The Great Crystal Abbey
The whitemouthed kami stroked his beard ponderously as their visitor spoke. "It is not something in here, my kind friend." He raised his hand and pointed to one of the massive, painted windows. "It is something out there."

The angels at the altar all stood in one accord, and the girl at the organ took this as some sort of inaudible cue. With quiet excitement in her eyes, she drew back her hands, cracking her fingers before sending them down on the keys like rain and lightning bolts from the fist of an angry god.


The elder spirit spoke easily above the organ music in the background, though Rigel couldn't keep himself from dancing rather theatrically, pantomiming out a waltz as the abbot spoke. "The leader of our abbey, our respected elder went away to meditate in the peace of nature and he was beset by some onikonjou filth." The younger angel landed awkwardly after a hop that belonged in a ballet class rather than a church, and his slipper squeaked loud enough to make a few of his peers on the back row stare. He scratched the back of his head and smiled, apologizing again. The older abbot sighed resignedly and continued. "His soul, of course, is safe in Caelestis Regnum, but his spirit is in a weaker state. We needed a warrior to retrieve him and escort him back to our grounds safely so he might continue to guide us while he rests at home."
Almost as an afterthought the man added on, "The chances of you actually seeing the demon that beset him are minimal. We just wish to take precautions. Do you believe you can help us?"
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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:43 pm

He grinned absently, at the music, and the dancing. The dancing didn't match, exactly, but the whole concept amused him. Still, his attention focused on the man who was truly in control of the situation. His arms remained behind him, one clasped in the next. He pondered, as the man explained everything. A regular Oni, that targeted this man. The Head Abbot - why had he been left alone? It raised two questions for him.

"I have two things to ask, before I tell you if I can help you. The first is, was the Abbot alone when he was accosted? And the second is - if he was, or was not, was he not capable of handling himself?" He asked, quietly. "I ask for a simple reason, really. I need to gauge the power of this creature that may or may not make an appearance." He tilted his head. The demon that accosted this Abbot may have done so intentionally, which would mean the odds of not running in to it would be supremely low.

His magic should be enough to hold the beast on its own, even if it were powerful. Spatial arts were tricky, but useful in the long term, as far as he was concerned.

"Despite the answer, I believe I should be able to handle it. A solitary demon is well within my power, I am merely curious."

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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:01 pm

.The Great Crystal Abbey
The organ cried on in the background. The elder continued to stroke his beard. He thought for a moment before answering. "He was alone. He sought solitude to meditate on the arts, and on normal occasions, the demons do not venture up here. I can only assume that whatever beast our Elder wrestled with did not fight with fairness or honor. It is a common trait in their deplorable lot." The abbot appeared to grow disgusted even thinking about the other class of spirit. "Fear not. Any monster that strikes from the shadows is a coward for a reason. He probably will leave to bother others if he should see two in a group." The tangle of white facial hair tugged up at the corners, as though the man were smiling somewhere under all that. "I must run this abbey in our Elder's absence. Since you wish to help us, and thank you for that, blessed one, I will appoint a guide for you." He turned as though he was preparing to pick someone out from the crowd reverently listening to the organ music...

...when Rigel raised his hand high into the air. "I'll go!"

The man turned back to the two young men. "Oh." He seemed somehow disappointed. "Well, I see no harm in that." The younger angel smiled before a light overtook his form. A flash filled the room, and when it cleared, a small, white parakeet with a sky blue belly flapped there in the air (picture). If the visitor didn't stop it, the bird would land on its shoulders and begin cheerily singing along with the organ music. "Rigel will make a sufficient guide for you. Do you have any further questions? Are there any provisions we can get for you? We are of simple means other than this building we have been blessed with, but we can try..."

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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:28 pm

He nodded, a gentle little gesture. There was a small thump on his shoulder, as though to remind him of something, but for now, he brushed it aside. His concern, now, was for the success of the mission ahead. He had been ready to ask for a guide, but the Abbot had beaten him to the punch. Wise old bat. When Rigel offered, he couldn't contain the glimmer of a smile from his eyes, as he nodded. There was no harm in that, indeed. He would make it fairly easy to pass the time of the trek, as well - after all, who better than an energetic little bird to keep you company?

"No, thank you. For now I make no requests of the Abbey, until the job is complete. Fear not, I did not come with the desire to swindle you kind folk, either. For now, we shall simply see what we see, and achieve what must be done. Then we'll discuss recompense." He bowed, though not too deeply out of respect for the bird on his shoulder. He wouldn't want it fluttering off of him, or anything silly like that. As he righted himself, he brought a finger up to delicately rub along the underside of the bird's beak. "Shall we be off then, Rigel? I would much rather this trip be completed as quickly as possible." He smiled, before returning his gaze to the Abbot.

"We shall return soon, provided all goes well. Good day, Abbot."

This was the kind of job he liked. Quick and to the point - nothing that would require them piddling around, waiting and wasting valuable time. Though he himself did not age, he preferred not to rely on that. He was certain he could still die by other means, and he'd much rather spend all of his remaining time doing important things.

He turned and stepped out of the Abbey, so that Rigel could get them moving.

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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:29 am

.Commencement [P4b]
The sky clouded over a bit as the man and the bird began their journey to find the elder. Rigel was as pleased as he could get, and he advertised the fact by singing cheerily as happy birds do. "You'll have to excuse me," he said, pausing the flute of his avian voice for a moment. "I've just... never really got to see the world outside of heaven and this abbey. My mother wanted me to be around my own kind, and I want to obey her." More song followed, an upbeat tune to the rhythm of the stranger's footsteps. "Just keep following this road. We'll pass the waterfall, and then we should find the village where he sought refuge: the Temple at Lephesus." He nodded towards the scattered stones. Most of them had the crystals from the Temple visibly jutting out of them, but those that didn't gave off the same aura as they did. "These were laid down years ago by another volunteer. If something ever attacked the abbey, we could find our way to safety and the other kami by following these rocks. I've never visited Lephesus, but I hear they're real nice there."

The bird took a quick, darting glance around the shoulder, as though planning to do something naughty and not wanting to be observed. "Say, Sir Lejo, have you ever come across an onikonjou before? A... demon?"

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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:06 pm

He actually enjoyed the traveling music that the little bird provided - angel bird, let's not forget, he chided himself inwardly. His eyes dropped to the stones, that steadily gleamed in that unusual way. He knelt, and touched one of the sparkling gem-like stones. The smooth surface was surprisingly hospitable to his touch.

"It's good to listen to your parents." He replied, softly, before standing up once more. He was careful to keep his torso straight, so that the bird didn't get thrown around or jostled. Lijo was being unusually thoughtful today, currently wrapped up in the mystery of what might have attacked the good Abbot. Lijo resumed walking, and as he did, he casually glanced at the bird on his shoulder. It was a corner-of-the-eye thing, but it was enough.

"Are you questioning my capabilities, or my experience, Rigel?" He asked, his voice tinged with amusement. He didn't mind at all, but thus far, every time he'd been told off, he'd been adorable. He wondered what kind of reaction a bird could have to that.

"However, you're right to ask, and so I will answer. I have met a hand full in my time. They are not all vicious, bloodthirsty monsters, though some of them do like to put up that front. The Oni are as diverse as the Hito and the Kami, if a bit more primal." He licked his lip and reached within his coat for a small hip flask. Contrary to the thought, he had no wine in it. It was simply grape juice, but he could pretend. "Now I have a question for you. What kind of man was the Abbot that was attacked? And, are you thirsty, my friend?" He asked, as he continued on.

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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:46 pm

.Commencement [P4a]
Predictably, the little bird wilted. Indeed, if it had been possible for a blush to show through the cloud-white feathers, a rosy hue would have overtaken the parakeet's cheeks. He shifted from one foot to the other, looking down at the ground. Humor didn't exist in abundance at the abbey, and it showed in the angel's difficulty in picking up the tinge of jest in Lijo's voice.

Before the little one could commence apologizing, however, he received the answer to his previous question. He tilted his head to the side for a moment before fluttering. "I knew it! The abbot and the nuns and everyone else always say such mean things about the demons." He tucked his wings back against his body. "They have all of these stories of evil and torture, but-- and don't take this as a sign of weak faith-- I have a hard time believing them. I just want to meet a demon for myself. Surely they all can't be bad."

He looked up to the sky, thinking for a moment. "The abbot is very old. He tells us stuff like... well, nobody knows what happened when all of the people woke up before I was born, but he said he has these visions. He says that we angels used to serve a supreme being who made everything, but that he erased our memories and left us on this world to test us. The demons are the ones who test our ability to stand firm against evil, and the humans are here to test our ability to protect. He says that this supreme being reveals himself to us when we seek him through meditation. The elder got a following before I was born and built the Abbey from the ruins left behind."

"As for the guy himself, he's very quiet. He's fat and always smiling about something." The bird grew cheerier thinking about it. "He's one of my favorite people in the Abbey. If a demon really did hurt him, I'm going to vanquish him so hard!" The little bird puffed up. "I don't know how to fight, but if we run into trouble, I promise I'll do my best to help!"

He tilted his head at the drink, then looked left and right. "I'll have some, if it won't be too much trouble." He took another guilty glance around. "It's... juice, right?"

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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:55 pm

"The best thing you can do..." He murmured, as he poured some juice in to the flask's lid, before lifting it up to the bird's beak. "Is leave the fighting to me. It's just safer that way - I won't have to be concerned with your safety. If fighting does start, I want you to fly up high. If I get too injured, fly back to the Abbey and inform the Abbot there of what happened. All right?" He said, simply.

The smile spread quietly over his lips, though, at the bird's question.

"It is. I wouldn't want to corrupt you, Rigel." He offered, with a soft little chuckle, as he continued his walk.

"Now, just like there are bad humans, and even some bad Kami, from what I hear, there are bad demons, too. But, because they are demons, they tend to be better at it than us. It's best to not go picking fights with any, you see?" It was the best thing he could give as a warning. The Kami-bird shouldn't fear demons, or hate them, but he should respect what they represented. Not darkness, persay, but passion. Chaos.

"Tell me, was he caught at the Temple in Lephesus, or was he caught on the road before there?" His voice remained as gentle as it could. He was trying to formulate threat assessment to the best of his limited ability. But he wanted to do it in a way that wouldn't unsettle the young Kami on his shoulder. It was simple work, so he would do it at his own pace. It didn't look as though they'd be there too soon, anyways.

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PostSubject: Re: (Storyline) Fireflies   Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:02 pm

.Commencement [P4a]
Having been absolved of the moral conundrum of wine sampling as a permitted ability, the bird heartily, though perhaps a bit inefficiently due to the structure of his beak, sampled the deliciously sweet beverage.
And he warbled with gratitude. "Thank you! And if that is what you wish, it's what I'll do. I'll even see if I can find some backup." He answered the topic of something bad happening to the spatial mage.

But on the subject of his Elder-- well, his elder's disappearance, he had considerably more hesitance in answering. He didn't actually get to see the letter; only the head abbots did. He heard of its contents through an announcement that morning, and the story weaved and wandered and seemed to change every time he heard it. He'd never been asked to actually assemble the various scraps into a cohesive story of the circumstances.

"Well, I think he was actually there..." the bird said, tilting his head so one eyes was thoughtfully facing the sky. "...yea, he was there at the waterfall, and he was meditating, and a demon popped out of the woods! He was a cat... wait no... a wolf... oh... he might've been a bear... a badger...? Well-- beast! A beast with all kinds of black magic!" He hopped from one foot to the other in his excited way. "And he wasn't alone! He had a bunch of minions! The elder fought them off as best he could, but the demon had special magic that keeps kami from being able to use their spells! And you know we only fight with spells well... at least in all of the stories they tell me that. There was Saint Brutus the Wise who actually fought with a flaming sword, but there's been a lot of doubt cast on whether or not he was actually one of us or if his blood was tainted."

"We in the abbey train our defenses, so even if the beast was a monster that he couldn't defeat, he would've been able to easily get away from it, so yea. Oh! But Lephesus was where he went after he escaped the demon at the waterfall. He was only going to go to the waterfall to meditate at first."

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