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The Big Three (Worm/Pact, minor AU) [SFW]

Discussion in 'Questing' started by Sheaman3773, Jan 17, 2015.

?

What degree of mechanics (e.g. dice rolls) do you want going behind the scenes?

Poll closed Jun 13, 2015.
  1. Just so, so many dice.

    25.0%
  2. Dice? Eewww.

    75.0%
Loading...
  1. Threadmarks: Table of Contents & Index
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    This is currently running concurrently both on SV and SB, but since I was creating an account here anyway, I might as well post it on QQ as well :)

    Yes, I know the SFW above is redundant, given the forum that this is in. However, since this is also being posted on SV and SB, which has much stricter rules, this quest will stay SFW. Period. It's best you know that now.

    The first three chapters are already completed, so they will be posted back to back.

    Votes will be counted only once per user regardless of which site it is posted on, so please don't vote on multiple sites.

    Update: So it's clear by now that the main thread for this story is on SV. Not quite sure how that happened, considering how much more active SB was for a while, but it happens. So if you're interested in this story and want to participate, your best bet is to join the SV group. You can, of course, post on here if you would like, and your votes will be given equal weight. It's just a suggestion. Have a nice day :)

    Table of Contents
    Introductions
    1.1
    1.2
    1.3
    1.4
    1.4.2 (extended vote edition)
    1.5
    1.6.1
    1.6.2
    1.7.1
    1.7.2
    1.8.1

    Index
    Worm vs Pact + basic information on implement/familiar/demesne
    Basic ground rules + SV/SB quest versions (or lack thereof)
    Rulings on the subject of vengeance (1, 2, 3)
    Your extended discussion with Blake
    Runes, Crowdsourcing
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
    Shaaazaaam and Snake/Eater like this.
  2. Threadmarks: Experiment in Progress
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
  3. Threadmarks: Introductions 1.1
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    <-Prev | Next->
    Introductions 1.1​

    You take a moment to take a deep breath. It is finally time to take the next step and test out your powers. You have waited a month after your first, inadvertent use of your abilities. It’s not like it killed anybody, but it still went poorly enough that you don’t like thinking about it. And yet to have the reminder there, every day, which you couldn’t escape even if you didn’t have it hanging around in your head…

    No. Now is not the time to dwell on that again. Now is the time to figure out how your power really worked. You look around the family basement once more, listening to make certain that you are still alone, then closed your eyes and focused.

    Immediately the three different bundles, for lack of a better term, reappear in your mind, just as they do every time you aren’t focusing on anything else. There is more, but the extra parts are easy to ignore, especially these days. The three bundles are getting more and more prominent by the day, making it harder to focus on anything else at all—if you are being honest, that would have been enough to drive you to experiment, even if you hadn’t wanted to be a cape since you were a child. You feel the mental bundles hesitantly, trying to see if you can get anything more from this this time.

    No luck. The most information you get from the three are PERSON, place, and THING.

    When you first got your powers, all three had been equally powerful, each metaphorically booming inside your mind. But then…

    No dwelling.

    Anyway, the place bundle hasn’t felt the same since, giving off a distinct sense of weakness when you concentrate on it, though you think that it’s been slowly growing since the first time you used it; you’d probably be able to say for sure if you hadn’t been trying to ignore it. You don’t want to use it again anyway, so if you’re really going to test your powers, it’s going to need to be with either the PERSON or THING bundles.

    You hesitate for a moment, then decide to go with PERSON. There aren’t any people around, true, but that just meant that you might waste your chance to use it right now, if that’s even how it works. There are worse ways it could go wrong. You scowl and mentally clench the bundle, hard.

    Instantly you could feel the energy surge out of your mental grip, hardly waiting for you to direct it. You fumble for it hastily, not expecting it to feel so different from your first time, but it is too late; the energy pushes out of your forehead and streaks towards a spot on the floor in front of you, felt but not seen. It collects all at one point and solidifies, becoming visible in the process.

    A minute passes as you stare at the…thing…that your power made. You check the bundle you just used almost without thinking about it, seeing it much diminished; it feels like Person, now, rather than PERSON, and it’s notably weaker than place. You look more closely at whatever it is you made—it’s circular, but flat, like a disc, a little bigger than the palm of your hand. It’s a very nice brown color, and there seem to be designs on the back, but you can’t see anything more without getting closer.

    You slowly inch closer. Normally you wouldn’t be afraid of your own power—who’s ever heard of a cape who could be hurt by their own power?—but so far it has been anything but predictable. When you’ve managed to stand right next to the object without it attacking you, you move around so you aren’t blocking the light and crouch down to inspect it further. From this close, you can see that the object is made of wood, that the designs are intricately carved, mostly branches that start and end outside of the picture. There are small birds perched among the branches, staring out at you. It’s…lovely, actually.

    You extend a hand towards it uncertainly. Nothing’s happened so far, so it should be alright. And the part of your mind that’s warning you that the beauty is one more reason to be wary of it probably came from reading too many fantasy stories. Trying to regain a sense of calmness by reminding yourself again that no cape has ever been hurt by their own powers, you slowly touch the object. When nothing happens, you pick it up.

    It’s a mirror, which had been laying facedown. You turn it over a couple of times. It’s a perfectly normal mirror, the glass a little smaller than your palm, and the strangest thing that you can see about it is that the designs on the back shift color as you adjust the angle, gaining pale shades of whites, grays, and yellows. You glance at the mirror and see absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about your reflection, though something catches your eye in the corner. You tilt the mirror to see it better and drop the mirror with a yelp.

    You hear a similar yelp coming from the mirror as you drop it to the basement floor.

    “Okay,” the voice that had yelped says. “This isn’t the best introduction ever, but I’ve had worse, I think. Do you think you could come over and we could try again?”

    You cautiously approach the mirror, peering into the reflective surface from as far away as you can manage. In the reflection you can see a boy—a young man, really, looking a good few years older than yourself—kneeling near the mirror, facing you. He looks…normal. Wavy dirty blonde hair, fairly pale (though not as pale as you), wearing jeans and a sweater. His sleeves are rolled up, revealing some colored tattoos on his forearms. If you saw him on the street, you probably wouldn’t look twice.

    You certainly look twice now, glancing between the mirror, where you can see him, and the empty space in your basement where he would have to be for him to be reflected in the mirror like that.

    “Hi,” the person in the reflection says, waving one of his arms at you. “What’s your name?

    Your voice rasps as it leaves your throat. “My name is Taylor Hebert. Who are you?”

    The guy made an expression that you couldn’t read, given the distance and your angle. “My name is Blake Thorburn. Something’s telling me that I’m here to be your familiar.”

    Worm/Pact​


    Basic Info
    · Status
    o Normal​
    · Big Three
    o Person
    o place
    o THING
    · Auxiliary elements
    o Unknown​

    Vote for one option per underlined section. Feel free to customize your votes with up to 60 words of additional description; if you are using someone else’s plan and wish to add something to it, please bold the new portions.
    What do you want to do next?
    [] Talk to Blake. He—it?—seems to have some idea of what’s going on, at least. You should have enough time before your dad comes home for a decent conversation.
    - Do you talk about your powers, or about him? Something else? Is a familiar what you think it is?
    [] Try to desummon Blake. It’s still some time before your dad is supposed to get home, but you really aren’t sure about this Blake, and you want the strange boy in the mirror to go away.
    - What do you know about this strange boy in (a mirror in) your basement? Is he just a projection, or he some unknown cape interfering with your power? Better safe than sorry.
    [] Forget that boring stuff, your power does something! Let’s go caping tonight!
    - Do you have any idea how good it feels to know that your power can be more than an albatross around your neck? No costume, no name, no problem!

    <-Prev | Next->
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  4. Threadmarks: Introductions 1.2
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

    Joined:
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    Also, I started this kind of strangely, out of sync between SV and SB, and so had started writing before the SB votes came in. However, people chose the same option by a considerable margin, so that worked out alright. There were differences with the Customization chosen, but I made it work, this time. In the future, I think I'm going to shut down the voting a little sooner >.>
    edit: Note: the extra-large size is not typical. Don't start writing in entries that long, now.
    [x] Talk to Blake. He—it?—seems to have some idea of what’s going on, at least. You should have enough time before your dad comes home for a decent conversation.
    - What. Why. How. Not necessary in that order. Information equals Power - in our case, quite literally... The more we will learn about what is, in fact, going on - the more option we will have both for action and planning. Healthy and reasonable paranoia is a "must have", though.
    - "I have no idea what's up with you. Please give me as good as an explanation as you can. I'll answer any of your questions in turn." If there's anything weird he says that he doesn't elaborate upon, or not sufficiently, ask more specific questions.

    <-Prev | Next->

    Introductions 1.2​


    “Familiar,” you say through lips that have gone a bit numb.


    “Yeah,” the guy—Blake—says, shifting a bit uncomfortably from his spot in the mirror you just made. “You know, like the witch has her—”


    “—has a black cat, yeah, I know,” you say, letting your rear hit the cold floor. Did this have to—no, better to check, it might not be as bad as it sounds. “Just to be clear,” you ask the man in your mirror, now completely out of sight from your angle on the cold floor, “you are talking fantasy stuff, right? Magic?”


    “…yes?” the other says, a note of confusion clear in his voice. “So you already know about it?”


    Nope, it’s exactly as bad as it sounded. You bury your head in your hands for a moment. Of all the powers going to all the capes in all the world, you had to get the power that was actively as deluded as Myrddin. Fantastic. Par for the course, really.


    “Fuck,” you mutter venomously. Your next words come out louder. “So you actually believe in magic.” It wasn’t a question.


    “Well, yes,” Blake says. “I’m currently squatting in a different world from you, talking through a mirror. How else could this be happening?”


    “Oh, I don’t know,” you say sarcastically. You’re very strongly tempted to just lay down and stare up at the ceiling in disgust, but that would mean taking your eye off of the mirror for longer than a second or two. “How about with parahuman powers? It’s not really weirder than a lot of other capes’ powers.”


    Actually, you couldn’t see Blake at all right now. Who knows what he’s doing? Time to fix that oversight. You start to get back to your feet.


    “What’s a cape?”


    Oh, there’s the floor again. It hasn’t warmed up much at all.


    “Is that some specific kind of practitioner or something, like a valkyrie or shaman?”


    “…what.”


    How could…how could anyone not know what a cape is? Parahuman, maybe, there are clearly plenty of people at school who never bothered to learn more than the colloquialisms, but cape? The term was everywhere. Time to get to the bottom of this.


    “Look, I have no idea what’s up with you. I’m going to need you to give me as good as an explanation as you can.” You pause for a moment. “I'll answer any of your questions in turn."


    “Alright,” Blake says amiably enough. “Let me start with the fact that I cannot lie. Or, to be more technically correct, it’s against the rules to lie, so I don’t, because lying costs me power, and if there’s anything that my time with magic has taught me, it’s that power is life. That’s even more literally true now than it was before, I suspect.”


    How convenient, you think to yourself, but say nothing. Before Blake has a chance to talk, you realize that you still can’t quite see him or what he is doing. You have a brief mental war between politeness and caution, and you end up compromising. You warily move the mirror against a support beam and then go lean against another one. You place it so that you can look at each other without straining or staying too close, but you have an unobstructed path to the basement stairs, and the mirror is tilted so that the stairs aren’t quite in Blake’s area of sight.


    Once you are both situated, it all comes out. How Blake came from another world entirely, one that appeared to be perfectly normal, without any parahuman activity at all, like Earth Aleph on the other side of the government’s interdimensional portal. Except that that was just the façade that overlaid the world, with an entire magical world teeming just below the surface. One full of supernatural beings known as Others, such as ghosts, goblins, and—


    “Fairies?” you break in incredulously. “You have fairies?”


    “I think you’re thinking ‘fairy,’ ‘f-a-i-r-y,’” Blake says firmly. “Those, from what I understand, are basically animals shaped like foot-tall butterfly-winged people. What I’m talking about are Faerie, ‘f-a-e-r-i-e,’ which are...markedly different. Think of the stories that you hear in the older folklore, about the Fair Folk, or the fae. Changelings, taking a human child and leaving something else in their place. Tricksters, who might con the clothes off your back for the pleasure of watching you freeze.”


    With that sobering correction (and a mental note to look those kinds of stories back up, since you have quite forgotten a lot of the details) you let Blake resume his explanation. Details aside, it seemed to boil down to: everything from myths and folklore really existed, but generally you had to go to the older myths to get more accuracy, though the distinctions could be fuzzy and labels are dangerous. Above all, everything is nastier than you might expect.


    It’s nice to have part of your worldview validated, you suppose, if a bit depressing.


    You press him for more information on himself, specifically, rather than this bizarro-world he describes, but he refuses. “I’ve been forthcoming so far, when I was the one snatched from…elsewhere…and put here in your mirror. I’m going to need you to do a turn of explaining now.” You scowl but reluctantly acknowledge that he has a point.


    Then you try to return the favor, explaining about the world that you live in, that he apparently lives in now too. How it sounded like it was the same as his, at least up until 1982, when a mysterious man appeared over the oceans, nude and glowing. Scion, the first parahuman, though he is gone now, and has been for a few years. Other people with amazing powers began appearing after he did, though they stayed out of sight until around 1987. By now, parahumans, often called capes, are a part of society, especially here in Brockton Bay, which has become a cape hotspot of sorts. They are generally split into law-enforcing Heroes and criminal Villains, with the occasional Rogue who stay out of the crime-oriented dichotomy in favor of industry, all hiding behind costumes and fake names.


    There is a brief silence as you marvel anew at the thought of a world without something as commonplace as capes, let alone one with so much madness seething just out of sight, while Blake is visibly coming to terms with so much strangeness just being out in the open, where everyone’s reaction is just to go about their day.


    “Okay,” you say. “Your turn again. Tell me about you. You’re in a mirror. How does that happen? What are you?”


    Another expression you can’t quite interpret crosses Blake’s face. “That’s…a complicated question. I’m not entirely certain of the answer.”


    You start to bristle angrily at this non-answer, but Blake raises a hand soothingly.


    “Please, Taylor. I understand that you’re upset and confused; I feel much the same way. I’m still going to answer you, it’s just complex, and a fair bit of it is speculation.”


    Reluctantly, slightly mollified, you slowly settle back against the support beam as he continues.


    “Most of my memories right now are somewhat fuzzy. From what I do remember, I was a relatively normal boy for most of my life. My grandmother ended up deciding to pass on everything to just one grandchild. After the first heir died,” you feel a flash of sympathy at the pain that crosses his face, “I was appointed the next custodian of the property. With the property came magic. And enemies, enemies who stood to profit from the destruction of my family. We…I…was under constant siege or outright attack practically from the moment the property passed on to me, more or less. There…there was a lot going on, but it’s honestly kind of jumbled, and quite fuzzy. I think that I had a companion, or a false companion, who was stuck in a mirror like this, but I don’t remember it working for…her?...the way that it’s working for me. And I think, at some point, we found out that I was an Other, not her. And now I’m the one in the mirrors.”


    You try to wrap your head around that rambling explanation. “You still didn’t answer the question of what you are.”


    “Well, that’s what’s complicated. I remember years of being human. I also remember much foggier memories of being some kind of Other. But if what you’re saying about your world is true, then right now I’m probably neither of those things, being a part of your ‘superpower,’” he says, putting his fingers up in air quotes. “Are there powers out there that can make people or Others like this?”


    You scowl at him for a moment. “I don’t know the name of the classification,” you say, only now realizing just how superficial a lot of your cape geek knowledge really was, “and that’s something that I plan to correct, soon. But yeah, there are some who can make minions—” You cut yourself off at the sight of his face. You flounder about for a moment or two.


    “Minions?”


    “Well,” you say, shifting awkwardly, “yes, minions—”


    “I am minion to no one,” Blake says firmly. More than firmly. Almost angrily.


    You close your eyes, stamping down some obscure stab of pain in your chest. This is something that has been worrying you since your power first started talking back, and it is time to settle it. You picture Blake firmly in your mind, then picture him leaping to his feet then standing in place. For good measure, you add words to your mental command: stand up.


    You open your eyes to find that nothing has changed, Blake still staring at you with an expectant expression on his face. You deflate, a little. His expression might have wavered a bit, but only for a moment.


    “You’re not a minion,” you say dully, dejected. It’s not like you want to have control over someone who seemed just as much a person as you were, exactly, but it would be nice to have control over your own power. Fuck.


    “Good,” Blake says, “I’m glad that’s settled. So there’s something like this going on with other capes?”


    “Something like this, yes,” you say, trying to push past your feelings to deal with the situation at hand. “I’ll look up more details soon. You, um, you said something about it’s working differently for you than for your companion?”


    “Yeah, from what I can make of my memories,” Blake says, letting the subject change with nothing more than another firm look.


    “How—how so?” You shake your head briefly. Put it aside, deal with it later.


    “From what I remember, she was limited to the area around mirrors that were next to me, or…somewhere else. The property, I think. Everywhere not reflected in those mirrors just didn’t exist, for her. But for me, looking around…it’s the same, but different.”


    You have a lot of practice not venting your frustration.


    “I’m still limited to pools of light around mirrors, it looks like, but they’re everywhere. I mean everywhere,” Blake says, looking around. “Any reality not created by the light through mirrors is still only darkness, but I can see pools of light a lot further away than I should be able to. At least, a lot further than if I was restricted to ones just around you, or just you and one other place. And there’s one that’s not lit up at all, but is standing out like a beacon compared to the others.”


    You have a sudden horrible suspicion of what that might be, chasing away your other thoughts on what he is saying, but he continues without pause.


    “And while the mirror was facedown, I shouldn’t have been able to use it, since there’s no light leaking through. But I was fine; I didn’t feel like I could move around a lot, but I was still here, instead of being shunted over to another mirror.”


    “So you don’t know what you are, because you’re at least somewhat different from your companion, right?” you say in the lull that follows. You wait for Blake’s nod to continue. “But you seem to be pretty similar. So what was she?”


    “Well, remember that labels are dangerous. But if I’m the same kind of Other that we thought she was, then I’m a vestige.”


    “A vestige,” you muse. Not that the name told you anything, but still, having a name made you feel a little better, somehow. “I’m sorry,” you say after a moment, breaking eye contact for a moment. “You were still listing differences between you and your companion?”


    “Yeah, and this one’s kinda big.”


    You straighten up against the support beam in interest but don’t say anything.


    Blake almost seems to be mirroring you for a moment, but his straightening keeps on going, standing up from his place against the support beam, and starts walking towards the mirror on his side. You scramble to your feet, uncertain if now is when you should flee, but you hesitate. He’s not really acting hostile, he’s just…walking towards you. Maybe baby steps would work best.


    “It’s something I noticed earlier, when you were holding the mirror. See, one power that all practitioners have is the Sight, which shows us the things that are hidden from the uninitiated. And I’m pretty sure that my companion didn’t have it, couldn’t use it. But the thing is,” he says, crouching by the mirror so he can see through it, “I can.”


    You stop taking little half-shuffles towards the stairs at this pronouncement. “You can?”


    “I think I can, at least,” he said, squinting as he looks through the mirror. “Could you get a little closer?”


    Your heart resumes its jackhammering in your chest. Still, there’s no good way to refuse. Slowly, so slowly, you inch your way towards Blake.


    “Aha!” he exclaims suddenly, causing you to jerk backwards in surprise. “Nope, lost it again. The slow moving was really helping, though, helps narrow the range down. Could you inch forward again, please?”


    Flushing slightly at the out he gave you, you inch forward again until he tells you to stop.


    “Yup, there it is. I have something like the Sight, at least. It wasn’t working like I’m used to, but I can still see connections radiating out from you.”


    “…connections?” You are intrigued, of course, but having almost every answer lead to new questions is pretty frustrating. Though maybe that is natural for capes who are just starting out?


    “Yeah, in my world, there are tiny little spirits in everything—feel free to look up animism some time—that are revealed when a practitioner uses their Sight. They tend to follow power, which allows them to empower runes…but I’ll explain about those later,” he says, catching the look on your face. “Anyway, one really useful aspect of the Sight is that there are little lines, pathways that the spirits follow, like cords or ribbons. The connections between people, things, ideas, concepts…they’re visible to the Sight, due to so many more spirits running along those lines.”


    That…sounds strange, but on the surface, it isn’t really weirder than some other powers out there. So your power has a power? A sudden thought strikes you. I wonder if he has any other powers?


    “But it wasn’t working until you got close enough, which is definitely not how it worked before.” Blake eyes the ground between the two of you for a moment. “I’m pretty good at judging distances by eye, and I’d say that the range is a little more than six feet.”


    You decide to take his word for it.


    He then peers more closely, not at you, but around you, searching what appeared to be nothing but empty air. “Plus, you have some strange connections.”


    Figures. Aloud, you ask, “What’s so strange about them?”


    “Well…” Blake trails off, staring off into space for a minute while you fidget in place. “Sorry. You don’t seem to have a practitioner connection, but there is this other bond that…almost seems to be taking its place? It looks kind of similar to what practitioners have, but it’s still distinct. I also can’t see any active friendship connections—”


    You flinch, your shoulders hunching at this, as the vestige continues to look around you.


    “—and only one family connection of note, which might indicate another limitation to this Sight. Oh, and that connection seems to be moving. It looks like it’s moving a lot, actually.”


    That nervous feeling you had before came back again. “Moving?” You lick your lips apprehensively as Blake nods his head with a mildly confused expression. “And it’s supposed to show the locations of the people on either end?”


    “Well, the lines are more fluid than rigid, but the ends are rooted in people on both ends, yes. Why?”


    “So where would you say—?” The sound of a door closing from above you cuts off your words, and it feels like a leaden weight just fell into your stomach. “Shit,” you whisper harshly, panic gripping your throat. “Dad’s home!”


    Blake’s face transforms in an instant, becoming utterly business-like. “What do we do?” he whispers, keeping his volume just as low as yours.


    “Just—” your words are cut off abruptly by a voice from above.


    “Taylor? Are you here?”


    You don’t dither, walking swiftly over to the mirror and picking it up. “Sorry about this, but I have to hide you for now. I’ll come and get you when I can. Just stay here.” Ignoring Blake’s quiet protests as you stash the mirror behind some boxes, you wish you could run the stairs to leave the basement, but the house is old, and not well-built—actually running up the stairs would announce exactly where you are.


    You pause at the head of the stairs, trying as hard as you can to listen for where your dad might be. It’s several tense moments later that you hear his footsteps move away and up to the second floor. You slip out of the basement, into the kitchen, and start puttering around, taking out food as if to start making supper. You pretend not to notice when you hear his footsteps returning.


    “Oh, there you are, kiddo,” your dad says from behind you. There’s a long pause that is suspended but not interrupted by the greeting you give him. “What are you up to?” he asks, several beats too late.


    “Just getting some food ready for supper,” you say, getting out some relatively fresh vegetables.


    There is another pause that lasts too long. “Okay,” he says at last. He is silent for a bit longer, then leaves the kitchen without saying more. When you hear the TV turn on in the next room, you let out a brief sigh of relief.


    The next hour passes far too slowly. You put together a relatively quick supper. You’re distracted, thinking about everything that you’ve been learning about your powers, but you manage to avoid ruining the meal, much. Your dad is a better cook than you are, but it’s not right to expect him to cook all of the time, not on top of all of the extra hours that he has to put into work to help make ends meet. Though…you shook your head. That’s a question for later, if at all.


    Your dad and you eat together in silence. Neither of you are exactly social butterflies, but it has been getting worse lately, for the past three weeks or so. Ever since that happened, making everything so much worse than it had been—not being able to talk about it, to even hint that it had happened…you wouldn’t want your dad to know anyway, you are glad that you could hide it, but it still hurt, and it put up a distance between you.


    That makes you think of Blake’s diagnosis of your “connections” to people. You knew when he said it that it wasn’t a mistake, that you don’t have any friends, not any more. Not since you were betrayed by the one you were closest to. Only one familial connection, to your dad. There is your Gram, your mom’s mom, but she has never really approved of Dad, and that would have made relations difficult even in the best of times, which this wasn’t. If you have to guess, you’d say her connection is too paltry to matter, or maybe even to see. As for your mom herself…well. No point in going down that path, not right now. Think about something else, anything, anything.


    Remembering your thought from earlier, you shove down the burning in your eyes and clear your throat. Your dad looks up from his food, looking startled from whatever thoughts were occupying him. That’s just the way he always looks, though, like everything in the world surprises him.


    “You were home earlier than usual today,” you say, careful not to show the hoarseness you knew was in your throat. “Any particular reason?” Might as well get two birds with one stone, right? You could try to build your relationship up with your dad while also getting information that you need to learn about your power without fear of exposure.


    Some emotions flitted across his face, too fast for you to read, before it settled on rueful amusement. “Oh, just Kurt meddling again,” he says lightly, referring to his longtime friend and coworker. “Came over and told me that I needed to get my rear back home instead of staying late again.” Dad’s expression starts to droop as he talks, until he regains his other typical expression, one of defeat. “It’s just with the jobs the way they are lately…”


    You just nod. It’s a common refrain, and not just in this household, though since your dad is the head of hiring and Union spokesperson in the Dockworkers Association, you probably hear it more than most. You haven’t been alive long enough to remember anything differently, but apparently the economy has been in a pretty bad place for a long time, since the Endbringers first appeared. The giant monsters don’t bother anything most of the time, but their attacks on major cities every three months do a number on globalization and trade. Given that Brockton Bay had primarily been a shipping port, it had been particularly affected, and there were other local factors that just made everything worse.


    Your dad rallies, pulling a smile back onto his face with visible effort. “Anyway, he convinced me to come home on time, for today at least.”


    You nod back at him, then turn your face down to resume eating. That’s good to know, that tomorrow he will be staying out late again. That will give your more time to experiment. And then there’s the weekend the day after that. It wouldn’t be unusual for him to leave you alone for much of the weekend, often because he goes in to work to try to rustle up some jobs for the dockworkers, but also because he seems to realize how much you cherish your weekends away from school. Too much experimentation will probably get you caught, if you did it at home, but you could also head out somewhere more abandoned to practice. He knows how much you like going to the library, it’d be fine.


    Your dad offers to clean up the table for you once you both finish dinner, since you are the one who cooked, and you accept hesitantly, shooting a covert glance at the basement door. You don’t want to leave Blake alone in the basement for too long, but without your dad both sleepy from eating and distracted by the television, you don’t trust your ability to move around the creaky house enough to try to retrieve the mirror without him catching you. You shoot the door another worried glance before going to the living room, turning on the TV. You browse around for a bit before settling on one of your dad’s favorite programs, to keep him more engaged and thus distracted.


    Even after your dad comes and joins you in the living room, you can’t concentrate. Rather than remaining on the couch with him, shifting and twitching and generally presenting what must be a suspicious picture, you get up abruptly, not even waiting for a commercial break.


    “I…” you start, mentally fumbling for something to say in response to his inquisitive look. You don’t want to lie, not to your dad, but that hardly means that you want to tell him everything. Lies of omission were fine, surely. It comes to you after a second. “I still have homework that I need to finish,” you tell him. All true, even if you’re not sure that you’ll be able to focus until after 10:00, when your dad’s early slumber patterns mean it should be safe to retrieve the mirror.


    “Okay, Taylor,” he says. “I don’t want to get between you and your work. I should get some paperwork done too, since you mention it.”


    “Alright,” you say. You stand there awkwardly for a moment, then start to flee upstairs. You glance sidelong at the basement door once more, but don’t pause as you go up the stairs.


    When you’re almost at the top of the stairs, however, you hear a strange thump and a muffled oath coming from…the wall? Looking over, you see your reflection in the cheap transparent covering for the photos along the side of the stairs, until Blake stands up and your image disappears.


    Blake?” you hiss. You shoot a hasty glance downstairs, but you don’t think your dad heard. “What are you doing—no, nevermind now, you need to get back to your mirror!”


    “I didn’t come up here on purpose,” he breathes, his voice angry but quiet. “I was just minding my business—after being left in the dark, by the way—when I was yanked up onto these stairs. I thought you summoned me or something.”


    This derails your line of thought entirely. You get it back on track when you see the look on Blake’s face, however. You aren’t quite tactless enough to say what you were thinking out loud.


    “I take it that you didn’t?” he asks, his expression still warning you off.


    “No!” you retort, maintaining your quiet despite your faint flush. “Try to go back downstairs.”


    “Okay, okay,” he says, walking down the stairs. His movement was strange—the moment he reaches the edge of one picture, his image leaps to the next, without any time in between. He reaches the last picture in the line and disappears.


    Almost the very same second that he left, Blake crashes back into the stairs at your feet, or at least where your feet would be in the mirror world.


    “What’s going on?” you ask insistently, the stress of the moment leaking into your voice.


    I don’t know!” Blake retorts harshly. “I don’t like it either!”


    “Fine!” you start, before you’re cut off.


    “Taylor, are you okay up there?” you hear your dad call up from living room where you left him.


    “Uh, yeah Dad!” you yell back. That last bit had been rather loud, you guess. You turn to face Blake again, who didn’t look as mad. “Let’s take this to my room,” you suggest in a whisper, gesturing towards your door.


    A few minutes later, you and Blake are in your room, staring at each other through a dusty hand mirror you found buried in the upstairs bathroom; it’s not like you have any other mirrors in your room. You both take the opportunity to take stock and calm down.


    “Okay,” you say with a voice of forced calm. “Now what’s going on?’


    “I’ve been thinking about it some.” Blake responds in a similar tone. “When we first met, I said that something was telling me that I was here to be your familiar, and that’s true. Something I hadn’t mentioned about familiars yet is that they have a range limit from their practitioners. There’s a certain point that they just can’t get further than. It’s possible that we ran into ours, here.”


    You press your lips together, thinning them further than usual, but didn’t say the first things that sprang to mind.


    “I think,” you say after several deep breaths, “that I need to know everything.”


    Blake raises an eyebrow. “It took me and my companion weeks of dedicated study to know what I know now, not counting what we learned in fights or other more…exotic…sources. How long do you have?”


    You get up and retrieve a spare notebook from your school supplies, one of the many that you’ve scrimped enough to buy in bulk. You plop it on the desk between you and the mirror and open it up, a pencil in hand.


    “I might not have all night,” you say, looking him dead in the eye. “But we have until 10 before Dad goes to sleep and I was going to get your mirror, and we can still talk after that if we’re quiet.”


    “Fair enough,” Blake says after a moment. “Where would you like to start?”


    “Let’s start with familiars,” you say, opening up to the first page and writing that along the top. It took you only seconds to fill in what little information you had on the subject. “What else do I need to know? Start with the information that isn’t found in fantasy books, please.”


    “Alright,” your familiar says. “Let’s see. All familiars have two forms, set at the time of the binding…”





    Basic Info

    · Status
    o Normal​

    · Big Three
    o Person
    o place
    o THING

    · Auxiliary elements
    o Unknown​


    Vote for one option per underlined section. Feel free to customize your votes with up to 60 words of additional description; if you are using someone else’s plan and wish to add something to it, please bold the new portions.

    What do you want to do tomorrow?

    [] Skip school. Think of how much experimentation you and Blake can do when you have the whole day to do it! Surely this decision has nothing to do with any ulterior motives …

    - Customization​

    [] Go to school. You could hardly call yourself any kind of real cape if you couldn’t even face a day at school, regardless of what’s waiting for you there. There’s plenty of time for experimentation afterwards.

    - Customization​

    [] Split the difference. You owe it to your dad, and your mom, to try to continue your education. Go to school, but should any…difficulties…arise, if it feels like too much, just take off. You can make them proud by being an awesome cape, too.

    - Customization​



    What do you want to focus your experimentation on tomorrow? (Note: others aspects will at least be touched on, regardless of choice, though your above vote will influence how much you’re able to discover.)

    [] Blake, or rather your (powered) interactions with him. You created him, he’s a part of your power. You already found that you couldn’t give him mental commands, but there’s got to be more to it.

    - Customization​

    [] Inside your head. Between the three bundles and the other stuff you haven’t really looked into yet, you feel like a stranger inside your own brain. Time to fix that, even if it’s not yet time to use any of the bundles again.

    - Customization​

    [] Pact Magic. Blake mentioned a lot of different kinds of magic just in what you’ve talked about so far. There’s got to be a reason for your power to have all of these memories of stuff that doesn’t exist…right? Maybe you could use them yourself!

    - Customization

    At the moment, I'm thinking that I'll close the voting at 11:59 pm PST on Monday, but we'll see. Be sure to let me know if you see any errors, please :)

    <-Prev | Next->
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
    Subrosian_Smithy likes this.
  5. Threadmarks: Introductions 1.3
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    316
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    686
    The way it turned out, this update was getting really long even though I hadn't finished your next update. So you get what I have so far, plus a bonus long-term vote at the end. The next section, still being guided by the vote posted just below, is in progress, currently (/check) ~2k words in.

    The long-term vote at the bottom is still open, btw :)

    [X] Skip school. Think of how much experimentation you and Blake can do when you have the whole day to do it! Surely this decision has nothing to do with any ulterior motives …
    No. of votes: 7
    Ridiculously Average Guy, esran, Indivisible, Proudly arrogant, Joy22, snake, Tam Lin

    -[X] Try getting Awakened.
    No. of votes: 5
    Ridiculously Average Guy, esran, Indivisible, Proudly arrogant, Joy22


    -

    [X] Pact Magic. Blake mentioned a lot of different kinds of magic just in what you've talked about so far. There's got to be a reason for your power to have all of these memories of stuff that doesn't exist…right? Maybe you could use them yourself!
    No. of votes: 9
    Ridiculously Average Guy, esran, Indivisible, Proudly arrogant, Joy22, snake, Tam Lin, Thrice.Great, readerboy7

    -[X] Try to use connection magic.
    No. of votes: 5
    Ridiculously Average Guy, esran, Indivisible, Proudly arrogant, Joy22

    AN: I do appreciate people pointing out when I made a mistake, but do note that some of the changes in this chapter are intentional, due to the nature of the Xover/AU.


    <-Prev | Next->


    Introductions 1.3​


    The morning comes bright and early the next day.


    “Ungh,” you moan, rolling over in bed.


    Does it have to come so bright and so early?


    You try to get back to sleep, but you can hear the radio playing in the bathroom as your dad showers. That’s what normally wakes you up, and it seems like today is no exception. You vainly try to fall asleep for the next two minutes, at which point your alarm clock goes off. You give up and heave yourself out of bed, only to slip on something in your fatigue. You barely catch yourself before you faceplant on the floor.


    “What time did I get to sleep last night?” you blearily ask yourself, covering your face with the hand not holding you up.


    “I’m pretty sure it was around 4:00, or thereabouts,” a boy’s voice says out of nowhere.


    You gasp in surprise, your entire body flinching away from the intruder that got into your bedroom, landing on your side as you lose your balance. You start to scramble backwards, hands scrabbling for your glasses as your blurry vision looks frantically for the stranger, when the voice speaks up again.


    “Taylor? Are you okay?”


    You slow as you continue to see no threat, and that accented voice seems rather familiar…oh. You stop making a fool of yourself as the memories from the past day flood back into your recollection. That’s right, you and Blake had stayed up pretty late last night. You just had so many questions, and once you had the time to explore them—and a notebook handy to record what he was saying—you couldn’t resist asking question after question, running down everything that didn’t make sense. Or at least, you did until you were too tired to make sense of it.


    Remembering where you are, you slowly straighten up, shoulders tensing again as you look at the guy in the mirror. The desk is close enough to your bed that you can make him out clearly. Here it is, this is the point where the mocking would begin, the teasing at how foolishly you are acting…


    And yet there is nothing. He is just looking at you through his own mirror, propped up on the desk to have a view of most of the room (although not your bed). His expression contains nothing more malicious than concern.


    Slowly, you relax. “I’m fine,” you say carefully. “I just forgot that you were here for a second.”


    “Oh,” Blake says ruefully, a small smile creasing his face for a moment. It doesn’t look derisive. “I think I remember doing that, a time or two, when I was in your shoes.”


    The tension finishes sliding out of your shoulders, but something’s bothering you about this, even as you finally find your glasses and absently put them on. You struggle to pull up your last memories from the night before—or two hours ago, really. “Wait,” you say slowly. “Didn’t I ask you to spend the night elsewhere?” Indeed, you can vaguely remember stumbling into the bathroom to flip on the light for him, which he needed to stay there for some reason, and saying something about him spending the night out of your room.


    “Ah…yeah,” Blake says, looking away for a few moments. “Well, I was doing that for most of the night—I don’t’ know if you remember, but I borrowed a few of your books to keep me occupied, and the literature you have here is pretty weird—but then, uh…”


    You stare at him silently, waiting for him to continue.


    “…then your dad came into the bathroom and started getting ready for the shower.” Blake looks back at you, a little frustrated and embarrassed, but mostly just expectant.


    For your part, you merely rub your face with your hands, hoping to get some more of the sleepiness out. “Okay,” you say, reminding yourself that the bed was out of sight of the mirror. “That’s fine. I should have thought of that last night, but—”


    “—but you were exhausted,” Blake cut in, another small smile on his face. “Don’t worry about it for now. Just, maybe we can find a different plan for tonight?”


    “Because you can’t go to sleep. Right. Crap,” you mutter. “That sounds pretty awesome right now, honestly.”


    “I can see how you might think that,” Blake says politely. Your ears prick up at the phrasing, but you say nothing in response. He’s not making a big deal out of it, so you won’t either.


    You cast your mind out for something else to talk about despite your muddled mind. “You know,” you say slowly when you remember something. “I’ve been considering taking up running.” Ever since a certain exercise of sadism and social pressure a week or so ago. Thinking about that soured your mood even more, but you push through it. “Feel up for a jog this morning?”


    “Sure,” Blake says after a beat. He glances down at his clothing, unchanged from the night before. “Jeans aren’t really the best for running, but I’m sure I can make do.”


    You nod, and a few minutes later you found yourself dressed in sweats, collecting Blake from where he is waiting in the pictures on the stairs. You go into the kitchen to make yourself some breakfast. Often you or your dad will put together something fancier for breakfast, even on a normal morning, but today you are too tired to bother. You pour some cereal in a bowl, splash in some milk, and start shoveling it into your mouth.


    “So what’s the plan for the day?” Blake asks from the window he’s reflecting in.


    You stop shoving the cereal into your mouth, holding up a finger as you finish chewing the food already in your mouth. By the time you reduce the obstruction to manageable levels, you can clearly hear the shower shut off upstairs.


    You know that you don’t have much time, if your dad is already finished with his shower. “I was planning on spending at least part of today trying to see if my power would let me replicate any of those kinds of magic that you told me about last night.”


    Blake’s eyebrows jumped up. “Does it feel that way to you?”


    You hesitate for a few seconds. “Not really,” you say, “but the kinds of things you were talking about sound like they would be incredibly useful. And I am certain that my power lets me do more than make a man in a mirror.” You gesture to Blake, the thought that you know at least one other thing that it does keeping you from realizing that he might take your phrasing poorly until after you finish speaking.


    “Okay,” Blake says, not seeming to take any offense. “When will we be working on this?”


    But by this point, you can hear your dad coming down the stairs. “I’ll tell you on the run,” you murmur, shooting him a quick glance. At his brief nod, you resume demolishing the bowl of cereal, trusting Blake to hide from your dad.


    You finish the bowl by the time your dad comes downstairs, clad in his bathrobe. He raises his eyebrows when he sees you out of your normal pajamas. “Kiddo?” he asks inquisitively.


    The conversation that follows is…less than pleasant.


    Your dad understands that you’re just trying to be healthy, and that you don’t intend to be reckless. You understand that he’s just trying to make sure that you stay safe, and not intending to impinge on your freedom. And yet the space between these two understandings can be surprisingly vast.


    You two finally settle on you promising to carry a tube of pepper spray every time you run as soon as he gets one to you, along with a few other precautions, like sticking to the Boardwalk and varying your routes. The discussion took up much of the time that you set aside for running. As you go down the stairs and onto your yard, reflexively avoiding the step that still needing fixing, you wonder if that was intentional on his part.


    “So which way are we going?” Blake asks from his spot in his mirror, smuggled out of the house under your outermost layer of clothing.


    You pull the mirror out now, holding it in one hand. “Good question,” you say quietly, trying to talk without moving your lips in case anyone happens to be watching. Shrugging, you turn to the left once you reach the sidewalk and start to jog.


    After you finish trying to remember the best way to hold the mirror so Blake won’t be shoved around as much—which basically amounted to holding it more at the floor than the sky and keeping it from shaking around—you finally answer Blake’s question.


    “I’m going to skip school today,” you say in a voice that jars with every step, ready for his retorts about why you should go. You’ve had your powers for a month already and you haven’t done anything with them. You finally found out something new about them, and you don’t want to lose that momentum. Your powers can talk back now, and you have so much to learn.


    The fact that there are lots of students at school who seem to be invested in making your life hell doesn’t really factor into the equation. Honest.


    If that doesn’t sway him, you are ready to inform him of the volatile situation with the local gangs and how things seem to be heating up, with your school in the center of it. You don’t know if it’s heating up just because the hellhole that is Winslow High School is gang recruitment central or if there are other territorial concerns, but things have been way more violent there lately. That should be enough to convince anybody.


    “Hm,” Blake says after a few moments. “Okay.”


    Well, that was anticlimactic.


    “Anything else you wanted to tell me right now?” Blake asks, not sounding hindered by the jogging in the slightest.


    It’s only been a block and you’re already feeling winded. “Not now,” you pant out, shoving down another ripple of jealousy. “Tell me more—about things—like the mirror—while we jog?”


    “Sure,” Blake says. “You’re not comfortable calling it a fetish?”


    You would have expected to hear some amusement in his voice, an older guy talking about something rude with a younger girl, but again, nothing. “No,” you say shortly, not telling him your suspicions that he was messing with you.


    “I think there was another word for it if you don’t want to use ‘fetish,’” Blake says. “Gimme a minute, I’ll think on it.” The rest of the current block passes in silence but for the harsh gasps of breath from you. “Ah, I know. It’s also called a n’kisi. African origin, I think.”


    You let a groan through gritted teeth. “Ne-kissy? That’s hardly—any better…”


    “So picky,” Blake says. This time there is some humor underlying his words.


    You jerk the mirror somewhat, trying to get a glance at his face. You don’t see anything you shouldn’t, but his previous expression is quickly consumed in surprise as the world he inhabits jerks along with the mirror’s angle. You ignore the yelp of surprise and the grumbling that follows.


    “Anyway,” he says once he gets the grumbles out of his system, “it’s a variation on the standard vessel that’s used for containing Others. Except while those are more temporary, fetishes or n’kisi are bound more strongly to their Others and vice-versa. I hesitate to say ‘unbreakable,’ because absolutes are dangerous, but it’s definitely along that line. So what I’m thinking is that your ‘superpower’ created a n’kisi to house me, or give me some kind of anchor. Though I can’t be certain that I understand how this system works, especially considering I am still a novice to the one that I knew of before.”


    You might comment here, but you are even more of a novice than he is, in basically every way, so you just concentrate on breathing through the stitch building in your side.


    “Do you need a break?” Blake asks abruptly.


    “No!” you gasp out, pushing your flagging limbs a little harder.


    “Let me rephrase,” Blake says before you reach the end of this block. “Talking about the n’kisi gave me an idea that I want to try out, and it would work out better if you aren’t moving. Would you mind stopping for a minute or two?”


    Oh. Well, when he puts it that way…you slow to a stop at the intersection, keeping the mirror in its position despite bending over to try to catch your breath while Blake works on his idea, whatever it is. Speaking of which…


    “What’s…idea…?” you ask.


    “Just double-checking the range,” he says absently as he—you peek at the mirror—looks around at the windows of surrounding houses. “Oh, you shouldn’t be entirely still for long, or your limbs will cramp up. Keep moving, at least a little, like pacing in place. And your lungs can pull in more air if you’re upright.”


    Blake takes a step or two forward and then disappears from the reflection before you could say anything. Lacking the breath to grumble yourself, you decide to try to take his advice, walking in tiny circles to minimize how much you’re moving for the test, trying to keep upright.


    “Huh,” Blake’s voice says from the feti—n’kisi.


    “What?” you ask, your breath finally returning.


    “Do you remember how far I was able to get from you last night, when we tested it from your room?”


    That was pretty early on in the night, just after he finished explaining the basics about familiars, so your memories of the event are clear. “I think it was around…30 feet, wasn’t it?”


    “Something like that,” the vestige agrees. “It was hard to gauge with all of the walls in the way, but I think that was it. How far away would you say that window is?”


    You check the mirror to see where he’s gesturing, then look at the window that he seems to be gesturing at. You’re really not good at judging distances like that, but one thing at least is clear.


    “That’s a lot more…than 30 feet.”


    “Yes,” Blake nods. “More like 50. And yet—” He disappears out of the mirror. More than able to follow along, you turn to see the window he had just gestured towards. You have to squint through your glasses to see, but you can make out his image in that mirror, waving at you for a moment before disappearing again, back into the n’kisi in your hand.


    Your mind is whirling. “How…?” you ask, but you’re already putting it together, a combination of what Blake just said and what’s different between last night and now. “Because I have the mirror now?”


    “I think so,” Blake says, satisfaction strong in his voice. “The fact that the fetish acts like an anchor would have made me think that I could stay there even if I got too far away from you, but last night clearly showed that that isn’t the case. So I thought that if it didn’t act as an anchor for me from the familiar bond—”


    “—it acts as, as an extension of you?” you ask, brow furrowed as you try to figure out the logic behind this strange ‘magic.’


    “More or less,” he says with a broad smile. “Or it serves as an anchor for me, grounded in range of you and allowing me to extend further than the familiar bond normally would? I’m not certain of the details, but it’s very good news, and definitely worth further experimentation.”


    You’re unsure of just how good this news is and you’re still confused—he said last night that familiars are extensions of their practitioners, which is why they can’t get that far from each other, so would that make the mirror an extension of yours by proxy?—but his happiness is infectious, and you feel your mouth start to tug up just a bit on one side. His smile just gets wider at the sight.


    Soon enough, however, you realize that you don’t really have time to continue your jog, so you turn around to get ready for school. Or rather, to pretend to go to school.


    Ugh. You’d feel even guiltier about this if you hadn’t skipped some days after the Incident.




    After you finish getting ready, you leave for the same bus stop as usual.


    “So,” you mutter to Blake under your breath while trying not to move your lips, “you want to know what the plans for the day are with a little more detail.”


    “Yeah, I would,” Blake says quietly from his place in the n’kisi. You wouldn’t dare take it to school, given what the trio has done to your things in the past, and so would have had to scrounge up a disposable mirror from somewhere, if you were really going to school. Since you aren’t, that isn’t a problem.


    “Okay,” you continue, keeping an eye out for anyone coming near you. “So the first thing we’re going to need to do is get me Awakened.” Or was it Awoken?


    “What?” Blake blurts out, forgetting to keep himself quiet for the moment.


    “Shh,” you shush, glancing around quickly. “What’s the problem?”


    “There’s lots of problems,” Blake says, his voice strained. “The biggest problem is also insurmountable, though. The ritual calls for a fair amount of reading specific words, setting up a deal with the spirits, trading access to power for honesty in word. What are those words? I don’t know, because it was all written in a foreign language that I didn’t even recognize. I had to read it from a phonetic script. The best case scenario for trying to recreate the awakening ritual from nothing but my memories is nothing happening at all, and I think we’d be lucky to get it.”


    Despite your disappointment, you reluctantly have to agree. Considering how important words seem to be with this ‘magic,’ mangling them while Awakening seems like a terrible idea.


    “Well,” you say after a while spent coming to terms with the sudden change in plans. “That’s going to be a little better for my spending money, then, at least.”


    “Probably,” Blake agrees, his voice notably calmer now. You aren’t sure what it is, but you’re clearly still missing something. “Besides, I’m not sure how much it would have done.”


    “How do you mean?” you ask curiously, shelving but not forgetting your thoughts on the matter.


    “I mentioned last night that you didn’t have a practitioner connection, but you do have a bond that’s pretty close to one. It’s possible that you basically already count as a practitioner, at least as far as using magic goes.”


    As the occupied bus stop came into sight, you let another smile—your second in one day—cross your face.


    “Then I guess we know what we’re going to be doing next,” you whisper, before you get too close to other people to risk further talk.




    You and Blake don’t really talk on the first bus. Blake mentioned previously that he wasn’t sure if other people would be able to see or hear him—which was a surprise to you, since you could see him plain as day—but apparently that had been a factor with his companion. Or at least, he thinks that it was, though he also has memories of talking to normal people from inside of mirrors.


    Yeah, those fuzzy memories of his are really annoying.


    Regardless, while it is definitely something that needs to be tested, now isn’t the time…or is it?


    Making up your mind, you whisper quick instructions to your mirror-dwelling companion as you switch buses in the first visible deviation from your morning path to school.


    For the next step in your new plan, your part is…to sit in the bus being bored. On the other hand, Blake is experimenting with how far from you he could get. There are a lot of variables to test, like how far he can go in a single leap or whether there is a difference between Blake moving away from you and him staying in place while you moved further away. After he finishes figuring that out, you’ll plot out a way for him to check to see if others could see him without giving away your position. You don’t want people to be able to trace a man in a mirror to anywhere near your house, after all.


    Rather than actually succumbing to boredom on the bus, if that is even possible on a day like today, you plan out the next steps of the day. If you are going to spend part of the day trying to see if you could do “magic,” then you definitely don’t want to do it in your house, so it’s convenient that you already left it. You considered trying it out somewhere more abandoned yesterday; rather than breaking into a foreclosed house, you think you would rather try your hand at an uninhibited warehouse. The local economic troubles mean that there are more than enough of those, around. Unfortunately, you aren’t the only one who would be interested in an enclosed space away from prying eyes. Keeping that in mind, it makes sense to start the day with the testing in a warehouse, since most of the kinds of people who would want those spaces tend to sleep in late. As long as they didn’t spend the night there, you will hopefully be done and gone before they return.


    You don’t know how long testing to see if you have any of the other powers Blake described will take, which makes it hard to plan the rest of the day, but you have ideas for what else you could look into, assuming you have any time left afterwards. Visiting the Central Library to do some research is also high on your to-do list. Everything else…you are pretty sure you could do everything else at home without risk. You spend the rest of the time before Blake returns trying to mentally detail exactly what those other things will be.


    “I’m back.” You are pulled from your thoughts with a jerk of surprise when Blake speaks from the mirror angled on your lap without any forewarning. Your hurried glances around and harsh shushing noises are halted at Blake’s next words. “Don’t worry, I checked if people could detect me while I was out and about. Want to guess what I found?”


    You shift in place, frustrated. That wasn’t the plan! Now isn’t the time to saying anything though, since even the few people around you is too many for that kind of conversation. Still, you do want to know what he found out, so you reluctantly nod. Then you realize that because you set the mirror so that the bus seat would be more prominently visible, he can’t see your head. You give him a thumbs up instead.


    “So far, it looks like no one else can see or hear me, even when I was being really obvious about my movements or deliberately trying to get their attention. I can’t deny that there might be additional unknowns messing things up, however.”


    You briefly angle the mirror up enough for him to see your raised eyebrows.


    “Well, you remember how I could see your connections when I got within about six feet of you?”


    You flash another thumbs up impatiently.


    “Okay, well I could see your dad’s, too, before he started getting ready for the shower and I took off. The thing is, almost nobody that I saw when I tested it just now had any connections at all, that I could see, no matter how close I got. Just one woman, putting on some makeup as she got ready for work, at one of the first places I jumped to.”


    You hold still, considering this for a moment, then trying to figure out how to communicate your next thought. Your hand turns palm-up for a moment, then one finger makes a small spinning motion. Come on, understand what I mean.


    “…do you want me to check to see if the people on this bus have visible connections? Oh, to see if proximity to you is a factor? Sure, I can do that.”


    You blink as Blake vanishes from the mirror, honestly surprised that he managed to pick up your meaning and impressed that he was able to figure out why so quickly. He seems to think like you do, in at least a couple of ways. You stare at the back of the seat in front of you, determined not to act any more suspiciously while Blake is getting closer to the people around you, and spend the time trying to figure out how to communicate more easily with Blake in these kinds of situations. Maybe hand signs of some sort?


    Aha. That’s an obvious idea. You should have thought of it earlier.


    Soon enough, Blake returns to the n’kisi. “Nope, nobody else here has visible connections.”


    You show him another thumbs up, then drum your fingers on your lap to indicate thought. The unknown limitations to Blake’s ability to see connections are an interesting discovery, if not necessarily a welcome one, but it’s also not the information that you sent him out to find. Time to move on, for now.


    You shift position, resting your head on one hand, fingers splayed across your lower face to obstruct your mouth, wide as it is, from the other passengers. Once properly obscured, you breathe a quick question to Blake: “Range?”


    “Oh, right,” Blake says, at a volume that still seems far too loud, even with what he just told you. “So it looks like I don’t really have a hard range limit.”


    …what? No, seriously, what? That doesn’t seem consistent with what you know about capes at all. Everyone has some sort of limit to the range of their power. Even Eidolon, widely acknowledged as the strongest cape on the planet, has different limits to how far his powers will extend. You furiously suppress the urge to get out your notebook to start writing things down. What on earth—


    And then you catch Blake’s phrasing. No hard limit isn’t the same thing as no limit at all. Your mouth still covered, you ask, “Soft limits?” in the same way as before.


    “Well, yeah,” Blake says, a grimace audible in his voice. Now that you think about it, he hadn’t sounded too happy in his previous statement. You probably should have noticed it then. “It seems like while you have the mirror, I’m not limited to the 30-ish feet around you, but it starts costing me extra energy once I step outside of that range. The further away I go, the faster I can feel it disappearing.”


    Your brow furrows. “How bad?”


    “Oh, it didn’t seem that it was draining me too badly until I started getting quite a ways away. Or did you mean how bad would it be for me to run out of energy? That would be quite bad, actually. I recall that it was the primary concern of my companion, from before, or at least one of the primary concerns. Vestiges can be rather fragile.”


    You frown behind your hand at the nonchalance in his voice. It doesn’t seem faked. Rather than wondering why it isn’t bothering him, you just ask. “Not worried?”


    “Hm? Oh, no, not too worried about that. I have you, after all. If I start to run low on power, I’ll just tap into yours. Assuming that the familiar bond works the same way here, too.”


    You purse your lips. That seems…presumptuous, you guess? But it’s not like you were using power in any amount right now, so it’s not too bad, you suppose, and you can hardly begrudge him something he needs to live. “How much more…can you do?” you breath carefully.


    “Today? I’m just fine. What’d you have in mind for next?”


    You’re still irritated with Blake, because he didn’t go according to plan, but you really don’t have the opportunity to talk him about it. And you suppose knowing that most people can’t see him does make the next part easier. Quietly, taking far too long for your preference, you explain your idea about having him scout out abandoned warehouses for you to practice in. You also mentioned some of your considerations and concerns to ensure that he could pick the best place.


    “Shouldn’t be a problem. Just point me in the direction of the warehouse district and I’ll be off.”


    You point and he disappears from the mirror.




    “Wow, this is pretty perfect,” you say, looking around the unoccupied warehouse.


    It is cluttered with various pieces of detritus and junk, but there are enough clear spaces that you don’t have to worry about tripping over stuff while you are experimenting. There are windows in the building, which is good because it would be pitch-black otherwise, but they were set up high on the side of the walls, so you don’t have to worry about people peeking inside. Unless they could fly, of course, but that seems pretty unlikely. The door is boarded over, but rather shoddily; you had to take off your backpack to fit through the slats after you opened the door, but you had managed to fit your pack and yourself well enough after that.


    “Thanks,” Blake says from one of the shards of glass scattered off to the side. You find a nice spot near an open space and place his mirror there, giving him a full—and steady—view of where you were going to practice. “Alright, now that you’ve found me a good watching spot, let’s get started.”


    “Where should we begin?” you ask, eager to get started.


    “With the Sight,” Blake says confidently. “I’m been thinking about it, since you told me your plans for the day. The thing is, virtually every kind of magic requires the use of Others, and so far as I can tell, I’m the only Other that exists here. So I’ve thought about what kinds of magic you should be able to do even without any of the larger, sentient Others, and the first thing that comes to mind is the Sight. It’s the basic ability of practitioners; not to mention, it doesn’t require Others to function, after the Awakening ritual. If it does work, then we can use it to try to find out if there are Others here.


    “We start with the Sight.”




    You rub one thumb along the outside of your fingers, suppressing your instinctive suspicion that this is all a prank. Though Blake has not shown any real signs of that kind of personality, the possibility lingers in your mind. “I look like an idiot.”


    His sigh is audible from where the mirror is, five feet away. “You don’t look like an idiot. Just—just try again, please.”


    You sigh yourself. You close your eyes, inhaling deeply, then open your eyes. Looking around, you see nothing different, not even the mirror, which really should have changed if you are activating the Sight. You try to reverse the process, closing your eyes, exhaling, then opening again. Nothing.


    Growling to yourself, you just try to force it, trying to push whatever change should lurk beneath the surface.


    “Look, maybe we should shelve this part and try some of the other ideas I had for magic in a world that doesn’t seem to have Others in it.”


    You turn your head to glare at the person in the mirror.


    “Hey, okay,” Blake says placatingly, his hands raised up. “Go ahead and continue, then. I’ll keep an eye out, to see if anything changes.”


    Scowling, you turn your focus back to your eyes. Come on, Sight! It sounds way too awesome to give up so easily. Being able to see things for what they were, the concepts attached to things, the connections between everything, and more besides.


    It is also the basic attribute of any practitioner. You just have to keep trying…




    “Just because you can’t see the connections between people,” Blake says cheerfully, “doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t alter them. Heck, for all we know, that’s why I do have this strange sort of Sight, and we’re just meant to work together for this.”


    You give a sincere effort to dial back the intensity of your glare. Really, you do. Judging from his less-than-pleased expression, you clearly haven’t succeeded.


    “Well,” Blake coughs, “connections for beginners. Skipping over everything we’ve already covered, one important detail is that a connection is forged between two people just by looking at them.”


    “Really?” you ask, surprise knocking you from your grumpi—or rather, from your understandable frustration with a malfunctioning power. “From something as little as looking at someone?”


    “Sure,” he says easily, “though it’s naturally a very weak and temporary bond. But if you strengthen it, then you can keep tracking someone, even when they are out of sight. By the same token, if you weaken it…?”


    “Then you can avoid notice, even when they should be able to keep following?” you ask, perking up. That sounds even more useful than it had when you first discussed it, and being able to manipulate people’s relationships sounded ludicrously useful. Though you would have to careful about who you share that information with, if this works.


    “Exactly right,” Blake says with a smile. “So right now, I’m looking at you, creating a connection between us, which is quite distinct from the familiar bond. I want you to try to break it. If you weaken or break it, then I’ll let you know.”


    You nod seriously. “How do I do that?”


    “Essentially, you’re taking the flow of power and interrupting it. If you want to strengthen a bond, then you run power along or parallel to the direction of the connection. To weaken a connection, then, what direction should you run the power?”


    You think for a moment. “Well, my first inclination would be to run along the connection but in the opposite direction, but given your phrasing, that’s not the right answer. In that case, I would go with the opposite of parallel, so I run the power…perpendicular to the connection?”


    “Right again,” he says. “So let’s try it.”


    You nod again, preparing yourself for the test.




    “Shamanism,” Blake says calmly, “is the manipulation of the spirits in the world around you. Because there are all kinds of spirits everywhere, shamanism can be incredibly effective. Now, neither of us can perceive these spirits right now, so I really don’t know if this will work. It’s hard to entreat them without being able to see them or directly communicate with them.”


    “So why do you think that this will work?” you ask, equally calm. No point in getting upset, not before trying everything. You really shouldn’t have gotten upset with him after using the Sight failed; you’ll make it up to him afterwards.


    “Because we will be communicating with the spirits indirectly, sorta,” he replies, “by using runes. Runes,” he continues before you could ask, “are basically shapes that tell the spirits what you want them to do.”


    You tilt your head. “Do you know how it works? Do the shapes have some sort of metaphysical significance or something?” Those kinds of plot elements have always bugged you in fantasy stories.


    Blake shifted a bit inside his mirror. “No…” he says slowly. “My understanding is that the shapes are taught to them. The spirits are trained into what each symbol means, essentially.”


    You cross your arms, but remember what you just told yourself, and so remain calm. “If the spirits need to be trained, how is it supposed to work here, without practitioners to train them?”


    “It shouldn’t be a problem,” Blake said confidently. “I did a fair amount of traveling before I came here, and the spirits reacted the same way everywhere I went. I’m pretty sure it’s a consistent effect.”


    On your world, you think, but do not say. “Okay,” you say instead. “Show me a rune to try. Something definitive. Please.”


    Under Blake’s instruction, you take a marker from your bag, pick up a piece of the junk lying around, and proceed to test runes on it.




    “Illusions,” Blake says in a level tone, “is exactly what it sounds like, for the most part. It involves creating images of things that aren’t there, or creating absences where things are. They can be designed to affect only the people you want, or everyone around you. They can even be powerful enough to fool the Sight, at least for short periods of time. There is also some manipulation of connections involved, but they seem to be mostly bundled in with the illusionary effect. ”


    “How does that work?” you ask. “Aren’t they separate branches of magic?”


    “They are,” he confirms. “I think part of it is that the illusionist that I learned this from also had some pretty extensive training in enchanting too. But it’s mostly an effect of the illusions themselves, minor enchanting shifting connections to create the effect that you want. An illusionary copy of yourself, for instance, would also contain some fragile copy of your connections, making others really perceive it as you. An illusion of nothingness where you are would temporarily hide your connections as well, making them believe that you aren’t there anymore.


    You consider this for a bit. After hearing about all of the things that can be done with shamanism, you are a bit let down at hearing about the lack of direct firepower illusions would offer. On the other hand, it would probably offer more in a fight than enchanting, and you had quite liked the idea of being able to become functionally invisible in a fight. All in all, it seems like it would be a pretty good deal. “Do you have much experience with illusion?” you ask.


    “Not much,” Blake says ruefully, “none of which was actually practiced by me. Almost all of it was from another companion, though he wasn’t around for too long. And I think we were enemies at some point, or perhaps adversaries. But I do remember that he was definitely someone worthy of respect. While we were companions, he shared a couple of tips. I think it’s enough to get you started, at least.”


    Less than ideal, but still worth a try. “So what’s the first step?”




    “Chronomancy,” Blake says with little enthusiasm, “is the manipulation of time, or more often the manipulation of people’s perception of time.”


    “How does that work?” you ask, tiredness seeping into your voice. It wasn’t a physical tiredness—you haven’t exerted yourself nearly enough for that—but a sort of tiredness that comes from repeated disappointment, silly as it was. You shouldn’t have gotten your hopes up in the first place. You’re doing better about that this time.


    “Generally, it’s done by the manipulation of zeitgeists, which are essentially spirits of time.”


    “When you say they’re ‘spirits of time,’” you begin, your curiosity piquing again, “do you mean that they monitor time, or that they are time somehow?”


    Blake gives you a little smile that looks as tired as you feel. “Yes.”


    You nod without comment. You had more than half-expected that answer.


    “It is a very powerful branch of magic. I didn’t bring it up before now for a couple of reasons, but a big one is that I never practiced it myself before I came here. No helpers for this one either.”


    “But you know the theory?” you ask.


    “Yeah, both from what my companion did to look into it and my own research.” Blake gives you a lopsided smile. “Some of our biggest, most persistent enemies were chronomancers. Know your enemy and all that.”


    “Right,” you agree. “So how do we get started?”




    “Anything else?” you ask, feeling unconscionably exhausted. Especially considering it’s not even lunchtime yet.


    “…maybe?” Blake hedges. “I suppose we could try karma manipulation.”


    “Karma? Karma, karma…have you explained what karma means to you, yet?” you ask, half-heartedly trying to remember all of the things that you two have talked about since you created the vestige.


    “Only a little, I think,” Blake says, an uneasy edge creeping into his voice. He stops for a minute, rubbing his hands over his face several times. “Okay, Karma, CliffsNotes edition,” he starts, head still in his hands.


    You mouth CliffsNotes? to yourself in confusion, but don’t interrupt.


    “You’re aware of—sorry, wrong question,” Blake says, shifting tracks. “Does your world have the cultural idea of what karma is, in general?”


    “I guess?” you hazard. “It’s a sort of tally system for doing good or bad things, right? What goes around comes around?” You snort at the thought, thinking of the Bay as it is. No way something like that is real. Any world where Scion could just die like that after doing so much good for people is a world clearly without karma.


    “Right, that’s basically it,” Blake confirms.


    Nope, still no way that’s real.


    “But there’s a catch,” he says.


    Ah, that’s more like it.


    “The karma that I’m familiar with doesn’t actually give a damn about good or bad, or even evil. All that it distinguishes between are right and wrong, and it uses fucking old standards for determining what those are. Most of it comes down to lies, in the end, with breaking your word considered an extreme case, though there are other parts, like wronging people in general and hospitality rules.”


    You refrain from pointing out that explaining what ‘wrong’ is with the phrase ‘wronging people’ is less than helpful. “So how do you manipulate karma? By working to only get good karma and not get bad?”


    But Blake is already waving his hands in the air. “Oh no, that doesn’t really count. Virtually everyone in the know does that already, because the consequences can be pretty serious, and Others do it by course—I’m not sure that most can do actions that would generate bad karma, at least without doing serious damage to their very selves. Though some of the karma rules affect them differently, it seems.” He shrugs. “No, karma manipulation generally involves changing how karma will affect you and the people around you.”


    “How does karma affect anything?” you ask, still confused. “What consequences?”


    “Oh, yeah,” he says. “Basically, good karma makes people like you more and makes things more likely to go your way, while bad karma does the opposite.”


    You spend a few moments gaping at Blake.


    “…of course, the effects are much, much more pronounced for practitioners,” he concedes. “It tends to be a lot more mild for the uninitiated.”


    Oh, okay. That makes a little more sense. Because otherwise, you were going to have to call bullshit. There’s no way the universe really works like that. You still don’t think that this world works that way, but it’s more believable that Blake’s does.


    Blake politely gives you the time you need to recover from his outlandish statements.


    “So when you talk about manipulating this…?”


    “Generally, it’s the universe that decides when and how karma is paid back.” The vestige stops at your stare. “Look, I don’t know the detailed cosmology behind this. I was mostly looking into how things worked, not so much why, as much as I wanted to. When it came to karma, the important part was figuring out how it worked, so we could work around it. I was told karma was the universe’s way of paying its debts—I don’t know how much of that was figurative, but it was what I was taught.”


    “Okay, sorry,” you mutter, raising your hands in front of you. No need for him to be a jerk about it. But the idea of the universe thinking for itself, acting for itself…so strange.


    “Anyway,” Blake says, running his hand over his face again, “the universe decides how and when karma is repaid. But with karma manipulations, the practitioner seems to be able to influence the when or how, at least to some limited degree. It can be capricious, but extremely powerful.”


    “Well, that certainly seems that it could be handy,” you say somewhat dubiously. “How would I go about actually doing that?”


    “I’m less than certain,” Blake admits, “but I have a couple of ideas—”



    “I think that we need to stop for now,” you say with finality.


    “I…,” Blake hesitates.


    Do you have any more ideas?” you ask. The words might have come out angry or frustrated, but they didn’t. They were just words, asking a simple question for the sake of learning the answer.


    “Sure, some,” Blake says. “There’s augury, to see the future, and astrology, which is sort of like constructing artificial ghosts—”


    But you already start tuning him out at “astrology.” There has to be some sort of limit to the kind of crap that your power is trying to feed you. “Is there anything on your list that you have more than a vague idea of how to implement?” you say, interrupting him abruptly.


    “Well, yes, one form of magic,” Blake says slowly. “If there are spirits here, then this idea should work. And I received explicit instructions on how to use it, even if I didn’t end up actually doing so, since it turned out I already had a better option.”


    “Oh?” you ask, suspicious about why he wouldn’t have mentioned this idea before others that he was much shakier about. “What’s the catch?”


    “There are two catches that I think you’ll consider rather big,” he says, scratching the back of his head, “and a couple others that are perhaps smaller.”


    Well, that’s not ominous. “What are they?” you ask, crossing your arms. “Or what is the power?”


    “It’s the ability to change into animal form,” Blake says.


    You can’t help but perk your ears up at this. It was hardly the most combat-viable of powers, which would make it harder to go out as a cape, but among other things, it would let you turn into a bird. It wouldn’t be exactly like Alexandria, your favorite hero growing up, but if you could become a bird…


    Then you could fly…


    Shaking yourself out of your reverie, you return to the matter at hand. “And the catches?”


    “Well, if you aren’t careful in the…application process…it can leave you dazed, at best, or you might become more animal-like, at worst.”


    Well, that doesn’t sound good. On the other hand, he probably meant just temporarily, right? You can’t really remember a cape whose powers changed them permanently, at least not after they got powers. You do remember that there were some capes whose bodies changed when they had powers—there were one or two in Brockton Bay, if you aren’t mixing things up—but that hasn’t happened in a while, and you made it past that point without issue anyway.


    “Also…” Blake hesitates. “You have to take all of your clothes off—”


    What.


    “—so that you can apply the blood from the animal that you want to transform onto your bare skin,” he finishes with a rush. You just stare at him, slightly agog. “It also has to be a fresh kill—the animal’s blood has to still be warm. Unless it’s from an animal that doesn’t have warm blood, I suppose,” he mumbles, looking everywhere but at you.


    “No,” you finally say.


    “No?”


    “No. There’s no way I—the idea of getting naked in this neighborhood—where would I even get a live animal to kill—no.” You take a deep breath. “I think we’re done with the ‘magic’ testing for today.”


    “Okay,” Blake says, not looking or sounding disappointed. “Where to next?”


    You take another deep breath, attempting to quell the tumultuous emotions the last minute has stirred up. “We go to the library.”





    Basic Info

    · Status
    o Normal​

    · Big Three
    o Person
    o place
    o THING

    · Auxiliary elements
    o Unknown​


    Vote for one option per underlined section. Feel free to customize your votes with up to 60 words of additional description; if you are using someone else’s plan and wish to add something to it, please bold the new portions.

    Long-term vote alert! This vote, though important, will not affect the next post much at all. Instead, it is a vote about the direction of the story as a whole. I’ll keep the voting open on it for about a week at least a couple more days, since I can keep working on the next chapter while you vote on it.

    What kind of cape do you want to be?

    [] Be a hero! Fight for Justice and Order and the Law! You could join the local government-sanctioned team for underaged capes, the Wards, which offers quite a lot of support for their members in exchange for more oversight, or you could stay independent, being a legal vigilante with a lot less support but no oversight either.

    - [] Customization

    [] Be a rogue! Forget getting into fights, you can just use your power to make money! Erm, as soon as you figure out how you could monetize this…

    - [] Customization

    [] Be a villain! Nothing too destructive, but your dad could always use some more money around the house. It was your childhood dream to be a hero…but it’s time you grew up. Besides, when has authority ever helped you out?

    - [] Customization

    [] Bide your time! You don’t even know everything about your power yet. You can always decide later…

    - [] Customization



    For anyone lamenting about how much time I “wasted” on going over forms of magic that didn’t end up working, all I have to say is :drevil: (;))


    <-Prev | Next->
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
    Subrosian_Smithy likes this.
  6. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    686
    The voting is NOT closed, this is just an update. Keep calm and carry on :)

    Guys. Please don't customize the first option; this is already stated in the rules post. Just copy/paste it from the lovely list I include at the bottom of the posts. It makes sorting the votes more annoying. I'm already manually combining the votes, and QQ doesn't even have the nifty tool that SV & SB do.

    Vote tally:
    ##### 3.19
    [X] Bide your time! You don't even know everything about your power yet. You can always decide later…
    No. of votes: 15
    Master Basher, gammoregan, Enohthree, Indivisible, Not A Victory March, Z000, snake, Ysarsid, LokiTheDarkGod, Unintentionall, JeffJway, ReaperofInterest, Thrice.Great, Stripes, veekie

    -[X] And besides, until you can at least use this 'power', let alone be able to utilize this magic, you can't even go and persue your dreams as a Cape.
    No. of votes: 4
    Master Basher, gammoregan, Enohthree, Indivisible

    -[X] Ask Blake about it and make a different decision if he has good reasons. You two are a team! Kind of. Hopefully. (Because if your own power/summons/familiar/whatever doesn't want to be on a team with you, who will?)
    No. of votes: 1
    Not A Victory March

    -[X] Your power might work pretty well as part of a team, to scout out villains' lairs and have your teammates do the heavy-hitting. However, you're not willing to make that kind of commitment without knowing that you have a good chance of fighting off or escaping your teammates if it goes badly; you have enough of that at school. Which makes finding more powerful teammates pointless.
    No. of votes: 1
    Not A Victory March

    @Not A Victory March This does not work, since it is more than 60 words. In fact, you submitted two customizations, one of which (this one) was too long on its own. I'll leave the smaller one alone this time, but check your wordcount next time. The rules clearly state a 60 word cap, and it's reiterated above the voting options.

    [X] Be a villain! Nothing too destructive, but your dad could always use some more money around the house. It was your childhood dream to be a hero…but it's time you grew up. Besides, when has authority ever helped you out?
    No. of votes: 7
    Edmantgoog, Proudly arrogant, 1986ctcel, DOOMPOTATO, Tsotate, tinkerbell, CrawlingChaos74

    -[X] Customize: Some wear the villain label with pride, because they want to rebel against the norms, because it's a harder, more rewarding road to travel, or because being a 'hero' often means so very little. But few people really want to see themselves as being bad or evil, whatever label they wear. The sliding scale is a fantasy. There's no simple answers. So you will do what seems right and damn the consequences.
    No. of votes: 2
    1986ctcel, DOOMPOTATO
    *glances from 1986ctcel to DOOMPOTATO and back suspiciously*

    -[X] The world kept you down and pushed you hard well now its time to push back, HARD and take what your owed and at this point your owed a lot
    No. of votes: 1
    Edmantgoog

    [X] Be a hero! Fight for Justice and Order and the Law! You could join the local government-sanctioned team for underaged capes, the Wards, which offers quite a lot of support for their members in exchange for more oversight, or you could stay independent, being a legal vigilante with a lot less support but no oversight either.
    No. of votes: 3
    Ridiculously Average Guy, Olivebirdy, readerboy7
    (@readerboy7 I'm going to assume that you meant to vote for Hero and add the below as the customization. Please don't forget that step in the future.)

    -[X] Go to school, spend a few months learning how to weaponise her power, plan to be a hero starting during the summer break or something. That didn't go that well in canon, but seeing as this is an AU, either the juice incident or Lung should be butterflied away.
    No. of votes: 1
    readerboy7

    [X] Be a rogue! Forget getting into fights, you can just use your power to make money! Erm, as soon as you figure out how you could monetize this…
    No. of votes: 1
    cyberswordsmen,

    [X] Customize: focus more on creating a safer neighborhood, not through violence but community action and information brokering. Blake can be super handy in scouting gang hangouts and then we can supply the more kicky punchy heroes with info, a la Oracle.
    No. of votes: 1
    Thrice.Great


    So far, the definite choice is tending towards Villain, but since the largest vote by far (literally half of the votes) is to bide your time, there's still lots of room to shift that around when it comes time.

    The voting is NOT closed, this is just an update. Keep calm and carry on :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
  7. Bone Daddy

    Bone Daddy Well worn.

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    [X] Be a villain! Nothing too destructive, but your dad could always use some more money around the house. It was your childhood dream to be a hero…but it’s time you grew up. Besides, when has authority ever helped you out?

    Is it too much to ask for a villain Taylor in at least one quest?
     
    Sheaman3773 likes this.
  8. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    I guess I’ll officially close the voting on this, since nobody’s posted in a while. The count is updated, so I guess you’re biding your time :p But perhaps not for much longer…

    The next chapter is officially with my beta as of a bit ago. He is, again, a busy guy, but he thinks he’ll get to it during the weekend. I’m not paying for his services, so I don’t get to complain when he’s not as prompt as I’d like :p I could post unbeta’d, but the last couple of times I posted without waiting, there were an embarrassing number of mistakes, so I think I’ll wait for him this time.

    Another heads up, I suppose. There’s a specific vote at the end of this update that is particularly important. I’ll extend the vote on this one, at least for a few days. If you vote the way that I suspect you will, then the next update will be super-short and super-quick—I already have most of it done. The update after that one will have to wait for the votes to come in before I could start, and we’ll want a long voting period for it. I might spend the time by starting to write an interlude that would likely be a while before you guys could see it, or I might write out one of the ideas I had that’s been buzzing ‘bout my brain for a bit.

    I gotta admit, I’m really looking forward to the next vote. I’ll try to be around to interject into the conversation and clarify anything as needed.
     
    1986ctcel likes this.
  9. Threadmarks: Introductions 1.4
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    My beta pulled through faster than I thought! Don't say we never gave you anything for Valentine's Day! :D

    <-Prev | Next->


    Introductions 1.4


    The trip to the library is going in silence. You aren’t unaware of the benefits inherent to having a friend that can talk to you without anyone else hearing, but right now, you’re just a little bit tired of all of this “magic” junk. Time to ground yourself in the real world again.


    Your stomach grumbles audibly.


    Cheeks slightly red with embarrassment, you refuse to look around the bus to see who might have heard. The real world can come after lunch.




    You settle onto one of the benches outside of the Central Library to eat the lunch you had packed this morning, just like the ones you bring to school every day. There isn’t much to do besides people-watch, which you aren’t interested in, or have Blake teach you more about his ‘magic,’ which you really aren’t in the mood for right now. But after the first few bites, you realize how awkward it is to have Blake just hanging around without any food; he doesn’t need any, true, but it still feels rude to eat in front of him. You glance around to see if anyone’s close enough to overhear you. Being taller than many full-grown women has advantages, at times.


    “Ah,” you say, clearing your throat. “Do you want to go check out the library, see what kind of space there is for you to work with?”


    “Sure,” Blake shrugs. “See you in a few.”


    You lean back to focus on your food after he steps out of the reflection, expecting to feel relieved now that he’s left. After all, besides supper with your dad, Blake practically hasn’t left your side since you made him—summoned him—since he showed up. Well, and on the bus when he was checking things out. Still need to have a talk with him about that. But still, it’s the most time you’ve spent with any one person not your dad since—in years. He was even there when you woke up! You’d think you would be sick of him by now. But instead, you feel a little bit…lonely? Glad the awkwardness of him just sitting there while you eat is gone, but otherwise…lonely.


    Huh. Something to think about.


    You finish your food in peace, then sit to wait for Blake to reappear. And you wait. It occurs to you that neither of you specified how long he would be, and he might be staying away out of politeness. Could he have understood why you were asking him to go? You bite your lip in thought, then shrug it aside. Before you get up to go into the library to find him, however, you have a sudden thought. Blake had mentioned something offhandedly last night, about calling for his mirror companion while they were separated on some mission or another. Something about invoking her name…


    You look around to see if anyone is too close again, then rest your hand on the n’kisi resting on your lap. “Blake Thorburn, Bl—”


    “Yes?”


    Your eyes pop open.


    Blake is back in the mirror, peering around your fingers to look at you. You remove your hand hastily, remembering that he told you the reflections that he exists in degrade and disappear when the mirrors are covered up too much. Even if that’s not a problem with this mirror, you have the impression that it’s still uncomfortable, to be suspended over nothingness.


    Oh, he’s still looking at you expectantly. “Oh, uh,” you say, not having actually planned what to say here. “I finished eating.” Jeez that sounds lame. “And, um, I didn’t say where you should meet me, so I thought that I’d call you. I remember you mentioned that you did something like this before…”


    “Right, when I was infiltrating an enemy’s house,” Blake nods. “I was keeping an eye on the fetish’s reflection, and was going to come join you when I saw it moving. Anyway, it’s good to know that it works.”


    “What actually happened to you?” you ask, curious. It could be really useful, but that depends on a lot of different things.


    “It…” Blake stops speaking for a moment, rubbing his chest absently. “It reminds me of a description I heard once, though I can’t remember the context. A small jerk at my very being. Not…painful, but very distracting, and not pleasant.”


    “Oh,” you frown. Still, finding something that actually works after the morning you had—well, it’s nice. “Would you mind if we test it a little bit more, as the day goes on?”


    Blake grimaces a little but nods all the same. “Yeah, that’s fine.”


    “Great,” you say. “But for now, let’s get in the library and get to that research.”




    The Brockton Bay Central Library is a majestic building, given the giant art hanging on the walls and the stately pillars holding up the high ceilings. More like a museum than a library, really. Rather than stand around and gawk (this time) you go straight up to the second floor, which has twenty computers available for use. You get in line, but there aren’t many people in front of you, and you get to a computer away from most of the other users quickly. You take a minute to set up your mirror such that its angle shows both the chair and screen. Once you get Blake’s confirmation that the setup works for him, you open up the Q-Link search engine.


    “Okay,” you mutter to Blake. “I think the first thing we need to look up is—”


    “My friends,” Blake cuts in, his voice much louder than yours can afford to be.


    You have a moment where you look around for eavesdroppers regardless, then you meet Blake’s eyes again. Huh. He was looking around too.


    “I’ve been patient, I think,” he continues, “but I need to find out what happened to my friends. This might well be a new world, one where they…where they don’t exist, but I need to check, okay?”


    You pause for a moment. It doesn’t cost you anything but time, anyway, and you still have hours before you’d be expected home, even if your dad does have another early day. “Okay,” you say again. You nod at the computer screen reflected in the mirror. “Does the computer in there work?”


    He looks back at you for a moment. “I didn’t think that it would, so I hadn’t tried yet,” he admits. “Give me a minute.”


    You open a couple of tabs on the computer and go to Parahumans.net to browse while your companion fiddles with his computer. Parahumans Online, generally known as PHO, is an incredibly popular website on all things parahuman; it is literally the top site of its kind in the world, in large part because of its emphasis on citations and verified facts, though the fact that it has unbelievably good moderators helps as well.


    “Well, it looks like the answer’s yes and no,” Blake says out of the blue.


    “Hm? What’d you find?” you ask. You close most your tabs; at this point, you’ll either be looking up what you want to research or seeing if his friends exist in this world.


    “The computer works,” he says, gesturing at the screen on his side of the computer, which is indeed lit up, “but the internet doesn’t.”


    You peer at the screen, and there is an error message. Though, who’s ever heard of—you squint as you try to read the literally mirrored text in the URL bar—‘google?’ Shrugging, you open another tab and type in the address. The error message you get is not from lack of connectivity; apparently something about the website tripped the library’s filter. Nevertheless, it is a distinctly different message from the one you could see in the mirror.


    “I already tried other sites,” Blake says now, shaking his head, “including the same one you opened up first. They all have the same message. The computer is reflected here, but the internet apparently isn’t.”


    That makes a little sense, at least. “So…wait, what’s on the computer that’s not online?” you ask.


    Blake already minimized the browser and is looking through the desktop. “So far, all I see is the book catalogue and some basic programs. You know, word documents and such. But enough of that for now,” he says, turning back to face the mirror. “Look up my friends now, please.”


    “Okay, okay,” you say, using the Q-Link Search page to get to an online directory. “What are their names?”




    It’s no good. No matter how many names we check, there just isn’t anyone from his past visible at all online. None of them have ever existed, as far as we could determine. Not even Joel, his friend and landlord, who is old enough to have been born before Scion’s appearance, which rules out his universe being as close to Earth Bet as Earth Aleph is. Not even his grandmother—hell, the town that he had most of his experiences with magic in doesn’t exist, according to the internet. Though Toronto is still around, obviously.


    To say that this is frustrating to Blake is something of an understatement. You cannot grasp all of the emotions that are flitting across his face whenever you glance at him, but none of them are good.


    There’s a muffled thump, close enough to make you jerk. You look into your mirror to see Blake already standing. He must have knocked the chair over as he stood.


    “What was it you were going to look up?”


    “What?” you ask, confused. The way he had been going after this, surely he has more to look for—


    “Just—,” he cuts himself off abruptly. “Just tell me, please, what were some of the things you were going to look up?”


    “I was going to look into the local cape scene,” you say slowly. “The gangs, what parahumans are around, any details on their power that’s generally known. What territory they have, so I—we—know where to go or to avoid.”


    “Besides that,” Blake said, his hand slashing through the air in front of him. It hit the surface of the mirror from the inside, hard enough to knock it over if it had been from this side. Rather than shifting, it just vibrates a bit. “That kind of information is too current. Something that might be in a book.”


    “Uh…” you wrack your brains for a few seconds. “Cape classifications,” you say, latching onto something that probably hasn’t changed much over the years. “What kinds of different capes there are, how they’re classified, maybe some examples.”


    “Got it,” he says, stooping over and clattering furiously at the keyboard on his end. You open your mouth to ask him what he’s doing, but it’s obvious. Besides, he doesn’t really look like he wants to talk right now. He jots something on those tiny squares of paper that they leave by the computers and steps out of the reflection before you finish pulling up the first page you’re looking for.




    You write down a few more lines in your notebook, checking the screen to see if there is anything else worth copying. When you don’t see anymore, you nod to yourself and close the notebook.


    You had spent your time productively, checking out the local gang territories by checking Gang Watch, an offshoot of the now-defunct Villain Watch after its purpose was fulfilled, and better, by PHO. Gang Watch helps people keep track of the shifting lines that make up gang territories, by allowing people to anonymously report where the new territory markers were placed, and even spots where drug dealers, muggers, and villains are spotted, though almost all villain spottings go to PHO. It’s not super-reliable—there are rumors online that gangsters get on to spread misinformation—but it at least gives you a rough idea of the territories of the gangs in the city.


    When you get curious about how accurate their information could really be, you look into the matter a little further. You hadn’t known before that you could download little programs called ‘apps’ into smartphones these days, since neither you nor your dad have used a cell phone since your mom—since she died using one while driving. You may want to change that, now that you’re planning on going out as a cape, but—no, no, you’ll be fine, surely.


    Anyhow, after you finish that, you go back to PHO to get information on all of the parahumans in Brockton Bay, and it’s quite a list. Around four dozen names and classifications, with varying amounts of detail about how their power actually worked, and that’s just the villains. The heroes are another dozen and a half, at least. And then there are the independents, of both sorts, and the occasional rogue. You already knew that Brockton Bay was in the top ten cities in the US in terms of capes, but even with the boom in cape populations in the last few years, having 70ish capes in one city is kind of insane, when you think on it. You pay the coins needed to print out their pictures so you could recognize the capes when you run into them, get a cramp in your hand from copying down all of the information that seems pertinent (for example, while the close bond between the government capes Assault and Battery could be important, the speculation that they were both siblings and lovers? Not pertinent) and try not to think on it right then.


    Once you finished with that, you also spend a little time on cape classifications—not to look into something that Blake is also doing, but just long enough to find out what your own classification is. It turns out that you’re a Master, which can either mean that you have some kind of control over people or that you fight with min—with the aid of nonhumans. Does this power count as both definitions or neither? But no, that’s a silly thought. If anyone else could see Blake, they’d clearly call you a Master of the latter kind. Which is good, since being a Master of the former kind apparently gets people pretty terrified. You can understand their point of view—the idea of someone else being able to control your actions, without being able to do anything about it…your whole body shudders involuntarily.


    Unfortunately, though you spend a fair amount of time looking up examples of Masters and found many who could make or summon their minions ex nihilo, you can’t find a single example of a Master with a sapient creation. You’re pretty sure that’s going to cause problems down the road.


    You glance around with what has become habitual wariness. You should have been asked to give up your computer by now, but there are so few people using them right now that it apparently isn’t a problem; it looks like most people are back at work or school by now. You have been a little worried about someone noticing that you’re a school-age student during school hours and currently not in school, but so far there’s been no fuss. Your height paying off again, you guess. Though now that you think on it, you remember that the nearest high school, Arcadia, has a co-op program, so that students can get some work experience while they’re still in high school; you could easily be one of those students with an odd schedule, maybe. You aren’t actually sure how it works—the program is a perk of being the best high school in the city, which Winslow most certainly is not. If you could just transfer there, that would resolve so many of your problems.


    Shame the waiting list has more than 200 students on it, especially since it’s the only other public school you are legally allowed to attend, given distance issues. Well, there’s Immaculata, but that’s a private Christian school. You’d gladly suffer all of the religious rigmarole they’d put you through, but your dad could never afford it.


    Anyway, you are about done with the research that you wanted to do, so it is time to get Blake and head back home. You check the n’kisi once again and, not seeing him, you grab the papers you have your information copied on, pick the mirror up, and start walking around the library to look for him. You could call for him again, but he said it felt unpleasant, and you aren’t in enough of a hurry to bother him unnecessarily. Especially not with how he’s feeling. You’re not sure you know exactly how he feels—your friends didn’t just vanish like they never existed, or maybe his never really did exist—but you can imagine the similarities with your own situation.


    Your chest hurts a little bit at the thought. Maybe you two can be friends to each other, now? Since neither of you have other friends anymore, and you seem to be stuck together, maybe you can be friends, instead of this…politeness that seems to exist right now? It’s a nice thought. Perhaps you’ll share it with him when you see him.




    Looking for a vestige is a strange experience, you muse. You can’t just physically look, since he’s only reflected in mirrors, or reflections of some kind. And looking in the mirror mostly makes you see yourself. You have to face in the opposite direction of the one you actually want to see, and angle the mirror to show as much of the area as possible. The fact that you don’t want to be noticed doing this just complicates matters. After a time long enough you are considering calling for him anyway, you finally find Blake. He’s standing in one of the aisles, just staring at some books. The second you spot him in the mirror, he reaches out and grabs a book off of a shelf in front of him.


    “Are you finished?” he asks, turning to look at you. His voice is…brisk.


    “Yes,” you say hesitantly. Maybe now’s not the best time to mention it after all. That’s fine, you suppose. It probably would have been awkward anyway. “Are you?”


    “Almost,” he says, starting to walk towards you. “I just need to get one book that I couldn’t find a good enough reflection for.” He gestured behind him absently. Had the tattoos on his arm always wrapped all the way around? Brushing aside the idle question, you looked up…and saw a colossal mirror hung up on the wall, just like the art hanging on other walls.


    “Ah,” you say faintly, cheeks flushing. You probably could have avoided a lot of that embarrassing skulking if you had noticed that mirror ahead of time. Trying to suppress your embarrassment, you follow Blake’s instructions to another part of the library, one completely out of view of the enormous mirror. At his prompting, you merely lean against the end of the shelves, mirror held in your hand to reflect the entirety of the aisle.


    “Done,” you hear a moment later. You lift the mirror to look at Blake, then realize something that really ought to have occurred to you when Blake had first left to look things up. Way too distracted today.


    “Uh, how are you collecting these books?” You peek down the aisle, though since you weren’t paying close attention, there’s no way to tell if a book is missing. “Are you—?”


    “I’m just taking a reflection of the book,” he says, cutting you off. “People can’t see the changes in the reflections if they can’t see me, but it doesn’t matter, because my world resets to reflecting reality when I wish it.”


    More questions leap to the forefront of your mind—you have been wondering why sometimes your reflection is there when you looked into a mirror and sometimes it isn’t, you just haven’t found a good time to bring it up—but you bite your tongue. Blake clearly isn’t in the mood right now.


    You go wait by the table that Blake claimed for himself while he adds his newest book to the pile and gathers them up. “I’m going to go drop these off at your house,” he says abruptly. “I’ll catch up with you on the bus.”


    “Oh,” you say, a little off-balance as you glance between his visible reflection in the massive mirror on the wall and the smaller one in your hand that his voice is coming out of. “Alright then. I guess I’ll see you soon.”


    Blake is already gone from the mirror, holding a book in each hand.


    By the time you’re outside of Central Library, you don’t feel off-balance anymore. No, things are settling in, feeling more normal than they have in a while. Strange. Maybe you’re getting used to being a cape. Not that you are going to get complacent—oh no, you still needed to delve into what is up with the bundles in your head. You already spent a large chunk of your day on trying out “magic” already, especially considering how early you are probably going to go to bed to make up for last night, but you are definitely going to try figure out what was going on in your head. You should have done so sooner, but now you’re not so worried that every use of your power is going to lead to disaster.


    You don’t go straight to the bus stop, however. You have a little idea for something you could do for Blake; you had been thinking about it earlier, but now you are even more sure that it’s a good idea, even if you don’t quite feel like it at the moment. Well, it’s not like you feel like doing a lot of the stuff you have to do, you just have to keep doing them regardless.


    With that thought in mind, you swing by a nearby general store and look around. It doesn’t take you too long to find what you were looking for, over in the bicycle section. They’re pretty cheap, but you really don’t have a lot of money, so it’s hardly something you can buy without thought. Still, they’re worth the cost. Now you can go to the bus station.


    You’re nearly halfway home before Blake rejoins you. “I thought that I might have been cutting it close,” he said, his tone perhaps a little lighter than before. “Did something happen?”


    Considering how quickly you’ve seen him leap from reflection to reflection, he would have had more than enough time to take back every book if he was carrying only one at a time, but there’s no point in mentioning it. “No,” you say instead, “not really.”


    The rest of the bus trip is silent.




    You call out when you get home, but there is no reply. Good, Dad’s still at work.


    “What do you want to do now?” Blake asks you as you head upstairs. No sense in using the basement for this kind of thing.


    “Have I explained to you how my powers feel, yet?”


    He thinks for a moment. “No, you haven’t, that I can recall.”


    You nod as you crest the staircase. “It’s a little complicated,” you concede, “and most of my effort has been spent trying to ignore them, so I think I’d rather focus on them for a little while before I try to explain them, to make sure I don’t mess it up.”


    “Fair enough,” he responds after a moment. “Did you have anything in particular in mind for me to be doing?”


    “I would appreciate it if you would do some additional research,” you say, picking your words carefully, “by which I mean reading the books you picked up today. Perhaps we could swap information afterwards?” You glance at Blake from the corner of your eye, but he’s already turning away, one hand coming up to rub the back of his head.


    “Yeah,” he says quietly. “That sounds like a fine idea.”


    Nodding again, you set the n’kisi on your desk next to the other mirror, then lie down on your bed. You close your eyes and focus on the bundles in your mind.




    The three bundles are right where you left them, looking much the same as they had after you made Blake: Person, place, and THING. They feel just as strong as they did yesterday, as far as you can tell. They’re not quite so prominent, though. You thought it was just the focus you had on learning new things that was keeping the bundles from intruding, but as you turn your attention to them, you can see that they are more amiable now, coming to the forefront of your mind or retreating from the center at a thought.


    Speaking of centers, there seems to be something in the center, or perhaps above, the three bundles. It’s something that you didn’t notice before, when you were trying not to notice any of it, but now that you’re actively searching, it’s as obvious as can be. You look to it exclusively, ignoring everything else. When you do, you see…


    You’re not sure what you see. It seems to be a bundle like the rest, it’s definitely made of the same…stuff…that the three bundles you’re used to are made of, but it doesn’t have the same shape or feel. It seems to be bigger and smaller at the same time—once you think on it for a while, you come to realize that it’s flatter, but broader, than the three you’re used to. The other bundles, you could grasp them, squeeze power from them, or at least clench them to make something happen. You’ve already done so twice, once intentionally and once not. This one, on the other hand, you can’t really seem to get a mental grip on. You try, and it almost feels like something is happening, but not quite. You try to compress it without quite thinking about it first, but nothing more happens than a vague sense of pressure and thin lines suddenly springing out of the central shape and leading down to the normal three. You release on instinct and the lines, already fading, disappear entirely. After pausing in surprise, you examine the three bundles more closely. They don’t seem like they changed…except perhaps for…hm…


    Needing to check this out, you try to compress the center thing again, watching in interest as the lines flare up, slowly fading away despite the constant pressure. Because yes—it’s not creating the lines, it’s just lighting them up, making them visible. You squeeze it harder, and the lines brighten again before waning, faster than before. You wait until you can’t see them again, then release the center. You inspect the three bundles again, smiling in satisfaction. They’re definitely stronger than they were before I did that. Well, THING doesn’t feel any different, and the other two haven’t changed enough to upgrade the sensation you’re getting from them, but still, you can feel the difference.


    While you are examining the three bundles, you notice another thin line extending off from them, one each from Person and place. You recoil from the one coming from place, but decide to investigate the one extending off of Person. You follow it a short distance from the Person bundle, and come to a strange shape you just can’t name. You almost take hold of it, but decide not to at the last second, merely observing it instead.


    You would be hard-pressed to explain it to anyone else, but you are able to determine a few things just by looking at the thing connected to the Person bundle. There are glimpses of images inside, most of which you can’t make out, but you do see a silvery sheen that makes you think of reflections, and a flash of birds on branches that reminds you of the pattern on the back of the mirror…and Blake’s tattoos, for that matter. Hm. Either way, you feel confident in stating that this shape is supposed to be Blake, especially since it’s connected to the Person bundle that you used to create or summon him. You also get an impression of energy and health from the shape, both of which seem to be pretty high, particularly the health.


    Once you stop picking up things from just looking at the Blake-shape, your attention wanders back over to the three bundles. At first there doesn’t seem to be much more to see, but when you look closer…What is this?




    You open your eyes slowly, spending a little time just staring up at the ceiling. You feel like you learned a lot, but it’s hard to be certain about your conclusions. Ah well, you were going to share with Blake anyway—novice or not, he knows a lot more about this “magic” than you do, and you’re pretty sure that they’re at least similar.


    “Blake?” you ask, slowly sitting up in bed.


    “Yeah?”


    Your attention bounces between the two mirrors in the room before you shrug and talk to the room at large. “I think I’ve gotten enough information that I’d like to swap now, if you don’t mind.”


    “Sure,” Blake says.


    Pausing only the adjust the n’kisi’s position, you take a seat at your desk, pulling out your notebook and opening it up to a new page. “Do you want to go first or shall I?”


    “You go ahead,” he demurred. “I’d rather hear more about how this ‘superpower’ works.”


    So you explain the three bundles to him, how they hover at the forefront of your mind, or at least did, how each one seems to have a different meaning. About the wide but shallow structure that was above and in the middle of them, and how Blake himself was linked to the bundle that you used before he appeared. You even manage to mumble something about how there was another link to a different bundle, and he doesn’t ask any uncomfortable questions. But you struggle for words when it comes to how they’re all connected.


    “It’s like…there’s a web or, no, a channel? A channel linking each structure to the one next to it. And then—oh!” You snap your fingers at your epiphany. “It’s set up like an aqueduct, sort of!”


    “An aqueduct?” Blake asks in a quizzical tone, his head tilted to the side.


    “Yeah, I think that’s the right word. There’s the central pool of power up at the top of, let’s say a hill, that’s connected to three different pools lower down the slope. And then when I grasp the central one, the water flows down into those lower ones.”


    “And the lower ones are the bundles you mentioned earlier?”


    “Yeah, and then you were connected to the bundles. Or to one of them, anyway.”


    “Was my…shape…lower than the bundle it was attached to?”


    “Yes,” you say after a few moments thought. “It wasn’t quite as overt, but yes.”


    “So the bundle is where I’m getting my energy, which in turn gets its energy from the central pool.”


    “It certainly seems like it,” you confirm. “But there was something weird about the bundles. Well, something else that’s weird.” You pause, still trying to grapple with the last aspect of the bundles that you found. “I think…that there’s room for more.”


    He raises an eyebrow at you from inside the n’kisi. “What do you mean?”


    “I mean the connection between you and the Person bundle, it felt like the bundle was…ready or open for more of them.”


    Blake goes very, very still, to the point that he looks like a picture.


    “Uh…Blake? Are you okay?”


    The vestige takes a deep breath after far too long. “You mean that the bundle that summoned me can summon more people?” he asks with a strange intensity. “Or more Others?”


    You’re shifting in place, uneasy with his demeanor. “I got that impression, yes,” you hedge nervously.


    He falls silent once more, staring at nothing. You rub your thumbs against the outside of your closed fist at the uncomfortable situation, but they slow once you see the small smile on his face. Maybe this is a good thing for him?


    “Ah…Blake?”


    “Hm?” He’s still distracted, but that odd air about him is fading away, something you’re grateful for. You really want his input on this stuff.


    “It wasn’t just the person bundle that felt that way.”


    “What? Person?” he asks absently.


    “Well, yeah. The place and thing bundles felt the same way.”


    Blake shakes his absentmindedness away. “You named them?”


    “Well, yeah.” You blink. “Didn’t I—?” Actually, no, now that you think about it, you hadn’t mentioned that part in your hurry to get to the new stuff. “Sorry about that. Yeah, when I ‘feel’ the bundles, they give off…impressions, of a sort. A little like what I got from looking at your ‘shape.’”


    “And I came from ‘person’…and you said that the others are ‘place’ and ‘thing’?”


    “Yes,” you say with eagerness. Is he onto something?


    “You used the ‘place’ one before?” he asks.


    You break eye contact immediately. “Yes,” you say, eyes tracing the suddenly-interesting wood patterns on your desk.


    He’s silent for quite a while, throughout which you keep your eyes on your desk. When he does speak, clearly it’s not to you. “Person, place, and thing…three bundles, together…”


    Does he get it?


    “I got it.”


    Your eyes flicker up in surprise before returning to their study of the desktop. Still, you hadn’t seen anything probing in his expression. It should be safe. “What is it?” you ask, looking back up at him. You honestly do really want to know what your power is.


    “You have the big three power sources that practitioners choose.”


    You blink. “I’m not sure that I understand.”


    “Yeah, it wasn’t something that I went over with you already, much,” he says, one hand waving the comment away. “It wasn’t important before we figured how what kind of magic you could do—and I have a couple more ideas of different methods we could try with that, by the way, that we didn’t try this morning.”


    You sigh inaudibly. Still, it’s not like you thought being a cape would be easy. Not exactly, anyway.


    “But anyway, there’s three major power sources that practitioners can use. I can go into more detail when it’s needed, but in general, you have: the familiar, which is an Other bound to your side, often supplying power or agency or utility; the demesne, a place won and claimed as wholly yours, offering safety and power in return for tending; and the implement, a tool invested with magic, that gives you greater facility with magic and often has a unique trick associated with it. Person, place, thing; familiar, demesne, implement. It makes sense.” It is good to hear the satisfaction in Blake’s voice.


    “That’s excellent,” you enthuse. “It felt like all of them had that feeling of extra room. How many of each do practitioners usually get?”


    Blake frowns. “One of each at most, from what I can remember reading and seeing.”


    “…huh.” That’s disappointing. Is he wrong about your power, or is it another way that his memories aren’t matching up with what you can do?


    “On the other hand,” he continues thoughtfully, “I do recall hearing that some eastern practitioners that adopted some western styles would take more than one familiar.”


    “Oh, really?” You perk up. Maybe your power is modeled after a different kind of practitioner, then? Though, that would make a lot of Blake’s information less useful…


    “Yeah, I remember hearing that they would bind Others like that against their will, sometimes. Less partnership, more ownership.” Blake stops speaking to throw you another sharp look.


    “I see,” you say, averting your eyes again. “That sounds kind of terrible, to do that to people.”


    “Yes. Yes it does.”


    You cast your mind out to try to find something you can change the subject to. “But what about the central pool?” you ask, gladly grasping at the available alternative. “What is it, do you think?”


    “I’m honestly not certain,” Blake says, moving on, “but it certainly seems like you lucked your way into some kind of built-in power source.” He wiped across his face with his palms. “Which is so insanely convenient for you, I hope you realize.” He ground the heels of his hands into his closed eyes. “So, so, so convenient.”


    “I think I realize,” you say cautiously. There must be some kind of story there.


    “Anyway,” Blake says, visibly forcing his hands down and moving on, “you said that the bundles felt stronger after you compressed the central pool, right?”


    “Right.” You nodded.


    “But did the pool feel any weaker?”


    “…I’ll go check,” you say, closing your eyes to do so.


    The experiment doesn’t take much time at all.


    “Yup, definitely weaker,” you report. “Even weaker than the other two are stronger, actually.”


    “Okay, so there is some sort of drawback to it, it seems,” Blake says, his tone engaged rather than disappointed. “It looks like inefficiency, at the least. Do you know if you can do anything else with it?”


    “I’m not sure,” you admit, “but I can certainly try.”


    “Later,” he suggests. “Use it as a break from retrying the magic from this morning, using my other ideas.”


    You take a deep breath. “It makes sense to try again with something new,” you say, “but only if you have a reason that we didn’t try them this morning. And why you think that it might work now when your other ideas didn’t.”


    “Fair point,” he says. “A big reason that I wanted to not tell you at first is confidence. Magic…isn’t like what you might have read before, where it depends on belief. A lot of magic is practiced on people who don’t believe in it at all.” He’s frowning pretty heavily at this point. “But you do have to have confidence in yourself while you’re using magic. The more certain you are that you can do something, that it’s what you should be doing, the more the spirits will support it. And spirits seem to be what make magic actually work, so confidence is pretty important.” He runs his hands over his face again. “Of course, we can’t tell if there really are spirits here, besides whatever appears when I can see connections, but that’s what I know, so it’s what we have to work off at the moment, at least until we get a better idea. Anyway, I wanted you to have confidence when trying to use magic, so I didn’t want to tell you about other ideas that might make you think what you were trying at first wouldn’t work.”


    You lay you head face down on the desk in front of you for a moment, then raise it to meet Blake’s eyes. “It didn’t occur to you that trying all morning and failing would have been worse for my confidence than thinking there was an alternative?”


    He grimaces, perhaps in agreement. “I made a judgment call, to the best of my ability. Maybe it wasn’t the best one, but it’s the best I could do at the time. It’s not like I could check with you on this call.”


    You start a retort, then bite your tongue. You’re not sure that it would accomplish anything, and it’s not like you could go back and change things now anyway. You still need to talk with him about changing the plan in the morning without a word to you, but things are just calming down with him; you don’t want to ruin it. Maybe tomorrow.


    “So what are these other ideas?”


    “The first one pretty peripheral. It can definitely be important, but it will be meaningless if we can’t get your magic to work, so let’s shelve it for now.”


    You can’t help but agree. You are learning so much right now, learning the right information at the right time is extra important.


    “The second one was regarding power sources. Namely, you didn’t use one at all this morning.”


    You stare at Blake, rather agog. “You didn’t tell me that I needed to!”


    “No, I didn’t,” he agrees. “Confidence, remember?”


    Your expression smooths over, wiping the traces of your surprise off of your face.


    “The power source that everyone has access to but that you shouldn’t use except in emergencies is blood. The drawback is that you’re giving up parts of your self, your being, your identity. It opens you to a whole lot of nasty stuff and can be damn debilitating, but it’ll do in a pinch.” Blake looks away. “I had to use it a fair amount before, trying to survive.”


    If he had brought it up at another time, you more likely would have sympathized, but right now, the line falls flat.


    “So I know what I’m talking about, I mean, about how nasty it can be. I do recommend trying it out once or twice, because you don’t want to have to find things like this out in the middle of a fight, but it’s probably not necessary now. That’s because of what my last idea is. Namely, the central pool that you found. I think that you may be able to use that as a power source for doing magic. It was something that I hoped your ‘superpower’ would automatically take care of for you, honestly, but if there’s some sort of reserve of it that you have to manage yourself, that makes some sense too.”


    Just…just, leave it for another time.


    “How does that sound?” he asks.


    “I’ll give it a shot,” you say with an even tone. “Any ideas on how to use it, specifically?”


    “Not really,” Blake admits. “It’s nothing like what I’m used to.”


    “Okay,” you say, revealing nothing more. Standing up, you go to grab what else you need to run through the tests again. At least it should take up less time, since he doesn't need to explain anything new.




    By the time your dad gets home, you have already finished testing out if your blood works with connection-breaking and shamanistic runes. It does not, unsurprisingly, but you have to admit that it’s good to know that now rather than when lives are on the line.


    The rest of the time before your dad arrives is spent manipulating that pool of energy in your head while trying to perform the various forms of magic that Blake had introduced to you this morning. You don’t manage to get it to do anything with the magic, but you do figure out how to shift larger amounts of energy around more intentionally.


    It turns out that what you had been doing before was sort of like squeezing a water balloon, the rest of the structure not under your fingers bulging out and spraying water where it could. Lacking any other outlets, the energy in the central pool would flow to all three bundles equally until the ‘pressure’ normalized. But this is a waste, because the THING bundle—or rather, the IMPLEMENT bundle, you guess—is already full, so the energy traveling down that channel is lost. But with just a little focus, you can grab some of that energy and manually shift it down the channels to one bundle or another. There’s probably more to it than that, but after you drop a bit of energy in the middle of the connection, only to watch it slide into the connecting bundle regardless of what you tried to do, you decide to be a little more careful until you decide you know where you want the power to go.


    Not long after that, your dad calls you down for dinner, which surprises you; you hadn’t realized that he’s already home. After a few moments of deliberation, you slip the n’kisi into your backpack, slipping it past the other stuff in there, and then bring it downstairs. You place the bag casually on the couch in the living room, then join your dad in the kitchen to eat. So long as you don’t go further than 30 feet from the mirror, Blake will be able to move however he wants. You’d probably be fine from your room to the kitchen—the house isn’t that big—but there’s no harm in being careful.


    Dinner with Dad tonight is…nice. He learned a while ago not to ask about school, so there’s no awkward lying to him about your day. The lines worn into his face tell you enough to know not to ask him about his day either, so you chat about meaningless things, when you talk at all.


    Both of you are inclined towards silences, these days. Tonight, the silence is even comfortable.


    After supper, you go to the living room to watch some more television together. Now that you aren’t chomping at the bit to get away from your dad, you can settle in and enjoy it more.




    “Taylor. Hey, Taylor.”


    You mumble something, shifting in place.


    “Come on, kiddo, I don’t think you really want to spend the night on the couch.”


    “Huh? Whazzat?”


    There’s a force on your shoulder, moving you back and forth. Irritated, you turn to face whatever it is, one hand going up to adjust your glasses to fix the fuzziness in your vision.


    Your dad’s smiling face swims into view, though something seems off about it.


    “Hey there,” he says. “Guess you were really tired tonight, huh?”


    “’didn’t sleep well,” you mutter, starting to roll over.


    “Uh-uh-uh,” he says quickly, gripping your shoulder again before you can drift off. “If you’re that tired, you should head up to bed. You don’t want to wake up with a sore back or a crick in your neck.”


    “Nuh-uh,” you grumble. “That’s just for old people.” Despite your words, you slowly heave yourself to your feet as your dad lets out a surprised laugh.


    “Oh, just for old people, is it?” he retorts with mock gruffness.


    “Yeah,” you reply as you walk to the stairs. “Or maybe just old men.”


    Your dad laughs loudly for a minute, and the sound is unusual enough to wake you up some. You just smile a bit as you work your way up the stairs.


    “Good night, Taylor,” your dad calls up as you reach the top of the stairs.


    “G’night, Dad,” you slur, sleepiness already descending around you once more.


    You stop just short of falling into your bed, looking around blearily.


    There was something…something ‘s supposed to do…Blake? You shrug after a moment. Good enough. You look around for the…the…for Blake’s mirror, but you can’t see it. Blake’s not in the hand-mirror on your desk, though, so it must not be too far away. You shrug again, and walk over to the normal mirror that you found the other…or yesterday, that you found yesterday. You think.


    You place your hand on the mirror. “Blake Th…Blake, Blake-Blake, Bla—”


    “Yeah? Are you ready for—oh.”


    Oh good, that works too.


    “Too tired to continue?” he asks.


    “Mm-hn,” you agree, stumbling the last few steps between you and your beloved bed. You collapse on top for a moment before you start trying to work your way under your covers.


    “That’s fine. You tried all of them again anyway. Maybe you’ll have better luck after you get a better handle on your power in general.”


    “Maybe,” you murmur, almost finished burrowing. Ah, that’s better.


    “What are you thinking about getting an implement?” The question rouses you a little, against your will.


    “’s thinking maybe ’ll make one ‘n the morning,” you say, settling deeper into your bed.


    “Yeah?”


    “Maybe.”


    “Okay. Hey Taylor?”


    You let out a groan. “Yes, Blake?”


    He silent for a few breaths. “I found them.”


    “Huh?”


    “All of the little mirrors, in your backpack. You bought them for me while I was bringing the books from the library here, right?”


    “Uh-huh,” you say, nestling deeper into your bed. So much for a surprise.


    “Taylor?”


    “Yea?”


    “Thank you.”


    “Y’r welcome.” You let out a sigh. “Go ’way now, Blake. Sleeping time.”


    The last thing you hear as you drift off to sleep is the soft sound of Blake’s chuckles receding in the distance.





    Basic Info
    • Status
      • Normal
    • Big Three
      • Central Pool (?/?)
        • Familiar
          • Blake
            • Normal
        • demesne
          • ???
            • ???
        • IMPLEMENT
          • N/A



    Vote for one option per underlined section. Feel free to customize your votes with up to 60 words of additional description; if you are using someone else’s plan and wish to add something to it, please bold the new portions.

    Your central pool is almost full, but that’s not true for all of your secondary ones. Where would you like to shift the power right now? (No customization allowed)

    [] Familiar

    [] demesne

    [] IMPLEMENT (note: this is currently full)

    [] Nowhere, yet


    Will you try to make an implement tomorrow? (No customization allowed)

    [] Yes

    [] No


    Notes:
    • If “Yes” wins, then:
      • Much of tomorrow will be spent getting/finding/making an implement.
      • There will be a much quicker follow-up vote that will be left open for quite a while again, due to its importance. I sincerely suggest discussion.
    • If “No” wins, then the option will stay open—this is not a one-time offer.


    What do you want to do tomorrow if you choose NOT to make an implement tomorrow? (Vote even if you voted yes above.)

    [] Explore the inside of your head more. Who knew there was so much stuff in there? Maybe do some homework, if you have the time.
    -[] Customization​
    [] Explore Blake’s capabilities more. He’s got to be capable of doing more than this. Maybe do some homework, if you have the time.
    -[] Customization​
    [] Take a day off experimenting. You’ve been going at it pretty hard. Relax a little. Spend your time without Blake entirely, either while he goes off and explores the city or you try to unsummon him. Or, perhaps he can spend it with you, just talking; it pays to know your companions better, you hear. (You must specify)

    -[] Blake goes exploring
    -[] You try to temporarily desummon Blake for the day
    -[] Getting to know your familiar
    -[] Customization​

    [] Write-in

    -[] Customization​

    Voting will be open at least through Monday (PST).

    I’m not trying to be coy with the demesne, you guys just haven’t made the right choices to “unlock” that option yet :)


    <-Prev | Next->
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015
    1986ctcel likes this.
  10. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    QQ, it's okay that you didn't vote. Even if it continues, it just makes this essentially a Story-Only thread.

    And the voting is now closed! Let's look at the results:
    Vote tally:
    ##### 3.19
    ---
    [X] Familiar
    No. of votes: 12
    readerboy7, ReaperofInterest, Ridiculously Average Guy, Thrice.Great, veekie, 1986ctcel, The Laurent, esran, Bjh31, Not A Victory March, Master Basher, Indivisible
    -[X] Provided Blake agrees. It might affect him.
    No. of votes: 3
    Not A Victory March, Master Basher, Indivisible
    (It was a good thought, but I said no customization for this subvote.)

    [X] Demesne
    No. of votes: 2
    Olivebirdy, tinkerbell

    ---

    [X] Yes
    No. of votes: 10
    ReaperofInterest, Ridiculously Average Guy, Thrice.Great, veekie, 1986ctcel, The Laurent, tinkerbell, Bjh31, Not A Victory March, Indivisible

    [X] No
    No. of votes: 3
    readerboy7, esran, Master Basher
    -[X] You'd need to figure out what sort of Implement you'd want first, before you aim to get one.
    No. of votes: 1

    Master Basher
    (No customization here either.)

    ---

    [X] Take a day off experimenting. You've been going at it pretty hard. Relax a little. Spend your time without Blake entirely, either while he goes off and explores the city or you try to unsummon him. Or, perhaps he can spend it with you, just talking; it pays to know your companions better, you hear.
    No. of votes: 4
    readerboy7, 1986ctcel, veekie, Master Basher

    -[X] Getting to know your familiar
    No. of votes: 3
    readerboy7, 1986ctcel, Master Basher
    --[X] Take a walk around the city with Blake. Two sparrow-eating birds with one stone.
    No. of votes: 2
    readerboy7, 1986ctcel
    --[X] During the conversation, bring up our demesne, and discuss trying to figure out what happened to it. We don't have to do anything about it Saturday, but we should think about it soon.
    No. of votes: 2
    readerboy7, 1986ctcel
    --[X] Besides, you're kinda curious on who his friends are. Maybe they'd have been more friendly to talk to compared to... them.
    No. of votes: 1
    Master Basher

    -[X] Blake goes exploring
    No. of votes: 1
    veekie


    [X] Explore Blake's capabilities more. He's got to be capable of doing more than this. Maybe do some homework, if you have the time.
    No. of votes: 4
    ReaperofInterest, Bjh31, Not A Victory March, Indivisible

    -[X] Compile what he knows about his abilities. Test new ideas.
    No. of votes: 2
    Not A Victory March, Indivisible
    -[X] Don't forget his non-paranormal capabilities. Does he have good ideas? Can he read people well?
    No. of votes: 2
    Not A Victory March, Indivisible
    -[X] From an outside perspective, would Blake resemble a thinker power?
    No. of votes: 2
    Not A Victory March, Indivisible
    -[X] Explore your teamwork potential. What can you do well together? What's fun to do together? Consider potential issues. (Consult a marriage counselling book?)
    No. of votes: 2
    Not A Victory March, Indivisible
    -[X] He said that he knew magic, so maybe he can try doing some over here? Something along the lines of seeing if he could claim a deseme in the mirror world would be interesting, if he agrees to it.
    No. of votes: 1
    ReaperofInterest


    [X] Explore the inside of your head more. Who knew there was so much stuff in there? Maybe do some homework, if you have the time.
    No. of votes: 2
    Thrice.Great, esran





    [X] a pen
    No. of votes: 1
    Olivebirdy

    (That's for the next vote =) )
    And the winning set was:
    Vote tally:
    ##### 3.19
    ---
    [X] Familiar
    No. of votes: 12
    readerboy7, ReaperofInterest, Ridiculously Average Guy, Thrice.Great, veekie, 1986ctcel, The Laurent, esran, Bjh31, Not A Victory March, Master Basher, Indivisible

    ---

    [X] Yes
    No. of votes: 10
    ReaperofInterest, Ridiculously Average Guy, Thrice.Great, veekie, 1986ctcel, The Laurent, tinkerbell, Bjh31, Not A Victory March, Indivisible

    ---

    [X] Take a day off experimenting. You've been going at it pretty hard. Relax a little. Spend your time without Blake entirely, either while he goes off and explores the city or you try to unsummon him. Or, perhaps he can spend it with you, just talking; it pays to know your companions better, you hear.
    No. of votes: 4
    readerboy7, 1986ctcel, veekie, Master Basher

    -[X] Getting to know your familiar
    No. of votes: 3
    readerboy7, 1986ctcel, Master Basher
    --[X] Take a walk around the city with Blake. Two sparrow-eating birds with one stone.
    No. of votes: 2
    readerboy7, 1986ctcel
    --[X] During the conversation, bring up our demesne, and discuss trying to figure out what happened to it. We don't have to do anything about it Saturday, but we should think about it soon.
    No. of votes: 2
    readerboy7, 1986ctcel


    [X] Explore Blake's capabilities more. He's got to be capable of doing more than this. Maybe do some homework, if you have the time.
    No. of votes: 4
    ReaperofInterest, Bjh31, Not A Victory March, Indivisible
    -[X] Compile what he knows about his abilities. Test new ideas.
    No. of votes: 2
    Not A Victory March, Indivisible
    -[X] Don't forget his non-paranormal capabilities. Does he have good ideas? Can he read people well?
    No. of votes: 2
    Not A Victory March, Indivisible
    -[X] From an outside perspective, would Blake resemble a thinker power?
    No. of votes: 2
    Not A Victory March, Indivisible
    -[X] Explore your teamwork potential. What can you do well together? What's fun to do together? Consider potential issues. (Consult a marriage counselling book?)
    No. of votes: 2
    Not A Victory March, Indivisible
    We ended up with a tie regarding what to do with your day if you didn't decide to make an implement, but you did, so it doesn't make much difference now.

    I should finish the next chapter today, I think, since it's mostly done and really short, and then I'll ask my beta to go through it quickly, since it is so short. Hopefully it'll be up by tomorrow. Hopefully.
     
    1986ctcel likes this.
  11. Threadmarks: Introductions 1.4.2
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    <-Prev | Next->


    Introductions 1.4.2​


    This morning, you don’t see Blake until you’re dressed for your run and downstairs to grab the n’kisi.


    “Hey there,” he says from the reflection of your couch in the window, leaving a finger in the book he’s reading as a bookmark. “Feeling a little better now that you’ve gotten some sleep?”


    “Yup,” you say, steadfast in your promise to yourself this morning not to think about anything that happened last night after you got too tired. Nope. Not thinking about it at all. Nope nope nope. “Want to go on another run?”


    Blake looks at you from his place on the couch, one eyebrow rising up. “Man, you really mean to make this a regular thing right off the bat, don’t you?”


    “Of course,” you say. “It won’t help me very much at all if I start slacking off on the second day. I was even thinking about doing some running in the afternoon.”


    “Really? Even when the second day is a Saturday?” He shakes his head at your firm nod, but he does it with a smile on his face. “Alright, that’s fair, I suppose,” he says. His look becomes contemplative for a moment. “Yeah, I guess I can join you for your run. Did you have something in particular you wanted to talk about as we go? You mentioned maybe taking up an implement soon; do you want to talk about that?”


    “Yes,” you say. “And also, well, you never really got a chance to explain the research that you spent your time on, before I…”


    “Passed out?” Blake suggests playfully.


    “…yeah, that,” you say, bending over to retie your shoelaces for a few moments. Once finished, you go to the door, only to find a surprise.


    There, hanging from the handle of the door, is a small container of pepper spray, small enough to hang from a keychain. Absently cursing the idiot who decided that women’s clothing shouldn’t have pockets, as is your habit, you slide one finger through the loop and palm the three-inch tube. You wave it around a little, getting a feel for the safety switch, and then begin your run, a small smile on your face.




    You return from the run…well, not refreshed, however much you want to be able to say that. But you do feel like you accomplished something (before most people are even awake, the slackers) and now you have a good grasp of the basic classification system used to describe cape powers, organized into a handy song for easy remembrance, something you murmur to yourself as you head up for a shower.


    Mover, Shaker,
    Brute and Breaker.


    Master, Tinker,
    Blaster and Thinker,


    Striker, Changer,
    Trump and Stranger.



    Well, okay, it isn’t that handy, but it should help you keep them all in mind. Blake explained on the run what each one stands for, and you’re sure you would be able to figure out which is which in the future. It will also help with the cape profiles you’re trying to get through. He also mentioned how the system evolved over time, with new labels splitting off or being combined as more was learned about powers. The names codified in rhyme were the ones that survived the test of time.


    Lumpers, the lot of them, consolidating categories for nothing more than convenience. Hmph. You are definitely going to try to get your hands on the more complex and accurate system that Blake told you is supposedly in use by the PRT, the police force specifically trained and equipped to fight capes when other capes aren’t available.


    But that was a plan for the future. Right now, it’s time to act on the decision you made last night.




    “I decided to take up an implement,” you tell Blake. The two of you are back up in your room after you finished your shower. If he asks, you’ll explain it to your dad as wanting to get an early start on your homework. To be fair, you never did do your homework on Thursday. You probably should work on that sometime this weekend…maybe.


    Blake looks back at you with an eyebrow raised. “Already? You don’t think this is going a bit fast?” It isn’t a surprise that he thought of it that way. A lot of his advice on the run had revolved around how important it was to be sure, and careful, about what implement a practitioner picked.


    But the more time went on, the more sure you are that though you’re like a practitioner, you aren’t actually a practitioner, and the rules are different for you.


    “Perhaps,” you admit. “But in some ways, I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to become a cape, even though I never thought it would really happen. And then when it did happen, I let it sit for a month.” You continue hurriedly before he has a chance to ask why. “Now that I have a better idea of what’s going on, I want to embrace the next step in my power.”


    “Okay,” Blake concedes, “It’s your implement, your choice. But will you take my advice on what to choose?”


    “Of course,” you reassure him. Even if his knowledge hasn’t panned out quite like you would have expected, his experience is too much to discount.


    “Alright, so my first piece of advice is to review the three most important aspects of picking an implement.”


    “…you mean the things you just told me about while jogging?” you say.


    “Yes,” he replies calmly. “If you’re ready to choose your implement, then you should be sure that you know the essentials of picking one.”


    You refrain from sighing. “The three most important aspects of an implement are the Declarative, the Authoritative, and the Useless.”


    “Taylor,” Blake chides.


    You do sigh this time. “Sorry,” you mutter. “Put shortly, the Declarative aspect of the implement is about what characteristics of myself are reflected in the item, the Authoritative aspect is about how the form of the implement will influence the kinds of magic you can do with it, and the Socio-cultural aspect is based on what other practitioners use that kind of implement, which seems kind of useless here, since there aren’t any other practitioner capes around.”


    “That we know of,” Blake points out. “And it’s a little more than that, since it can also indicate things about you based on what other practitioners have done with the same implement. For instance, the chalice as a symbol of traditional femininity and how it declined alongside the rise of women’s rights, and how a scepter is generally chosen by someone who is working towards assuming power. That aside, I’d say that you have the gist of it, assuming it works the same here.” Blake scratches the back of his head. “For all I know, here maybe the form follows the function, rather than the other way around.”


    “It’s something to check into,” you suggest diplomatically.


    “So long as you’re careful.” Blake agrees. “Did you have any specific ideas?”


    “I spent some time thinking about it,” you say. Much of it was while you were sleep-hazed, but you put more thought into it before you came downstairs and in the shower. “My biggest hang-up is that I’m not sure if the THING—er, the IMPLEMENT bundle will create an implement, like it did with your n’kisi, or if it will just empower a normal object to change it into an implement, like you described happens on Earth Mem—”


    “Earth Mem?” Blake cuts in.


    “Oh.” You flush a little. “It’s what I’ve been referring to your world as, mentally. You know how we know about alternate dimensions here?”


    “Yes,” he says shortly.


    “Right, so the naming convention has been to use letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, and so…”


    “You’re already down to M?” he asks in surprise. “Huh. That’s a lot more worlds than I thought you implied before. Though, I don’t actually know how well the order of the Hebrew alphabet matches the English one—”


    “Ah,” you say, flushing further. “No, we’re really not. That far down, I mean. I…kind of skipped down to M.” You pause uncomfortably. Blake stares at you, clearly waiting for you to say it. Jerk. ”M for magic.”


    “Sometime,” he says, rueful amusement in his voice, “you’re going to have to explain what your issue is with magic.”


    You open your mouth to tell him exactly what your issue with magic is, but close it when you remember what you’re supposed to be doing. Making an implement. Right.


    Keeping it to just a nod, you release the tension you hadn’t noticed building up in your shoulders and pick up where you left off. “Anyway, I’m unsure if it will fabricate or imbue, so for now I’m planning on being careful, and gently exploring the Implement bundle.”


    “Yeah?” Blake asks with another raised eyebrow. “How so?”


    “Well, when I did this before, I had to clamp down on the bundles to get them to actually work. It was…a very fast action. So I think I can get a little more information first if I try to touch it without crushing it first thing.”


    It takes him a few moments to respond. “I see.” A shorter pause. “When do you want to start?”


    “No time like the present,” you say, closing your eyes to pull up the stuff in your head.


    The three bundles pop up first, as they always do. You take a moment to check the lower shapes, which have not changed, and the uppermost Central Pool, which looks considerably diminished. You stop in confusion, until you remember your befuddled choice to move a lot of power from the pool to one of the bundles last night. You go back to the bundles and look at them more closely. Indeed, Familiar is now FAMILIAR. You check on the Blake shape again, and find it unchanged.


    Hm.


    Still, interesting as it is, you aren’t here for that. You reach out tentatively and mentally touch the IMPLEMENT bundle, which does nothing more than emphasize its concepts and power level. Gently, so gently, you grasp a hold of the bundle.


    Your eyes fly open with a gasp.


    “What’s wrong?” Blake asks from inside the mirror.


    “Nothing,” you reply. “It just…surprised me.” Without waiting for a reply, you close your eyes again and reach out to the IMPLEMENT bundle.


    An array of options seems to…unfold before you. You’re incredibly hesitant to pick any of the options, but the sense you’re getting from them is that you can pick a rough direction for the implement to take, but that the specifics are beyond you, at least for now. You open your eyes again, and feel incredibly strange when you realize you can see everything just fine, even while the IMPLEMENT bundle is still at the forefront of your vision. The images are superimposed on each other, without either actually impeding the sight of the other. You look around and notice that the cheap watch on your wrist seem to be edged with a bright glow that manages to be clear, sharp, entirely colorless, and not actually illuminate anything else.


    Fuck it, it’s not like this was the weirdest part of your power.


    You start to describe all of this to Blake, reaching out to touch the notebook and pencil on your desk and seeing them light up in turn. Then you think of something. Before you even reach down to touch the chair with your hands, it lights up. Pausing, you try to do the same thing to the desk, lighting up with just a thought, but have no luck. You touch the desk, and this time it works, but now the chair isn’t lit up. The second you think that, though, the desk winks out and the chair lights up again. Looking at it, you realize that you can see the outline through your own body.


    No, still not the weirdest part of your power.


    “Okay,” you say once you finish catching Blake up with the current situation. “I think we need to have a long talk to determine what I choose as an implement. Sound good?”


    “Sounds great,” Blake says.





    Basic Info
    • Status
      • Normal
    • Big Three
      • Central Pool ( (?-1)/? )
        • FAMILIAR
          • Blake
            • Normal
        • demesne
          • ???
            • ???
        • IMPLEMENT
          • N/A

    Vote will be open for 1 week and 6 hours from the time of this posting.
    I'm probably optimistic about the amount of voting and/or discussion needed here, but we'll see.

    Vote for one option per underlined section. Feel free to customize your votes with up to 60 words of additional description; if you are using someone else’s plan and wish to add something to it, please bold the new portions.

    What do you want to choose for your implement?

    (Current implement status = N/A => 1 word customization only)

    [] A Handy Dandy Item (An item that gives some sort of utility, unrelated to familiar or demesne)
    - -[] Customization (1 word customization only)

    [] A Weapon at Hand (A weapon that can be used offensively, not always in the way you might expect)
    - -[] Customization (1 word customization only)

    [] Get Your Hands on a New Tool (make a branch of Pact magic available to you, via an implement) (One-time chance)
    - -No Customization—see below!



    How powerful do you want your tool to be? (No customization)
    (Hint: Not as important as it normally would be)

    (Current implement status = N/A)
    (Current implement strength= IMPLEMENT)

    [] More Powerful

    [] Less Powerful



    If you do wish to take up a branch of magic via your implement, which will you choose, and what shall your implement be?(Vote regardless of your choice in the above vote)

    (Note: every choice comes with the Sight, except that it is a Sight tailored (ha) to the magic system that you choose.)


    [] The Sight. See everything. Everything all of the other choices would have been able to see combined, plus more. Interpreter not included.

    What item shall you turn into your implement?
    - -[] Default (Spare Glasses)
    - -[] (The Sight): Write-in


    [] Enchanting. See and manipulate the relationships between people. Short and long term effects, subtle and overt.

    What item shall you turn into your implement?
    - -[] Default (Formal Gloves)
    - -[] (Enchanting): Write-in


    [] Shamanism. See and manipulate the spirits the make up everything (physical) around you. Operates quickly via set runes or slower but with more versatility with spirit-cajoling.

    What item shall you turn into your implement?
    - -[] Default (Nondescript Marker)
    - -[] (Shamanism): Write-in


    [] Illusions. See the truth before you and manipulate the truth others perceive. Short term illusions, which can be constructs of light or for selected targets only. Minor enchanting effects tied in to sell effects.

    What item shall you turn into your implement?
    - -[] Default (Bag of Never-ending Dust/Sand)
    - -[] (Illusions): Write-in


    [] Chronomancy. See the flow of time, objective and subjective, and manipulate its rate for others. Mostly perception-affecting, but some actual time manipulation. Abilities are extremely expensive, comparatively speaking.

    What item shall you turn into your implement?
    - -[] Default (Old Wristwatch)
    - -[] (Chronomancy): Write-in


    [] Augury. See the rough shape of fate at will and various finer details with effort. Variety of different forms of future-sight, nothing too significant on its own. (Do NOT think Dinah or Contessa.)

    What item shall you turn into your implement?
    - -[] Default (Small [1” radius] Crystal Ball)
    - -[] (Augury): Write-in


    [] Astrology. See the concepts embedded in places, with bonuses to finding your way and other things, and learn how to combine them into very powerful but short-lived constructs, either in distant locations or rooted in your own body. Requires (possibly extensive) prior setup, though without an expiration date, and is expensive to use, although cheaper than Chronomancy, more or less.

    What item shall you turn into your implement?
    - -[] Default (Compass[mathematical tool])
    - -[] (Astrology): Write-in


    [] Shapeshifting. See the innate spirits in all animals and apply them to yourself, granting yourself various animal forms. Does require application of blood as specified in 1.3, but the implement will be capable of storing said blood regardless of choice of form, reducing logistics issues considerably.

    What item shall you turn into your implement?
    - -[] Default (Skinning Knife)
    - -[] (Shapeshifting): Write-in


    [] Karma. See a glimpse of people’s karmic history, both in their past and with their current actions, and learn to manipulate when and how karmic imbalances are redressed.
    WARNING: Choosing this option WILL bind you to the karma system Blake describes.

    What item shall you turn into your implement?
    - -[] Default (Endless Knot Rope Charm)
    - -[] (Karma): Write-in





    As I recall, between the different forums, you suggested two forms that I hadn’t considered and suggested two that I had rejected earlier but reconsidered upon recommendation. Well, here was your reward for helping by suggesting other forms of Pact magic that fit the criteria that I could use: those options are now open to you, right here, right now.


    But wait, there’s more!


    The options you have available to you in the future can and will dip into these forms of magic, among others, so your future choices have been expanded as well!


    Hopefully that’s an adequate reward for your help at that time :)


    <-Prev | Next->
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  12. Threadmarks: Introductions 1.4.3
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    Okay, so, here’s how this one is going to work. It’s going to be an experiment :D Aren’t those fun?

    I will leave this voting period open for (roughly) one week from this post. During this period, I will answer any questions as needed…mostly from the point of view of Blake. I will try to give it to you answers as definitely as I can without giving things Blake doesn’t know away. This will help give you the benefit of his perspective and knowledge. Asking something you (Taylor) should already know won’t be penalized, so getting clarification is more than welcome. Please address your questions “to Blake” in character, though plural pronouns are fine. Or, you know, just throw quotations marks up around those questions.

    I'll be threadmarking/indexing this post, and then simply setting up Next/Prev chains between responses, because the index does not need that kind of cluttering. (Except here on QQ, which likely won't be linked at all, unless people start posting here /shrug)

    This will probably be the only time I do it quite like this, due to unique circumstances (aka the Get Your Hands on a New Tool option) but who knows? Maybe we’ll all like it. Maybe not. Guess we’ll find out!

    edit:
    On the subject of crossposting...damnation, that hadn't occurred to me before I posted this. Let's go with...I'll try to make sure that I make a post with all of the information from the other forums at least once a day, assuming sufficient velocity discussion occurs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  13. TheAlec

    TheAlec Not too sore, are you?

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    Because ironic justice is the best justice.

    What do you want to choose for your implement?
    [X] Get Your Hands on a New Tool (make a branch of Pact magic available to you, via an implement)

    How powerful do you want your tool to be?
    [X] More Powerful

    If you do wish to take up a branch of magic via your implement, which will you choose, and what shall your implement be?
    [X] Karma. See a glimpse of people’s karmic history, both in their past and with their current actions, and learn to manipulate when and how karmic imbalances are redressed.
    What item shall you turn into your implement?
    - -[X] Default (Endless Knot Rope Charm)

    Edit: added the X's
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
    Sheaman3773 likes this.
  14. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    I have to admit, I have a lot of fun thinking about how to write a Karma Manipulator. If I'm remembering the current tally of votes correctly, this vote makes Karma tied for second place atm.

    Btw, you need to put an X inside the [] for it to count.

    Thanks for voting :)
     
  15. the DragonBard

    the DragonBard Creator of Worlds

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    [x] Get Your Hands on a New Tool (make a branch of Pact magic available to you, via an implement) (One-time chance)

    [x] More Powerful

    [x] The Sight. See everything. Everything all of the other choices would have been able to see combined, plus more. Interpreter not included.
    - -[x] Default (Spare Glasses)

    For me, this or Shamanism were the big attractors, though illusions that effect reality would also be nice.
     
    Sheaman3773 likes this.
  16. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    Well, fuck.

    The vote's going to close in a few minutes, and for some reason, neither of the voting programs will stay open for even a second. I had thought I pinned down the issue, but I tried to fix that today and it's still doing the same thing. Hopefully it's just this minor issue with my computer in general that I was planning on fixing soon, but regardless, I can't get it to work right now.

    The SB & QQ votes are pretty straightforward, but the SV votes are not. If all goes well, hopefully I'll have the voting data for you tomorrow, one way or another.
     
  17. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    Thanks, veekie, you're a gentleman and a scholar :grin:

    Unfortunately, the minor fix I implemented didn't have an effect...so it's probably time to make a comment in the thread, even if I think it's a local issue.
    Vote tally:
    ##### 3.19
    [X] Get Your Hands on a New Tool (make a branch of Pact magic available to you, via an implement) (One-time chance)
    No. of votes: 21
    readerboy7, veekie, 1986ctcel, wingstrike96, The Laurent, ReaperofInterest, Indivisible, drasky, Thrice.Great, tinkerbell, Ridiculously Average Guy, Redsoff, Mykenae, Irenicus, DOOMPOTATO, Olivebirdy, esran, Not A Victory March, Bjh31, TheAlec, the DragonBard

    Power Levels

    [x] More Powerful
    No. of votes: 16
    Mykenae, Irenicus, veekie, DOOMPOTATO, wingstrike96, Olivebirdy, The Laurent, ReaperofInterest, Indivisible, drasky, Thrice.Great, tinkerbell, esran, Not A Victory March, TheAlec, the DragonBard

    [X] Less Powerful
    No. of votes: 5
    readerboy7, 1986ctcel, Ridiculously Average Guy, Redsoff, Bjh31

    Magic Type

    [X] Shamanism. See and manipulate the spirits the make up everything (physical) around you. Operates quickly via set runes or slower but with more versatility with spirit-cajoling.
    No. of votes: 11
    readerboy7, veekie, 1986ctcel, wingstrike96, The Laurent, Indivisible, drasky, Ridiculously Average Guy, Redsoff, esran, Bjh31

    [X] Shamanism vote with pen
    No. of votes: 1
    Frakir's brother

    I already said that this wasn't the proper format, @Frakir's brother . There were plenty of other people that you could have copied, if you were unsure.

    [X] Enchanting. See and manipulate the relationships between people. Short and long term effects, subtle and overt.
    No. of votes: 3
    Thrice.Great, Not A Victory March, Olivebirdy

    -[x] Augury
    No. of votes: 2
    Mykenae, Irenicus

    [X] Karma. See a glimpse of people's karmic history, both in their past and with their current actions, and learn to manipulate when and how karmic imbalances are redressed.
    No. of votes: 2
    DOOMPOTATO, TheAlec

    [X] Illusions. See the truth before you and manipulate the truth others perceive. Short term illusions, which can be constructs of light or for selected targets only. Minor enchanting effects tied in to sell effects.
    No. of votes: 2
    ReaperofInterest, tinkerbell

    [x] The Sight. See everything. Everything all of the other choices would have been able to see combined, plus more. Interpreter not included.
    No. of votes: 1
    the DragonBard

    The Implement

    -[X] (Shamanism): Mother's Fountain Pen
    No. of votes: 10
    readerboy7, veekie, 1986ctcel, wingstrike96, The Laurent, Indivisible, drasky, Ridiculously Average Guy, Redsoff, Bjh31

    - -[x] Default (Nondescript Marker)
    No. of votes: 1
    esran

    --[x] (Augury): Tarot Deck
    No. of votes: 2
    Mykenae, Irenicus

    [X] (Enchantment): Mother's Fountain pen.
    No. of votes: 2
    Olivebirdy, Thrice.Great

    - -[X] (Enchanting): Broken gate chain repaired by Taylor. Useable as a belt.
    No. of votes: 1
    Not A Victory March

    -[X] Default (Bag of Never-ending Dust/Sand)
    No. of votes: 1
    ReaperofInterest

    -[X] (Illusions): The Ring.
    No. of votes: 1
    tinkerbell

    - -[X] Default (Endless Knot Rope Charm)
    No. of votes: 1
    TheAlec

    - -[x] Default (Spare Glasses)
    No. of votes: 1
    the DragonBard
    And now for the winners alone:
    [X] Get Your Hands on a New Tool (make a branch of Pact magic available to you, via an implement) (One-time chance)
    No. of votes: 21
    readerboy7, veekie, 1986ctcel, wingstrike96, The Laurent, ReaperofInterest, Indivisible, drasky, Thrice.Great, tinkerbell, Ridiculously Average Guy, Redsoff, Mykenae, Irenicus, DOOMPOTATO, Olivebirdy, esran, Not A Victory March, Bjh31, TheAlec, the DragonBard

    [x] More Powerful
    No. of votes: 16
    Mykenae, Irenicus, veekie, DOOMPOTATO, wingstrike96, Olivebirdy, The Laurent, ReaperofInterest, Indivisible, drasky, Thrice.Great, tinkerbell, esran, Not A Victory March, TheAlec, the DragonBard

    [X] Shamanism. See and manipulate the spirits the make up everything (physical) around you. Operates quickly via set runes or slower but with more versatility with spirit-cajoling.
    No. of votes: 11
    readerboy7, veekie, 1986ctcel, wingstrike96, The Laurent, Indivisible, drasky, Ridiculously Average Guy, Redsoff, esran, Bjh31

    -[X] (Shamanism): Mother's Fountain Pen
    No. of votes: 10
    readerboy7, veekie, 1986ctcel, wingstrike96, The Laurent, Indivisible, drasky, Ridiculously Average Guy, Redsoff, Bjh31
    I'm gratified at the paucity of accusations that I'm trying to trick you with the (One-time chance) bit and somewhat amused that the vast majority of people ignored the (Hint: Not as important as it normally would be) bit.

    I had expected Enchanting over Shamanism, by a large margin. It still took second place, but I guess you decided you'd rather make the area around you your plaything, rather than people around you :p To be fair, Shamanism certainly has more direct combat ability.

    I need a little bit to hammer down the details on Shamanism, and then I'll get started on the next chapter.
     
    1986ctcel likes this.
  18. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    Okay! I’m going to start with an apology for how long this took, because it really shouldn’t have done so. I have a lot of different reasons or excuses for why it happened, but suffice to say that while I hope it won’t happen in the future, it very well may. Sorry about that too.


    The next chapter still isn’t even done! The horror! But I’ve decided that rather than go over my research yet again in hopes of noticing something (and delaying the chapter further) I’m going to crowdsource! Congratulations! :p


    It’s regarding the runes that Blake will know well or well enough to give you bonuses for learning them. I already did a lot of searching for them, but if you guys managed to find ones that I missed, then they will be added to the list! Here’s what I have so far:

    · Push

    · Unlock

    · Wind (imbuement: a little lighter, pushes a little harder)

    · Quiet

    · Durability

    · Alarm (hamper: Stick)

    · Alarm (notice: detects life within radius)

    · Orient: Heart

    · Alarm (punish: Y)

    · Secures locks

    · Physical stasis (inanimate/inorganic)

    · Reaching out (sensory, detection, no significant locomotion)

    o Fire (senses warmth, explodes)

    o Air (senses breath, moves faster)

    o Earth (tracks footsteps, hits harder)

    o Metal (transmits signals, moves slowly)

    o Water (senses magic/powers, insta-charges)

    · Electricity/Lightning

    · Metal (pseudo-transmutation)

    · Fire

    · Banishment (incorporeal/projection)

    · Smell-be-gone

    · Exile (prevents spirit tampering, mutes effects)

    · Defense (applied to walls, effect: Z)

    · Extinguish

    · Escher connection
    And now for the quotes that I found, so you can check against them and avoid false positives (please note that the quotes below may not match perfectly with the runes above):
    · the sugar was left in a crescent shape where it had been dragged by the underside of the cup. He emptied the remaining packet, a smaller pile in the center of the crescent, and then three lines, fanning outward, on the other side. The edge of the paper packet helped give the three lines form. Almost half of a typical ‘sun’, as a child might draw it, with the rays fanning outward, and a dot in the middle.

    They turn people away before they sit nearby, and we can talk without fear of eavesdroppers.”
    1.05

    · One page with an image dominating half of it. A symbol was outlined, with arrows suggesting directions for drawing it. A spiral, drawn from the outside in, then a triangle, with one point at the center, all as one motion.I gestured, a flick of my hand, and they reacted. The cup jerked about two inches and crashed to the floor.
    1.07

    · Can you open locks?”
    “Not a trick I know,” I said.
    She drew a small notebook from her pocket. She drew out an image. An hourglass shape with a circle in the middle. She drew a small pad of sticky notes from another inside pocket. “Draw something like this, put it on the doorknob, and empower it.”
    2.5

    · The butt-end of the weapon had a symbol inscribed in the wood, so it sprawled all over the wooden surface, curving around to the other side.

    “That symbol is one for wind.”
    “Wind?”
    He shrugged. “Mess with other elemental forces, and you risk disrupting the mechanism. Weapon is maybe a little lighter, pushes a little harder.”
    4.10

    · I’d inscribed my boots with quieting runes
    4.10

    · I kicked the window again, to no effect

    But that time, I noticed Duncan reacting.
    A connection. Between him and the window?
    Of course. It was an obvious way out. I hopped up to search the surface.
    There. On the surface of the window, a rune. I recognized it as one that enhanced durability.
    5.3

    · One clasp had a piece of paper with a rune on it hidden just beneath. The inside of the box, too, had a rune set in place. The runes, too, would delay anyone from trying to steal the mirror with the incarnation bound within.
    7.9

    · we’ve resorted to novice-level alarm runes
    11.2

    · Rose’s rifle swung around. She slapped it against her left hand. At the butt end, her right thumb ran along the inscribed rune. The tip of the gun jerked, the aim correcting. Centered on Ms. Lewis’s heart. Rose’s eye looked down the sights.
    15.6

    · “It won’t hold for long, but if you need to slip away, this is the thing. One for each of us. Or you can put it on an object to hide it.”
    “We need it to hold,” Rose said.
    “It’s going to burn up whatever fuel you give it,”
    16.05

    · A rune was being used to ward off curious civilians, which meant I had to look otherwise occupied.

    The rune that had been drawn to keep neighbors from coming in had changed somewhat.
    3.3

    · From the spirits that flowed through and around the paper, I had little doubt there was a rune there. Less a deterrence rune, I suspected, than a rune that would punish prying Duchamps.
    3.3

    · I could see bookshelves, each protected by a pane of glass with hinges and a lock. The locks, I noted, each had a rune on them.
    3.3

    · Mark trees and stones with wards, to keep people away. More runes to keep the roads intact.
    4.9

    · I tracked the connections, saw the people moving. Reorganizing.
    I saw the focus drop away from Dunc and me both, from the other side of that mirror.
    I saw the sole remaining connection flicker and die. Something digital.
    There were the two of us in the room, and nobody was looking.

    I could see the foam. He’d drawn a rune into it, so it floated on top of his drink.
    5.1

    · As I set foot on the landing, I saw golden diagrams spiral out from scribbles on the wall. I’d mistaken them for gang tags, but they were runes.
    One connection fixated on me, all the more noticeable because my connections to everything else were so thin.
    An alarm.
    5.3

    · One section of stairwell, connected Escher style, top to bottom.
    “Find-” I winced at the pain in my arms. That pain joined my hearing and eyesight among the things that were getting muddled, hard to compartmentalize or stop focusing on. “Find the rune.”
    5.3

    · The other rune Duncan had drawn on the windowframe, hidden, was the other.
    The same kind of rune, apparently, that connected one part of the stairwell to the other.
    The sun flashed in my eyes, and I was back in the stairwell, ten feet above the ground.
    5.3

    · He scrawled something on the dash in chalk, tried the car again. It didn’t start up.
    He adjusted the rune, another failure to start.
    “Still concentrating!” Fell said. His rune was now sprawled almost all the way across the dash. Interconnecting images.6.6

    · “Does it have something to do with that sun shape the runes are drawn inside?”
    “Ah. Yes. Reaching out,” Fell said. “You make something warm and you drive it to seek out other warm things.
    6.7

    o The rune in the center of its face is a variant of thefirerune. I wouldnotbe surprised if it happened to violently blow up if you got too close to it.
    Fire imbued vessels to steadily seek out ourwarmth. Slow, inexorable, and Fell suspected they would blow up if they got too close.

    o There are others with breeze runes… they move a little faster in general.”
    “Breeze runes,” I said. “Could that also mean breath?”
    Air-imbued vessels to pursue us by a half-step for every breath we took, two or three steps for every word we spoke.

    o Earth-imbued vessels to track us by our footsteps.

    o “Metal,” Fell said, quiet, “Never wood, post-industrialization. Dying element.”
    The metal-runes had barely moved from their meandering circuit through the area
    The metal ones had been, what, transmitting a signal? Providing structure?

    o And with the act ofmagic,thewatervessels woke, closing the distance to us in heartbeats
    6.7

    · I could see runes laid out, making it a dangerous proposition.
    They’d trapped the building. (Chrono-traps)
    6.10

    · A sticky note with a rune on it.
    Thistime there was an arc of electricity.
    6.12

    · “Alarm rune,” Maggie murmured in my ear.
    I stepped across it, and I felt the connection pop into being.
    7.5

    · Duncan moved faster.
    Hishandsmoved faster.
    The runes he’d drawn on his wrists in marker.
    7.6

    · “Runes that would make people more inclined to take detours, or just avoid or ignore the area altogether. They had it for the parkland where the Hyena was lurking.
    7.10

    · The inside of the box had runes for metal on it.
    8.2 (from Maggie)

    · Maybe the tree had been planted in the middle of a rune, so it manifested certainsnatching, scratchingqualities as it grew.
    8.4 (Interesting)

    · The rune managed to gather all the power it needed, and then it simply turned out the lights.
    10.4 (banishment)

    · “You smell like mothballs,” Evan chimed in.
    “I’ve worn and washed these clothes before,” Rose said. “How can I still smell like mothballs?”
    “Here,” Tiff said, walking up behind Rose. “Post it, and a rune, and… a bit of blood.”
    11.5

    · What I saw was a metal box with two wires sticking out of it, resting flat against the ground. A symbol was painted on top of it, a rune. Probably written by a third party.
    11.9 (the Other in a box)

    · Rune of exile on the thing to keep it from being tampered with by other spirits, keep theboommuted.
    11.11
    The front door detonated. A small blast, not even reaching down the length of the hallway. No fire, which was probably a part of the runes on the thing.
    12.1

    · with practitioners using the raised walls that blocked off the view to the interior as a defensive position, defensive runes painted on the walls.
    13.5

    · “Extinguish rune isn’t working…”
    14.3

    Now, there are caveats, of course. For instance, you guys are a Shaman. This means that if you find runes that use another discipline, like the enchanting runes set up to deter people from getting close to the Hyena or ErasUr, then they won’t work here, since you only have access to Shamanism. Please keep that in mind.


    That being said, the person who comes up with the most passages for usable runes that I don’t already have will get a prize: You get to determine the effect of one unspecified rune on the list! (search for Y and Z in the second spoiler box for current options). The winner picks which one they want to define, we’ll hash it out in PMs, and then the list will be modified.


    And of course, every time anyone finds a suitable rune, it will be added to your pool of already-known or easily-learned runes, similar to how the other forms of magic were added to the pool of Implement possibilities.

    Sorry again for the delay--hopefully the next chapter will come much more swiftly (I may just split it if I feel it's still taking too long).
     
    MrGazzer, AoD_Patr and 1986ctcel like this.
  19. Threadmarks: Introductions 1.5
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

    Joined:
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    Introductions 1.5


    You spend a lot of time talking with Blake about the sense you’re getting from the IMPLEMENT bundle. You go back and forth, examining your options more closely or teasing out nuances with his suggestions. You start off maintaining the light hold you have on the bundle, but soon enough your mental grip starts to fluctuate, almost like it’s quivering. Not wanting to accidentally make something your implement (and how terrible would that be?) you release it immediately. You find that it’s easier than you expect to squeeze just hard enough, though, so that’s good news. You mostly leave the bundle alone unless you need to check something, an impression or feeling you get from observing the different options that appear while you consider your choice. Finally, you make your decision.


    “I think Shamanism will be the best choice for me,” you say. “The manipulation of all kinds of spirits, that exist absolutely everywhere, sounds amazingly versatile. That I could do it quickly, or lasting over a long period, just by writing out a single shape? Yes, shamanism is what I’ll take up.”


    “That sounds good to me,” Blake says cheerfully. “I haven’t dealt with too many Shamans, but lots of people dabbled in the art, and runes can be very useful.” He tilts his head to the side for a moment. “However, have you also decided just what item you’ll choose to go with it? That is, traditionally, the important part of taking up an implement. Even if this system seems to be all kinds of backwards,” he grumbles to himself quietly.


    You take a deep breath. You don’t need to think about it more, but it’s still a big moment for you. “I’ll take my mother’s fountain pen as an implement.” You had mentioned taking up a pen earlier, along with several other options, enough that you knew the meaning behind the object, but you hadn’t explained the significance of that one particular pen. You hold your head high, your eyes burning at the thought of her, of why this choice is important to you.


    But Blake doesn’t ask any questions of you on the subject, just nods after a few moment’s thought. You’re appreciative; you don’t think you’d have been able to keep from actually crying if you had to explain it out loud.


    “It’s in the basement,” you say. With the rest of her things. “I don’t know when it’s safe to go down there without Dad seeing me…but I don’t want to wait all day and waste the opportunity to try it out.” Even as you say it, you realize how true it is—now that your decision is made, you find yourself practically quivering with excitement. “Yeah,” you blurt out after just another moment of thought. “I definitely want to go get it now.” Without waiting for a response, you bounce to your feet and head for the door.


    “Taylor!” Blake calls out, stopping you short. “Look. This is still your choice. It’s a sound choice, and that’s what matters to me. I’m not going to try to change your mind on it. But if you want to take up a pen implement, then you should probably start acting in synch with what having a pen implement means.”


    “What do you mean?” you ask cautiously, already suspecting the answer.


    “Do you remember what the pen as an implement indicates about how a practitioner would work?”


    “Through premeditation and labels,” you say, confirming your suspicion.


    “Right,” Blake says. “Now, are your next actions conforming to either of those attributes?”


    You open your mouth, then slowly close it. “…no,” you admit after the pause.


    “My understanding,” he says carefully, “is that you will be more in synch with your implement if you act in ways that match up with their meaning. In practical terms, that means the implement working better for you, increasing your magical efficiency and perhaps helping give you additional guidelines for how to act if you want to generate more power by acting like you. But again,” he sighs, “there’s no way to know yet if it works that way here. Still, it’s far better to act like it helps and maybe benefit than just ignore the idea and possibly suffer the consequences, isn’t it?”


    “I suppose so,” you murmur, not entirely certain about this matter but willing to defer to his experience.


    “Okay, so how do you think you should proceed?”


    It doesn’t take much thought for you to decide. “I should make a plan for what to do next.”


    The idea is simple, so the plan is too. Just to try and hear where Dad is as you go through the house, and take detours to avoid him when it wouldn’t be suspicious should he see you. If he catches sight of the pen once you have it, or while you’re searching, tell him just enough of the truth—that you wanted a memory of Mom to help you feel close to her, to try and derive some strength from it—to placate him without telling him anything you don’t want to.


    It’s not like it would be the first time, you think, eyes briefly glancing at the underside of your bed, where the stained and warped form of your mother’s flute still lays. This time would be more literally true, however, and you’d be a lot more careful to make sure nothing happened to the pen.


    After that’s decided, you receive a little bit of advice from Blake about the importance of looking casual and/or confident while sneaking, and you’re ready to go.






    “Well, that was anticlimactic,” you comment to Blake once you’re both back safe in your room, your hand cradling Mom’s favorite fountain pen protectively.


    It had been. There were no hitches, no unexpected complications—heck, you hadn’t even run into Dad.


    “Would you rather something had gone wrong?” Blake asked, an undercurrent of amusement in his voice.


    “No, no,” you demur. “I just…wasn’t expecting my plan to actually work.” Despite making quite a few, they rarely seem to go as you design. But not making plans was worse—the uncertainty, not being prepared…the thought ate at you, at little.


    “That is the risk of premeditation,” Blake says. “Plans don’t often survive contact with the enemy, after all. The other side of that is that sometimes they do. Still, I wouldn’t count on it, not with either of our luck.”


    “True enough,” you say, a touch grimly as you remember…well, your life for the past few years. “Still, I can’t just accept that my plans will be useless as soon as I run into opposition. Making backup plans and contingencies is a lot more sensible to me.”


    “As long as you remember the value of improvisation,” Blake cautions.


    “I’ll try,” you say. You’re not sure how good at that you would be at improving, but it obviously would be important in your life as a cape.


    By unspoken agreement, the both of you turn to the pen you’re about to turn into your implement. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, with a pleasant shine and elegant patterns in the wood that convey elegance without pretension. In your opinion, at least.


    “Can you still manage that loose grip on the Implement bundle, the one that let you get a feel for your options?” your companion asks.


    “Yeah,” you say after checking. “It’s not hard to do, as long as I’m not holding it for long.”


    “So…” He trails off after a moment. “Do you want what I remember of the ritual, or just continue with the trend that you’ve started so far?”


    “Trend?” you ask, tilting your head a bit.


    “Well, perhaps trend isn’t the most accurate of terms. But you created the familiar bond with me without saying the right words, didn’t you? Since you didn’t even know that there were words to say. So do you want to do that again here, or do you want to try to see how much I can pull up?”


    “I’m not sure,” you murmur, looking only at the pen. It might keep him from noticing your expression flicker as you think to when you created him and…the other time you used your power. The less said about that first time the better, but…getting Blake has worked out pretty well for you overall, so far. Might as well continue. “I’ll continue the ‘trend,’ you absently say after a few moments. “You make a good point. Besides, anything to create distance from magical behavior should probably be encouraged.”


    Blake makes a noise, and you glance over in time to see his tight-lipped expression. “The list of things that we need to talk about is constantly growing, but now’s not the time for it,” he says, gesturing towards the pen.


    You don’t really feel like talking to him about that kind of stuff right now anyway, so you have no objection. You double-check that you are making the choices you intend to, because now would be a terrible time to mess things up. That done, you mentally squeeze the Implement bundle as hard as you can, trying to make it as powerful as you can in case it works the way Blake is familiar with and you won’t be able to make it stronger later.


    It feels different from the other times you used your bundles. This time, it overflows and pours down the inside of your body, surging down your arms and into the pen. It seems to shift a little under your close gaze. Once it’s finished, you have a definite sense that something about it is different, though you can’t pin down exactly what. You peer a little closer at the wood patterns—what are they called, the grains?—but you’re still not sure if they actually look a little like some of the runes Blake has shown you or if your mind is seeing things.


    “So how does it feel?” he asks after you stare at the pen for a while.


    You take a moment to assess. “Pretty normal,” you say, disappointment creeping into your voice.


    “Try to use that Push rune we were trying out yesterday,” Blake suggests.


    Ah, yes. That one. You wouldn’t be forgetting the Push rune any time soon, not with how many times you tried and failed to get it to work. You sigh a little to yourself as you go to a piece of paper, taking off the cap and placing it on the back of the pen.


    But this time is different. The moment you put the pen to paper, you can feel a connection, straight from your mind to your pen. Feeling more excited now, you draw out the shape, starting with a spiral inwards, a centered equilateral triangle, capped with a dot at the middle, your movement smoothly flowing so the shapes aren’t interpreted as attempts at separate runes.


    It’s easier than it sounds.


    The rune looks completely normal at the end, but it only deters you for a moment. You jerk your hand to the right, knowing from previous tries that this rune was designed to go in the direction of your next definitive gesture. You clench your hands, containing your joy and relief as the paper lurches in the same direction, feeling utterly overwhelmed as it goes over the edge of the desk to land on the floor beside your desk.


    “Very good,” Blake says, his excitement clear in his voice. “It looks like it works! How—Taylor? Are you okay?”


    “Y-yeah.” You cough to clear your throat, then bend down out of his sight to retrieve the paper, surreptitiously wiping at your eyes when the desk is between you. Taking a few moments to wait until you feel a bit more centered, you meet his eyes openly once you straighten back up. “I’m glad it worked too,” you smile, letting a little of your happiness shine through. “What were you saying?”


    He eyes you further, but doesn’t push the point. “I was just going to ask how your Sight was working.”


    “Oh,” you say, blinking at the thought. “I hadn’t thou—” With one of the blinks, the world changes.


    It’s fascinating. You could still see everything like normal, but underlaid, or overlaid, or something, you’d figure out words for it later, there’s also more. There are these little things, colorful and variably shaped and moving while staying in place and incredibly significant without getting in the way of you seeing the object they’re about. Just looking at them, you can’t tell if they’re informing you ofaspects that the objects have or if they’re somehow enforcing them. You know that these are the spirits Blake talked about without even having to think about it. You peer closer at the paper you just drew the rune on, and start to pick apart which spirits indicate what about the paper. You are trying to figure what the ones that look like androgynous teenagers coupled with ageless females and several other spirits you can’t make out were supposed to indicate when you hear a loud grinding noise near your head.


    You jump in place, eyes darting around the room, less distracted by the spirits under—over—screw it, you’re going with underlying, since this is apparently what is what is the reality below what most people can perceive—less distracted by the spirits underlying everything. The sound repeated, more quietly, and draws your eyes to Blake, who just finished clearing his throat again.


    “Hello?” he asks when he can see that you are looking at him. “You alright there? You were kind of…spaced out.”


    Looking at Blake is even easier, because there are relatively few spirits visible when you look at him. There are plenty around the mirror, and the mirror itself has spirits—and aren’t they stranger than anything you’ve seen so far, some of them practically outshining everything else—but of the vestige himself, and the reflection of the room around him, there’s nothing. It’s like he doesn’t even exist. That throws you for a loop for a bit, until you realize that if Blake was just an image on the mirror, you’d be able to see the color spirits from the image. There must be something else involved. Maybe your power just doesn’t work with reflections? It doesn’t really change anything after all.


    “Yeah,” you say after far too long. “I’m alright. It’s just…distracting, being able to see so much.”


    “If you’re sure,” he replies slowly, still eyeing you. “I take it that you figured out how to turn on the Sight?”


    “Yes,” you nod, eyes drifting around again. “It’s amazing.”


    “Could you describe it for me?”


    You do so, trying to be quick about it, but you’re distracted anew by the complexity and variety of the spirits around you. It serves to make your description a bit more…florid than you may have intended.


    “Interesting,” is Blake’s response when you wind down. “While it does seem similar to the Sight I had, sounds like there are some pretty significant differences.” He continues without needing prompting from you. “My first glimpse through the Sight was much more subtle. It started off seeming to just make magic stand out against the background, little more, and it took focus to pick up the ambient spirits. You seem to have jumped feet first into observing the spirits, considering how distracting they seem to be.”


    It’s true, despite how important what he’s saying is, you do find your eyes wandering about. You’re still listening, though.


    “Also, I couldn’t help but notice that you didn’t mention being able to see connections. Not even between you and the fetish?”


    Blinking again, you double-check. “No, I don’t see any sort of cord or cable or anything made of spirits linking me to the n’kisi, or anything else. Not even when specifically looking for them.”


    Blake just nods. “So as we suspected, your Sight seems to be customized specifically for shamanism. Though, I would have expected you to be able to see the connections to me and the fetish, at least…but it looks like I was wrong.”


    You’re not quite sure what to say, so you change the subject. “Drawing the rune felt pretty interesting, so I’m going to see what it looks like when I make one.” Not waiting for a response, you reach out to a new piece of paper and draw Push.


    It’s strange. You hadn’t really noticed, but your entire body is blanked out of your vision. Not the lack of any spirits, like with Blake, but a stark absence of spirits. Like…like Blake is the air, where you just couldn’t see anything, and your own body was space, a void beneath the surface where spirits should be but aren’t. It was disorienting, honestly, even if your clothes still showed up just fine.


    It made the feeling of power flowing through you stranger too, since you couldn’t see that either. You could see the energy appear in the pen, however, and out on the page in the form of ink. Even though you can tell that you didn’t use any more power than before, the rune itself feels stronger this time.


    You look closer as there is a perceptible shift in the spirits around you. A particular kind of spirit, a very mobile one, began appearing in the lines of the rune while you are drawing them. Once you finish, the spirits multiply like crazy and spread out to encompass the entire page. They seem to be quivering more than they were, so you do the obvious and make a gesture. The spirits that came from the rune leap into action and the paper flies off the desk again. It seems to go further than last time too, but that’s pretty unreliable when it comes to paper.


    You absently tell Blake all about it, but your thoughts are on what you can see. It feels good, to have the truth of the world plain to see, so be able to change something about it with a few swipes of your pen. This is so cool.


    “I think you should turn off the Sight.”


    That catches your attention. “What?” you blurt out, turning widened eyes on Blake.


    “One thing I hadn’t mentioned yet was that you have to be careful about using the Sight,” he says, his tone clearly aiming for soothing. “If you use it too much, you can get lost in it. I’m not sure that it applies here, but it looks like you’re already losing yourself and it’s barely been any time at all.”


    “But—”


    “Taylor.” Blake’s expression and tone are completely serious. “There’s no need to continue right this second, and I am not saying that you have to stop using it. Obviously, you’re going to be using it again in the future. I’m just saying stop right now. If you’re having this much trouble just doing that, maybe your version of the Sight really is addictive, dangerously so.”


    Well. There’s only one kind of response you can give that. You blink while willing the Sight away. When your eyes open, they show you your normal, drab room.


    Blake is examining you closely. “How are you feeling?”


    “Fine,” you say on autopilot. You take a few moments to self-assess. “Really, I’m fine,” you say again. It’s disappointing, on some level, that you can’t see all of that information any more, but you know that it’s there, just a blink away, and you suppose everything doesn’t look that bad, without all of the spirits explaining what everything is made of.


    “Okay,” he responds. “No pain? No driving urge to turn it back on? Feeling of disconnection from the rest of humanity?”


    You blink at that last one. “…no?”


    “It was unlikely,” he says, reacting to the look you’re giving him, “but you weren’t supposed to be able to get lost in it so quickly, either.”


    “I’ll…keep an eye out for symptoms like that in the future.” You don’t like how wary this is making you.


    “Good,” Blake says. “Are you ready to try the Sight again?”


    “Seriously?”


    “Seriously. If it’s going to be a problem, better we know now.”


    “Uh…alright.” You blink and bring the Sight back up. As interesting as seeing the spirits everywhere is, it’s not nearly as distracting this time.


    When you explain this to Blake, he nods with a relieved look on his face. “You don’t look nearly so distracted, either. Good. It might be a first-time effect, or it may be intermittent. Just try to keep an eye out for it, okay?”


    “Okay,” you promise easily, turning the Sight off and on a couple of times to see if the sensation returns. It doesn’t, but the comparison between what Blake knows and how your power has been working for you has reminded you of something.


    As Blake describes it, there’s no way to strengthen implements after they’re made. You make the implement, investing the power you can spare in the process, and that was the power that your implement had, period. It was why you tried to push as much energy into your pen as you could while making it. But your power is different in the details in a lot of ways, so you aren’t sure that rule would apply to you.


    Still, that is easily tested. Your Sight currently off, you mentally reach into the Implement bundle and grab…well, rather a lot of power, actually. No point testing with chump change, you suppose. You notice that the energy responds much more readily to your mental grasp than it did before. You slide the mass of power down the connection to the new shape that must represent your pen.


    A timeless moment of disorientation.


    Well, even a cursory glance at the pen shape shows that it feels much stronger now, just as the implement bundle feels weaker than it just did. Explaining to Blake what you’re doing, you try another Push rune. It doesn’t seem to take any more energy from your diminished implement bundle than it had been, but the rune itself feels like it’s as strong as it was before while using your Sight. Assuming that it’s a permanent improvement, that would pay off pretty well, you think. Giving a small grin at the thought, you blink the Sight back on to see if there’s an improvement there.


    You jerk in your seat as something seems to slot into place when your Sight turns back on. You feel normal again after that instant, but you still turn the Sight back off quickly.


    “What’s wrong?” Blake asks, his eyes worried.


    “My Sight,” you say, a little shaken up. You just got your power doing what you wanted, don’t let it start acting up now. “It felt…strange when I first turned it on. Something was different, I could feel it change.”


    “But after that, it felt normal?”


    “Yeah, it did.” You quickly blink it on and off a couple of times to check. “No more odd feelings, at least for now.”


    “Hm,” Blake says. “I’ll see if I can remember anything about this sort of thing, though I’m afraid it might have more to do with being your power than it being magic. You should keep an eye out yourself, see if you feel anything like it again, or if there are any significant changes.


    “Anyway, what do you want to do now?”






    Basic Info
    • Status
      • Normal
    • Big Three
      • Central Pool ( (?-1)/? )
        • FAMILIAR
          • Blake
            • Normal
        • demesne
          • ???
            • ???
        • implement
          • Pen (shamanism)
            • Normal




    ·

    · Push (trigger: gesture)

    ·

    · Unlock

    · Wind (imbuement: a little lighter, pushes a little harder)

    · Quiet

    · Durability (inanimate/inorganic)

    · Alarm (hamper: Stick)

    · Alarm (notice: detects life within radius)

    · Orient: Heart (trigger: finger)

    · Alarm (punish: Y)

    · Secures locks

    · Physical stasis (inanimate/inorganic)

    · Reaching out (sensory, detection, no significant locomotion)

    o Fire (senses warmth, explodes)

    o Air (senses breath, moves faster)

    o Earth (tracks footsteps, hits harder)

    o Metal (transmits signals, moves slowly)

    o Water (senses magic/powers, insta-charges)

    · Electricity/Lightning

    · Metal (pseudo-transmutation)

    · Fire

    · Banishment (incorporeal/projection)

    · Smell-be-gone

    · Exile (prevents spirit tampering, mutes effects)

    · Defense (applied to walls, effect: Z)

    · Extinguish

    · Escher connection

    · Anything you can See.

    o Except oops, you’re Manton-limited.


    Sample picture of your implement provided by Thrice.Great





    Vote for one option per underlined section. Feel free to customize your votes with up to 60 words of additional description; if you are using someone else’s plan and wish to add something to it, please bold the new portions.

    What do you want to do with the rest of today? (Pick two.)

    [] Learn all of the runes Blake already knows.

    - -[] Customization

    [] Figure out more about this awesome Sight power.

    - -[] Customization

    [] Try to figure out more about your shamanism in general.

    - -[] Customization

    [] Take another look at the inside of your head, particularly at the parts changed with getting your pen.

    - -[] Customization

    [] You do have a lot of things to talk with Blake about...

    - -[] Customization

    [] Do the homework you didn’t do Thursday hahaha

    - -[] Customization


    Plus, you get one free action (shouldn’t take up much time, 60 word limit)

    [] Write-in






    Sorry again for taking so long. As an apology, you get two apology gifts! The first is that you start off already knowing the Push rune and it will get a strong bonus to being mastered, given any time at all to work on it; your emotional intensity each time you tried to use it burned it into your mind. The second is how the “power levels” of your implement worked out—I rolled the highest value you guys could have gotten, but doing it this way (essentially in Free Action form) showed you the transition, which is quite important for you to see, and you end up with an implement of the strength rolled for you. You also get to see that you can, in fact, move power from the implement bundle to your pen implement.






    <-Prev | Next->
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
    1986ctcel likes this.
  20. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    686
    Okay, I'll be closing the voting in approximately 11 hours. It looks like most people who wanted to vote have already had their say, regardless.

    I may not be awake by then (hopefully not) but trust that it is closed even if I don't post anything at that point. Votes will be tallied and added to this post. I have already begun the next chapter, but even if there is a sudden shift in voting, that will be fine--it will just be added to my compilation of snips that will potentially enter the story later.

    Also, I really ought to stop thinking I can predict you guys :p

    edit:
    Vote tally:
    ##### 3.21
    [X] You do have a lot of things to talk with Blake about...
    No. of votes: 8
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, readerboy7, silentspirals, Indivisible, The Laurent, Ridiculously Average Guy
    -[X] Explore magic vs parahuman abilities, try to understand how it might be different instead of trying to dismiss alternate perspectives.
    No. of votes: 6
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, silentspirals, Indivisible, The Laurent
    -[X] Anything Blake whats to discuss immediately?
    No. of votes: 4
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, The Laurent
    --[X] Focus on the interpersonal relationships and the problems you've had, rather than the practitioner side of things. Remember your humanity.
    No. of votes: 3
    readerboy7, silentspirals, Indivisible

    [X] Do the homework you didn't do Thursday
    No. of votes: 5
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, The Laurent, readerboy7
    -[X] Seriously. But use our pen and experiment with the sight while doing it. Ask Blake for help with anything we don't understand (including anything we notice during our sight/implement experiments!).
    No. of votes: 5
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, readerboy7, The Laurent

    [x] Learn all of the runes Blake already knows.
    No. of votes: 4
    will408914, Ridiculously Average Guy, silentspirals, Indivisible
    -[x] If you don't have time for all of them, focus on relatively subtle effects.
    No. of votes: 3
    Ridiculously Average Guy, silentspirals, Indivisible
    -[x] Practice push until you can do it quickly.
    No. of votes: 2
    silentspirals, Indivisible

    [x] Try to figure out more about shamanism in general.
    No. of votes: 1
    will408914




    [X] Find an agenda, calendar, notebook, or any combination thereof. Begin planning out our schedule in advance and otherwise trying to improve our connection to our implement.
    No. of votes: 4
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, The Laurent
    [X] Make plans.
    No. of votes: 2
    silentspirals, Indivisible
    [x] Also, perhaps we should talk to Blake about our demesne? After all, it's a major source of power, and it's effectively a safe place, where we would be pretty close to a god, eventually. Unless the locker is already our demesne, hmm?
    No. of votes: 1
    will408914
    --[X] Put a small amount of time into figuring out what happened to our demesne.
    No. of votes: 1
    readerboy7
    And the winner!
    [X] You do have a lot of things to talk with Blake about...
    No. of votes: 8
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, readerboy7, silentspirals, Indivisible, The Laurent, Ridiculously Average Guy
    -[X] Explore magic vs parahuman abilities, try to understand how it might be different instead of trying to dismiss alternate perspectives.
    No. of votes: 6
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, silentspirals, Indivisible, The Laurent
    -[X] Anything Blake whats to discuss immediately?
    No. of votes: 4
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, The Laurent
    [X] Do the homework you didn't do Thursday
    No. of votes: 5
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, The Laurent, readerboy7
    -[X] Seriously. But use our pen and experiment with the sight while doing it. Ask Blake for help with anything we don't understand (including anything we notice during our sight/implement experiments!).
    No. of votes: 5
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, readerboy7, The Laurent

    [X] Find an agenda, calendar, notebook, or any combination thereof. Begin planning out our schedule in advance and otherwise trying to improve our connection to our implement.
    No. of votes: 4
    redzonejoe, veekie, 1986ctcel, The Laurent
    The Free Action choice is really rather convenient.

    Once again, copy/pasting what I type out is preferred, to reduce the amount of time spent adjusting things.

    Next chapter is in progress. Also? It's way easier to write how things go wrong than go right. Yeesh.

    Oh! I forgot to say--so most of you will miss this, but it's not really worth a new post--that the time to choose your alignment draws nigh! So be prepared!
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  21. Threadmarks: Introductions 1.6.1
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    AN: I’m aiming for shorter, faster updates, so we’re only halfway through. Still a vote at the end.
    You know, for a story idea that caught my interest due to the conflict of personalities, actually writing this interaction was surprisingly difficult :p
    Also? Sorry in advance. It quite literally had to be done. Skip to the next linebreak or two if needed.


    Introductions 1.6.1


    You have a lot of things that you want to do right now. You just opened up a shiny new facet of your power, after all, and you would be lying if you said you aren't interested in learning more about it.


    But some things need to be done before others.


    You really ought to do your homework, for instance. You blew off school Friday fairly easily, but you can’t let yourself make a habit of it. You won’t give them the satisfaction. And that means doing your homework that was due Friday. The teachers don’t check with the office to see if absences were excused, so they’ll accept it. It’s not like you had a project due that day or anything.


    But first things first.


    You really need to have a talk with Blake. There are a number of things that you still need to discuss, even though the both of you have already explained the broad strokes of your worlds when you first met. There is stuff you should have talked about then, but frankly more has come up since.


    You think about it some, trying to plan out the rest of your day as best you can at this point. There’s no way to tell yet whether it will actually help, but it’s a good practice to have. You feel better after planning, anyway.


    Carefully, you place your pen down on the desk. “Actually, I think we should talk right now.”


    He blinks, his expression shifting quickly before settling on a neutral cast. “Well, that doesn’t sound good,” he says, staring at you from inside the mirror.


    “No, I suppose not,” you say, shifting uncomfortably. You would really, really like to not be having this conversation right now—just the thought makes you want to fall silent or leave entirely.


    But that’s the thing, isn’t it? You aren’t able to leave, no matter how much you may want to. If you walk far enough from the mirror, Blake will be pulled to you like a pit appeared beneath his feet and you were at the bottom. If you keep the mirror with you all of the time, then Blake can go away, but it apparently constantly takes energy, and you can see how limited the energy you have now is. You’re sure you’ll be able to make more, or gather more or something, but that won’t really change the situation. You and Blake are stuck together now, and pleasant or unpleasant, you have to deal with it now.


    Funny, shouldn’t there be a stronger feeling of nausea?


    “Whenever you’re ready,” Blake says, his bland expression not quite holding as he speaks.


    “There’s a number of things I wanted to talk about with you,” you start off awkwardly. He looks like he wants to say something, but only raises an eyebrow. “The first…I guess the first is about how you tested how visible you were yesterday.”


    Whatever Blake was expecting, it clearly isn’t that. “What?”


    “When I talked to you, I told you to check about how well you were able to move away from me, whether me being mobile was an issue, things like that. Not going out and trying to be noticed!” You notice your voice is much higher than you want, and try to tamp it down. “Why would you do something so risky?”


    “Where was the risk in it?” Blake asks, genuine confusion in his voice. “It’s not like I was checking the other people in the bus you were on, not until you suggested it. I wasn’t even doing all of them on the streets that the bus was going along.”


    “But you were following a pattern, weren’t you?” you say with forced calm. “From where you left me outwards, then catching up to me at an angle, to make sure you didn’t fall too far behind and take up more energy?” He hasn’t said anything of the kind, but you have thought about it, tracing possible paths for him to have taken. It just makes the most sense.


    “No…” Blake says slowly, confusion and something else in his eyes. “I wasn’t that methodical about my movement. I was testing how far I could go in a single jump, and whether there was a difference between going towards or away from you, stuff like that. I didn’t try it every time I saw someone, either, especially at first.”


    You place your hand on your forehead, coincidentally hiding the flush rising in your cheeks. “Okay,” you say, “so the obvious pattern doesn’t apply. But there doesn’t have to be the obvious pattern for it to screw us over.”


    “Seriously, what are you talking about?” Blake asks, starting to show anger.


    You rub your forehead—it’s been enough time, the flush was gone—and dropped your hand to the desk before you. “Look, in your memories, I know that they’re fuzzy, but how often did you fight enemies who didn’t know who you were? When you didn’t know who they were?”


    “Uh…” Blake’s expression slides mostly into that unfocused look he gets when he’s trying to push past the vagueness clouding his recollections. “Not often, if I’m understanding your question correctly. There were more than a few occasions when I didn’t know whether another practitioner was my enemy or not, and plenty who acted without me knowing where they were at the time or who was doing which particular act of fuckery, but yeah, I generally knew who the other players were.”


    “Their names, their faces, rough ideas of where to find them?” you press.


    “Very rough, a lot of the time, but generally yes,” he says, annoyance returning to his voice. “What’s your point?”


    “My point is that things don’t work like that here.” You manage to keep your voice low. “There are dozens and dozens of capes in this city, and the only thing will keep them from knowing where I live—and actingon that knowledge—is going to be my costume and being careful about what they know about me. That includes experimenting in ways that can’t be traced to me, or the bus I was riding in.”


    Blake takes a moment to process this. “Okay, I get what you’re saying,” he says, “and I’ll think about it more later, to try to fully get how different the cultures are, but what was the harm in doing it the way I did?”


    “Just because it wasn’t an obvious pattern doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a pattern at all, and there are plenty of different kinds of Thinkers and Tinkers that could figure things out with only a little data.”


    Thinker is one of those terms that you hadn’t really gotten before, mostly glossing over the term as someone who could think better. That is included, but so are people with enhanced senses of any kind—your sight is pretty clearly a Thinker power, for instance. Everybody (on this world, at least, you have to concede) knows about Tinkers, though, especially after the new variant began to show up in the past few years. The amazing technology they built was sometimes centuries ahead of its time.


    “If you were easily visible, then it’s very possible that they could have fed the sighting locations to a tinkertech data analyzer and picked out the bus route. On its own, it might be small, but I don’t intend to give them any information that they could use to hurt me or my family.”


    Blake stares at you for long, long moments, enough that the momentum carrying you this far flags and dissipates. He isn’t reacting in any of the ways that you anticipated. Say something, anything! Screw it.


    “Now—”


    “What’s actually bothering you about this?” Blake says, cutting through the start of your sentence with ease.


    “I—wait, what?” Does he seriously think that giving clues to my identity doesn’t bother me? “Are you—?”


    “I’m sure you do care about not giving your identity up. I am sorry that I did something that could lead back to you. I wish I hadn’t. I didn’t know about Tinkers or Thinkers or anything of the sort at the time, but I did know that I wasn’t aware of all of the different kinds of abilities that could be brought against me. It’s hard to be paranoid of everything, but I should have tried, and I’ll try harder in the future.


    “But this doesn’t match up. Your argument is just a little bit off, and I think there’s something you’re not telling me, about why this is bothering you so much. Not to mention, you could have spent five minutes at any time to talk with me about this, just a quick word to be cautious, especially if me being more careful was actually your goal here. No, I think that there’s something more to this, something you haven’t told me yet.”


    Your heart is pounding in your chest. This isn’t going at all like it should, like you had anticipated and practiced in your head. None of the possible paths you plotted ended anywhere near here.


    None of this would have been happening, none of it, he had just—


    “Why didn’t you stick to the plan?” The words slip out of your mouth without thought.


    Blake’s face shifts in a manner you couldn’t quite put your finger on. “That’s what’s bothering you? That, what, I didn’t stick to some hurried plan you whispered between buses?”


    The thought of lying crosses your mind, but he won’t believe it, you’ve come this far, you literally can’t withdraw from Blake for long—“Yes.”


    He shakes his head. “I should have known. You’re trying to control me, again. I thought we settled this.”


    “We did settle it!” you protest. “My being upset that you didn’t follow the plan has nothing to do with trying to control you like that.” But your eyes are on your pen in your hand instead of on Blake.


    “Sure, the same way your eyes didn’t light up when you thought you might have summoned me? Or when you wanted to play around with an uncomfortable process that tugs on my very being?”


    Your eyes flit up to meet his for a moment. “I wasn’t playing, I wanted to experiment, figure out the limits, how all of this magic crap works!” Eye contact is easier now. Your words are getting more heated, rising to match his. Dangerous, since your words can be overheard and his can’t, so you drop them to a low hiss. “And I didn’t end up doing it once I saw you were having a bad day.”


    “A bad day? You call that—I just found out all my friends don’t exist, here!”


    “At least you have friends! Friends that apparently stuck by you, instead of turning the whole fucking school against you, tormenting you every single fucking—”


    Abruptly, you realize what you’re saying. You clamp your hands over your mouth, but it’s too late, the words are already out there. The sound of the pen hitting the floor is shockingly loud in the silence as you and Blake stare at one-another, the blood draining from your face.


    You turn in your chair to get up. “I, I have to go.”


    “Taylor—” His voice is calm, but not…anything else that it could have been. You’re not sure what you would have done if it had been.


    “No, I’m just going to—”


    “Taylor, I would have known anyway. I already suspected.”


    You stop, barely out of out your seat. “What?”


    “I see connections, remember? Your connection to your dad never faded, no matter how far away from him we got, but I never saw any friendship connections. Your actions could have been someone caught up in the excitement of what was going on, but what they looked like was someone who didn’t really talk to anybody else. Or didn’t have anyone to talk to.”


    God, how pathetic.


    “What was going to happen on Monday?” he asks, voice gentler, somewhat. “Were you planning on telling me to stay away, so I wouldn’t see?”


    Can’t run from this. You let your legs buckle and land in the chair again. “The thought had crossed my mind,” you admitted lowly, looking at the floor, “but that would mean taking the mirror to school, and after all the things they’ve done to my stuff…no. They’d break it in an instant. I can’t even let people see me with the n’kisi, not if I’m going to go out as a cape. It’d give me away.”


    “So I would have been there,” Blake continues. “Taylor, the bonds between enemies don’t really hold up the same way friendship ones do, you can’t use them for long-range detection in the same way, but it would have popped up every time you interacted. I would have seen the friendship betrayed in the connection.”


    Despite yourself, you flinch.


    “You say she does something every day?”


    “Her, or one of her friends or sycophants. When they don’t, it just makes it worse, because I know they’re just lying in wait, trying to think of something clever or make me lower my guard.” Your shoulders, already tense, hunch up. You open your mouth for a second, then close it again.


    “Then I would have seen it soon enough anyway. Unless you were just planning on skipping school forever?”


    “No,” you respond defensively, still half-turned away from him. “I was actually planning on finishing up my homework after we talked.”


    There’s a brief pause. “Okay. So I would have seen it, and soon,” he repeated. “So why didn’t you tell me?”


    “I don’t know,” you say, turning a little further away in your chair.


    A longer pause, this time. “Okay, Taylor. If you don’t know why you didn’t tell me, that’s okay. You don’t have to tell me literally everything, after all. I understand that you might not be feeling totally secure right now, when everything’s been changing so much.”


    You feel a small moment of relief before he continues.


    “But we already established how this is something I’m going to be exposed to. There really isn’t a way to hide it.” He pauses again, waiting until you finally turn to look at him. “Taylor, will you please tell me what’s going on?”


    You don’t want to. You really don’t want to. But…but he has a point, he would know the broad strokes anyway—wouldn’t it be better to get your story to him first, before he had a chance to be tainted by all of the lies they spew? And…maybe talking would help. It’s what those stupid self-help books said, anyway, before you discarded them like the useless wastes of time that they are. But if you have to talk, maybe it will help?


    You take a deep, shuddering breath, barely managing to hold eye contract. “Alright. I’ll tell you.”


    “Okay,” he says, a small smile on his face. It disappears after a moment, and he takes a deep breath. “Now, why don’t you tell me about these girls who are harassing you.”






    You end up telling him…well, not everything, though you get out the notebooks that you’ve been recording their abuse in. He takes a moment to copy them into his world, a surprisingly swift and simple matter, and then you continue. Just the general shape of things, so he knows what to expect.


    For the most part, there’s a trio of bullies that make your school life hell.


    First, and least, is Madison Clements. For the most part, her juvenile pranks match the cutesy look she has. Never any words with substance, her comments are childish or noteworthy only for the scorn she can inject in them. On the other hand, if there’s soda or glue on your seat, or your stuff is knocked to the floor, it would almost certainly be because of her.


    Second is Sophia Hess. She almost never uses her words, beyond occasionally chiming in here or there to add to the weight of the other girls’ taunts. No, the school track runner was much more physical with her attention, preferring to push or trip, shoving you while you’re going down the stairs more than once.


    Third, and worst, was Emma Barnes, whose father was a partner in a pretty big local law firm. You had been friends for longer than you can remember, since your parents used to be really close, close enough that Emma’s older sister was named after your mom. When parents are friends, it seems natural for their children to be friends too. For lots of kids, it ends up being a drag, a friendship of convenience at best. It wasn’t like that with you. You were the closest friends anyone could ever find. You shared everything together. Everything.


    And then you came back from summer camp, right before high school, to find everything had changed while you were away. That more than wanting to no longer be friends, she seems to want to be your oppressor. All of those shared secrets were now ammunition, spread out for maximum impact rather than just unloaded all at once. She has violated almost every trust you ever offered her.


    You can’t bring yourself to tell Blake exactly what the exception is, but from the glimmer in his eyes, you think he suspects.


    You need to stop for a minute to recollect yourself.


    Once you are better, you tell him a little about the sycophants, like Julia and that bitch Nina. They pitch in when the trio is around readily enough, but when they’re not, the bootlickers generally leave you alone. It doesn’t mean that they never act at those times, but it’s rare, and generally part of a larger plan. You’ll be ready if it happened again, after what happened last time.


    Last time…


    “How’d you get your powers?” you blurt out.


    “What?” Blake says, taken aback by the sudden change of subject.


    “I, I need to tell you about the last time, it’s—it’s the worst thing they’ve done, and it’s when I got my powers—and I’m trying to tell you what’s going on, but it’s hard. Just—can you tell me about how you got your powers? Er, magic?”


    “…Yeah, I can do that.” Blake blows a breath upwards, rustling his dirty blond hair. “Well, you know what was happening when I first was able to use magic, because I already described Awakening to you, at least in general.”


    You nod, feeling stupid. He had already told you about that. That didn’t take nearly enough time.


    “But that wasn’t the first time that I was exposed to magic, that I can remember. I suppose it would be better to say that that wasn’t when I was introduced to the world of magic. I can tell you that story, or at least what I remember of it.”






    Blake’s story was interesting—the ability to have visions of your enemies plotting against you certainly sounded useful—even it didn’t seem like it would really affect much here on Earth Bet.


    Not that that was why you asked him to share.


    You take another deep breath, having calmed yourself as he spoke.


    “It was back at the beginning of January,” you start. “They began to ease off in November, toning down and then stopping the harassment. Not too long afterwards, some friend of a friend of theirs came to me. Nina apologized for joining in on the taunting before, tried to be friends with me. I didn’t buy it, not really, but it was…it was really hard to keep turning down actual companionship, after a year and a half of nothing but bullying.” Your gaze was firmly on the whorls on the top of your desk at this point. “I didn’t really let my guard down around her, but…but her presence really was the tipping point in me believing that they were finally done with me. Being left alone was more than fine, as far as I was concerned.”


    You sigh, still not looking up at Blake. If he had the wrong expression on his face, you are pretty sure you’d never trust him again.


    “But of course it was too good to last. When I came back from Winter Break and opened my locker, I found they had…” You take a bracing breath. “They had stuffed my locker full of used tampons and pads, nearly filling the damn thing up. Dried, rotten blood everywhere, and the insects crawling inside…” Against your will, your gorge starts to rise, but you ruthlessly push it down. You started talking about it, you’re going to finish. “And then they push me in right as I’m starting to throw up from the smell. Slammed the door shut, locked it with my lock. A whole crowded hallway full of people, and all they did was join the laughter.” Your voice is low, bitter. “I don’t know how long I was in there, but it was long enough that I heard the rest of the students leave for class. I’m stuck in there, in this disgusting locker too small to fit in, with all of that filth, when those damn bundles popped up in my head.


    “I didn’t know what they were, or what they’re supposed to do, or even really what’s going on at this point, I’m just struggling to get it off and get out. But I got the impression of Person, Place, and Thing from them, and well, what I was most concerned with was Place, so that’s what I grabbed.


    The locker…it changed. Not physically, but suddenly I knew everything about it. Just how small it was, my exact position inside it, ev-every detail of what was inside.” You hug yourself as a shudder goes through you, still not looking at him. “I just—I wanted it gone. And it was. All of it, blood, rot, vomit, and bugs, it all just…vanished. I wanted to get out, and the door popped open. And I got out, and it was over. I took off, ditching the rest of the day. I just needed space to think. To convince myself I wasn’t crazy.


    “It was obvious that I had powers, with a little thought. I still had all of the injuries from being shoved in there, after all. All of the filth vanished into thin air, and the locked door opened without even removing the lock. But…but that didn’t make it better. I couldn’t tell anyone—not without telling them that I had powers. There was no proof, my locker ate it all, I’d never be believed. Not unless I was willing to out myself to everyone, and given the school’s responsiveness when I complained before, even that would probably be a waste. Outing myself for nothing would fit the situation pretty well, and I refused to let that happen.


    “I skipped the rest of the week. I hadn’t intended for it to go on that long, but…I could see the locker. Its ‘shape’ is in my head, the same way yours is. Every time I closed my eyes, I had a reminder, including the piece that I just knew was the locker, just floating there. And I couldn’t tell anybody, not that I really wanted to, but the option wasn’t even there.” You know you’re rambling, but you want to finish, dammit. “I honestly don’t know what they think happened. Everyone else probably thinks I was just let out after they were in class, but they wouldn’t know what was inside, I think. Maybe the sycophants know. The trio…I really have no idea. I had slammed the locker shut, so nobody saw the inside, but it’s not like my locks had kept the trio out when they wanted to fuck up my stuff before.” Your eyes once again move to rest on where you had hidden your mother’s damaged flute, beneath your bed. “So I’m sure they know it was clean, but how soon they checked? If they even bothered to check any time soon or if they left me in there to rot? I have no idea.”


    “As far as I can tell, the administration still has no idea it happened. They never once said anything to me, at least, and I talked to them plenty since then.”






    Silence falls between the two of you. You don’t really want to say anything else right now. You pushed yourself to finish, but now that you have, you don’t know where to go. You notice your pen, shiny new implement that it is, still sitting on the floor from where you dropped it, and bend down to pick it up.


    Blake speaks quietly as you sit back up in your chair. “I’m sorry.”


    You sneak a glance at his face. The expression is…kind, maybe empathizing. He isn’t mocking, or shunning you. You look away again, but your shoulders are a little less tense.


    “Anyway,” you wrap up, “they kept it up. They didn’t really do anything the first day I went back—trying to figure what was going on, I thought—but after that, they’ve been as bad as they ever were. I tried to report them a lot more the next couple of weeks, since they showed they were willing to go that far,” you scowl, “but the administration never did a damn thing.” You feel the familiar frustration build up again, stronger than usual. With a suppressed sigh, you push it back down. It’s harder than usual, taking longer. Still, you manage it, with time. “Look, I know we have more to talk about, but can we do it a little later? I’m feeling a little” wrung out “tired right now.” You turn enough to see Blake in the n’kisi, if not enough to face him directly. “We’ll pick up again, I promise.”


    Blake shakes his head. “There’s one other thing we need to discuss. We can table it right afterwards, but I don’t want to leave it alone any longer.”


    You push the frustration down harder. He is someone you are finally able to talk to about this, and he isn’t reacting like you feared. He deserves to be heard.


    You turn to face him more directly, with some difficulty. “Okay,” you say after a long moment, accepting. “What’d you want to talk about?”


    “We need to finish our discussion from earlier.” At your confused expression, he elaborates. “About you trying to control me. Don’t—! Don’t deny it, Taylor” he says, keeping you from cutting in. “From the beginning, you thought to guide me, like I don’t have a mind of my own. I…mostly get it. The powers around here don’t seem to think for themselves, even if what I’m used to is a little more…autonomous. But you need to accept that I do think for myself, that even if it was your power that brought me here, I still have a mind. The problem is, you seem to have trouble considering that.”


    He pauses for a long moment, visible assessing me. The look on his face stills anything I want to say.


    “Is it because you don’t see me as a person?” His voice is far gentler than it should be, saying that.


    “What?” You jerk at the accusation. “Of course not!”


    “No? I’m clearly older than you, I have far more experience with magic than you do, I have experience with life or death situations that you lack, so far as you’ve told me—so why is it that you’re always taking charge, unless it’s that I’m in here and you’re in the ‘real world?’” He makes the air quotes gesture without a single crack in his bland expression.


    “I…it’s…” you work your mouth repeatedly, but nothing intelligible seems to come out.


    “I don’t really mind if you want to take the reins most of the time, Taylor,” he says. “You know this world, and while we’re both trying to get up to speed with the details here, you do have an advantage with the broad strokes. I’m not interested in getting in the way of that.” He hesitates. “Speaking honestly, that feeling might change when we start getting into life or death situations, but I get it. Even if I die with you, I understand that you’re the one who will be physically facing the threats while I’m here in the mirror world. I’ve been where you will be, and I’ll try to be more understanding than I think my companion was.


    “But all of that is based on you thinking of me like a person, because that’s what I am. I can try to follow your lead, to follow your plans, but I need you to listen to me, and to give my word weight. I’ve lived through a lot of shit, but even if I hadn’t, I’d want you to listen to me because I’m in this too, and I deserve to be heard, not shut out. Okay?”


    You haven’t even tried to look away since he accused you. “Okay,” you say, your voice rasping.


    “Okay,” he says, giving you that little smile again.


    You feel a sudden urge to tell him your thoughts about being friends, but no. It would seem too sudden, like you were just saying that to make him feel better. It’s too special for that.


    “In that case, I’m fine with stopping the talk there, if you want,” he says after a moment.


    “R-right,” you say, reaching for your composure, long since fled. “I need to get started on homework, and we’ll talk more later.”


    He nods decisively. “That’s fine. I have research of my own to get through,” he says, patting something outside your line of sight. You nod back, injecting more confidence than you feel, and go to grab your homework.


    The bullying—and the locker, in particular—had felt horrible to relate, but also a little bit freeing. A whole month after this hideous…thing had happened, and you couldn’t tell anyone. There’s no way to explain it, without also explaining your powers. And now…now, at least, someone else knew.


    You were never going to be able to keep the fact that your locker was your demesne from him, anyway. You haven’t forgotten that he was able to see what you were pretty sure was your locker from your freaking basement, that first night that you had summoned him.


    And then what he said at the end. You don’t think of Blake as not a person. Do you?


    This merited additional thought.


    But not at the moment. You have a bad habit of dwelling, and now is definitely not the time to indulge it. You have homework to do.






    Basic Info
    • Status
      • Normal
      • Emotionally exhausted
    • Big Three
      • Central Pool ( (?-1)/? )
        • FAMILIAR
          • Blake
            • Normal
        • demesne
          • ???
            • ???
        • implement
          • Pen (shamanism)
            • Normal



    ·

    · Push (trigger: gesture)

    ·

    · Unlock

    · Wind (imbuement: a little lighter, pushes a little harder)

    · Quiet

    · Durability (inanimate/inorganic)

    · Alarm (hamper: Stick)

    · Alarm (notice: detects life within radius)

    · Orient: Heart (trigger: finger)

    · Alarm (punish: Y)

    · Secures locks

    · Physical stasis (inanimate/inorganic)

    · Reaching out (sensory, detection, no significant locomotion)

    o Fire (senses warmth, explodes)

    o Air (senses breath, moves faster)

    o Earth (tracks footsteps, hits harder)

    o Metal (transmits signals, moves slowly)

    o Water (senses magic/powers, insta-charges)​

    · Electricity/Lightning

    · Metal (pseudo-transmutation)

    · Fire

    · Banishment (incorporeal/projection)

    · Smell-be-gone

    · Exile (prevents spirit tampering, mutes effects)

    · Defense (applied to walls, effect: Z)

    · Extinguish

    · Escher connection

    · Anything you can See.

    o Except oops, you’re Manton-limited.​






    Vote for one option per underlined section. Feel free to customize your votes with up to 60 words of additional description if the option is listed; if you are using someone else’s plan and wish to add something to it, please bold the new portions.

    You can bide your time no longer! What kind of cape do you want to be? (No customization yet)

    [] Be a hero! Fight for Justice and Order and the Law! You could join the local government-sanctioned team for underaged capes, the Wards, which offers quite a lot of support for their members in exchange for a lot of oversight, or you could stay independent, being a legal vigilante with a lot less support but no oversight either.


    [] Be a rogue! Forget getting into fights, you can just use your power to make money! Actually, you know, there are a lot of ways to monetize this, based on what Blake’s mentioned about shamanism. Beware lots of cape organizations coming to recruit or “recruit” you, though.


    [] Be a villain! Nothing too destructive, but your dad could always use some more money around the house. It was your childhood dream to be a hero…but it’s time you grew up. Besides, when has authority ever helped you out?






    The talk didn’t go fantastically. Yeah, it wasn’t going to go that well no matter what. Their issues are so delightfully orthogonal to each other. This was a pretty good time for it, though. He got the gift mirrors not too long ago (albeit not the way you wanted) and more importantly, the issues didn’t have that much time to fester. If you had delayed longer, it almost certainly would have been worse.


    I am sorry that the discussion didn’t get to what you guys sub-voted for (though arguably this is something Blake wanted to discuss immediately). I do think I’ve been fairly unsubtle about them needing to talk about other issues, though, so hopefully it’s not a huge surprise.


    And the locker description had to be there. Seriously, I didn’t want to, but even if I knew everyone who read this read Worm (which I know to be false), for story purposes it had to be there.


    Nina is not the canon name of that character—she was never given one. I borrowed the name from Troubles With Me, which is a great fic that you all should read (after you’re done here ;) ) http://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/troubles-with-me-worm-au.14826/


    The vote will remain open for some time. Also, please notice the poll at the top :)






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    Last edited: May 15, 2015
  22. TheAlec

    TheAlec Not too sore, are you?

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    [X] Be a rogue! Forget getting into fights, you can just use your power to make money! Actually, you know, there are a lot of ways to monetize this, based on what Blake’s mentioned about shamanism. Beware lots of cape organizations coming to recruit or “recruit” you, though.

    I figure Taylor needs time to build up her library of runes before she can be effective. Being a rogue gives her the safest path to building up her power base. If she is still hung up on being a hero then she could justify it as being a way of impressing the Protectorate so they attempt to recruit her rather then going to them as a rookie and asking to join.
     
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  23. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    Okay, so real life is kind of kicking my ass atm, which delayed this next chapter, but wrapping it up was a good distraction, so it's with my beta now. Dunno when he'll get to it, though. In the meantime, have some spoiler boxes!

    The first is the current alignment votes. They stay open for a while longer, btw, but this is where they are currently.
    Vote tally:
    ##### 3.21
    [X] Be a rogue! Forget getting into fights, you can just use your power to make money! Actually, you know, there are a lot of ways to monetize this, based on what Blake's mentioned about shamanism. Beware lots of cape organizations coming to recruit or "recruit" you, though.
    No. of votes: 10
    Irenicus, Sasha, Ridiculously Average Guy, dpara, silentspirals, readerboy7, esran, TheAlec, Enohthree, rooster

    [X] Be a hero! Fight for Justice and Order and the Law! You could join the local government-sanctioned team for underaged capes, the Wards, which offers quite a lot of support for their members in exchange for a lot of oversight, or you could stay independent, being a legal vigilante with a lot less support but no oversight either.
    No. of votes: 8
    veekie, ReaperofInterest, will408914, Indivisible, redzonejoe, wingstrike96, DOOMPOTATO, Bozwevial

    [X] Be a villain! Nothing too destructive, but your dad could always use some more money around the house. It was your childhood dream to be a hero…but it's time you grew up. Besides, when has authority ever helped you out?
    No. of votes: 4
    1986ctcel, tinkerbell, Frakir's brother, Anzer'ke

    -[X]You've heard that a rogue with cloth based powers recently moved to Brockton Bay. Perhaps you should ask her what it's like to be a rogue (in disguise, of course).
    No. of votes: 1
    Sasha
    So rogue is currently winning, though it's a lot closer than I thought it was from looking at the votes as they came in.


    This one is the current poll tally across all three sites. This one closes...when I start writing the short timeskip coming up, probably, so we don't have to spend too much time on the middle of the week.
    • Just so, so many dice.
    22 + 3 + 2 = 27​
    • Dice? Eewww.
    15 + 3 + 6 = 24​
    ...so it's a bloody tie. Well, I guess if you haven't voted yet, please do so now? I'd rather the tie be broken than I make an executive decision that ticks off half of my readers.
    (edit: as of the posting of 1.6.2, Dice? Eewww. is winning by one
    ...and now Just so, so many dice. is crushing it.)

    To clarify a little, even with "Just so, so many dice," not everything will be mechanics. Narrative issues will still hold, but will be far more guided by the RNG. This would also result in, say, you needing to reach a certain score to learn or master a new rune, with a roll for every action you guys devote to it.

    On the other hand, even with "Dice? Eewww," there is at least one mechanic that will still use dice. Fights, social or physical, would follow narrative conventions far more closely. Also, there would be set amounts of time for learning or mastering new runes, so no chance to jump ahead or fall behind schedule.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2015
  24. rooster

    rooster Succ

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    [X] Be a rogue! Forget getting into fights, you can just use your power to make money! Actually, you know, there are a lot of ways to monetize this, based on what Blake’s mentioned about shamanism. Beware lots of cape organizations coming to recruit or “recruit” you, though.
     
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  25. Threadmarks: Introductions 1.6.2
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

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    AN: Some slice of life here, though I tried to make it all relevant. My current plans for future updates are to skip the parts that are less interesting/significant. Like doing homework.
    Also, the alignment vote isn’t closed yet.




    Introductions 1.6.2


    It’s already past lunch time—it was past lunch time when you started to talk to Blake, really—but after what you just talked about, you’re not hungry at all. So, onto homework.


    You have four classes a day; this semester, it’s computer and world issues before lunch, art and math after.


    You don’t have any homework for your computer class, because of how far ahead of the curve you are in that class, but you do in the others. Math is pretty easy, and you had already gotten started on it on Thursday, so you decide to leave it for a little later. You find your homework goes better if you leave some of the easy stuff for later, either because you’re frustrated with something else and can take a break from it while still being productive, or because it’s nice to finish up with something easier while you’re more tired.


    That left the world issues and art assignments. World issues is a half-page paper on any piece of legislation going through Congress right now, and art is a take-home quiz and worksheet on the art styles you’re currently learning about.


    It’s a paltry amount of homework, but you aren’t going to complain about something that makes it easier to get back to cape stuff.


    You get out your world issues notes and are about to start going through them when you realize something. Why wait until after the homework is done to do cape stuff? Obviously you can’t start practicing runes on your homework, but there’s no reason not to get better at using the Sight, and maybe doing the assignments with your implement will give you some sort of benefit? Well, not likely, but maybe. Giving yourself a little grin, you grab your pen and turn on the Sight. The grin grows a bit larger as you see the tiny spirits in their place beneath reality…a grin that disappears as the spirits wink out once you leave the pen on the desk.


    A quick scramble for the pen later and you check that yes, the Sight does still work for you. You huff a quick breath of relief, before your face falls into a frown. Apparently you can’t maintain the Sight without the pen in your hand. That’s…irritating. More than irritating, actually, but this is supposed to be something you’re doing while you do homework, so you’ll have to put your worries aside for the moment. You tuck the pen into your left hand, curling your pinky and ring finger around it, and try to flip through the world issues notebook.


    On the upside, even looking at the notes with the Sight is interesting. Just glancing at the spirits while looking for your place in your notes is remarkable. The wood pulp that makes up the paper is fairly easily determined, especially when compared to the wood spirits in your desk. It looks like they’re made of different trees, though, and you have no idea which is what. The ink spirits on the page look distinctly different from the ink that has come from your implement, though you’re not sure yet whether it’s just a different formula or something more power-based. Most interestingly, you can see color! Not that you’re colorblind or anything, but even color seems to have its own spirits, which certainly has interesting implications on what you’ll be able to manipulate. Once you have the time, at least. There’s also a lot of spirits that stand more or less alone, being the only few of their kind in an area or in the whole notebook. You’re not really sure what’s up with those.


    On the downside, your notes themselves are pretty spotty. You’re better than this, even with the trio breathing down your neck, but when you add how distracted the bundles have been making you, especially lately…well, you’re lucky you have anything more than doodles written down. The bundles have been much less distracting since you summoned Blake, so your notes should improve from this point on. Hopefully.


    You ponder for a time on asking Blake for help. You did just want some space to let things settle, and talking right now might not be the best way to do so. On the other hand, you would just be talking about school stuff, not any of the other topics that might be touchy between the two of you. And you wouldn’t mind his help. The worst thing he’d do is say no, right? Probably?


    You open your mouth to ask Blake, and then you remember that he’s from an entirely different world. The legislature from his world wouldn’t be anything like the bills here. That might be for the best. You suppress a sigh from habit and, with a quick aside to let Blake know where you’re going, you get up to wake up the dinosaur of a computer in the office up here.


    Roughly one eon later, you are finally able to browse through the Q-Link search results. It’s surprisingly frustrating to find information on what your elected officials are up to, but on second thought, they probably design it that way on purpose. Eventually, you manage to find a list of current bills, along with a summary and a bunch of other info you don’t care about.


    You hesitate before picking a bill. Your inclination is to go for a bill concerning capes—and there are many that touch on the subject to some degree—but you’re wary of breaking habit in any sort of noticeable way. The idea of your world issues teacher, Mr. Gladly of all people, as being someone who kept an eye out for new capes seems absurd, but still. You were something of a cape geek even before you became one, but you didn’t choose a cape topic every time. Better safe than sorry.


    You pick a law trying to adjust the regulations on the upkeep of Endbringer shelters as a sort of compromise, and then spend another age pulling up a couple of different articles on the bill, because you have more integrity than to just copy or paraphrase from the government site. Eventually, you have enough information to make a well-written half-page paper. You could make it longer without resorting to fluff, but Mr. Gladly actively discouraged exceeding his requirements.


    Just as you finish up, you get a thought, glancing from your assignment to the untouched paper nearby. One of the things the trio has done since the beginning is sabotage your academic career. They’ve been ratcheting up the tension even in class, making it harder to take notes or even pay attention, and they frequently destroy or steal work for class. Creating duplicates of your work was an idea that came to you early, but you don’t have a copier at home, and frankly you want as few reminders of your terrible school life as possible; just the idea of spending more time physically copying all of your work, perhaps to still have it be ruined, is physically exhausting. With what you know about shamanism, though, you should be able to use your power to copy your homework in almost no time at all.


    The smile that crosses your face is rather vicious, but it fades swiftly. The problem is, you don’t know such a rune, and Blake told you he only knew so many by heart. That means that you two will have to spend some time working it out, and you could hardly justify doing that before you learn the ones he already knows.


    You could try to convince the spirits to do it directly, without need of a rune, but even beyond the time and energy it would take…part of you doesn’t want to have your first effort—other than the rune to test that your implement works—be on homework, or school at all.


    Besides, right now was time for homework, not power testing.


    Still, it’s an idea for the future, and one that you make a note of as you start to shut down your ancient monstrosity. The machine’s already started to shut down when you realize—Dammit! Irritated, you repeat yourself out loud.


    “Dammit!”


    “What’s wrong?” says a voice from nowhere.


    “Wha--!?” Breath sucked in, you half-jump off your chair, spinning to face the unexpected sound. You have your pen clenched aggressively in one fist and the other in front of you, ready for—


    Oh.


    “Uh. Hi Dad,” you say weakly, your hands slowly starting to relax. Your breaths are deep and harsh as you come down from the adrenaline surge. As you do, embarrassment hits at the image you draw with your overreaction.


    Your dad doesn’t exactly look much better. His hands are just starting to come down from a ready position, and his eyes are wider and more startled than usual. His breath, too, is faster than normal.


    Your dad and you stare at each other awkwardly for a few moments. It goes on longer than the pauses that have become so normal around here, long enough that you become acutely uncomfortable. A few seconds before you’ll venture saying something else, your dad gives a large breath and puts a hand over his heart.


    “Sorry for scaring you, kiddo.”


    “Oh, it uh…yeah, sorry for scaring you too.” Your dad’s mouth may start to quirk upwards, but you frown. You could have sworn you had closed the office door behind you…


    “What’s wrong?”


    “Oh, it’s nothing. I just thought I shut the door behind me, that’s all.” At that, your dad’s frown—a surprisingly heavy frown, you note with surprise—lifts from his face.


    “Oh, it was,” he says. “I was just—I was just coming to see what all the noise coming from the office was.” He gives a forced chuckle. “I guess it’s been too long since I’ve used it.”


    You nod, but that doesn’t seem quite right. He might not use it that often, but you still use it at least once a week for homework, though you don’t need to as much when your notes are better. Though, you’re not sure how many of those times were while he was awake…or maybe he was upstairs this time? Sound does travel really well in this house, he probably wouldn’t need to be upstairs to hear it…


    Whatever, you don’t need to be analyzing your own dad’s words like this. It’s probably nothing.


    “So,” he says before the silence gets too awkward again. “What were you cursing about?”


    Your heartrate, which was returning to normal, suddenly picks up for a second, before you relax again. Cursing, like curse words, not magic. Right.


    “Oh,” you say, keeping your relief from your tone, “that. I just started the shut-down process on the computer when I finished some of my world issues home…work, and then realized I also needed it for art class.” Your voices stumbles when you remember that the world issues teacher almost never assigns homework over the weekend, and crap, he’s going to realize this is homework from before the weekend


    “Oh, I see,” your dad nods. “Well, that’s easily fixed.” He waves as the machine behind you, still sounding like it’s in its death throes. “You just need to wait for a little bit after it turns off.”


    …or he won’t even notice. “Yeah,” you say after a moment. “It’s just irritating.”


    “Okay.”


    The silence drags on, again longer than is usual around here. Is something actu—


    “So I’m going to go make dinner,” your dad says abruptly. “Does spaghetti sound good?”


    You open your mouth—and pause as your stomach loudly rumbles. “…yeah, great,” you mutter, cheeks flushing.


    “In that case, it’ll probably be done quickly enough that you won’t have time to turn it back on.” With a chuckle that sounds a little less forced, your dad leaves to get started.


    Shaking your head, you go to close the office door. You swear that when you get a headquarters or office or lair or whatever, your desk will be facing the door. Always. Abruptly you notice that your mother’s pen is in your hand…and was the whole time you were talking to your dad. You might normally start to panic at that thought, just a little, but he would have said something if he had seen it; he didn’t say anything, so clearly he hadn’t seen it.


    You head back to the noisy computer.


    You get your art notes out, holding your pen with two fingers in your left hand again as you try to find your place. You notice much the same with this notebook that you did with the other, down to the smattering of unique spirits, though a lot of those are different. You think. The spirits are kind of tiny, can sort of overlap and many of them look similar, so it’ a bit difficult to tell with some of them.


    The computer groans on.


    Unfortunately, your notes from art class aren’t really better than the ones in the world issues notebook. You want to care about school—you were always good at it before high school, and your mom was a teacher after all—but it was hard to pay too much attention to the teachers that wouldn’t help you out when the bullies were in the class and keeping you paranoid of their torments. Compounding the issue is the take-home quiz, which basically just checks that you’ve been taking notes. Unfortunately, the ones you’ve been taking aren’t very good. Hopefully, the internet will be able to answer the questions that you don’t have the notes to answer.


    Your computer’s noise shifts to a grinding sound.


    You throw your hands up. “Forget it!” you blurt out, barely remembering to keep your voice down. You knew that you wouldn’t have time to turn it back on before your dad finished making dinner, but this is ridiculous. Irate, you reach out and flip off the computer screen, in case it interfered with what you wanted to do.


    You were going to ask Blake for help before, right? You just didn’t bother because the question was too topical, there was pretty literally no way he could have known the answer. But this, this was just art. Your worlds were pretty similar, so you should have similar art styles. You think. Even if he doesn’t know much about art—and what are the odds that he does, honestly?—asking shouldn’t hurt.


    You place your hand on the dark screen of the deactivated screen in front of you. “Blake Thorburn.” You wait a moment, but he doesn’t appear. “Bl—”


    “What’s up?” Blake’s voice comes from the screen, but it’s…vague. Distant. Like his image.


    “Blake?” you ask, squinting a little at the screen after you drop your hand. “Are you okay in there?”


    “Yeah,” he says after a moment. “It’s not exactly pleasant, in reflections this fuzzy, but it doesn’t hurt or anything. It just feels like ground might not be completely stable, but I can just jump away it becomes a problem.”


    “Oh,” you say, not certain what else to say. Ah, banalities would work. “How’s the research coming?”


    You can’t read Blake’s expression at the moment, it being far too fuzzy, but you can tell that it changes.


    “It’s…going okay, I suppose. There’s a lot to go through.”


    You nod in response; he did copy a lot of books from the library.


    “So why’d you call me over?”


    “I was…” It feels silly at this point, but you’re already this far. “I was curious if you knew anything about art?”


    There’s a pause. “Not that I mind you asking or anything, but I’m curious about why you’re asking.”


    “I have an art class assignment or two,” you say, feelings of awkwardness increasing, “but my notes aren’t very good at the moment, and I accidently started shutting down my computer before I remembered I needed it to check for the art stuff. And…since dinner is soon, I won’t have time to restart it and find the information before then. So I thought I’d ask you if you knew anything about art.”


    “Oh,” Blake says in a surprised tone. “I know a lot about art, actually.”


    You perk up. “You do?”


    “Yeah,” he says, an odd note of sadness entering his somewhat distorted voice. “Actually, most of my friends are artists.”


    “Ah,” you say, feelings of awkwardness returning with company. “Are you an artist too?” you say, jumping at the first thing you can think of to relieve it.


    “No,” Blake says, the sadness much more apparent now. “The ability to create like that…it’s not a talent that I have.”


    “Oh,” you say pointlessly. What should you say?


    “I’m pretty good with my hands, though,” Blake says, voice cheering for a moment before falling again. “Though I can’t really do anything with it in here…”


    You just sit there in social agony, knowing you need to say something to make this better, but having no idea how to do so.


    “Anyway!” Blake says after an interminable amount of time. “I do quite enjoy art anyway, and I know a lot about it. Did you have specific questions?”


    You latch onto the out and ride it for all its worth, quickly becoming engrossed in the details of the art styles your teacher has been instructing the class on. Blake as a way of speaking passionately on the subject that you find more interesting than when your teacher does. It might just be the lack of bullies around, breathing down your neck. Or it might be that though your teacher is passionate about art, she clearly had her passion for teaching beat out of her from years of dealing with Winslow students. Whatever the reason, you’re distinctly disappointed when you hear your dad call you down for supper.


    “I’ve got to go,” you say, dragging your feet. “Thanks for all of the help—I won’t need to use the computer nearly as much I thought I would.” You gesture to the dinosaur in the room, which fell silent at…some point, you’re not really sure when.


    “I’m glad to help,” Blake responds with a smile. “It was fun. You want to pick it up back up afterwards?”


    “Sure.” And with that happy thought, you go downstairs.




    You head back upstairs with a significantly more thoughtful expression on your face.


    The actual food itself was fine. Dad had thrown together a quick salad to go with the spaghetti and tomato sauce, and had even spruced it up a bit with carrots that weren’t too stale.


    But the conversations, and his behavior—totally unusual, tonight.


    Normally you have peaceful silence with your dad, interspaced with comments that, okay, can be pretty awkward. It has been getting more strained lately, what with the secrets building up between you, but tonight…tonight is much worse than you’re used to. His questions were far more uncomfortable than they usually are, and at several points he outright stopped speaking, his hands clenching and expression contorting, before starting up somewhere else entirely. It was very strange.


    Still, weird as it was, you need to focus. You still have to finish your art homework, and your math too, since you decided to finish them up tonight. That will leave you all of tomorrow without having to worry about them.


    You go into the office, unsurprised to find Blake absent from the computer’s monitor, and take a moment to turn the computer back on. You think for a second or two, then walk back into the hall to your room. You look into the two mirrors on your desk, and yes, there’s Blake in the n’kisi.


    You pause for a moment, looking between the two. Your desk chair is visible in both mirrors, but only the n’kisi shows Blake sitting there, books piled on the desk. Strange.


    “Hey Blake,” you say, noting the oddity but focusing on your current task. “I’m done with supper. You ready to start again?”


    “Sure,” he says, starting to shuffle the books around. “Go ahead, I’ll meet you there.” You start to do so, then pause as a thought strikes you. “Yes?” Blake asks when he notices you standing still.


    “Hey, Blake,” you say slowly, teasing the idea around in your head. “You saw the little mirrors I bought, right?”


    He stops shifting the books around to look at you. “Yeah, I did.”


    “Well, one of the reasons I bought them was so that you could always be sure to have somewhere to be without needing the n’kisi around, and so that if a mirror you were in broke, there would be others. But right now…would you like a few around the house? In the areas that don’t consistently have solid reflections, at least.”


    “Yeah,” Blake says after a moment, a smile on his face. “That would be nice. Thanks, Taylor.”


    You flash him a quick smile and go to fetch the mirrors. You place two on the top of your desk, to maximize coverage of the room, and if one of them happens to have your bed in its range, oh well. You go into the office and set one up in there, right next to the hand-mirror that you had on the desk in your room.


    The fact that the second mirror is pointed directly at the office door is a coincidence, surely.


    Blake soon arrives and you spend the next while chatting about the topics of the art homework. Unfortunately, he can’t tell you everything you need to know, and once you are able to use the computer, you discover that the internet can’t either, though it does fill some of the gaps. You aren’t sure if that means that your teacher is teaching you obscure stuff or if she’s making things up, but you aren’t able to quite finish the assignments. Still, you do far better tonight than you have been doing, and faster as well, while having more fun. All in all, you’ll chock this up as a win.


    You move on to math, starting to shut off the computer and taking everything back to your room. Blake tells you he won’t be able to help with this subject; that’s okay, though, since you don’t need his help with math. It takes you a little while to remember what he had been teaching on Thursday, but eventually you do, and once you get the hang of it again by going through the examples, you finish the remainder of your assignment with ease.






    With a satisfied sigh, you lean back in your seat, almost tossing your pen on top of your homework before you remember what happened the last time you let go of it while using the Sight. Your assignment looks a little weird, shifting from pencil to pen where you picked it back up tonight, but you had already planned on using your pen to do your homework, and since your math teacher never specified what kind of writing tool you were to use, you didn’t see a reason to change the plan. Besides, it let you discover what happened when you made a mistake with your pen—simply put, your pen acted like a normal one would, marking the page indelibly. Whiteout covered it up like normal, too.


    You also noticed that the pen didn’t run out of ink—you hadn’t refilled it once since you turned it into your implement, or filled it up in the first place, and the ink really should have been dry from how long it spent in the basement. It looks like it has some kind of bottomless internal inkwell, on top of being able to draw its own ink back into it. It isn’t very cool on its own, but it sure is a handy secondary power, you have to admit. And never having to worry about buying pens or (possibly) pencils again is nice. A small frown crosses your face. As long as you can keep the pen safe, at least.


    Still, that is a worry for another time. Right now…well, you don’t have anything really planned for right now, actually. You wanted to talk to Blake and finish your homework, and you did both of those things. You know you didn’t cover everything you needed to when you talked with Blake, but you covered the most important things, and there isn’t enough time left in the evening to pick it back up. Not if you want to straighten up your sleep schedule, and you do plan to do that. You have a feeling that you won’t be getting much sleep once your cape career really takes off. Besides, despite how invigorating your talk with Blake was, you’re feeling pretty tired.


    Plans…


    It’s true you still don’t know a lot about how your power works—though you know a lot more than you did three days ago—but Blake suggested trying to live in sync with implement, which in this case means labeling and planning.


    You’ve been doing a lot more planning than labeling so far. You suppose you could label your cape notebooks, but you have been relying on obscurity to hide them, and putting a big label on all of that seems…unwise. Something about that bugs you more than it should, but you resolve to consider it later. After a moment, you think of a way to label more without any such risks, and take your homework back out. You carefully fill in headers for every paper, including the kind of information your middle school teachers wanted but the Winslow teachers never bothered with. It only takes a few minutes, and there, you just labeled some things, that you wouldn’t normally have done. That should help, right?


    Your power is so weird.


    Anyway, that doesn’t feel like enough, and didn’t take up much time on top of it. So what to do? Something with labeling or planning, or both. Hm…aha.


    You start going through your desk, digging through all of the junk you keep in the drawers until you find your goal.


    It’s a simple school agenda, purchased from Winslow at the beginning of the school year, when you were cautiously optimistic about this upcoming year. Time had soon shown you the folly of your hope, and you ended up leaving it at home rather than risk it being trashed with the rest of your school supplies. The loss of money was an aggravation, but better you never used the thing than using it for a short time and then suffering in its absence. Now, however, it can actually serve a purpose.


    You open it up to the first page, some obvious drivel about it being a Winslow High School student planner. But really, you won’t be using it for that anymore, will you? You still aren’t sure what you’ll label it, you don’t want to just give the truth away—and something about that is still bugging you—but you know what label it won’t have, at least. With a little florish, you slash your pen through its title, repeating the motion until the header was unintelligible. You turn the page, only to notice that the ink didn’t seem through the page or give it that weak, sodden feel that often happens when you use too much ink in one place.


    Hm. Another benefit.


    You flip through the pages until you find today’s date: Sat, Feb 5th, 2011. With a glance at the clock, you turn your attention to the 6th instead. Twirling your pen absently between your fingers, you plan out what you’re going to be doing tomorrow, with an eye for what you’re going to need in the long-term.






    Basic Info
    • Status
      • Normal
      • Tired
    • Big Three
      • Central Pool ( (?-1)/? )
        • FAMILIAR
          • Blake
            • Normal
        • demesne
          • ???
            • ???
        • implement
          • Pen (shamanism)
            • Normal



    ·

    · Push (trigger: gesture)

    ·

    · Unlock

    · Wind (imbuement: a little lighter, pushes a little harder)

    · Quiet

    · Durability (inanimate/inorganic)

    · Alarm (hamper: Stick)

    · Alarm (notice: detects life within radius)

    · Orient: Heart (trigger: finger)

    · Alarm (punish: Y)

    · Secures locks

    · Physical stasis (inanimate/inorganic)

    · Reaching out (sensory, detection, no significant locomotion)

    o Fire (senses warmth, explodes)

    o Air (senses breath, moves faster)

    o Earth (tracks footsteps, hits harder)

    o Metal (transmits signals, moves slowly)

    o Water (senses magic/powers, insta-charges)​

    · Electricity/Lightning

    · Metal (pseudo-transmutation)

    · Fire

    · Banishment (incorporeal/projection)

    · Smell-be-gone

    · Exile (prevents spirit tampering, mutes effects)

    · Defense (applied to walls, effect: Z)

    · Extinguish

    · Escher connection

    · Anything you can See.

    o Except oops, you’re Manton-limited.​






    Vote for one option per underlined section. Feel free to customize your votes with up to 60 words of additional description if the option is listed; if you are using someone else’s plan and wish to add something to it, please bold the new portions.

    You can bide your time no longer! What kind of cape do you want to be? (No customization yet)

    If you already participated in this vote, feel free to ignore it, though you can still change it if needed.

    [] Be a hero! Fight for Justice and Order and the Law! You could join the local government-sanctioned team for underaged capes, the Wards, which offers quite a lot of support for their members in exchange for more oversight, or you could stay independent, being a legal vigilante with a lot less support but also a lot less oversight.


    [] Be a rogue! Forget getting into fights, you can just use your power to make money! Actually, you know, there are a lot of ways to monetize this, based on what Blake’s mentioned about shamanism. Beware lots of cape organizations coming to recruit or “recruit” you, though.


    [] Be a villain! Nothing too destructive, but your dad could always use some more money around the house. It was your childhood dream to be a hero…but it’s time you grew up. Besides, when has authority ever helped you out?


    What do you want to do tomorrow morning? (Pick two.)

    [] Learn all of the runes Blake already knows.

    - -[] Customization

    [] Figure out more about this awesome Sight power.

    - -[] Customization

    [] Try to figure out more about your shamanism in general.

    - -[] Customization

    [] Take another look at the inside of your head, particularly at the parts changed with getting your pen.

    - -[] Customization

    [] You cleared a lot of the air, but you still have a fair number of things to talk with Blake about.

    - -[] Explore magic vs parahuman abilities, try to understand how it might be different instead of trying to dismiss alternate perspectives. Anything Blake wants to discuss immediately?

    - -[] Alternate Customization

    [] Start working to master the runes Blake already taught you.
    (Must have chosen “Learn all of the runes Blake already knows.” Pick your top three, each on a separate line; order will progress with descending number of votes. Ties will be dealt with semi-randomly)

    - -[] Rune Name

    - -[] Rune Name

    - -[] Rune Name

    [] Blake has a number of runes that he thinks he can figure out and teach you more easily than he can help you train the spirits totally new runes. Help him figure out what they are and learn them.
    (Must have chosen “Learn all of the runes Blake already knows.” Pick your top three, each on a separate line; order will progress with descending number of votes. Ties will be dealt with semi-randomly)

    - -[] Rune Name

    - -[] Rune Name

    - -[] Rune Name







    I waffled on it, but the way it ended up, you and Blake still need to talk more so you don’t break your word (not that it’s karmically binding), but the biggest issues were resolved. You don’t have to continue it tomorrow, but you shouldn’t let it lie for too long either.


    I am absolutely planning on skipping or glossing over the homework more in future updates. This isn't Polyhistor Academy, you guys don’t get bonuses based on individual class performance heh


    Voting will be open for at least 72 hours, possibly more, due to all of the traveling I need to do in the near future.


    Also, please notice the poll at the top :)






    <-Prev | Next->
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
  26. TheAlec

    TheAlec Not too sore, are you?

    Joined:
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    [X] Learn all of the runes Blake already knows.

    [X] You cleared a lot of the air, but you still have a fair number of things to talk with Blake about.
    - -[X] Explore magic vs parahuman abilities, try to understand how it might be different instead of trying to dismiss alternate perspectives. Anything Blake wants to discuss immediately? And check to see if your father could hear you talking to Blake from elsewhere in the house!

    I assume that Taylor using runes she knows but has not mastered means they are just less effective?
     
    Sheaman3773 likes this.
  27. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

    Joined:
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    316
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    686
    (All but the last of these are imported from SV)
    I love that you got these two together. That's using your head! :D
    Shamanism is a very versatile Worm power, so working to improve it is a good choice :)
    Dangerous, dangerous assumption...

    I won't say what the invisitext means just yet, though it does have a specific meaning. I will point out that it's not the only invisitext item in those lists, and the other might make it more clear why they are written as invisible.

    If "Learn all of the runes Blake already knows." wins, then you'll basically be told outright what it means.
    Thanks! I'm honestly a little antsy writing this much without a fight scene, but if it's going to be all character interactions and world-building, I'm glad it's being done well :)
    What? Keep important secrets from a family member? What, do you think Danny is a Hebert or something?
    That's my bad, if that is the impression you're getting. It's more "figure out the differences between the shamanism Blake knows and how it works here." Part of the confusion might be due to awkward phrasing--that vote would include learning more about your pen too, as it is part of your shamanism power.

    Assume Blake will be helping you in any action if it makes any sense for him to do so, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    I've been considering including a set of Blake Actions for you to vote for, with the default option being "Help Taylor, unless he can't, in which case he researches more about Earth Bet and all its crazy cape stuff." A familiar is designed to help expand your agency, after all, and it makes sense to allow him choices like that.
    Remember that customizations can only be up to 60 words. Combined, those two go over that line by a bit. A little tweaking will fix that, though.
    This. This is a good comment. I made a habit of Liking votes specifically, but I may give an Insightful for this line alone.
    Well. Uh.

    Vestiges do have that problem in general, but that's when they're not set up with a stable power source.

    Blake is connected to your power source, as far as you both can tell. He seems to be stable.

    Which isn't to say you couldn't try this. But his imminent death isn't hanging over his head like the Sword of Damocles or anything.
    That would be very important to Blake, yes /nod
    There are more ways to make a difference than knocking heads together :) And there's the question of how tolerant of injustices that Taylor herself sees...

    True, some protection.
    Probably true. It's entirely possible to have a very low-key business, if you do the contacting. If it was a power that only would help in...architecture, say, there's little reason for people who aren't in the field to know about you.

    You could bill your power like that, something secretive that you only use to enhance the people in the know.

    Kinda like Cauldron :p
    heh

    Don't forget she also has a weakness for aerosolized attacks like pepper spray. Nobody remembers that one.
    veekie has the right of it, here.

    I'll also point out that you can't even see the spirits that make up people--it appears as an empty void.

    I'm glad to get your question on this site, TheAlec !

    Mastered vs Known is a mechanic that perhaps I should have waited to introduce until later. There is a small increase in effectiveness, from Known to Mastered, but primarily it's a matter of use.

    The thing about runes is that they are just shapes. The few we see aren't really that intuitive, and I think only one that matches what it does well enough to be sensible even in retrospect. You're also going to be learning quite a few at a time. That means you might mess things up, if you don't know the runes firmly enough. A rune that is Known just means that if...say, you were asked to demonstrate it, you could. Mastered means being able to do it on demand, under pressure, without mistake.
     
  28. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

    Joined:
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    Okay, so I should have closed this days ago, but, well, IRL intervened for most of it. But now...
    Vote Closed.
    That includes the alignment vote, btw. The poll is still open, though don't count on that continuing for much longer.
    A brief note before covering the vote and such:
    So I had a talk with my concept-beta and he pointed out that I wasn’t playing the pen as an implement fully enough. Upon thinking on it, I decided that he was right, so there’s a tiny retcon from the previous chapter, as well as some other changes on stuff you haven’t run into yet.
    From this:
    To this:
    Now that that's out of the way, to the vote!
    Vote tally:
    ##### 3.21
    [X] Learn all of the runes Blake already knows.
    No. of votes: 6
    Sasha, Ridiculously Average Guy, redzonejoe, silentspirals, veekie, TheAlec
    [X] You cleared a lot of the air, but you still have a fair number of things to talk with Blake about.
    No. of votes: 4
    readerboy7, silentspirals, Indivisible, TheAlec
    -[X] Explore magic vs parahuman abilities, try to understand how it might be different instead of trying to dismiss alternate perspectives. Anything Blake wants to discuss immediately?
    No. of votes: 3
    readerboy7, silentspirals, Indivisible
    -[X] Broach the idea of using Shamanism to empower him. If Shamanism can create spirits, could he become something other than a vestige?
    No. of votes: 2
    silentspirals, Indivisible
    -[X] Explore magic vs parahuman abilities, try to understand how it might be different instead of trying to dismiss alternate perspectives. Anything Blake wants to discuss immediately? And check to see if your father could hear you talking to Blake from elsewhere in the house!
    No. of votes: 1
    TheAlec
    [X] Blake has a number of runes that he thinks he can figure out and teach you more easily than he can help you train the spirits totally new runes. Help him figure out what they are and learn them.
    No. of votes: 3
    Sasha, Ridiculously Average Guy, veekie
    -[X] Fire
    No. of votes: 2
    Sasha, Ridiculously Average Guy
    -[X] Extinguish
    No. of votes: 2
    Sasha, Ridiculously Average Guy
    -[X] Escher connection
    No. of votes: 3
    Sasha, Ridiculously Average Guy, veekie
    -[X] Physical stasis (inanimate/inorganic)
    No. of votes: 1
    veekie
    -[X] Electricity/Lightning
    No. of votes: 1
    veekie
    [X] Try to figure out more about your shamanism in general.
    No. of votes: 1
    redzonejoe
    [X] Take another look at the inside of your head, particularly at the parts changed with getting your pen.
    No. of votes: 2
    readerboy7, Indivisible
    Vote tally:
    ##### 3.21
    [X] Be a rogue! Forget getting into fights, you can just use your power to make money! Actually, you know, there are a lot of ways to monetize this, based on what Blake's mentioned about shamanism. Beware lots of cape organizations coming to recruit or "recruit" you, though.
    No. of votes: 10
    Irenicus, Sasha, Ridiculously Average Guy, dpara, silentspirals, readerboy7, esran, TheAlec, Enohthree, rooster
    [X] Be a hero! Fight for Justice and Order and the Law! You could join the local government-sanctioned team for underaged capes, the Wards, which offers quite a lot of support for their members in exchange for a lot of oversight, or you could stay independent, being a legal vigilante with a lot less support but no oversight either.
    No. of votes: 8
    veekie, ReaperofInterest, will408914, Indivisible, redzonejoe, wingstrike96, DOOMPOTATO, Bozwevial
    [X] Be a villain! Nothing too destructive, but your dad could always use some more money around the house. It was your childhood dream to be a hero…but it's time you grew up. Besides, when has authority ever helped you out?
    No. of votes: 4
    1986ctcel, tinkerbell, Frakir's brother, Anzer'ke
    -[X]You've heard that a rogue with cloth based powers recently moved to Brockton Bay. Perhaps you should ask her what it's like to be a rogue (in disguise, of course).
    No. of votes: 1
    Sasha
    And the winner!
    [X] Be a rogue! Forget getting into fights, you can just use your power to make money! Actually, you know, there are a lot of ways to monetize this, based on what Blake's mentioned about shamanism. Beware lots of cape organizations coming to recruit or "recruit" you, though.
    No. of votes: 10
    Irenicus, Sasha, Ridiculously Average Guy, dpara, silentspirals, readerboy7, esran, TheAlec, Enohthree, rooster
    [X] Learn all of the runes Blake already knows.
    No. of votes: 6
    Sasha, Ridiculously Average Guy, redzonejoe, silentspirals, veekie, TheAlec
    [X] You cleared a lot of the air, but you still have a fair number of things to talk with Blake about.
    No. of votes: 4
    readerboy7, silentspirals, Indivisible, TheAlec
    -[X] Explore magic vs parahuman abilities, try to understand how it might be different instead of trying to dismiss alternate perspectives. Anything Blake wants to discuss immediately?
    No. of votes: 3
    readerboy7, silentspirals, Indivisible
    Congratz, this is now a Rogue Quest!
    So the rest of the talk you would have gotten if the issues they had been bottling up hadn't been so volitile, and learning the runes Blake already knows and will work just fine.
    The latter was something you guys were going to pick at some point no matter what, so I already started on that section: ~1.6k words in.
    Quick note to @Indivisible : when you make a new post with the [X] inside, it ignores your older votes. In the future, just changing it inside your original post or reposting the entire vote would work better for the bot.
    [​IMG]
     
  29. Threadmarks: Introductions 1.7.1
    Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

    Joined:
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    AN: Some changes to the Rune setup at the bottom of the chapter, just FYI. More organizational than anything else, though see the bottom for details on the Protection rune.

    Also! All three sites now have threadmarks that easily shift from one to the next, so my manual buttons can skedaddle!


    Introductions 1.7.1


    You wake up the next day, and you feel pretty good. You’re learning how your power works, even expanding it yesterday into something you can use yourself, and you planned out a day of experimentation and exploration last night. Even better, in a way, is the talk you and Blake had. It feels really good to get some of that stuff off of your chest, even if it had brought up memories you really don’t like to think about away from school. But there’s still more to talk about without revisiting the same topics.


    That would be true even if you hadn’t decided on what you were going to do with your powers, though you still want Blake’s opinion on the matter. That topic is worth a conversation all on its own.


    Speaking of, you need to pick something to talk with Blake about during the run. If he comes, of course. You’d like to take the time to discuss things, but as much as you don’t like to admit it, you are way too breathless while jogging to hold a discussion. Since it doesn’t make him breathe harder at all that you can tell, it makes more sense for Blake to just tell you about stuff while you go. You can gasp questions at him if needed. But you’re not really sure what to talk about right now.


    Hm. Something else to plan ahead of time?


    Well, you want to talk to Blake again, and you don’t want him thinking you already forgot what he said the last time. So why not ask him about his friends? He can’t really remember many he made since he became a practitioner, or what he did with the friends he already had in that time, but he should be able to tell you plenty about them from before that.


    Nodding to yourself, you get out of bed and dress for the run, slipping the n’kisi into your clothes before you leave your room. You go downstairs, but can’t seem to find Blake in any of the downstairs windows, though your gaze does linger uncomfortably over the stack of bills on the living room coffee table.


    You bite your lip, your thoughts returning to Blake. He is his own person, so he can go where he wants—though you still want him out of your room when you’re sleeping—but if he’s off elsewhere doing something when you wanted him to talk with you…well, that’s fine too. Still, you should let him know that you want to talk with him, right? If he wants to go back to doing whatever he’s doing, then he can, but you should let him know at least. You think.


    You’ve never been very good at this kind of stuff.


    You slip your hand under your sweater to rest it on the n’kisi. “Blake,” you say, waiting to give him a chance to respond. That actually reminds you that you haven’t tested the limits of this calling mechanism. Though that was pretty uncomfortable. Surely there was a better method for gathering his attention.


    Actually, isn’t Blake usually here by now?


    “Hey,” he says from the nearest house window, a moment after that thought crosses your mind. “What’s up? Oh, running time again?”


    “Yeah,” you say, fidgeting in place a little. “I wasn’t interrupting anything, was I?”


    “Oh, no,” Blake says. “I was just doing more research into this world. It’s been a while since I stopped to read a book, I could use a break anyway. Do you know that they don’t have any helpfully packaged guides for people new to this dimension?”


    You give a small smile in response to his joking exasperation, though it disappears when your next thought hits you. “That’s probably because it’s illegal.”


    Blake blinks at this. “Wait, what? Seriously?”


    “Yeah,” you nod seriously. “On Earth Aleph too. I think it’s supposed to be more precautionary than anything else, to prevent against any precursors to invasion, given—well, given how humans tend to respond to finding new people and places to exploit.”


    “That’s…shit, that’s kind of terrible,” Blake says, starting to pace in the windows. As always, it’s a really strange effect, to see his disappear at the boundary of one reflection and appear instantly at the edge of another. “So we’re going to hide that when we go public. Not that they should have the knowledge or power needed to actually keep me trapped, but still.”


    “I wouldn’t be too certain even then,” you caution him, worry creeping into your voice. “Tinkers are capable of the most amazing and varied technology. It’s practically a truism that Tinkers can do anything if given enough time and resources.”


    Blake swears again, and his pacing begins growing faster before he suddenly stops. He’s just…breathing deeply. Didn’t he say he doesn’t need to breathe? It doesn’t look like he’s hyperventilating.


    “Blake,” you say, trying to get his attention


    His head snaps around to face you. “What?”


    You recoil, just a bit, but it needs to be said. “We, we just don’t have to tell people. It’ll be fine. As long as we don’t talk about it while we’re out in costume, it should be fine.”


    Blake is still for a moment longer, then gives a single nod, nostrils flaring as he inhales, his nose crinkling a bit. “You’re right. That’s completely obvious, too. Sorry, I don’t know why I was overreacting like that.” He takes another deep breath. “You wanted to go on a run again, right?”


    “Right.”


    “Okay,” he says again, hands running over the sleeves of his sweater, tugging the cuffs near his wrists. “Let’s get going then. Did you have a conversational topic in mind?”


    “I…I was going to ask about your friends,” you say, starting to walk out the door, pulling the n’kisi out as you went through the threshold.


    “My—friends?” Blake says, his voice switching from the window to the mirror in your hand mid-sentence.


    “Yeah,” you say, shrugging self-consciously. “I know you—we couldn’t find them when we looked, so maybe I’m poking a sore spot here, but I thought—I just wanted to know more about the, the people you call friends.” The other people, you want to say, but hold off. Things have been going well, no need to push it, or accidentally push him away.


    “Oh,” he says, before falling silent.


    “You don’t have to,” you say into the silence, finding yourself in the unusual position of actually filling it. “It was just an idea, you—”


    “No,” Blake thankfully cuts in. “I was just thinking that that was very thoughtful of you.”


    You angle the mirror in your hand away from your face a little so he can’t see your flush.


    “So, my friends. The first of my friends is Alexis. She…she saved me, on a lot of levels, during a really terrible time in my life. She…”






    You come back from the jog feeling like you know Blake better as a person now. Hearing a little more of where he came from, the kinds of people he surrounded himself with, it tells you a little more about who he is, really.


    It’s a bit of a new way of thinking about things, but you think you like it.


    Still, even with the warm feelings you have right now, you need to follow through with your plan. You decided last night that it’s time to learn the runes that Blake knew, and nothing about this morning means you should change it. Nodding firmly to yourself, you finish getting dressed after your shower, sit at your desk, and whisk the spare pillowcase you got out of the linen closet off the n’kisi; the change in the amount of light shining into the mirror world would cue Blake to come in. It isn’t perfect, since he has to be paying attention to see it, but at least it was something.


    “Hey there,” Blake says as he appears in the mirror. “So what’s the plan for today?”


    “I’d really like to learn some runes,” you say without preamble. “I know I did the responsible thing yesterday, but I’m really itching to mess with this new power you helped me pick out.”


    “Okay,” Blake says, a smile on his face. You can’t help but smile back. “Let’s learn some magic.”


    Well. That dings your smile a bit. But whatever, you’re learning how to use your power better!


    “So the first rune I have to teach you is the Unlock rune.”


    Your smile slips a little more. “Unlock? Opening locks?”


    “Yes…” Blake says slowly.


    “Like for breaking and entering?”


    Blake rolls his eyes at you a little. “You can use it for that, true. Or to get into those abandoned warehouses like the one we experimented in.”


    You have to give him that one.


    “Besides, the only time I remember using it was when I was being hunted by some enemies and needed to escape an alleyway. There are definitely bad forces out there, but this is shamanism. It’s just power, how good or bad it is depends on how you use it.”


    “All right, all right,” you grumble a bit. “So how does this one work?”


    “If I remember correctly, it physically manipulates a lock’s tumblers until they’re in the unlocked position. It’s roughly an hourglass shape, but with a circle at the middle of it.” Blake does something outside of the frame of the mirror that you can see and holds up a picture between his first two fingers and thumb, the design clearly just drawn on a piece of paper. It’s a little different from what you were expecting, which you are pretty sure is fine when it comes to runes; they’re like horseshoes or hand grenades, there is such a thing as ‘close enough,’ since it’s just the spirits recognizing what you’re drawing, and everyone draws differently.


    You stop absently twirling your pen and grab a piece of paper.


    “Do you have any post-its?” Blake asks before you set pen to paper.


    “Uh, no,” you say. “Why?”


    “Because the runes don’t have to be large, and learning to make them small can be really helpful for placing them in unobtrusive places. The downside of having specific shapes for the spirits to recognize is that your enemies will be able to recognize them too, after enough time. Plus, it saves paper.”


    “Oh well,” you say. “I’ll just tear up the sheets of paper that I do have.”


    Once you finish, you copy the Unlock rune onto one of the paper fragments, using the Sight to watch the power flow from you into the rune. The rune glows lightly in your Sight. A number of different spirits gather in the rune as you draw it, including that mobile spirit you noticed dominating the mix with the Push rune, but they just sit there.


    “Does this rune have a trigger too?”


    “No,” Blake says. “It’s actually pretty uncommon to find runes with that kind of feature built in. Most of them go off about as soon as you finish writing them, more or less. Not that you have to worry about burning yourself with Fire runes or anything,” he hastily throws in, “but they do go off quickly.”


    “Okay, so…the reason it’s sitting there is that there aren’t any locks to unlock?”


    “Yup,” he says. “You need to apply it to the lock you want it to open, or pretty close to it.”


    You look around, momentarily stymied in your search for a lock, until you remember the latch on your window. You’re not allowed a lock on your door, but a lock on the window is just plain sense in this town. You walk over and press the slip of paper against the locked latch.


    Immediately, the spirits in the rune flood out, almost entirely saturating the window’s latch, the rest trailing a path to the rune. There’s a brief moment of swirling activity in the Sight, and then the mobile spirits set themselves against the latch. Looking at the mundane parts of the world, you can see the latch slowly start to shift itself. The latch finishes opening just as the power from the rune runs out.


    You reach out with a growing grin and open your previously locked window. You take a deep breath of the cool air, then close and relock the window, returning to business.


    “The rune’s power ran out just as the lock was undone. Is that intentional?”


    “Yes,” Blake replies. “Like a lot of runes with a specific and concrete goal, it’s set so that the amount of power in the rune determines how fast something will be done, not whether or not it will be done. Though I’m pretty sure it is possible to give a rune too little power to actually accomplish anything.”


    “Hm…” you muse. There are ways that could be very useful, honestly. Still, you have more runes to learn. “So what’s the next rune?”


    “Come on,” Blake chides, “there’s still more to do with this one. You only wrote it out once. Do it a few more times at least, to help you remember. I have a lot of runes to teach you, there’s no point in getting them mixed up if you can help it.”


    You give a tiny sigh but reach for another slip of paper.






    “The next rune I want to teach you is a variant of the Wind rune,” Blake says. “I don’t know the standard Wind rune, actually—blame the scattered form my education had to take while trying to survive—but this one is an Imbuement, and gives qualities of the wind to what you write it on. You’ll need to apply it to something other than a piece of paper, though. Pick something with some heft, you’ll be swinging it around.”


    You look around your room rather fruitlessly, finally picking the hand mirror. You’ll definitely try not to break it, because you have no idea if there’s another in the house, but even if it does break, it’s not a huge deal, since you have all of those little bicycle mirrors.


    “Okay,” Blake says from the n’kisi, “now inscribe this symbol on it somewhere.” Blake holds up a curving, sprawling space. It’s more complex than the others you’ve seen so far, but it doesn’t take too much longer to work.


    As it does, you see the spirits rush in from…not from nowhere, it was different from when the spirits multiplied, created from nothing, but you couldn’t see where they were coming from.


    You think again of that strange feeling the first time you turned your Sight back on after adding more power to the pen, and you wonder for a moment.


    “So what’s it do?” you ask, swinging the mirror around a little after stepping away from the desk.


    “It basically has the air around you help the use of the tool that’s been imbued. It buoys the object some, so it feels lighter, and the air will help push it any direction you want it to go, making it hit a little harder too. It’s a pretty complex rune, actually, even if the effects can seem a little understated. The air pushes back the other way just a bit, for instance, so you don’t have to worry about the effects plucking the object from your hand. Not that it will keep it in your hand if you don’t have a good grip on it.”


    “That could be really handy,” you say, swinging the mirror a little more. It’s not exactly easy to tell, but that’s probably because it’s such a small object, and you’re not hitting anything with it. “Being able to hit harder than I normally do will probably be very useful.”


    It occurs to you after a moment that you should be able to see what Blake’s talking about. You’re the one with Sight that shows parts of the real world. But you haven’t been able to see the spirits of the air around you.


    Huh. Built-in limitation of your power, or just something that would take practice to show up?


    “If we were in Earth…Mem,” Blake says when you ask him, “I’d say that it was just a matter of practice. But the rules seem to be different here. Don’t give up on the idea, though.”


    You nod as you twirl the mirror around a little more, then go to your desk to start practicing the rune on scraps of paper. Well, maybe the bigger scraps of paper for now. It’s a really complex rune.






    “Next is the Quiet rune. Pretty self-explanatory, really. They make what they’re inscribed on quiet.”


    “That’s cool,” you say nonchalantly from your seat on your desk. “Do you have a rune for disrupting electronic systems too?”


    Blake eyes you suspiciously. “Not exactly, but I’m sure we could come up with something. Why?”


    “Oh, I was just trying to think of what else you may have learned that would have helped with your previous career as a magical cat burglar.”


    He twitches. “Can you really not think of any other uses for—” He cuts himself off when you finally let a tiny grin show. Blake’s eyes narrow. “Oh, I see how it is…” His voice trails off ominously, but you refuse to take it seriously, letting the grin grow enough you could call it ‘small.’ “Anyway, it’s pretty versatile. I remember applying it to a long chain and it affecting most of it with a single rune, and I remember applying it to my shoes, too. One time, it silenced a whole person when they held a piece of paper with the rune on it. I think it would be handy, don’t you?”


    An entirely different grin crosses your face this time.






    “The next rune enhances durability without affecting anything else about the object,” Blake informs you. “It’s referred to as the Durability rune.” Blake pauses for a moment. “Do you mind if I tell you that right now is one of those moments when I seriously miss being able to be sarcastic?”


    “Uh, no, I don’t mind,” you say, only a little amused at his predicament.


    “Okay, thanks. Yeah, it sucks. Moving on, the affected object will feel completely normal in every way, until you try to do something to physically damage it. Even then, it won’t change how it feels or acts, it will just…not be damaged as easily.”


    You tear off a piece of paper. “So will it work on people?” you ask, copying out the rune that Blake is holding up in the mirror.


    “No,” Blake says, as the number of a specific kind of spirit start to multiply and flood from the rune and into the paper. “This rune only affects inanimate or inorganic objects.”


    “So organic but inanimate items are fine?” you ask reasonably, idly trying to rip the runed paper.


    “I think the best way to describe it is that it only affects nonliving and dead materials. No way to use it to enhance humans, or animals in general.” His tone grows amused as you continue trying to rip the paper.


    You stop before you start embarrassing yourself, and grab some scissors.


    They fare no better, though you can see the rune working a little harder when you’re working harder to rip it.


    You catch your breath for a second. “Useful rune,” you say, possibilities dancing through your head.






    “This rune is an alarm rune, with a hampering function. It’s called the Stationary rune.”


    “Alarm rune?” you ask curiously.


    “A name given to runes that are you used exclusively or extensively to guard things, but are not wards; at least, that’s what I recall on the matter. Hampering simply means that it’s designed to slow down the intruder, rather than attack them or alert you to the intrusion.”


    “Okay, so what does the Stationary rune do?”


    “It takes the object it’s applied to, and it makes it stiff all over, everything sort of stick together. It also makes it harder to move at all. Apply it to a lock, and the tumblers are going to be harder to manipulate, even with the key. Apply it to a door, and the hinges aren’t going to move very easily at all. So on and so forth.”


    “Hm,” you say to yourself. You quickly copy the rune onto one of the scraps of paper you have with you, feeling the power flow down your arm and into the rune. “And if you draw it on paper…hm.” The formerly flexible piece of paper is now quite rigid, and seems to resist being moved from where it was placed on the desk. “Well, I can definitely see how this would hamper someone trying to take the paper away.”


    “Yes,” Blake says with wry amusement as you fail to so much as slip a fingernail under the edge of the paper scrap. “It’s a little less effective when there’s more pieces that can move, but still, it’s quite handy for slowing people who are breaking into your stuff.”


    “I believe it,” you say, looking at the paper with the Sight. A ton of different spirits had gushed from the rune after you finished making it. Many of them were ones that were already present in the paper, and some were the ones you saw in the Push rune—you really need to figure out exactly what those are—that seem to do nothing until you try to move the paper, at which point they actively oppose your efforts, but there are others you don’t recognize at all. Still, you are new to this whole thing. You’re sure there are plenty of spirits you haven’t seen yet.


    You look around your room. What to try it on next?






    “This alarm rune has a notice function instead, though I honestly don’t know how that’ll work here.”


    You look askance at Blake. “Why’s that?”


    “Because back on…back home, it would alert the practitioner via a connection with them. But connections don’t see to work with you, or at least you don’t seem to be able to magically create them, so I don’t know how it will alert you.”


    You shrug. “There’s one way to find out.” You start to copy it down from Blake. “What’s the trigger for this alarm rune, by the way?”


    “Living beings that get close enough to it.”


    You nod, then almost ruin the rune by stopping before it’s done. Recovering in time, you finish the rune, then look up at Blake. “With some kind of minimum threshold, I assume,” you say. “So it isn’t going off constantly due to germs.”


    “Well yeah,” Blake says. “Magic is more intuitive than strictly literal, generally speaking. Just because it’s a rune for locating living beings doesn’t mean it will catch everything that’s living—it was designed for bigger things. I admit I don’t know the limits, however.”


    Part of the way through his explanation, however, you are distracted by something you can only describe as a light starting to shine inside your brain. You share this information with Blake immediately.


    “Interesting,” he says. “Leave the rune on the table and step away.”


    You do, and the shine disappears before you even start to get up. You stop, and slowly extend your hand towards the rune. When your hand gets close enough, the light shines again. You move your hand back and forth, watching the light shine on and off, then get out a ruler to check the distance from the rune that the light activates.


    “A little less than six inches,” you read off.


    “Hm…how much power did you put into it?”


    “Not much,” you say. “The first runes weren’t exactly taking a lot, but when I realized how many I would be doing for practice, I tried to limit how much energy I was using each time. Especially since we don’t know where or how I’ll get more of it.”


    “Good idea,” Blake says. “Did you happen to check this morning to see if you had gotten any more while you slept, before you started using more?”


    “…no,” you say, chagrined.


    “Oh well,” Blake says easily. “Tomorrow’s a new day. Anyway, I think that the radius would vary if you put more power into it. Don’t worry about it for now, though, let’s just focus on getting the runes learned first.”


    “I agree,” you say, bending over yet another scrap of paper. You move the first off to the side so that it’s not constantly lit up, but pause when the internal light seems to shift in time with the alarm’s movement. You close your eyes to better focus on it, and move the rune around. The light in your head does move in sync with the rune’s movement, though only slight distances.


    Interesting.






    “The last rune that I’m sure I can teach you today is the Protection rune.”


    “Protection, huh?” you say. “How’s it different from Durability?”


    “There is some overlap,” Blake says, “but I think it would be best shown through demonstration.” He looks around for a moment. “Alright, you already have a trash can; do you have a lighter in here?”


    You blink at him. “No,” you say, nonplussed.


    “Do you know where one is in the house?”


    “Yes.” Your dad keeps one by the stove, since your pilot lights aren’t always the most reliable.


    “Please go get it, along with a large glass of water. Oh, and empty your trash can too.”


    Slightly mystified, but starting to see where he’s going with this, you do as you’re asked. You keep an eye out for your dad, but you still don’t see him anywhere. That’s a little weird, since he didn’t mention going in to work today, but you aren’t looking a gift horse in the mouth.


    “Now please look away from the mirror,” Blake says with a small smile.


    “Why?” you ask, your voice wary.


    “So it can be a surprise,” Blake says, smile growing a bit.


    You comply, grumbling a bit, but then keep a sharp ear out to see what you can figure out. The answer is ‘not much,’ though you can hear the lighter being used, and water being poured later, the implications of which were obvious to you before you went downstairs. The sounds continue for a little while, though, and long enough for him to have poured out the cup multiple times. You don’t hear him leaving to refill it, so either he’s quieter than you thought, or—oh! That’s right, at the library he mentioned he could reset the mirror world. He’s probably doing that.


    Finally, Blake gets your attention. “Alright, so to demonstrate the difference between Durability and Protection, first you need to copy this rune,” he says, holding up a piece of paper, “and then you need to grab some of the Durability rune papers you left around.”


    Except for the alarm runes, which were annoying if kept near you, you were keeping the paper with runes on them inside a desk drawer. Once you finish copying the Protection rune on another piece of paper, you open it up and fish out a couple Durability rune papers.


    “First things first,” he says. “Try to cut or tear the Durability rune again, just to refresh your memory.”


    You give Blake an unamused look, but try again anyway. Under the Sight, you notice the specific spirits that Durability encouraged and produced increase as you up the amount of force you apply.


    “Okay, now try the same with the paper with the Protection rune.”


    The Protection rune looks strange under the Sight. Durability was all one kind of spirit, but Protection is a dense packet of various spirits, so tightly packed that you have trouble making them out. A (relative) few spirits already spread throughout the paper, one kind that you recognize as from the Durability runes, but the rest completely different, though you recognize seeing some of them in objects before.


    When you try to cut the paper, the Durability rune spirits concentrate on the area, and a flood of them gush out of the Protection rune. You stop in surprise, and the flood slows, then starts gently flowing back into the rune. You try to cut somewhere else, and the process repeats itself in the new location, with a bit more of the spirits staying at the location of the original cutting attempt.


    You relate this information to Blake, who smiles. “Good. That’s the overlap. Now pour a little water into your trash can, enough to cover the bottom. Take the longest strip of paper that you have the Durability rune on, then try to light the far end, holding it over the trash can so you can drop it in if needed.”


    When you do so, you’re shown a very strange sight—the paper burns clearly, but the shape is maintained, for the most part, crinkling and twisting but holding better than you would expect. The fire spirits are also quite interesting, in how they’re shifting, consuming, leaping about…


    “Taylor.” It takes Blake’s warning for you to remember to let go of the paper, dropping into the water at the bottom of the can. You don’t need a reminder to grab your glass of water and pour it over what flames are left.


    “That was weird,” you say, still staring down at the can.


    “Like I said,” he says, “Durability adjusts how hard something is to physically damage, but nothing else. It didn’t touch the flammability at all. Now try it with the Protection rune.”


    You do, and this time the flood of the spirits that the Durability rune uses is more of a trickle. Instead, there is a flood of different spirits that rush to where the flame is, and the end result is…nothing. The flame is on the paper, the same distance that worked before, but the paper itself appears unharmed. Looking closer with your Sight, you see minor traces of damage, but not nearly as much as there should be, and no more is added while you’re looking.


    “So the Protection rune is reactive, and comprehensive? Rather than constantly protecting against one thing, it adjusts for whatever is trying to damage the object?”


    “That fits my understanding,” Blake says with a smile.


    “It’s not perfect, though,” you say, setting aside the lighter to point out the spots that you can see are fire-damaged, even if they aren’t noticeable to the normal eye.


    “Nothing’s perfect.” Blake shrugs. “The Protection rune can’t applied to living targets, either. Still, it’s a lot better than nothing.”


    “It is,” you agree. “Now I just need to practice writing it out over and over again.”


    “See, you’re getting the hang of this.”


    You make a face at Blake before pulling over the next piece of paper.






    “There’s…one other rune that I may be able to teach you today.”


    “Really?” you blink at him. “I thought you said that the last one was, well, the last one.”


    “No, what I said was that it was the last one that I was sure I could teach you,” Blake corrects. “And that’s true. I’m not at all sure that I can teach you this one.”


    “Why’s that? Is it one of the runes that you don’t know exactly how to make?”


    “No.” Blake shakes his head. “Teaching you those will have to wait, at least for a little longer. I got a very up-close view of this rune, along with how it works. I’m unsure if I can teach it to you because it looks at the inside of the human body—”


    “—and my Sight doesn’t do that. I see.” You frown in thought. “I still say try to teach it to me. We won’t know if it will work or not until we try, and I don’t see the harm in trying, do you?”


    “Besides potentially lost time and power? No, not really.”


    “It probably wouldn’t be that much power lost, either. Besides, I can’t see air spirits, but they clearly come when I use the Wind Imbuement rune.”


    “Fair point,” Blake says. He starts writing something out on another piece of paper. “You won’t be able to use this on a piece of paper. Or maybe you would, but it won’t be as distinctive. Try something you can point, with a clearly defined front and back.”


    You look around the room, rifling through your desk before finally settling on a pencil that you used to use to do your homework, before you got your delightful implement.


    “That’ll work fine,” he says. “This rune also has a trigger, like Push does. Instead of a gesture, though, this rune triggers when you run your finger across it. So make sure you put the rune somewhere you’re not likely to accidentally set it off.”


    You give it some thought, but eventually you just place it near the top of the pencil, just below the metal band around the eraser.


    “Good. Unfortunately, I don’t know if we can test it now.”


    “Why’s that?” you ask.


    “The way this rune works, it orients whatever it’s attached to in order to point to the nearest human heart in the direction that it’s being pointed,” Blake explains. “When I saw it being used, it was attached to a gun. Aim at the person, trigger the rune, then shoot once it’s pointed at the heart.”


    “That sounds lethal,” you say disapprovingly.


    Blake waves his hands dismissively. “It wasn’t. The target was essentially some kind of Brute, to use the loc—the common terms. It certainly inconvenienced her, but she was fine. Went right back to trying to kill us, from what I recall.”


    Well, that is better. And nothing says that you have to use it on guns. Containment foam launchers, for instance, might benefit from it. You’re not sure, actually, but maybe.


    “But anyway, I don’t know if it works on the person holding the item, or triggering the rune,” he continues. “It was on a gun, after all. Nobody was eager to aim at themselves.”


    “I’ll test it,” you shrug. You flip the pencil around, so that it’s aiming at yourself, then run your finger along the rune. Like with the Wind Imbuement rune, you get the feeling that there are spirits moving without you being able to see them. The only spirits that you see moving are the mobile ones from the Push rune.


    “Cool, it works,” Blake’s pleased voice sounds out.


    You nod at him and start the process of copying the rune often enough that you’ll be able to remember it later, but your mind is distracted now. After this, you are going to be talking to Blake, and you have some bombshells to drop on him. You hope it won’t damage the comradery you two have built up thus far.






    Basic Info

    · Status
    o Normal
    o Anxious
    o Little mirrors on hand: 17​

    · Big Three
    o Central Pool ( (?-1)/? )
    § FAMILIAR
    · Blake
    o Normal
    ·
    § demesne
    · Locker
    o ???
    ·
    § implement
    · Pen (Shamanism)
    o Normal
    ·​

    ·​

    · Alarm (hamper: Stationary)
    · Alarm (notice: Living Being Detection)
    · Durability (inanimate/inorganic)
    · Imbuement (Wind: a little lighter, pushes a little harder)
    · Orient: Heart (trigger: finger)
    · Protection
    · Push (trigger: gesture) [massive bonus to Mastering]
    · Quiet
    · Unlock​

    · Alarm (punish: Y)
    · Banishment (incorporeal/projection)
    · Defense (inanimate/inorganic, effect: temporary acid-touch)
    · Electricity/Lightning
    · Exile (prevents spirit tampering, mutes effects)
    · Extinguish
    · Fire
    · Metal (pseudo-transmutation)
    · Physical stasis (inanimate/inorganic)
    · Reaching out (sensory, detection, no significant locomotion)
    o Fire (senses warmth, explodes)
    o Air (senses breath, moves faster)
    o Earth (tracks footsteps, hits harder)
    o Metal (transmits signals, moves slowly)
    o Water (senses magic/powers, insta-charges)​
    · Secures locks
    · Smell-be-gone
    · Escher connection

    · Copy (document)​

    · Anything you can See.​






    Vote for one option per underlined section unless otherwise stated. Feel free to customize your votes with up to 60 words of additional description if the option is listed; if you are using someone else’s plan and wish to add something to it, please bold the new portions.


    At some point, you will want to master the runes that Blake already taught you. Which will you start with?

    (Pick your top three, each on a separate line; order will progress with descending number of votes. Ties will be dealt with semi-randomly.)

    - -[] Rune Name
    - -[] Rune Name
    - -[] Rune Name​
    At some point, you will want to learn the runes that Blake thinks he can figure out and teach you more easily than training the spirits to react to totally new runes. Which will you start with?

    (Pick your top three, each on a separate line; order will progress with descending number of votes. Ties will be dealt with semi-randomly.)

    - -[] Rune Name
    - -[] Rune Name
    - -[] Rune Name​




    A/N:

    So the Protection rune was added after a rereading of 2.5 showed that Blake did know that one. It was thus added to your list. Retcon ahoy! Remember, any runes you find that I don’t already have gets automatically added to your repertoire (assuming that they fit the right requirements, detailed in the earlier [indexed] Crowdsourcing post). I also renamed Stick to Stationary upon further clarification on what the rune actually did.

    Also, much of the next chapter is finished, but the last topic they have to talk on (of which I have seen no sign that you have noticed the clues for ;) ) is going slowly for me, so splitting it is!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
    Merior likes this.
  30. Sheaman3773

    Sheaman3773 (Unverified Writer)

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    686
    So for a wrap-up, we have the results of the latest vote!
    Vote tally:
    ##### 3.21
    At some point, you will want to master the runes that Blake already taught you. Which will you start with?
    -[X] Protection
    No. of votes: 8
    redzonejoe, veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, silentspirals, readerboy7, wingstrike96, Indivisible

    [X] Alarm (notice: Living Being Detection)
    No. of votes: 5
    veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, readerboy7, wingstrike96

    -[X] Imbuement: Wind
    No. of votes: 4
    redzonejoe, silentspirals, readerboy7, Indivisible

    [X] Push
    No. of votes: 4
    veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, wingstrike96

    -[X] Quiet
    No. of votes: 3
    redzonejoe, silentspirals, Indivisible

    At some point, you will want to learn the runes that Blake thinks he can figure out and teach you more easily than training the spirits to react to totally new runes. Which will you start with?
    [X] Escher connection
    No. of votes: 5
    veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, readerboy7, wingstrike96

    [X] Metal (pseudo-transmutation)
    No. of votes: 5
    veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, wingstrike96, Indivisible

    [X] Exile (prevents spirit tampering, mutes effects)
    No. of votes: 5
    veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, silentspirals, wingstrike96

    -[X] Electricity/Lightning
    No. of votes: 3
    redzonejoe, readerboy7, Indivisible

    -[X] Physical stasis (inanimate/inorganic)
    No. of votes: 2
    silentspirals, readerboy7

    -[X] Fire
    No. of votes: 2
    redzonejoe, Indivisible

    -[X] Extinguish
    No. of votes: 1
    redzonejoe

    -[X] Smell-be-gone
    No. of votes: 1
    silentspirals
    And now for the winner!
    At some point, you will want to master the runes that Blake already taught you. Which will you start with?
    -[X] Protection
    No. of votes: 8
    redzonejoe, veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, silentspirals, readerboy7, wingstrike96, Indivisible

    [X] Alarm (notice: Living Being Detection)
    No. of votes: 5
    veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, readerboy7, wingstrike96

    -[X] Imbuement: Wind
    No. of votes: 4
    redzonejoe, silentspirals, readerboy7, Indivisible

    At some point, you will want to learn the runes that Blake thinks he can figure out and teach you more easily than training the spirits to react to totally new runes. Which will you start with?
    [X] Escher connection
    No. of votes: 5
    veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, readerboy7, wingstrike96

    [X] Metal (pseudo-transmutation)
    No. of votes: 5
    veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, wingstrike96, Indivisible

    [X] Exile (prevents spirit tampering, mutes effects)
    No. of votes: 5
    veekie, Ridiculously Average Guy, 1986ctcel, silentspirals, wingstrike96
    Interesting choices! But this was just so that everyone would vote to see what you would work on once you actually make that vote. You have that opportunity with this next update.


    Also, I'm going to close the Mechanics poll now. The outcome hasn't changed in a while. I'll leave the polls up for a little bit.
    • Just so, so many dice.
    24 + 4 + 2 = 30​

    • Dice? Eewww.
    15 + 3 + 6 = 24​
    The winner is Just so, so many dice. I'll probably be keeping most of them behind the scenes, but some, like rune progress, will be openly displayed.

    The next chapter will be up momentarily :)
     
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