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11453 No. 11453
[ ] Observe the anomaly, but try to remain hidden from it.


Acting quickly you turn away your senses, letting them flow without focus or direction. Instict tells you to let go, to let your mind be like water of Aegir's depths. Cold, black and unmoving, blending in with your surroundings You can still feel the presence outside by the absence of sensation around it, a crude method but it will have to do. Even so, despite the fact that you cannot see or sense it, this being intrigues you. What could it be? A beast or god that dares venture into the lady's realm? And why?

The presence slowly circles around the barrier, occasionally slowing down before resuming its regular pace. Perhaps it is searching for weaknesses? It completes a circuit before it finally stops and remains unmoving. For how long you canot say, for time requires a point of reference, and A vision, showing you many things in the blink of an eye. Serenity. Emptiness. A man seated beneath a beautiful tree, emanating inner strength. The power of emptiness.

Then the presence moves far faster than anything you've ever seen, at one moment outside the barrier, in the next it's right next to you. As the barrier shatters in his wake, you finally know who he is. Reflexively you try to let go of your trance, but he is far, far too fast. A stern, commanding voice calls out and the universe obeys, turning the uncreated into being.

"Divine law, 「Wheel of Dharma」"

Your trance is shattered by the sudden emergence of order within the chaos, the senses attuned to chaos-matter's fine tendrils shorn from you in an instant. Eight spokes manifest in the night-black nothingness, locking together they form a great wheel, yet not one shaped from the darkness. The wheel is real, solid and tangible unlike anything found in this dark land, and with your returning mortal senses you find yourself crashing down on a spoke as thick as a tree trunk, knocking the wind out of you. Through a groggy haze you see a shape kneels down beside you, and hear his voice address you.

"How far must you walk,
what path do you follow, stranger,
when the sword brings peace?"

"O- old master." You manage to croak, feeling drained by the sudden shift. With Youki's help you slowly drag yourself to your feet, enduring the bone-deep ache that bites every part of your body, as if the fangs of Nidhögg were rending every sinew and muscle. Your blade feels like a bar of lead in your hand, and your head spins with dizziness.

"You are within the wheel of Dharma, young one, no longer within her power. Rest, you are safe." The old one's gentle voice assures you. There is a sharp, metallic clang as he elegantly sheathes his sword and turns to confront the lady of borders.

"I wonder about that." Her soft voice rings like iron upon iron as the lady of the realm objects to the old master's bold claim. You look up and see the shadowed one standing outside the wheel, scowling at the sudden intrusion. "Youki Konpaku. I had not expected to see you here."

"Lady Yakumo, I am happy to see you are in good health. My sorrow was great when I heard about your recent indisposition." The old one politely replies, without the slightest hint of sarcasm ever entering his voice.

"I'm sure it was." The lady of borders answers with a small smile flickering over her lips. "Now, do you mind explaining why you are here."

"To walk the darkness, follow the road of life and death. Is the answer satisfactory, my lady Yakumo? " The old master's voice is soft, but a hint of warning is hidden in his words. You suspect that there is some hidden meaning to his words, but it escapes you.

"No, I'm afraid it isn't. Now, how did you manage to get here?" The lady asks while tapping the air with her finger, almost like there was a barrier around the edges of the wheel. Then again, there probably is. That would explain why the lady of borders remains outside its circumference.

"The void offers little resistance to one who has passed through the gateless barrier. Is the answer satisfactory, my lady Yakumo?"

"Riddles again? I suppose it will have to do." Yukari answers, irritation flashing in her eyes. "Now that you're here, would you kindly mind your own business?"

"Forgive my rudeness my lady, but I am. The young one has potential, and I would not wish to see it wasted." For a second Yukari's scowl shifts into an expression of curiousity, then the lady's annoyed glare returns.

"Unfortunately I have to agree. He has the potential to destroy Gensokyo, and you should know that as well. I have to send him back."

"But what would that accomplish? The damage, if any, has already been done" The old master calmly replies, a hint of sadness in his eyes. "Could you send another lost soul unguided into the six realms? Another being doomed to countless reincarnations?"

"Don't start preaching to me Youki." Yukari suddenly looks away, an expression you can't place flickering across her features. "We both know that it's a waste of time."

"Then there is nothing more to say. As always it has been a pleasure, my lady Yakumo."

"We'll see." Yukari whispers, her voice a dagger-sharp hiss, as she crosses her arms in fron of her. "You're within my realm, my power will eventually tear down your cage of order." The old master remains silent as he turns away from the lady of borders and kneels down in the hub of the eight-spoked wheel.

"Young one, we must leave this place. Prepare yourself." His voice brooks no argument, forceful and commanding like the jarls of old issuing orders to their hirdmen. The old one sets his sword down beside him, softly murmuring some strange chant. Outside the lady of borders seems to do nothing, though you suspect that she's working to unmake the old master's enchantment somehow. But even so, you suspect that the old one would not have come here without a way back. Or more accurately, he would not have followed you here. Thinking back you should have expected this. Didn't you yourself ask him to follow in your shadow, to be the blade of justice hanging over your head? That he is here to fulfil his duty seems doubtless.

The only question is why. To save you? Merely to watch over you? Or to pursue a potential enemy? You do not know, but for now he seems to be your only hope of salvation.


[ ] Follow the old master's lead.
-[ ] Leave in silence. Do not look back.
-[ ] Say your farewells to the lady of borders first (specify what to say).

[ ] Ask the old master to wait. Try to convince Yukari again.

[ ] Do something else?

>> No. 11454
Well shit. Due to insufficient proofreading I forgot a few words. The second paragraph should be the following:

The presence slowly circles around the barrier, occasionally slowing down before resuming its regular pace. Perhaps it is searching for weaknesses? It completes a circuit before it finally stops and remains unmoving. For how long you cannot say, for time requires a point of reference, and you have none. Thus there is no telling how long it hovers in the void before it pulses with light and power so intense that the chaos scatters all around it. Your senses are flooded by golden visions, showing you many things in the blink of an eye. Serenity. Emptiness. A man seated beneath a beautiful tree, emanating inner strength. The power of emptiness.
>> No. 11455
FUCK YES YOUKI

[x] Follow the old master's lead.
-[x] Leave in silence. Do not look back.

This was an exchange between two powers greater than you. There really nothing for you to add that could put you at all in a higher favor with either party, so just keep mum.
>> No. 11456
[x] Follow the old master's lead.
-[x] Leave in silence. Do not look back.
>> No. 11457
[x] Follow the old master's lead.
-[x] Leave in silence. Do not look back.
>> No. 11458
[x] Follow the old master's lead.
-[x] Say your farewells to the lady of borders first "Thank you for your audience, Lady of Shadow. I hope that should we cross paths again, it will not be with blades. I ask that you have faith in more than just your own power, for chaos itself is to allow chances."

Norse updated! Gods be praised!
>> No. 11459
Also FUCK YEAH YOUKI you are the best sidekick/master ever! He even uses the Wheel of Dharma and got through the Border without getting LOST
>> No. 11460
{X} Follow the old master's lead.
-{X} Leave in silence. Do not look back.
>> No. 11461
[x] Follow the old master's lead.
-[x] Say your farewells to the lady of borders first "Thank you for your audience, Lady of Shadow. I hope that should we cross paths again, it will not be with blades. I ask that you have faith in more than just your own power, for chaos itself is to allow chances."
>> No. 11462
[x] Follow the old master's lead.
-[x] Say your farewells to the lady of borders first "Thank you for your audience, Lady of Shadow. I hope that should we cross paths again, it will not be with blades. I ask that you have faith in more than just your own power, for chaos itself is to allow chances."
>> No. 11463
[ ] Follow the old master's lead.
-[ ] Leave in silence. Do not look back.

I was suspecting that we'd screwed up beyond redemption already, and then Norse pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment on us. I approve.

And when I think about it why did we assume that something that repels chaos would be some cosmic horror?
>> No. 11464
[x] Follow the old master's lead.
-[x] Say your farewells to the lady of borders first "Thank you for your audience, Lady of Shadow. I hope that should we cross paths again, it will not be with blades. I ask that you have faith in more than just your own power, for chaos itself is to allow chances."
>>11463
May have been because we were already dealing with one of those, what's so strange about another one to cook the books of reality a bit more?
>> No. 11465
[x] Follow the old master's lead.
-[x] Say your farewells to the lady of borders first "Thank you for your audience, Lady of Shadow. I hope that should we cross paths again, it will not be with blades. I ask that you have faith in more than just your own power, for chaos itself is to allow chances."
>> No. 11467
[x] Follow the old master's lead.
-[x] Say your farewells to the lady of borders first "Thank you for your audience, Lady of Shadow. I hope that should we cross paths again, it will not be with blades. I ask that you have faith in more than just your own power, for chaos itself is to allow chances."
>> No. 11468
Calling the vote here. Writing commences.
>> No. 11469
>>11468

hooray!
>> No. 11471
Finished. Also, have some badass Youki.

------------------------

[ ] Follow the old master's lead.
-[ ] Say your farewells to the lady of borders first "Thank you for your audience, Lady of Shadow. I hope that should we cross paths again, it will not be with blades. I ask that you have faith in more than just your own power, for chaos itself is to allow chances."


So you shall depart. Away from the darkness, by spell or charm woven by wise grey-mane. It is not the end you had expected, for good and for ill. Death, yes, or salvation bought with your own sword, even though the more relistic part of your mind reminds you that the probability of that surely was remote. But never have you looked back, never have you given up the battle. Perhaps Odin himself saw your courage and sent aid to your side, or perhaps the hand of Urd was guided by mercy this day, this you don't know. Does it matter?

Dismissing these useless ponderings on the nature of fickle fate you instead turn your mind to matters that you can accomplish. Thus you raise your voice to say your farewells, for despite, or perhaps thanks to, all that has passed between you the lady of borders deserves at least that much.

"Thank you for your audience, Lady of Shadow. I hope that should we cross paths again, it will not be with blades. I ask that you have faith in more than just your own power, for chaos itself is to allow chances."

"Oh, I think I've heard that before." She replies with a soft laugh that quickly fades away. Her smile follows, replaced by a slightly melancholy expression. "But perhaps this is for the best, dear. I have never been good at letting go."

The Allfather, ever-wise, spoke words of wisdom long ago, and even in the blackest night they are as true as ever. The words flow over your lips as a soft whisper, weaving the verses while meeting the gaze of Yukari's violet eyes.

"A guest must depart again on his way,
nor stay in the same place ever;
if he bide too long on another's bench
the loved one soon becomes loathed."

Yukari gives you a long, thoughful look before replying, her voice spinning rhyme as she answers wisdom with wisdom, singing the High One's song with eerie perfection.

"Wise in measure let each man be;
but let him not wax too wise;
for never the happiest of men is he
who knows much of many things"

Your gazes meet for a long moment, sharing a wordless understanding between the two of you. Viking Warrior and Youkai of Borders, you reflect on the irony that your fates are thus entwined, and you know that you will meet her again, for better or for worse.

The moment passes, your eyes break their contact. Wearily you turn to the old battle-master, still seated as serenely as before, still murmuring his strange spells. Step by tired step you work your way across the great wheel until you are next to the old one.

"Cast the charm, old master. Sing the spells of travel and let us leave this place." You ask of him, now eager to leave this place, to return to reality at last.

The old one opens his eyes and gives you a thoughtful, if slightly amused look. He closes his eyes again and softly speaks a strange verse.

"We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make our world."

The old master shifts his posture slightly, then he lightly wraps his fingers around the hilt of his sword. Softly as the beat of a butterfly's wings the steel leaves its sheath, quiet as the fall of snow and swifter than the diving hawk it flows forth accompanied by a mighty voice.

"Six Realms Sword, 「Crossroads of Existence」"

The old one is a blur as he rises, as if all his motions are one. The blade flashes once, describing a sharp, vertical line and contrary to all reason slashing though the void itself. Disembodied voices wail in pain and terror as a gaping wound opens in the darkness, taller than you and wide enough for two men to pass through, distorted colours and shapes flowing within the portal. Calmly and deliberately, as if he has done nothing of consequence, the old blade-master turns to you and gestures for you to enter.

Without hesitation, despite your muscles groaning in protest, you grip your blade tightly and leap through the bleeding wound in reality. You had expected some sort of maddening vision, or perhaps a glimpse of your journey through the gate, but instead you find yourself staring into a burning pillar, the very same rune that stole you away in the first place.

Insinctively you pull back from it, meeting fierce resistance from the great border, and to your horror you can see your right arm actually seems to be stuck within the barrier itself. Drawing strength from the sudden rush of fear and panic you wrench your arm free, pulling out your golden blade with it, Sólargeisli's inner light shining like the sun beneath this night sky. The runes burn red and black as they draw farther and farther away, a small source of relief for your troubled mind. It is only after a few seconds that you realize that this is because you're actually in a state of free fall, and in the nick of time you manage to stop your descent before you smash into a cliff face.

Your heart beating like a drum and with racing breath you manage to stagger back outside the old master's cave, only to find the old one already waiting for you.

"So we are back, young Sigurd. It seems there are few dull moments around you." The master says, a slight hint of amusement colouring his voice.

"No, old master. This is as it should be." You reply while making a brave attempt at forming a confident smile. The old one makes no comment as you wince in pain, instead offering his hand to help you inside.

"Now you must rest, young one. Though is it modest, let me offer the hospitality of my dwelling."


[ ] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.

[ ] The sons of Odin abandon not their companions. Set out in search for Marisa and Alice.
>> No. 11473
[X] The sons of Odin abandon not their companions. Set out in search for Marisa and Alice.

Sleep when dead.
>> No. 11474
[x] The sons of Odin abandon not their companions. Set out in search for Marisa and Alice.

No rest for the weary.
>> No. 11475
[x] The sons of Odin abandon not their companions. Set out in search for Marisa and Alice.

Youki you have already done more than we could ever repay you for.
>> No. 11476
[x] The sons of Odin abandon not their companions. Set out in search for Marisa and Alice.

Magic item GET. Good thing, too. We were kinda out of arms.
>> No. 11478
>"Now you must rest, young one. Though is it modest, let me offer the hospitality of my dwelling."

The old guy is generally right, you know. We are bone weary, and desperately needing a breather. Everybody has limits, every warrior no matter how strong needs to sleep from time to time... That is what I want to say, but abandoning alice and marisa in the forest doesn't sit right with me. We will trudge on until we find them, and rest when we have finished what we started.

[X] The sons of Odin abandon not their companions. Set out in search for Marisa and Alice.
>> No. 11479
[x] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.

So how many things has Sigurd fought today? A chimera, then Ran, then Yukari, then Yukari again?

Better stave off that DNM Bad End.
>> No. 11480
hey Norseman, can you do some poetry 36 lessons of Vivec style? that would be awesome.
>> No. 11488
I'm starting to rethink my vote. Perhaps we should rest. Its subtle, but I think Youki is enjoying having a comrade around as it were.

I am also very interested in this "potential" business he was talking about. I think we should ask him about it regardless of the choice, for I get the feeling if we do stay we will awaken alone in a vacant cave.
>> No. 11489
[x] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.
>> No. 11490
[x] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.

>So how many things has Sigurd fought today? A chimera, then Ran, then Yukari, then Yukari again?

This makes sense. We're probably running on fumes by now.
>> No. 11491
[x] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.
>> No. 11494
[x] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.
>> No. 11495
[ ] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.
>> No. 11497
[x] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.
>> No. 11499
[x] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.

First rest, then find the other 2. Maybe we will get some vision in our dreams.
>> No. 11500
[X] The sons of Odin abandon not their companions. Set out in search for Marisa and Alice.

Only path, etc.

And holy shit Youki is badass. Cutting holes in reality and doesn't afraid of anything.
>> No. 11502
[+] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.

Much has happened, we need to recover our strength.
>> No. 11504
[x] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.

With the muscles strained and the spirit tired, even the greatest berserker is nothing but a helpless kitten against the forces of the unknown.

"As Sigurd progressed through unknown lands, he finally found his companions, alas he was too tired and the noble warrior found death not in the bliss of battle, but in the shame of a death due stress."
>> No. 11526
Due to a ton of homework, writing will start tomorrow. Vote's open until then.
>> No. 11531
>>11478 Wow, people changed their minds. I guess it is the intelligent thing to do, but neglecting Marisa and Alice makes me sad... I also doubt youki will be leaving any time soon; that seems rude after agreeing to accompany us.
Vote change.

[x] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.
>> No. 11532
[ ] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.

inb4 DNM END
>> No. 11533
>>11531
Manly End, Youki End. Spending all eternity guarding the barrier and from time to time making love to Yukari.
>> No. 11558
>>11480

Never played Morrowind, so I have no idea what the style is supposed to be.

And writing commences.
>> No. 11559
>>11558
Hooray!
>> No. 11560
>>11558

You can read it here: http://www.imperial-library.info/mwbooks/lessons.shtml
>> No. 11566
>>11560

Well, this does sound like a more traditional heroic epic. If I ever do a summary of the Saga, I might write something similar. Or maybe I could work in some story within the story?

-------------------

[ ] The old one is right, you're far too weary to go on.


The old one's offer certainly is a welcome one, for not only do your muscles scream in protest at the thought of journeying on, your mind is exhausted as well. Your journey and battles have drained you of more than just stamina, for you have been in near-constant danger, walking with your mind honed to a razor's edge for far too long. Is it then any wonder that your thoughts are dull and slow and your willpower sapped away even as your body trembles and your legs threaten to give out beneath you?

Wisdom, as well as courage, is the gift of Odin, and what wisdom is there in collapsing from exhaustion in the middle of a forest filled with beasts and monsters? You silently offer a prayer to the gods to watch over Alice and Marisa, for to do so yourself is no longer within your power.

"Aye, old master. I welcome your aid" You reply to Youki's offer, your voice strained and rough. Even though wisdom tells you it is the right course of action, you feel shame and regret stinging your heart. If only you were strong enough to achieve the impossble. If only your foolish dreams were true, you would not feel this ravaging feeling, you would not feel your heart raging impotently at your own weakness.

"Every warrior has a limit, young one." The old master gently replies. "There is no shame in knowing your own." You wish and know that his words are true, but still they offer little comfort.

The old one supports you as you slowly stagger back into the cavern, but even so the fatigue nearly overwhelms you. Flames flicker within the the cave, pleasantly warm, the smokeless fire still burns as fiercely as ever. Youki helps you to a bedroll in a corner of the cavern, close enough to the fire to warm your weary body, but not so close as to expose you to uncomfortable heat.

"Rest, young Sigurd. You are safe here." The old one assures you. "The Bodhisattva of mercy will watch over this place."

Comforted by the old master's promise, you close your eyes and immediately fall asleep. As your consciousness slips away you glimpse a vision of a beautiful woman holding a blooming white flower, then you drift away into...


[ ] A deep, dreamless slumber. Healing calm, soothing weary flesh, mending strained bone.

[ ] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.

[ ] The terrible nightmare. Ravaging wisdom, sacred sight from Hel's shaded hall.
>> No. 11569
[ ] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.
>> No. 11570
[Z] A deep, dreamless slumber. Healing calm, soothing weary flesh, mending strained bone.
>> No. 11571
[X] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.

I'd say it's about damn time we had some repose.
>> No. 11572
[ ] The terrible nightmare. Ravaging wisdom, sacred sight from Hel's shaded hall.
>> No. 11573
[X] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.
>> No. 11575
[x] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.

Sweet dreams, Sigurd.
>> No. 11577
[X] The terrible nightmare. Ravaging wisdom, sacred sight from Hel's shaded hall.

Abandoning poor little Alice and Marisa, you deserve the worst, Sigurd.
>> No. 11578
[x] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.
>> No. 11579
>Abandoning poor little Alice and Marisa, you deserve the worst, Sigurd.

And dying at their feet when you finally find them from exhaustion is a much better idea.

[x] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.
>> No. 11580
>And dying at their feet when you finally find them from exhaustion is a much better idea.

Or the nineball squad finds us wandering around through the forest at night, while exhausted, and takes advantage of that fact to get a midnight snack. And then Marisa and Alice find Sigurd's partially eaten corpse the next day.

That would be pretty awesome.
>> No. 11581
[X] A deep, dreamless slumber. Healing calm, soothing weary flesh, mending strained bone.
>> No. 11583
[ ] A deep, dreamless slumber. Healing calm, soothing weary flesh, mending strained bone.
>> No. 11584
[x] The terrible nightmare. Ravaging wisdom, sacred sight from Hel's shaded hall.

Might as well learn a bit of what is going on. And who wouldn't want to see Hel.
>> No. 11585
[x] The terrible nightmare. Ravaging wisdom, sacred sight from Hel's shaded hall.

I'm intrigued now.
>> No. 11586
[x] The terrible nightmare. Ravaging wisdom, sacred sight from Hel's shaded hall.
>> No. 11587
[ ] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.

Why is the nightmare going to necessarily be any more illuminating than any other dream?
>> No. 11601
[X] A deep, dreamless slumber. Healing calm, soothing weary flesh, mending strained bone.
>> No. 11611
[Z] A deep, dreamless slumber. Healing calm, soothing weary flesh, mending strained bone.
>> No. 11619
[x] The terrible nightmare. Ravaging wisdom, sacred sight from Hel's shaded hall.
>> No. 11631
[x] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.
>> No. 11634
[X] The terrible nightmare. Ravaging wisdom, sacred sight from Hel's shaded hall.
>> No. 11636
If my calculations are correct, nice dreams and nightmare are tied.

Therefore vote's open until tomorrow, while I'm off to sleep for now.
>> No. 11637
[x] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.

Changing vote.

I've just got to know what Sigurd finds pleasant.
>> No. 11639
>>11637

Probably killing bears and shit. Awesome stuff.
>> No. 11642
>>11639

And boobs and beer, right? But mostly boobs.
>> No. 11651
Then we have a winner. Writing commences as of now.
>> No. 11652
>>11651

hooray!
>> No. 11667
A thought comes to me.

Sigurd's Loki equivalent wants us to get Lævateinn, the Wounding Wand which can imperil gods and is used by Surtr himself during Ragnarok to cut Yggdrasil's roots if I'm not mistaken.
When fighting Yukari, Sigurd made Sólargeisli (brother blade to Surtr's own sword) which is also a god slaying blade.

Does anyone else wonder if we just helped Loki somehow? Like we have provided an alternative weapon?
>> No. 11670
[ ] Sweet, pleasant dreams. Joy and sensation gifted by merciful fate.


A warm, comfortable, place. As if you were lying down in the sun, the soft summer grass cushioning you and birdsong chirping in your ear. For a long, blessed moment you simply enjoy the sensation, then a gentle, southern breeze sweeps in from the lake, stirring you from your sleep with its cold touch. Drowsily you open you eyes and sit up, looking around you in wonder.

The lake stretches out before you, its glittering surface cutting through the green meadows. They stretch out as far as the eye can see, interrupted only by the hills and cliffs crisscrossing the landscape. The sight is beautiful, but somehow haunting, as if you had seen it many times before, yet never quite like this. There's almost something ghostly over the land, some strange glamour of the kind that gnomes and elves are known to cast.

You suddenly feel uneasy, almost spooked by the otherwordly aura. You feel as if you should be wary, as if something is not as it seems.

But why? You shouldn't be worried, for if there's any place where a son of the north can feel safe, it is on Thingvellir. Never would a man raise his sword in anger here, and no man need fear death or dishonour within sight of Lögberg. And what spirit or pixie would dare befoul this sacred place with their fey sorcery? It is known that Odin himself watches over the proceedings of the assembly, and none tempts Allfather's wrath willingly.

You shake off the foreboding, and filled by an odd sense of nostalgic happiness you start to make your way back to the great fair surrounding the Althing. Music and laughter greets you as you approach, sweeping away the last of your worries. Leave dreary doubts to old men and chieftains, far from joyous fair. Comfort and amusement are your lot this day, for rare is the day when one can enjoy them as freely as when the Lawspeaker seats himself on the imposing law-rock. Let him recite the laws, and let the chiefs and gothir debate until their beards turn gray, you have happier things to set your mind on.

You mingle with the bustling crowd as you enter the fairground, meeting peasants and warriors alike, fellow freemen of which you recognize but some, the majority are strange to you. But even though the familiar faces are few, you still feel that you've missed a gathering like this, and the company of other men of the north. Why you cannot say, but the Althing only comes once a year, so a man should enjoy it while he can.

As you stroll through the marketplace, merchants holler out, praising the quality of their wares and offering goods and sundries from faraway lands. Even though you have traveled further than most of your landsmen, having visited both majestic Miklagård and strange, secretive Särkland, you still have to admire the fine jewelry, the shimmering cloth and the sharp blades said to be forged by the sorcerers of the southern deserts. Rumour tells that they have enslaved the spirits of fire to create the glittering steel, or so the merchants of Särkland claim, despite the well-known fact that they are liars and cheats to a man.

But there are other sights, surely as wondrous as the goods from faraway lands. From here you can see several houses and many a large tent where some shrewd local merchant and his serving-girls are refreshing the parched throats of the crowd. Farther away an old storyteller seems to be displaying his craft, apparently with some success judging from the crowd around him. The old man's staff flourishes as he speaks, clear voice booming from underneath his wide hat.

A glance to the sky tells you that the day is still young. What should you do first?


[ ] You're getting thirsty. Perhaps you should visit the ale-house?

[ ] The old storyteller seems to draw quite a crowd. Go and listen to his tale.

[ ] Go back and take another look at the marketplace. Maybe you could find something you like?

[ ] Wander around and look for something else.
>> No. 11672
[x] The old storyteller seems to draw quite a crowd. Go and listen to his tale.
>> No. 11673
"Stay awhile, and listen!"

[x] The old storyteller seems to draw quite a crowd. Go and listen to his tale.
>> No. 11674
>>11673
Fuck you Deckard Cain.

[X] You're getting thirsty. Perhaps you should visit the ale-house?
>> No. 11675
[x] The old storyteller seems to draw quite a crowd. Go and listen to his tale.
>> No. 11679
[X] Wander around and look for something else.

aimless wandering gaems
>> No. 11683
[x] The old storyteller seems to draw quite a crowd. Go and listen to his tale.
>> No. 11687
[x] The old storyteller seems to draw quite a crowd. Go and listen to his tale.

Songweaver like story.
>> No. 11688
{X} The old storyteller seems to draw quite a crowd. Go and listen to his tale.

Wide hat and staff?
>> No. 11689
[x] The old storyteller seems to draw quite a crowd. Go and listen to his tale.
>> No. 11692
[x] The old storyteller seems to draw quite a crowd. Go and listen to his tale.
>> No. 11698
All right. Writing now.
>> No. 11703
>>11698

hooray!
>> No. 11712
[ ] The old storyteller seems to draw quite a crowd. Go and listen to his tale.


After a short consideration you decide to go listen to the storyteller. While it's true that many song-weavers are drawn to Thingvellir for fame and for fortune, most of them young and eager to find service in a jarl's household or at a king's court. But the old storytellers, they have lived and prospered for many years by their voice and wit alone, and it it well known that the wandering graybeards often weave tales with a skill that younger men can only dream of.

And when is well-told tale not welcome? Perhaps you could even pick up something new? You begin strolling towards the crowd, picking up fragments of his tale over the noise of the crowd. You recognize the named of several gods, of Odin, Loki and Freya. You reach the audience just as the old man makes a dramatic pause, then he lifts his voice and sings part of the High One's song while theatrically flourishing with his staff.

"Breaking bow, or flaring flame,
ravening wolf, or croaking raven,
routing swine, or rootless tree,
waxing wave, or seething cauldron,

flying arrows, or falling billow,
ice of a nighttime, coiling adder,
woman's bed-talk, or broken blade,
play of bears or a prince's child,

sickly calf or self-willed thrall,
witch's flattery, new-slain foe,
brother's slayer, though seen on the highway,
half burned house, or horse too swift --
be never so trustful as these to trust."

The graybeard falls silent, allowing his warning to sink in. From the context you suppose it refers to Loki, that old trickster. But strangely enough his tale continues on a very different note. The old one paints a picture of ice and wind, and of that unlikely hero, who has saved gods and men countless times.

"Then sly-one stole, as he well knew how,
into heart of ice-carved hall.
Wailing wind swept 'round its spires,
that home of Jötumheim's thurses.
Trymheim it was, that grim-named fortress.

Silent he went, as he well knew how,
sly giant's-child, changer of shape.
Into íce-flower's frost-wreathed heart,
fair-haired Idun to free.

Well he knew, wise trickster, where Skadi's sire had gone.
At sea he was, that mighty thurse, far from hearth and home.
Woe on hall without a warden, so trickster-god thought,
for always can the cunning man undo both lock and ward.

Searched he did, Laufay's son, searched as he went.
Fire burned in cold chamber, maiden's visage lit by light.
Fair Idun found, though stained with soot.

Runes he spoke, the magic-words, to shift her shape.
Oaken-fruit fair maid became, into sky-walker's talons.
Far he flew across the sky, Freya's gift gave falcon-wings.
Safe she was, precious goddess, apples of gold her gift to gods."


The old man pauses for a moment and looks aroung the crowd. With a shrewd smile he calls out to the crowd, and calls out in a complaining voice.

"This tale is fit for telling, but teller's throat is dry and sore. How can a man speak when his tongue shrivels in summer's heat?"

The crowd eurupts into an equally amused and impatient uproar until someone finally fetches a flagon of ale for the old one. With a few deep draughts he drains the ale and launches straight back into his tale, as if he had never stopped telling about the great giant's return.


"But over hill and frozen mountain to sly-god's ear it came,
roar of rage from thurse's throat, Thiazi's voice of wrath.

Mighty was that lord of giants, weaving spells he knew, old and strong.
Shape he shifted, that crafty Jötun, as eagle speeding after Laufey's son.

Long was the way, Asgard's golden halls far from giant's home.
Swift was sky-walker, yet eagle was swifter, with mighty wings and giant's strength.

But on high seat one-eyed god watched, from Hlidskjalf Odin's eye saw the flight,
plight of his blood-brother and Idun apple-keeper known to Asgard's lord.

Wise god rose, called on Aesir to bring wood and flame to high walls.
Ever cunning are Odin's schemes, though weary and weak he was.

Falcon flew, eagle chased. Over Asgard's walls Sly-God dived, through blue air and white cloud.
Ever strong Allfather's voice did command, to light fire and flame, let giant catch ruin in great talon.

Flame leaped as Aesir obeyed, fire's hand for eagle reached.
Burning bird thus fell, fire sending that old giant to his doom.
Wounded by flame, burned and blind, so the Aesir did slay Trymheim's lord, his fate well earned!

Loki's magic cast, shifted falcon to man, acorn to goddess. Again Idun's apples brought youth and power.
So was Asgard saved by trickster's hand, so Laufey's son his life did save, and lives of Asgard's gods."

The crowd shouts and claps as the old one completes his tale. You join your voice to the declaration of assent, for the tale was well told even though it was one well known. The old storyteller leans on his staff, his face obscured by the brim of his hat, speaking as soon as the commotion has died down.

"Old I am, and tiring is the telling of tales. This is all for today." A chorus of disappointed voices meet his proclamation, but it dies down quickly, for is there not an entire fair to visit? Amusement can be found anywhere, and storytellers are plentiful.

You, on the other hand, linger as the crowd disperses, for you have a feeling that it might be a good idea to speak to this graybeard. As you approach the old one turns to greet you, still leaning on his staff.

"Ho there youngster, have you business with an old man?"

"Aye, old strong-voice." You politely reply, "Though young, I am called song-smith and verse-weaver. Well was your tale crafted, and well-known that old singers hold much wisdom. Of that I would speak."

"You would steal my secrets, eh?" The old one replies with a wide grin. "Earn them you must. How about a little competition, hey?"

Oh? The greybeard certainly doesn't seem as tired as he claims if he can challenge men to competitions just like that.


[ ] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.

[ ] You don't feel like it. Excuse yourself and leave.
>> No. 11715
[ ] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.
>> No. 11716
[ ] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.
>> No. 11720
[x] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.
>> No. 11726
This guy looks legit.

[x] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.
>> No. 11731
[x] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.


Get 10 boar hearts. Shit bricks when you realize that some boars don't have hearts.
>> No. 11736
[x] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.
>> No. 11737
[x] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.
>> No. 11742
[x] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.

POEM FIGHT
>> No. 11750
[X] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.
>> No. 11768
Challenge tiem it is. Writing commences.
>> No. 11776
>>11768
Hooray!
>> No. 11793
Man, I'm tired. Off to sleep for now.

-----------------------

[ ] Step up to the challenge. It might even be fun.


"Challenge, old one? That I welcome, for only the one whose skill is tried can prove himself in the eyes of men and gods." Your reply is quick and confident, for matching your skill with the greybeard's wiles should be amusing. Few are the joys as profound as testing our own limits, and none that bring the same glory and honour as the worthy challenge.

"Good, young man, very good. Vidur was I named by the mother that bore me. Walked I have, and far through the lands of Midgard went my path. For no less than sixty winters have I wandered, yet in all my years, though many lands I have seen, never did I meet a man who could match my wit and none that knew the secrets and stories as I do. Do you think yourself better than them, young man?"

A match of knowledge and riddle? The old one has picked a fine subject for a challenge, and one you feel confident about engaging in.

"I am Sigurd, one who is called song-smith, one with voice and wit both strong and true. The secret words I know, the names of Asgard's lords and Mótsognir's children. Song of spells and runes of old are mine. Ask what you will, old one, and listen as I answer."

The old one merely smiles in reply, and then he spins his first question.

"Then answer me well, if your wisdom avails, if knowledge you hold, O singer.
Whence came the moon, over the world of men, that fares, and the flaming sun?"

His riddle is an easy one, well known to all who sing the old tales. A test then, one that you will pass easily.

"Mundilfari is he who begat the moon, and fathered the flaming sun.
The round of heaven each day they run, to tell the time for men."

The old man nods in reply confirming what you both know to be true.

"Next answer me well, if wise you are called, if you know it, young Sigurd.
Whence came the day, over mankind that fares, or night with the narrowing moon?"

"The father of day is Delling called, and the night was begotten by Nor;
New moon and old by the gods were fashioned to tell the time for men."

"Ths answer me well, if wisdom is yours, and knowledge that wisdom begets.
Whence did winter come, or the summer warm, first with the gracious gods?"

"Vindsval he was, who was winter's father, and Svosud summer begat."

The old one leans on his staff, and nods once.

"Three questions have I asked, now the turn for answers is mine."

You stop to think for a second, then decide to make a simple test of your own. With a clear voice you weave words into verse, posing the first of your three questions.

"First tell me Vidur, you who are wise, if age has gifted you knowledge.
Whence comes the wind that fares o'er the waves yet never itself is seen?

"In an eagle's guise at the end of heaven Hræsvelg sits, they say.
And from his wings does the wind come forth to move o'er the world of men"

The old one's answer is swift and flawless, as if he has answered this question a hundred times before. And he probably has as well. A second one then, to see if he knows the first tale.

"Second Vidur, if your wisdom is great, answer me well or not at all.
Whence did Aurgelmir come with the thurses' kin, long since, you old sage?"

"Down from Elivagar did venom drop, and waxed till a giant it was.
And so arose the giants' race, and thus so fierce are Jötnar found."

The second question, answered as quickly as the last. Perhaps you should try a different approach? This greybeard surely knows the names of gods, dwarves and elves alike, he must know all songs and sagas, the tales of Odin's wandering and of Thor's battles with giant-kin. If so, you have only one way of besting him, for cunning wit can not be matched with knowledge alone, and to some questions no man can know how to answer right.

"Far have I fared, much have I found, and I know the wisdom of gods.
What spake Odin himself in the ears of his son, ere in the bale-fire Balder burned?"

The old one remains silent, moments lenghtening into seconds, seconds into something near half a minute. You begin feeling a slight sense of satisfaction, even though the question itself was impossible to answer, for always is victory welcome. The cunning man may ask any question, and old Vidur has set the rules himself, thus bringing his own fall upon himself. Just as you're about to ask the old one if he can answer, the greybeard suddenly breaks the silence by choice.

"Cunning mind is hidden here, young wayfarer's wits sharp as steel-edged sword.
Yet old mind is sharper still, for answer I know and answer I give."

A chill runs down your spine as the old one answers, for if he knows the answer to this question then...

"Doom he spoke, old one-eye, doom to Vafthrudnir, that sage of Jötunheim."

The old one's answer snaps your racing mind back to the here and now. For a moment you draw a blank, your mind struggling to comprehend his reply. Then the dispersed pieces come together, and shock is replaced by understanding and a sense of grudging admiration. To pick out the answer for the question deemed impossible? No man could help being impressed by such wit.

"Aye, old wiseman, true you speak. For death came to that old giant, and Odin's whisper it brought." You admit, grudgingly giving the old one victory in this clash of minds.

"Ha, young boy!" The old one laughs. "Never have tricks such as those availed my opponents. Ever wise is age, and ever foolish is the wisdom of life's springtime. Now the turn is mine to ask, and answer you must."

The old one runs his hand through his long beard, and the feeling of unease returns again. You feel as if the situation is slightly... unreal, like a dream of vision. But before you can follow that thought the old man speaks, his voice suddenly more powerful and imposing, demanding your attention as he asks his question, his face still hidden by his wide hat.

"Then answer me well, if you can answer at all, if wisdom you do claim.
What do gracious gods fear, seated in their golden halls, and what is the terror in Odin's mind?"


[ ] Write-in only.
>> No. 11794
[x] "As men fear the twilight of their years, so gods fear the twilight of eons--yea, the inexorable fate of all things. Ragnarök."
>> No. 11795
[x] "As men fear the twilight of their years, so gods fear the twilight of eons--yea, the inexorable fate of all things. Ragnarök."
[x] Respond with: "If time truly brings with it the boon of wisdom, reveal to me the swiftness of a swallow as it soars, free of burden, through the boundless hall of the sky."
>> No. 11796
[x] "As men fear the twilight of their years, so gods fear the twilight of eons--yea, the inexorable fate of all things. Ragnarök."

Shiiiiiiit
>> No. 11802
[x] "As men fear the twilight of their years, so gods fear the twilight of eons--yea, the inexorable fate of all things. Ragnarök."

Ragna Rock
>> No. 11806
{~} "As men fear the twilight of their years, so gods fear the twilight of eons--yea, the inexorable fate of all things. Ragnarök."
>> No. 11808
[x] "As men fear the twilight of their years, so gods fear the twilight of eons--yea, the inexorable fate of all things. Ragnarök."
>> No. 11815
As this write-in looks good, I see no real point in delaying writing any further.

And thus the word-weaving commences.
>> No. 11820
>>11815

Hooray!
>> No. 11823
[ ] "As men fear the twilight of their years, so gods fear the twilight of eons--yea, the inexorable fate of all things. Ragnarök."


You stand as if transfixed on the spot, the world fading from your consciousness, as if it were a mere dissolving mirage, or a half-forgitten memory. Your mind feels dazed, and your thoughts run slow and shallow as you try to grasp the answer to old Vidur's question. But thought is a poor tool this day, instead instinct and inspiration claim your tongue, and without conscious effort you speak, giving true answer, naming the one fear of Odin Fimbultýr, the terror hiding in Hanged God's heart.

"As men fear the twilight of their years, so gods fear the twilight of eons--yea, the inexorable fate of all things. Ragnarök."

For a moment there is silence, then the old storyteller draws his cloak tighter around him, a cloak that he did not wear only moments ago, which is a fact that you believe should cause you distress. He taps his staff against the ground, the sound echoing back from all around you.

"Aye, young Sigurd. Gullinkambi's cry rouses wary watcher, Vindhlér hastens from Himinbjörg's halls. There shall sound great Gjallarhorn, as Surtur's marches from Muspelheim, giants of fire following his footsteps."

Vidur taps his staff again while impatiently pacing around. The old sage's voice slowly grows more animated, like a fire slowly growing from ember to inferno. You try to make reply, to answer or even to ask him what is going on, but your mind seems unable to form thoughts, overcome by a strange drowsiness that you cannot explain, and by a strange muddling of memory.

"Sailing ship, stormy sky, Naglfar rides netherworld's whispering winds. Hrym shall it steer, that terrible rime-thurse, as Jötunheim's lords man the oars, giants strong and brave, those scions of old Bergelmir."

The strong voice in your ears gives you a semblance of focus, steadying your world and guiding your mind back to understanding. The old storyteller fills your world, the tale taking your senses, as you hear the word, you see the mighty hull of Naglfar, dead men's fingernails and shadow-sorcery. You smell the burning flesh as Surtur brings ruin and death to men and gods, the acrid smoke stinging your tongue with its foul taste. You feel the death, the blades shattering bone and shearing flesh. The final war between Asgard and her enemies playing out before your eyes until the old sage's voice brings you back from the vision.

"And so is Odin's fear revealed, fate fixed for all time. Thus is great god's doom fortold, by Urd's weave fulfilled. Fettered is Asgard's lord, in ending without escape." Vidur's voice drops to an almost inaudible whisper as he speaks, his earlier passion slowly fading as the tale turns grimmer and grimmer. Fate inescapable, doom assured, death unyielding.

"How can he stand?" The storyteller asks even as the cries of ravens fill the air. "Who can stand against Surtur's flame? Who survives Jörmungandr's etter? Who is there among Aesir that can slay the hosts of Jötunheim?"

Twin black shadow-birds beat their mighty wings, diving into sight and circling around the old song-shaper. You feel faint already, as if something is pulling you away, as if you balance on the edge of dream and reality, and this otherworldly sight isn't helping your fragile focus at all. The old one stops his pacing and turns back towards you, his face still hidden by his hat. The coal-black ravens swoop down and land on his shoulders, their sharp voices echoing.

"Yet wise Warfather is a brave god, so the songs say. Battle he will, with wit and weapon, until Hróðvitnir's jaws him devour. And ever are Odin's schemes subtle."

His voice is powerful, authoritative and strong. The ravens caw loudly, as if declaring their assent. And then the old man, the one who named himself Vidur, finally lifts his head, revealing powerful features, hard and weather-bitten. His beard is grey, and so is the single, unblinking eye that pierces you with its gaze.

----------------------------------------

With a cry of distress you suddenly jerk awake, the vivid dream finally ending. Your breath is racing, and cold sweat covers your body. As your eyes slowly adjust to the sudden light cast by the fire, you desperately try to recall what just happened, to piece together the half-formed fragments of thought and memory before they are swept away.

What have you just witnessed? What have you dreamed, and what does it mean?

Still dizzy from your sudden awakening you look around you, and to your relief find nothing out of the ordinary. Your blade lies behind you, glowing subtly in the shadows. You can see your pack and bags on the other side of the cave. The old master, gracious host and helper, seems to be resting, kneeling in front of the fire, his eyes closed and his expression a serene mask. He doesn't appear to have noticed your cry, or much else for that matter, judging from his stillness. Is he even breathing?

You roll your shoulders to ease the stiffness in them while a dozen other muscles and sinews protest at the sudden movement. But even though you feel some small pinpricks of pain and discomfort your overall feeling is much better than it was before you fell asleep. Vitality fills your limbs and your mind is clear, ready to meet this day's challenges. Too long have you dallied, too long have the forest's witch and puppetmaker waited for you. Or that is what you would like to do, but your dream still haunts you. There must be a meaning behind it.


[ ] Time to leave.
-[ ] No time to waste. Try to wake the old master before you go though.
-[ ] You should make breakfast first. Perhaps the old master will awake while you eat?

[ ] Sit down and think about your dream first.
-[ ] Keep it a secret from the old master.
-[ ] Tell the old master if he asks about it.
-[ ] Try to wake Youki and tell him about your dream.
>> No. 11824
[x] Time to leave.
- [x] No time to waste. Try to wake the old master before you go though.

Let us be off. The final hour of gods and their schemes draws ever nearer.
>> No. 11825
[x] Sit down and think about your dream first.
-[x] Tell the old master when he wakes up.
>> No. 11828
[ ] Sit down and think about your dream first.
-[ ] Keep it a secret from the old master.
>> No. 11852
Well told, Norseman.

[x] Sit down and think about your dream first.
-[x] Tell the old master if he asks about it.

At first I was in favor of hurrying back to our befriended blonds, but then what? The dream implied that a battle is coming, and Sigurd will play his part in it. But we currently have no destination or sure path until the problem presents itself directly. That said, taking a moment for insight would be nice before we dash blindly forward.

I mean the only thing I can think of is talk to Moriya Goddesses (maybe the Tengu too) since they might have some insight about the upcoming war of gods, talk to Reimu (maybe not the best idea atm, but might be important), and talk to Remilia (join the 'I Have A Sacred Norse Weapon' Club.) Regardless, Sigurd should collect his thoughts before hearing Alice/Marisa's suggestion.
>> No. 11856
[x] Sit down and think about your dream first.
-[x] Tell the old master if he asks about it.
>> No. 11861
[x] Sit down and think about your dream first.
-[x] Tell the old master when he wakes up.

My instincts tell me that we have to warn the Scarlet sisters as soon as possible, Loki is likely going to try to get Lævateinn as soon as possible. He'll likely try to trick them but even a direct attack on Flandre wouldn't be impossible. If anyone could find a way to defeat Lævateinn it would be it's previous owner.
>> No. 11863
[X] Time to leave.
-[X] You should make breakfast first. Perhaps the old master will awake while you eat?

When was the last time we ate anyway? Hungry Viking is hungry.

And I'm thinking that this isn't as simple as Loki trying to take over Gensokyo. Didn't Norse say way back that Loki really wasn't that bad?

tl;dr What if Loki really is one of the good guys?
>> No. 11874
>>11863
Its possible that Loki isn't the antagonist. Much like how I view Yukari, he is supposed to be the necessary chaos which keeps an ordered society from becoming stagnant in a way. He's a selfish jerk, but usually pulled through to help the gods during important times. Christianity demonized him heavily as it spread to northern Europe.

However, he also wanted to burn Yukari and cause a Bad End. That worries me.
>> No. 11923
No real consensus, so I'll let the vote run until sometime tomorrow.

And I'll reveal that Loki is important to the story, just as he was important in a whole slew of Norse myths. Of course, to muddle the waters a bit, there were two different ways that Loki was important.
>> No. 11926
[x] Sit down and think about your dream first.
-[x] Tell the old master if he asks about it.

I've forgotten if I voted once already.

Whatever, voting again just to make sure.
>> No. 11950
[x] Sit down and think about your dream first.
-[x] Tell the old master if he asks about it.
>> No. 11980
Votes exist. Writing commences.
>> No. 11992
>>11980

Hooray!
>> No. 11995
Writing halted due to tired writefag. Will resume tomorrow morning.
>> No. 12012
Update is apparetly longer and harder to write than I expected. This might take a while.
>> No. 12124
Bad news guys, my computer is fucked.

So no updates for an unknown amount of time. We apologize for this inconvenience.
>> No. 12125
>> No. 12144
>>12124
We'll be here when you get back, waiting for more story.
>> No. 12190
Status update guys. New computer has been bought, so I am once again able to access the interwebs.

Bad stuff is that I'm unable to access the data on my old computer, which includes my notes and documents. In other words, updates are still not possible, but at least I've taken a step in the right direction.
>> No. 12207
>>12190

hooray!
>> No. 12282
We'll be waiting for you, youki...
>> No. 12417
Final status update guys. Old computer's hard drive apparently is unsalvageable.

This means that my notes have disappeared, which kinda sucks. On the other hand, it means that I have no choice but to start writing again. So next update will be finished on Sól's day, unless my apartment catches fire or something similar.
>> No. 12418
>>12417

hooray!
>> No. 12525
It seems as if the process of writing will need an hour or two of máni's day as well.

Anyway, update in two to three hours max. Selfsage for tardiness.
>> No. 12534
I update. Writing without my notes is hard. New laptop doesn't make it easier, what with overly sensitive touchpad.

----------------

[ ] Sit down and think about your dream first.
-[ ] Tell the old master if he asks about it.


You stretch your muscles again, banishing the remaining sleepiness and bringing clarity to your mind. With renewed focus comes eagerness and the need to leave, to do as honour demands and to follow heartfelt wish. What man can stand still when his comrades might be hurt or in danger? But even stronger than this compulsion, even though your blood burns with desire born from concern, you cannot rush blindly onwards. Not anymore, not when High One's visage and will have been shown to you.

You quickly rise from the floor, collecting your gold-blade before walking over to where you left your pack and bags last night. You seat yourself and watch the enchanted flames crackle for a minute or two, collecting your thoughts and pondering the dream and its message. Wisdom must be your guide now, and if necessary you must endure the consuming impatience.

Naturally, the first question that flowers from your mind's soil is whether your dream was something more. Your instinct tells you that is must be, for few of your dreams have ever been so vivid, and in none of them did you meet the one-eyed god. And did not the old one tell you that your dreams were shielded from harm and intrusion? From what you have seen of his power and of the magic of Gensokyo, only the most subtle or the most powerful beings could avoid or defeat the enchantments that Youki could invoke. In this realm, where spirits and demons walk, and where men wield the power of sorcery as if born to it, surely only the most cunning wizard, one who wields the greatest magic and power could have succeded. And who could this be, but the god of Runes himself, one-eyed Odin?

Your mind slowly mulls through your experience and the meaning hidden within, the divine message given to you by the grey god himself. Or rather, the possibility. In this land of sorcery, and indeed, among the gods and giants of your own homeland there must be a thousand tricksters and mages who could twist your dreams and lead you astray from the path of heroes. Perhaps you earlier conclusion was hasty, for did not the fire-magic of Farbauti's son defeat the lady of borders? Perhaps it was a matter of favourable circumstances, but this at least proves that the wizardry of Gensokyo can be defeated by the gods of the north. Could it be Loki lie-father that sent this dream, or perhaps some lesser god or giant seeking to influence your actions? Or maybe it is some spirit or sorcerer from Gensokyo that tries to play its tricks on your mind?

But this seems unlikely. Who in the nine worlds would dare? Who would brave the wrath of Warfather Odin, what fool would not fear the sting of Gungnir and the rage of Ygg when he rides to war. And ride he would, for High One is a vengeful and proud god, one who brooks no insolence, and anger such as his would shake the world tree itself if another would attempt to impersonate Bor's firstborn. Never would any spirit or giant from the north willingly face Odin, not even Loki shape-changer would take Allfather's visage for his own. And how could the gods and youkai of Gensokyo know the visage and manners of Odin himself?

For that matter, how many of Gensokyo's inhabitants know of you? This you cannot know, but surely not even this realm's magic and spells could save them from war-god's vengeance.

Thus reason has spoken, and this time reason agrees with instinct. The Allfather's will and words have been given to you, words of warning and doom. You try to remember the words he spoke, but the fragments you do recall were grim. A tale of fate, of inexorable, futile struggle against the will of Urd. A tale of courage, of determination in the face of death, and of unshaking courage. This is self-evident enough, for it is well known that Odin is brave, and never would he surrender to a foeman, be it Jötunheim's lords or the fates themselves.

But why would the wise god, he who sees all and knows the secrets of men and gods alike risk a battle with the guardians of Gensokyo, only to tell you

something that you already know? And when you think back, why did he tell you the old tale of Idun's apples? Perhaps he wished to tell that even the gods themselves can need a champion? Or perhaps, did he tell it because he wishes you to trust his blood-brother?

The implications of this thought are both subtle and sinister, for if Odin's will is done in this realm, if Allfather is seated upon Hlidskjalf and his eye turned on Gensokyo, does this not mean that his blood-brother is also doing his will? For sly and malicious he may be, but never has Laufey's taken up arms

against the lord of Asgard, and never has he openly defied Odin's will and royal commands. But if this is true, does it not mean that it is the will of Odin that the shadow-lady should die? Or does Loki play his own game?

You shake your head in frustration as the threads of possibility tangle themselves together. There seems to be only one way to reach the truth of this matter, and that would be to ask one of the gods involved. But how can you do that? Loki Laufeyson never told you how you could contact him, and Odin Veratýr

spoke in your dreams. No power of dream-walking do you hold, and neither can you manifest in roaring flames to speak. A faint sense of irritation enters your mind as you start to suspect that the only way to find satisfactory answers is to continue following the will of the Wizard of lies.

And finally, what of the old master? Should you tell him of your divine dream? Or should you keep it secret? The High One's song advises caution, wariness with the sharing of secrets. For each man who is wise and would wise be called must ask and answer aright. Let one know a secret, but never a second, if three a thousand shall know.

So was it spoken in ages past, and so it must be for all time. But neither can you lie to the one who has shown you such hospitality, for to do so would

shame you in Odin's eyes. Therefore, the only path you have left is silence, and to tell the truth of the old master asks you. Nothing else can be done, for wisdom and honour must both be observed.

You glance at the old master, still unmoving as he kneels before the fire. The strange, gray cloud of smoky substance flows in a vaguely circular orbit around him, moving like no mere cloud of smoke should be able to. Strange indeed. What could it be?


[ ] Take a closer look at the gray cloud. You have nothing better to do anyway.

[ ] Make breakfast and eat. The old one should awake soon, then you can leave.

[ ] Wake the old master. You have no time to waste.
>> No. 12536
[X] Wake the old master. You have no time to waste.

Enough time has been wasted ...
>> No. 12537
[ ] Wake the old master. You have no time to waste.
>> No. 12538
[X] Wake the old master. You have no time to waste.

Updates!
>> No. 12541
[x] Wake the old master. You have no time to waste.

>A tale of fate, of inexorable, futile struggle against the will of Urd.

Fate. Odin risked a lot just to warn us of the "Will of Urd". Urd, one of the three Norns, who decides the Fate of man. Who do we know that not only manipulates Fate and wields the spear of Odin? Gungnir and Lævateinn, no matter what path we take, we find ourselves headed towards the Scarlet sisters.
>> No. 12553
[ ] Wake the old master. You have no time to waste.
>> No. 12556
[X] Wake the old master. You have no time to waste.
>> No. 12559
>>12541
FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
I had not even made that comparison/connection.
>> No. 12609
>>12541
Exactly. SDM is the only clear next point in the story.

[x] Wake the old master. You have no time to waste.

We can eat at Marisa's or Alice's.
>> No. 12616
The writing, as they say, commences.
>> No. 12620
>>12616

Hooray!
>> No. 12655
So I kinda was planning to update, but then something came up. More specifically I spent yesterday drinking beer with a few friends, so little writing was accomplished.

Anyway, considering my schedule I probably won't have time to update until Máni's day.

We apologize for this inconvenience.
>> No. 12661
>>12655
I find myself unable to fault you when sweet sweet beer is involved.
>> No. 12761
Updates?
>> No. 12766
>>12661
You are weak.
>> No. 12767
>>12761

I have to apologize for the absurd slowness of my writing of late. Unfortunately IRL has been a quite effective hindrance to my literary efforts. A general spell of laziness right now doesn't help either.

But anyway, the update is slowly being written.
>> No. 12810
[ ] Wake the old master. You have no time to waste.


A better question is whether it matters what that strange blob could be. And to this question, the answer is much clearer. Now is not the time for idle curiosity, now is the time for action. You stand up and heft up the packs and bags,

strapping them to your back as best you can, and fashoining a makeshift scabbard for golden Sólargeisli out of a spare leather strap. You attempt to fasten the sword to your pack, for its length is making it impossible to carry at your

side. A few minutes are spent in vain attempts to find a comfortable place for the great gold-fang, but finally you give up and just strap it to your back. You will not be able to draw the sword quickly, but this will have to suffice.

The old master still seems to be resting though. But even so, and even it could be considered rude you have to wake him. Time is already marching, as it ever does, and you have precious little of it as it is.

"Youki?" You softly ask, unsure how you should try to wake the old master.

"You wish to leave." He immediately answers in a matter-of-fact tone, while slowly opening his eyes and looking up at you. The grey cloud swirls around him as he rises from the floor and turns towards you. The smoky blob finally

stops and hovers slightly behind his shoulder. For some reason the sight reminds you of Alice and Shanghai, even though the similarities end there. Curious.

While you wait the old one walks to a dark and secluded corner of the cave, and when he returns you immediately notice a pair of blades strapped to his waist, sticking out from beneath his long cloak. Youki turns towards the fire and

snaps his fingers, obviously wielding some sorcery as the flames immediately flicker and die.

The two of you walk out of the now darkened cave and out onto the windswept mountainside. The stars twinkle in the heavens, but the black of Hrímfaxi's mane is giving way in the eastern sky as Delling's son swiftly rides closer and

closer.

"You seem to be in high spirits, young one." The old one remarks while you silently gaze towards the gold-red haze spreading across the firmament. You don't know why, but something about the light and fire spreading across the sky

stirs up feelings within your heart, feelings of inspiring valour and eagerness. You feel as if you could conquer the world itself, and that neither Youkai or Jötnar can stand in your way this day.

Without knowing how, you find yourself holding out your golden blade towards the rising sun, and as if drunk on Kvasir's blood you slowly begin to speak verse and rhyme.

"Old master, here now is the same Sigurd whom was wretched and weary only yesternight.
Now he rises, his strength shown, his spirit soaring, seeing swift stride of Sól's shining steeds,
now Arvak and Alsvinn ascend above heaven's edge, hooves hammering the horizon."

The first rays of dawn shine down on you, the golden metal in your hand catching the light and casting dazzling showers of sunrays. Through the too-bright light you can see the air itself waver in a haze, as if above a great fire, and

your hand is starting to feel the slow increase in temperature around the blade of gold.

"Now he has care of the fire, red gold to ruin foeman's hall, his arm raising sun-shard into the sky.
Bright does it burn, like flames dancing in his heart, desire and destiny calling. Mirror of his heart, shining Sólargeisli.
Forth he must go, so soul and sword speak. Follow heroes' path, for oath and for friendship."

You turn your head towards the old one while lowering your blade slightly and extending your arm so the tip of your sword points at Sól's chariot itself.

"Old one, even though his body be broken, and even though his spirit be shattered, Odin's warriors do not fall nor fail in keeping nobly sworn oath. Failed have I once, but never more. This does honour and duty demand."

"Then I hope it shall be so." The old master gently answers while critically eyes the dazzling light shining in your hand.

"But first I would advise caution, young Sigurd. It is seldom safe to wield a sword imbued the spirit like the one of Muramasa. If you do not wish to experience failure, sheathe your sword, and do not draw it lightly."

You blink a few times at his words before you realize that you're still holding your sword high. As comprehension returns, you lower the blade and bind it back into its makeshift scabbard, the heat and light receding as you let go of

Sólargeisli's hilt. This blade's sorcery is strange indeed, and perhaps the old master is right that you should not unsheathe it carelessly. You turn back to Youki and ask him the same question you pondered a mere moment ago.

"Do your eyes see danger, wise one? Do you see doom bound in blade of gold?" The old one pauses for a moment before answering, slowly and deliberately choosing his words.

"The greatest blades hold souls of their own, young Sigurd. The one of that sword is fierce and eager to destroy, more like an Asura than a human spirit."

You ponder his words for a moment, and find them reasonable. For are not the ways of sorcery strange and unknown, and do not blades af magic carry dooms of their own, as told in saga and song? But even so, is it a bad thing for a

blade to imbue its master with noble rage?

"A blade of fury is no poor tool, old master. As the anger that burns in warrior's heart, that noble rage sent by Odin, so can the flames of sorcery be chanied by warrior's will and wisdom."

"Ah, this is also true." The old one answers, a hint of amusement entering his voice while he speaks. "A being that has realized its Bodhi-nature has nothing to fear from anger, but how can an enlightened one feel the emotion itself?"

You can find no reasonable answer to to old one's question, and instead decide to follow his lead and ponder his words as he heads down on a small path winding its way down the side of the mountain. For a moment you wonder why

he does not fly, for with power such as the old one wields he must certainly possess the ability to do so. But perhaps he has reasons for walking?

"Old master," You ask while you make your way down the mountain. "Do you say that the rage of Odin holds little power, that the warrior who dons his bear-skin wields not the same strength as the bladesman you call enlightened?"

"Why does a warrior need power, young one?" The old one enigmatically replies. "Unask your question, it leads you astray."

"Old one, you speak in riddles." You answer while allowing a slight hint of exasperation colour your voice.

"Then I shall have to show you what I mean one day. But for now I wonder what you intend to do first, Sigurd?" Youki asks as you approach the foot of the mountain. Grateful for a clear question you immediately reply to his question.

"Find my comrades, for to them do I owe a debt of honour and to them am I bound by friendship. Never could I turn my back on them."

"Commendable, young Sigurd. Compassion is always a virtue."

(cont.)
>> No. 12811
The old one stops as you leave the rocky mountain path and head out on the open plain beneath. The morning sun now shines warmly, and you look back at the mountain, for the first time truly appreciating its majesty and fantastic

size. It surely must be far greater than any of the stone-spires rising in your native north. To gaze at the mountain reaching the heavens, with the flaming runes still visible on the blue sky behind it, is truly a sight to take your breath

away.

"It is a beautiful sight, is it not?" Youki solemnly asks. You can only nod in reply. "A pity I shall not be here to see it for some time." The old master continues, immediately catching your attention. You turn to the old one, who meets

your gaze with his ice-blue, unflinching eyes.

"I believe I shall indeed accompany you for some time." The gentle words evoke both feelings of relief and a slight hint of dread in some far corner of your mind. You feel as if a threshold has been crossed, for good or for ill.

"If we are to leave there are three paths we can travel safely. The first leads to the home of my princess, the second to the shrine of Hakurei and the third back towards the residence of the lady Yakumo." The old master explains. "I

would suggest that we do not use the third route," he continues, "the lady Yakumo's servants might not take kindly to our presence, and the lady herself may also prove hostile."

"And if none of these paths is a good one, there always is the possibility to travel inwards through the borderlands, but then no one can know what place we will arrive at."

The old one looks back at you with a slight smile on his lips. "The choice is yours, young Sigurd."


[ ] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.

[ ] The wonderful shrine of paradise.

[ ] The village of phantasm and illusion.

[ ] It would be best to brave the border instead.
>> No. 12812
[x] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.

Youmu's going to flip.
>> No. 12815
[ ] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.
>> No. 12818
[x] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.
>> No. 12819
[x] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.

Sure, why not.
>> No. 12823
[x] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.

This should prove interesting.
>> No. 12824
[X] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.
>> No. 12825
[x] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.

Daddy's coming home.
>> No. 12829
[x] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.

Sure why not? Sounds like it will be a lively visit, given that Youmu isn't dead serious.
>> No. 12842
Hakurei Shrine: waylaid by Reimu, may have to pesky questions about having to go and wreck Remi's shit up. ...oh god, Sakuya's going to be FUN to deal with. Anyway, yeah, Reimu will smell the Norse gods and magic all over Sigurd. Good times.
And Mima will likely jump him.

Hakugyokurou: Youki, you got some splainin' to do!

Mayohiga: No.

Borderlands: How delightfully vague and terrifying!


[x] The wonderful shrine of paradise.
>> No. 12844
What the fuck? Do the names "Alice" and "Marisa" ring any bells for you nitwits?

[x] The wonderful shrine of paradise.
>> No. 12847
[x] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.
>>12844
They can be found.
>> No. 12848
[x] The wonderful shrine of paradise.
>> No. 12874
Ah, Hakugyokuro? I'll say that the choice is very... interesting. Or at least it has the potential to become so.

Anyway, writing now. Will be finished tomorrow, most probably.
>> No. 12893
>>12874
Hooray!
>> No. 12911
http://www.nuklearpower.com/daily.php?date=090226

Saw this and thought of you, Norseman. The contest, that is.
>> No. 12934
[ ] The ghostly garden of cherry blossoms.


Somehow you feel as if this choice is too easy. As the old master said, the hall of Yakumo is not one that would welcome you, even though you would not mind meeting the mistress of borders again. Likewise the shrine of Hakurei would only greet you with hostility, if Marisa's earlier words were accurate. The divine maiden of this realm would surely prove to be a most formidable, if not insurmountable, foeman, and even though it stings your pride, you can no longer disregard the limits of your power and the might of Gensokyo's sorceressess. And neither can you afford further gambles, for they have led you astray from your path as surely as the schemes of the wiliest foeman, so venturing into the borderlands is another path closed to you.

Thus three truths twist the trail, leaving little choice as to which way the warrior will walk. The garden of cherry blossoms, and the hall of the old master's princess is the choice you must pick, and the choice that you suspect that the old one has picked for you even before he gave you the choices. You turn your gaze upon Youki and watch him for a few moments, searching for signs of duplicity or deceit, but as usual his face reveals little. And as you have no real reason to distrust him, you have to accept.

"Then I choose the garden of spirits, old master, though the hall of blademaster's mistress is strange to song-smith."

The old master smiles again, and turns away from you. With his back turned he speaks to you, and you can feel a strange power filling the air, flickering at the edge of your senses

"Very well, young Sigurd. If this is your choice, we shall visit the home of princess Yuyuko." The old master softly starts chanting a strange verse, and the sorcery sings around him, weaving its voice into his in perfect harmony, softly and subtly as no other sound you have heard, not even the chants of the greek monks of Miklagård. The world itself seems to bend to Youki's will, opening a strange path in front of you, one that you cannot recognize, but at the same time, one that feels familiar as well.

Youki leads you down the shifting trail, the path glittering like the flowing ice of Élivágar, that streaming ice-wave running through the realms of mist. Time also flows strangely, twisting itself into strange shapes and forms, ones that you cannot recognize. Even straining your senses your sight remains dimmed, and even your mind slowly loses its clarity and its concept of time and space. The only fixed point that remains is the old one, solid like nothing else in this flowing world. With determination bordering on the insane you follow him step by step, slowly working your way towards the end of this bizarre path.

Finally the two of you reach the end of the dark road, entering a small, secluded grove of strange trees with leaves of a pink colour. Fascinated by these strange plants, you gaze around you, taking in the beauty of the blooming trees and their strange, enchanting leaves. Truly, even if you trusted the word of the old master as much as the wise man trusts the oath of Loki, you cannot doubt that this strange place must be a land supernatural, a realm of ghosts and spirits in truth, for what other land could hold such unnatural scenery?

"Old one, in truth are we in strange realm. Shaped the world was, Bor's sons carved it from Ymir's flesh, yet no land such as this could Odin and his brothers have crafted. Wondrous world, wrought not by gods on high, world of men only one shadow in garden of ghosts."

"Thank you Sigurd." The old blademaster gently answers. "I would offer to show you the sights of Hakygyokuro, but I know that you are impatient to find your friends. And even though patience is a virtue, I understand your feelings."

"Aye, O master of mind and blade, this and this alone be my goal, this and no other." You answer, the impatience suddenly returning to your mind.

The old master merely smiles in reply. The air itself seems to bend around him, and suddenly he reaches out and draws out a large straw hat from thin air. After he draws down the headgear so it almost conceals his face, he repeats the summoning by picking a pair of blades from thin air and tucking them into his belt. You flinch slightly at this display of supernatural power, but quickly compose yourself. Have you not seen more impressive sorcery already? But even so, you still feel slightly overwhelmed by the ease that the inhabitants of this realm wield the power of magic.

"Then I shall show you the way out, young Sigurd." The old one answers. After a moment he seems to notice your slightly awed expression, and with an enigmatic smile he continues speaking.

"As you must have concluded, I am not a normal human," the old one says with dry understatement, "and I would ask you to leave this fact unmentioned to the people we may meet."

The old master's words are reasonable, but you can't help but to wonder what the old one means by 'normal human'. But if he wishes to reveal this to you, he surely will tell. Otherwise, it it of little concern to you, for it is not the nature of a man that grants him his honour, but his deeds.

"And I would ask you another favour, young Sigurd." The old master continues, "We may meet a young woman with white hair, and if we do I would like to speak with her, if you have no objections."

You glance at the old one, searching for some kind of hint to unravel the mystery of his thoughts, but you can find no clue in his serene features. And with no reason to refuse, you must give answer, must give him your approval.

"Your will, O wise master, shall be mine. By Odin's name I promise this."

The old master nods in reply, and the two of you continue your trek through the forest of cherry trees. It feels strangely calming to walk through these unearthly woods, as if something in the very air serves to soothe your spirit. After a few minutes you leave the forest itself and find yourself standing in a garden, for even though the trees still surround you they are no longer growing wild. Long, straight rows of blossoming cherry trees stretch out, and in the distance, in between the rows of trees, you can see a large, elegant mansion. Perhaps this is the hall of Youki's princess? It is hard to judge its size from here, but surely it must be a dwelling fit for kings.

But even this massive building is dwarfed by a single tree towering far, far above the lesser treetops. Unlike all others, this tree does not blossom, no leaf adorns the branches of this world-tree. Suddenly you recognize this brother of Ygg's steed, for this tree must be the one you glimpsed in a vision yesternight. You feel as if it must have a greater significance.

But as you gaze up at the pitch-black sky you think you can make out something moving far above. It flits around the sky, far faster than anything should be able to. For a second time you feel as if this thing is important, even though you have no idea what it is.

You stop and turn to the old master, intending to point out this strange thing, but it seems as if he has already seen it.

"Ah, it seems as if we have been spotted." The old master says, and strangely enough you can hear a hint of pride in his voice. "If you would be kind to leave this matter to me, I would be grateful. Perhaps you could take a stroll through the garden?" The old master continues, the tone of his voice revealing that his suggestion may be slightly more than a mere request. All you can determine right now is that the speck in the sky seems to be approaching fast, and any decision you make must be swift. Shall you leave, or shall you stay?


[ ] Leave and walk towards the great mansion.

[ ] Leave and walk towards the enormous tree.

[ ] Leave and try to find the exit of the garden.

[ ] Leave and wander around the garden for a while

[ ] Insist on staying. You want to see this.
>> No. 12935
>>12911

Well, the heart is there, but then again Valkyrie Profile is a horrible, horrible travesty and perhaps the worst butchering of Norse mythology that I've ever seen.

I mean, seriously, they turned Freyr into a little girl. What kind of ignorant moron would do that?
>> No. 12936
[X] Leave and wander around the garden for a while

Your will be mine, old one.
>> No. 12938
[x] Leave and walk towards the enormous tree.
>> No. 12939
[x] Leave and wander around the garden for a while
>> No. 12941
I want to see this, but...

[x] Leave and wander around the garden for a while.
>> No. 12942
[x] Leave and wander around the garden for a while.
>> No. 12943
[ ] Leave and wander around the garden for a while
[ ] Inventory check. Examine your new sword.
>> No. 12944
[ ] Insist on staying. You want to see this.

Let's see how the softest measures up.
>> No. 12946
I really really want to hear this, but I respect Youki.

[x] Leave and wander around the garden for a while
>> No. 12953
[x] Leave and walk towards the enormous tree.

Sigurd imagining just how big a longboat the Saigyou Ayakashi would make.
>> No. 12955
>>12934
[X] Leave and walk towards the enormous tree.
>> No. 12971
>>12935
No, that was acceptable.

What was unacceptable was A MOTHERFUCKING "YAMATO-STYLE RESTAURANT."
EWGAWROEVGKWR

REGAWEOJGJAWO

REAWGHYSKETOOPEAJRTOAJEW#JRGVpejb

FUCK

IT DOES NOT BELONG THERE.

THEY NEVER EVEN
THERE WAS NO WAY FOR
HOW COULD THEY THINK

BY THE NAME OF UNHOLY FUCK, I WANTED TO KILL SOMEONE.
>> No. 12976
>>12971

No, no, no. Just look at this shit. I mean, just look at what those dirty elevens did and dared call norse mythology.

I really wouldn't be this upset if they'd pulled a genderswap on somebody minor, but the goddamn god of fertility?

No sir, that doesn't fly.


And writing is commencing about now.
>> No. 12983
>>12976
They have done many things.
>> No. 12987
>>12983

Lol? C'mon, Gilgamesh doens't look so bad.
>> No. 12990
>>12983

Is... Isn't that one from Monty Python?
>> No. 12992
>>12990

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJWHDdhq1CI&feature=related

I salute you, noble Anonymous.
>> No. 13026
>>12976
That's nothing.
Cats are fine too, /b/ was never good, Boku is always fappable, and genderswap is always acceptable.

These are constants.

Implying there was a Japanese restaurant in that area at all, even way back when, is just so fucking monumentally stupid and arrogant that someone deserves a beating.
>> No. 13053
>>13026
sup
>> No. 13115
Updates?
>> No. 13145
>>13115

Today's Saint Patrick's Day, so no.

Tomorrow, on the other hand, will bring glorious updates.
>> No. 13171
>>13145

I see Harker slipped you some liejuice.

Tell me, how does it taste?
>> No. 13175
>>13171

Like sweet tears of rage and despair.


Alas I have once again underestimated RL, that fiercest of foemen. He steals away the very time of a man, and ever brings the hour of his doom closer.

So updates sometime. Perhaps today, perhaps máni's day. I no longer know.
>> No. 13310
>>13175
>> No. 13347
Updates?
>> No. 13359
Truly sorry that this has taken this long. RL has pretty much been killing me for the past two weeks, so I've either had no time to write, or I've been too tired to do so.

----------------------

[ ] Leave and wander around the garden for a while


You look at the old one again, and see that he is changed. It is subtle, but no longer is his face a mask of peace, no longer is his bearing guarded and subtle. He stands there with eyes like ice-bound steel, pride and a hidden eagerness radiating from him as his blade flies from its sheath and whistles through the air. You realize that whatever the old master expects to happen must be truly important for him to let his emotions slip through like this. And is not the old one's will yours, by your word and promise?

If he chooses to face this challenge alone it would be improper to let your curiosity stand in the way of his wish. Can you not recognize the old master's feelings, and have you not yourself felt them, just as all of Odin's chosen have?

The call of battle echoes, and the warrior answers, as he must.

You nod silently and walk away into the gharden of ghosts, never looking back. After a few minutes the sharp clash of steel on steel shatters the serene silence behind you, but you pay no attention to the sounds of combat. Whoever he is facing, whether it be faithful friend of fierce foeman, the old master's fate is in the hands of Odin now. Instead you walk among the long, perfectly straight rows of cherry trees, marveling at the exquisite sights. You have never seen leaves such as these, nor the trees that bear them. Smoky wisps drift through the treetops, and a strange haze hangs in the air, somehow obscuring the far end of the alleys yet it is not impeding your vision at shorter distances.

Compelled by your curiosity you peer up into the sky and carefully search for any glimpses of light, but find no trace of Sol or Máni, nor of the stars above, no sign of the Muspel-flames fixed in the heavens, nor of Thiazi's eyes or any other work of the gods, the deeds they performed in ages past to give light to Midgard. Perhaps then, you have truly traveled beyond Midgard, or even beyond the nine worlds resting upon and around Yggdrasil. This place even seems to have its own world tree, for as you look at the great wood-pillar you cannot even make out its top, even though its branches are bare and without blossoms, unlike all other trees in this garden.

With this insight your suspicions begin to grow while you slowly stroll between the trees. For this land resembles none of the nine worlds, not high Asgard, Odin's domain, nor vast Vanaheim, realm of Njord's kin. Shining Alfheim is it not, nor its dark mirror deep under the roots of mountains, shaded Svartalfheim. Midgard man-home is distant from this land, as is Nidavellir, that deep dwarf-realm, and the stony marches of Jötunheim. Flames schorch not the sky, and ice and rime fill not the earth, bearing witness that this land is neither molten Muspelheim nor mist-shrouded Niefelheim.

And even though this land surely cannot be the last of the nine realms, not judging from appearance, nor by its description in legend and story, you feel as if you know that this place, or at least its nature, is the same.

No ravens fly in its skies, no cries of pain fill the air. Spears clash not, and the ground is unstained by the blood of the fallen, but even if it is shorn of the signs and marks all men recognize, you can still feel death seeping from the very soil of this land.

And mixed with the smell of grandmother death you sense a deep hunger, one with the greed of Nidavellir's dwarves, but somehow distant, like the warmth of the sun hidden behind a cloud in the heavens. Like the domain of Loki's daughter it is, a realm of dead like the bitter halls of Hel. The smell of the grave clings to your nostrils as you continue your walk, now warier and more guarded. Ever uneasy must a man be when he walks among the dead, for the grave is ever jealous of them who it does not yet own.

You stop for a moment and look around you, noticing that your path has brought you closer to the giant tree, now towering above you, and nearly filling your field of vision. At this close distance you notice that the white-grey wisps floating through the air never stray close to the branches of the world-tree, nor does any other tree grow near it. It is subtle, but you again feel the hunger lurking beneath the harmless appearance. But you also feel something drawing you towards this great tree, something mysterious and inexplicable

You shake off the feeling and take another look around you. To your left the mansion towers above the treetops, its architecture truly strange to your eyes. It is not how you imagined the halls of the dead would look, but it it certainly more pleasing than how your mind conjures the image of the halls of Hel. Countless of the white clouds swirl around and above the mansion. Perhaps the spirits of the dead, or some other supernatural being?

Looking in the other direction you see nothing but trees and the haze in the distance. Truly strange, but in any case you have no reason to expect finding anything of interest that way. After a few minutes of scrutinizing your surroundings you begin to feel a mounting impatience. The old master bade you to walk and watch the garden, but did not reveal when his battle would end, not how you can find him when it does. Or perhaps he can find you?

Whatever the case may be, you could do many things. Perhaps you should visit one of the landmarks, and perhaps you could even find a way out of this ghostly realm. Or perhaps patience is a virtue after all? Or perhaps, in this realm closer to the supernatural, you could invoke guidance from the gods on high?


[ ] Visit the mansion.

[ ] Approach the tree.

[ ] Sit down and wait for the old master.

[ ] Call to the gods for aid.

[ ] Do something else?
>> No. 13361
>>13359
[X] Approach the tree.

>It is subtle, but you again feel the hunger lurking beneath the harmless appearance. But you also feel something drawing you towards this great tree, something mysterious and inexplicable
This Yggdrasil Saigyou Ayakashi calls to me.
>> No. 13362
[ ] Visit the mansion.

In the land of the dead, it's best not to heed strange callings. Let's check out the mansion and find Yuyu.
>> No. 13363
[x] Visit the mansion.
>> No. 13365
[ ] Visit the mansion.
>> No. 13366
[x] Visit the mansion.

Let's visit Yukari's friend.
>> No. 13368
[x] Visit the mansion.
>> No. 13370
[x] Visit the Mansion

>>13366
FFFFFFFFFFFF
>> No. 13371
[X] Sit down and wait for the old master.

It's only polite.
>> No. 13373
Very well then, I am writing.
>> No. 13378
>>13373
Hooray!
>> No. 13382
[ ] Visit the mansion.


You cast another suspicious glance towards the giant tree. You do not like its call, as wisdom would bid you, for the lands of the dead are never hospitable to the ones still drawing breath. And neither is there any sense in invoking the gods or waiting around, for fickle are the lords of Asgard, and no man has ever gained anything by doing nothing. The mansion, then. Perhaps you can ask for directions there? And would it not be reasonable to expect the old master to search for you there?

But above all you do not trust Yggdrasil's brother, though you know not why.

"Uneasy, unearthly underworld makes a man." You mutter as you head off, sending a silent prayer to the Allfather while you do so.

The path to the mansion is longer that you had expected, and it takes several minutes before you enter a large square in front of what appears to be the main door. Looking around you, you can see a long, paved road leading off into the distance as well as many smaller paths leading off into the gardens. The air above you is thick with grey-white clouds floating around in what appears to be random patterns.

You disregard the apparitions and enter the great mansion unchallenged. The first room you enter is a spacious hall, surely large enough to comfortably house a hundred men. It is sparsely decorated, but you can see the excellent quality of the craftsmanship nonetheless. The roof is high, and the beams fit together perfectly, an impressive feat indeed. A few strange paintings and runes adorn the walls, otherwise the hall itself is bare.

Looking around you you see many corridors head off from the main hall, presenting you with a dilemma. You would have expected many servants from a mansion this size, and surely many guards and hirdmen to watch the gates, yet it seems almost deserted. What kind of princess could live here if she has no servants or watchmen? Strange indeed.

After exploring the main hall, you wonder which corridor you should try next. There seems to be little difference, except that you think you can hear a sound from one of the hallways. Lacking any better direction you decide to follow the sound, and head down the corridor, passing many doors while following the noise. Louder and louder it grows, until you can clearly make out soft crying. You cautiously approach the source of the sound, an open door to your left, and look inside.

The room is quite large, but you notice little else as you attention is taken by a very strange girl seated at a low table. Even though she is obviously crying you can sense something about her, something more than a mere girl. Perhaps this is the princess that Youki spoke of?

"Waaaah, Youmuuu!" The strange girl suddenly cries while sobbing in her sleeve "Youmu, I'm hungry..."

You look at this peculiar woman, her hair an unearthly pink colour matching that of the cherry blossoms outside. Her dress is of a strange design, long-sleeved and of a light blue colour resembling the sky on a fine summer day. On her head is an odd hat of the same sky-blue hue, an odd symbol adorning it. Slightly unsure how you should handle this situation you remain silent until the girl looks up and notices you.

"Huh, who are you?" The girl exclaims, a surprised look entering her features. She looks at you with curious eyes while wiping her cheeks with her long sleeves. For a few seconds you stare at each other, then she seems to overcome her surprise and almost jumps up to greet you.

"Oh, but where are my manners?" The girl says while blushing slightly. "I'm Yuyuko Saigyouji, and this my house." She cheerfully continues with her introduction. A single, violet butterfly flutters down and land on her shoulder as her speech shifts to a formal tone. "Please, sir, I invite you to enter."

Impressed by her courteous words you reply in kind, speaking in a deep voice as you recite your greeting, for in every hall that welcomes visitors the noble guest must follow High One's law.

"Now she is greeted, ghost-garden's lady.
Now he speaks, he who weaves words,
he who would enter greets his hostess,
speaks of name and noble deeds.

Mine many names are,
Sigurd Song-Smith,
Sigurd Demonslayer
Sigurd son of Odin."

"Oh..." The girl answers, apparently a bit confused by your verbose presentation. "That's a lot of names." She frowns slightly, then smiles widely. "Mind if I just call you Sigurd?"

"Aye, lady Yuyuko. Such is my name." You answer. Yuyuko nods once and waves for you to enter.

As you take a step into the room, you're suddenly gripped by a feeling of vertigo. It is followed by a odd sensation, as some sorcery has caused time itself to slow into a crawl, a feeling you now recognize.

"You fool," the sharp voice of Laufey's son hisses in your ear, confirming your expectation. "Do not trust that woman, she is one of the border spirit's friends. Like my daughter she steals the lives of men, and you are too important to die in this place."

You try to answer, to demand explanations from the trickster god, but your can find no voice to employ. Loki cuts off your efforts with another sharp rebuke.

"No, mortal, we have no time for foolish chatter, for I have already risked too much. Flee this place, or all our plans are in peril."

As suddenly as it slowed, time returns to its proper pace, causing you to stumble slightly. Cold sweat runs down your brow as you regain your balance, and your mind is reeling from time's sudden shift from slow to swift.

"Is something wrong, Sigurd?" Yuyuko asks, with a slightly confused look on her face. You try to regain your composure, but the worm of suspicion gnawing in your mind makes this difficult. What should you do?


[ ] Liefather's words mean nothing. Accept her invitation anyway.

[ ] Caution is wise. Excuse yourself and leave.

[ ] Do something else
>> No. 13383
[ ] Liefather's words mean nothing. Accept her invitation anyway.

Liefather is eeeevil
>> No. 13384
>>13382
[X] Liefather's words mean nothing. Accept her invitation anyway.

Sorry Scar-lip, but there's too much stacked against you this time: your advice has caused a little too much trauma already, Sigurd agreed to retrieve Flandre's boom-stick (not abide by some new plan all of a sudden), we've promised Yukari we're not going to fuck up Gensokyo by letting foreign gods have too much sway, and Youki is going to vivisect us if we make any motions to upset the balance.
>> No. 13385
[x] Liefather's words mean nothing. Accept her invitation anyway.
>> No. 13386
[X] Liefather's words mean nothing. Accept her invitation anyway.
>> No. 13390
[x] "Forgive me, Lady of this great hall, for I intruded upon your home uninvited. It would be a pleasure and honor to accompany you, yet I am troubled. For I sense something beyond an otherworldly beauty from you, and it worries me for I am but a mortal. Friend of the wise blademaster Youki I am, and soon must we continue on with our journey. Still a fair maiden such as yourself should never set unaccompanied, and I ask only for a binding word of safe passage for myself."

Needs Norse lore though. Basically "I'm with Youki. I'd love to join you, but please don't kill me."
>> No. 13392
[x] "Forgive me, Lady of this great hall, for I intruded upon your home uninvited. It would be a pleasure and honor to accompany you, yet I am troubled. For I sense something beyond an otherworldly beauty from you, and it worries me for I am but a mortal. Friend of the wise blademaster Youki I am, and soon must we continue on with our journey. Still a fair maiden such as yourself should never set unaccompanied, and I ask only for a binding word of safe passage for myself."
>> No. 13393
[x] "Forgive me, Lady of this great hall, for I intruded upon your home uninvited. It would be a pleasure and honor to accompany you, yet I am troubled. For I sense something beyond an otherworldly beauty from you, and it worries me for I am but a mortal. Friend of the wise blademaster Youki I am, and soon must we continue on with our journey. Still a fair maiden such as yourself should never set unaccompanied, and I ask only for a binding word of safe passage for myself."
>> No. 13394
[x] Liefather's words mean nothing. Accept her invitation anyway.

>>13390
>>13392
>>13393

This may be the lingering effects of MiG, but I don't think it would be a good idea to let on that we know Youki.
>> No. 13395
Oh yeah, new thread is needed.
>> No. 13396
>>13394
I think Youki would have warned us if it was a problem.
>> No. 13399
[x] "Forgive me, Lady of this great hall, for I intruded upon your home uninvited. It would be a pleasure and honor to accompany you, yet I am troubled. For I sense something beyond an otherworldly beauty from you, and it worries me for I am but a mortal. Friend of the wise blademaster Youki I am, and soon must we continue on with our journey. Still a fair maiden such as yourself should never set unaccompanied, and I ask only for a binding word of safe passage for myself."
>> No. 13400
Well we are all agreeing to stay with Yuyuko. It is up to Norseman and his own well worded lore weaving to determine what is appropriate for the next scene.
>> No. 13403
[x] "Forgive me, Lady of this great hall, for I intruded upon your home uninvited. It would be a pleasure and honor to accompany you, yet I am troubled. For I sense something beyond an otherworldly beauty from you, and it worries me for I am but a mortal. Friend of the wise blademaster Youki I am, and soon must we continue on with our journey. Still a fair maiden such as yourself should never set unaccompanied, and I ask only for a binding word of safe passage for myself."

Perfect.
>> No. 13409
Hm, votes seem to be tied.

I'll wait for a while and see if any more are inbound.
>> No. 13410
Oh, and I can reveal that the results of the two leading options will be wildly different, so give this some thought.
>> No. 13413
>>13410
FFFFFFFFFFFF
Anyone want to think about this and toss out some theories?
>> No. 13414
>>13394
You mean Flight?
>> No. 13415
Well, due to RL stuff I probably won't have time to write today anyway, so vote's open until sometime tomorrow.
>> No. 13423
[x] "Forgive me, Lady of this great hall, for I intruded upon your home uninvited. It would be a pleasure and honor to accompany you, yet I am troubled. For I sense something beyond an otherworldly beauty from you, and it worries me for I am but a mortal. Friend of the wise blademaster Youki I am, and soon must we continue on with our journey. Still a fair maiden such as yourself should never set unaccompanied, and I ask only for a binding word of safe passage for myself."
>> No. 13439
Votes are not tied anymore, so I write.

New thread sometime soon-ish.
>> No. 13446
>>13439

hooray!