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File 122531967641.jpg - (65.12KB, 518x800, 120744371934.jpg) [iqdb]
9221 No. 9221
This has taken far too long. I offer a wall as an apology

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

[ ] Regardless of your enmity, Yukari was a worthy opponent. You must at least show her the respect that is due to the valiant dead.


You're just too tired right now. You feel like telling Marisa to go away, or simply to collapse on the ground. Your head sinks as the twin demands of worry and weariness exact their price from your tired limbs.

Yet not even your state of exhaustion can make you ignore the sudden irritation of small but insistent prodding to the side of your head. You turn to confront it, and are met with the perfetly sculpted head of Shanghai. The red-dressed doll regards you with concern evident from her elaborately painted features. She lands on your shoulder, reaches up and pats your head, as if comforting a child. Somehow this sensation feels extremely relaxing, awakening a soft, warm feeling within your chest.

And where there is a doll, there must be a master. Out of the corner of your eye you see the blue-red puppetmaker kneeling down beside you.

"Hello Sigurd, nice to see you again." You turn your head to meet Alice's warm smile. Her cheerful expression is quickly replaced by a concerned look as she sees your tired expression and ashen features. The dollmaker sighs softly and pulls a small napkin out of some hidden pocket in her dress.

"You look terrible though." She shakes her head as she starts wiping the grime, soot and ash off your face. You feel slightly taken aback by this sudden gesture of kindness. Maybe you have become too used to dark and intense emotions of late? In comparison this is but a small thing, yet you feel grateful from the depths of your heart.

"Aye, fair dollmaker. Fierce was the clash-of-spears, deadly the dance of spells." You calmly speak in reply. "Fire flared, stars sparkled this day. Steel and sorcery clashed, wielded by worthy warriors, we who fought beneath the gaze of Odin." Alice smiles slightly at your words and tucks away the napkin into her dress. The dollmaker eyes you critically for a few seconds, then she sighs softly, produces a clean napkin and continues making you slightly more presentable.

"You really must take better care of yourself. And what happened to your shirt? Oh, I should have known better than to leave you with Marisa." Alice shakes her head as she admonishes you, not entirely unlike a stern grandmother.

In response to this thinly veiled accusation Marisa mutters something you can't quite make out and makes a rude gesture behind the dollmaker's back.

"Hey, where did Yukari end up anyway? Did she run off -ze?" The black-white turns her attention towards your immediate surroundings, scans the air for a while and then turns her gaze towards the ground. She frowns and blinks for a few moments, then she yells out in surprise.

"Whoa -ze!" Marisa's eyes widen as she recognizes the body lying on the ground. Alice frowns slightly at Marisa's reaction and glances over to see what the black-white one has seen. For a second she seems to overlook the ash-covered body, then all colour drains from her face. Shanghai jumps back from your shoulder, trying to cover her shocked expression with her small hands.

"S-Sigurd... did you..." There is a hint of wariness in Alice's sky-blue eyes as she regards you. You glance up at Marisa who has a mixture of shock and awe glittering in her eyes as her gaze moves back and forth between you and Yukari's still form.

"Aye, fair Alice. With my own hands I laid her low, with strenght of arm and the favour of the gods." Horrified silence follows your words, utter disbelief flashing over the features of both girls.

"Are you surprised, O princess of puppets? Have his feats stunned you to silence, O mistress of magic?" You address the two magicians, not quite able to keep a hint of pride from entering your voice. Serves them right for underestimating the power of your sinews and steel.

Alice blushes slightly and gives you an apologetic look. "I'm sorry, it's just that I didn't expect you to defeat Yukari on your own. She is... well she is pretty much on the level of a god." The dollmaker turns away her eyes as she speaks, obviously still a bit shocked by your feat. A strange feeling grips you as you consider her words and reaction.

(cont.)
Expand all images
>> No. 9222
For something that Alice said does resonate with your own thoughts. Yukari did command fantastic power, but that's not what was special about her. Any fool can wield power, though his heart is black and false. Regardless of your enmity, this was not the case with Yukari.

Did she not resist the might of a god? Did she not battle to the last, fighting beyond reason and beyond hope? The trickster's words be damned, you killed the woman with your own hands. How will you be able to face her in Valhalla if you now leave her body for the birds and beasts? Fatigue, both physical and mental is cast off in an instant. In a single, flowing motion you rise to your feet, fire in your eyes and purpose filling your very being.

"I have a purpose." You calmly state, drawing strange looks from Marisa and Alice. Unfazed by this you look around you at the fire-touched buildings of Mayohiga.
"For strenght did she show, courage she called on, and heeded were her summons. We need a shroud." You absentmindedly gesture towards Yukari's body as you speak. Alice is the first to catch your meaning, and with a sweet voice she makes her suggestion.

"Well, I guess Marisa has the most experience when it comes to shameless looting." Alice remarks while smiling innocently. Marisa gives the puppeteer an annoyed look, one that does more to support the dollmaker's words than it does to prove them false.

"All right, all right. Since I'm so awesome I'll go off and see what I can find -ze." The black-white grumbles before stomping off to find something suitable.

You spend some time in silence with the blue-red puppetmaker, a silence it seems she is unwilling to break though you notice that she also seems to have something to say. You decide to let her choose on her own whether she wishes to talk or not, in any case you must think on what needs to be done next. Maybe you should compose an elegy? After a few minutes of word-spinning your train of thought is interrupted by a cheerful shout from the forest witch.

"I'm back -ze!"

You turn and watch Marisa approaching with a satisfied look on her face and a sack slung over her shoulder. The black-white drops it to the ground and pulls a lenght of fine white cloth out from it, undoubtedly looted in a truly expert fashion. You take the cloth from Marisa and kneel down next to Yukari's body. Unfolding the shroud you carefully inspect the material. Deciding that it is fine enough, you slowly wrap the body of your worthy foe until only her head is visible.

She has been clad in the garment of the dead, as is right and proper. Now you must create poetry and rhyme, for no warrior should pass into Odin's hall with his deeds unsung. You keep your voice soft and clear as you speak a short verse to the noble choosers of the slain.


"We creep not 'neath the shield in battle,
so said wide-famed Warfather.

He bade us bear our heads high,
gleaming glitter-ice in our hands.
Bloodstained battle in our sight,
din of weapons in our ears.

So fought we and met our deaths,
as heroes among men and gods."


Satisfied with this quick eulogy you carefully lift Yukari's body into your arms. Up until now, everything has been relatively easy. It is never a welcome task to bring tidings of death to the family of your friend, how much worse must it not be to do so to the family of your foeman? Never has anything weighed so heavily upon you as the dead woman resting in your arms, for surely not even the Thunderlord himself could find it easy to bear such a burden.

You slowly approach it the hall of Yakumo, which seems to have escaped the fires of Loki unscathed. The door is still open like you left it, and it is with a heavy heart that you walk closer to this portal of foreboding.

As you enter the same room you were in earlier you meet the demon's servant, gold-tailed Ran, fierce fox who is not of the forest. Though she is wounded and weary she still manages to give you a furious look as soon as she sees you. Then she notices the body in your arms, the pale face of Yukari, the unnatural swelling and the blue-black signs of internal injuries where her neck was twisted and broken.

There is silence. Ran simply stares at the body as if she cannot believe her eyes. Slowly her body begins to tremble, ever so slightly at first, but growing until she is shivering like a willow in the wind. The nine-tailed one slowly staggers towards you, reaching out with her hand towards Yukari's still face. Her hand almost brushes Yukari's cheek before she snatches it back, as if the near-touch had burned her hand. She shrinks back and avoids meeting your eye as you walk across the room and gently set down Yukari on a large, leather-clad bench.

You turn back to Ran and meet her gaze. Her eyes are like dead things, numb with shock and horror. Somehow she seems smaller, more vulnerable as if some fundamental truth or belief of hers has shattered. Regardless of the cause you feel slightly uncomfortable seeing her like this, a fierce warrior shocked and broken. You know you shouldn't, but you can't help feeling flightly bad for inflicting this blow upon the wizard fox. Maybe you should try and comfort her?


[ ] Tell Ran that her mistress fought valiantly. She died with honour, as a true warrior should.

[ ] Tell Ran that you're sorry. Honour demanded this, and you would not have done this if you could have avoided it.

[ ] Say nothing. Embrace Ran and hold her until she feels better.

[ ] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.

________________________

And with that I'm done for today.
>> No. 9223
[!] Tell Ran that her mistress fought valiantly. She died with honour, as a true warrior should.

Good to have you back.
>> No. 9224
[X] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.

Time will heal wounds.
>> No. 9225
[X] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.

Yukari will recover, she's not really dead. Ran will recover from the shock too. Better leave peacefully while we have the chance.
>> No. 9226
{X} Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.
>> No. 9227
[x] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.

For all your skill as warrior and wordsmith, there is nothing you can do or say to ease this woman's grief.
>> No. 9229
[!/] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.
>> No. 9231
File 122533460118.jpg - (22.70KB, 606x587, antispiral.jpg) [iqdb]
9231
[x] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.

Hey. Guys.

How are you going to do a Ran route again? I mean, you just beat her bloody and then presented her master's mangled and giftwrapped corpse to her. I don't think any amount of fancy wordplay or totally awesome heroic deeds will even remove any grudges or change her mindset of you, let alone get you into her pants unless you decide to rape her (I dare you to try that. I bet you won't.)

I don't know about you but I think I'm going to consider other 'targets'.
>> No. 9234
There's something about your writing, a minor thing, that's been nagging at me for a while. Since there doesn't seems to be a good time or place to bring it up, it might just as well be here and now.

>strenght

It looks like an ordinary typo, but you keep doing this, every time you use the word. Like I said, it's very minor, but I can't help wondering about it. Why is this? Is there some purpose at work that's going over my head, or are your fingers just eerily regular in their inaccuracy?

Anyway, enough of my nitpickery.

[X] Say nothing. Embrace Ran and hold her until she feels better.

Totally out-of-character and doesn't stand a snowball's chance of actually winning, but I myself simply cannot in good conscience let any opportunity to hug Ran just pass me by.
>> No. 9235
[x] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.
>> No. 9239
>>9234

Well, to be honest, up until now I thought it was supposed to be spelled like that. Apparently it is not.

You learn something new every day.
>> No. 9247
[X] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.
>> No. 9248
[ ] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.
>> No. 9249
[ ] Tell Ran that her mistress fought valiantly. She died with honour, as a true warrior should.
[ ] Tell Ran that--someday in the future, she may wish to exact revenge against you.
[ ] Respectfully tell Ran that if this is the case, you will meet her in honourable combat.
>> No. 9250
Norseman forgot this part of the update:

>You don't feel any better.
>> No. 9251
I hereby inform all concerned parties that I shall write an update on either the day of Freyr or the bath-day.

And vote's still open until I say it's not.
>> No. 9273
[x] Tell Ran that her mistress fought valiantly. She died with honour, as a true warrior should.

[x] Embrace Ran and hold her until she feels better.
>> No. 9284
[X] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.
[X] But, like, look at her all sad and shit.
>> No. 9292
[x] Tell Ran that her mistress fought valiantly. She died with honour, as a true warrior should.
[x] Embrace Ran and hold her until she feels better.

Lets be a gentlemen, Anon.
>> No. 9299
>>9292

A gentleman wouldn't have murdered Yukari over some perceived slight.
>> No. 9316
>>9299
Well in all fairness, bitch had it coming. We can be a gentlemen starting.....NOW!
>> No. 9330
Starting the writing now, but I might not have the time to finish it today.

So update either late tonight or tomorrow morning.
>> No. 9339
>>9330

hooray!
>> No. 9451
File 122566994210.jpg - (64.66KB, 500x550, 121703032284.jpg) [iqdb]
9451
[ ] Say nothing. Leave Ran to her grief.


No, there is nothing you could say or do to make her feel better. And even if you could, would you not insult the golden-tailed one's honour? The warrior's soul can bear pain and death, as you so well know. And even if she would welcome kind words or a shoulder to lean on, she would, in the end, have to live with the knowledge that she turned to her enemy, to her master's slayer, for comfort in a moment of weakness. Better for her if you left now. Better for her and better for you if she can let out the pain residing in those eyes far from strangers and outsiders.

So why does it feel as if you're fleeing as you silently leave the room?

You find Marisa and Alice waiting for you as you stride outside. Your tired mind allows itself a moment of introspection as you walk the short distance separating you from the girls. Up until now your actions have been focused on a simple goal, and one that you chose for yourself. Now you are in service to another, a god of cunning and chaos whose motives are shrouded in mystery. You feel as if the implications of this new reality warrant careful consideration and the seeking of wise counsel, but that must wait for another time. You're just too tired right now.

"How'cha feelin Sigurd? Ya look a bit down there -ze." Marisa gently asks. You look down and meet her eyes as you try valiantly to show her a reassuring smile.

"Long has the day been Marisa, a trying time like none other. Yet unbent, unbroken in body and mind I am."

"Ah, that's good to hear." Alice interjects. "By the by, could I ask you something?"

"Certainly, O artful Alice. Ask and I will answer." For a moment she hesitates, she glances aside to avoid your gaze before she finds resolve to speak.

"Sigurd, how did you do it?" Her eyes glitter like ice and steel as she coolly regards you. With a sinking feeling you recognize there this conversation is heading as Marisa immediately follows up with a question of her own.

"You beat up Yukari, an' something caused a damn huge fire -ze. Can't help to wonder 'bout that, y'know?" Marisa's voice sounds genuinely curious, yet there's a distinct edge of something more underneath her normal cheerful tone.

"Indeed. It sometimes happens that outsiders spontaneously manifest magical ability. I thought that this was the case with you, seeing how you learned to fly all by yourself." The dollmaker calmly explains. With a slight frown she crosses her arms in front of her and continues her sober analysis of the situation.

"But causing a firestorm of that size is far beyond the abilities of untrained humans, and in fact even many powerful Youkai would be unable to replicate such a feat."

"So are ya some archwizard in disguise -ze?" Marisa asks with a wide grin. "Or did something else happen?"

"Any way we look at it you're something exceptional Sigurd." Alice quietly adds. "Few can honestly say that they have defeated Yukari, and I doubt that any of them have been non-magicians."

Their questions are fair, you must admit that. A mere mortal defeating one of the most powerful beings in this land sounds unlikely. And if this supposedly non-wizard mortal does so by employing what seems like magical means anyone would be suspicious. You feel as if you owe Marisa and Alice the truth, but then again, how would they react to the revelation that the Father of Lies aided you in battle. Would they believe it even if you told them the truth?


[ ] Tell the girls the truth, all of it.

[ ] Tell the girls what happened, but try to cover up the role of Loki and your quest.

[ ] Try to make up something convincing
>> No. 9452
[x] Tell the girls the truth, all of it.

Just because Siggy's in the service of the Liefather doesn't mean he's the Lieson.
>> No. 9454
[x] Tell the girls the truth, all of it.

They've been helping Sigurd from the moment he arrived in Gensokyo, they deserve to know everything.
>> No. 9455
[x] Go back and apologize to Ran.

There is no way the asshole option won. I'm calling a foul.
>> No. 9456
[x] Tell the girls the truth, all of it.
>> No. 9460
[X] Tell the girls the truth, all of it.
>> No. 9464
[x] Tell the girls the truth, all of it.
>> No. 9465
>>9455
Are you serious?

>>9451
[X] Tell the girls the truth, all of it.

Odds are, neither one of them's even heard of Loki. Besides, when it comes to stealing from the SDM, we couldn't ask for a better ally than Marisa Kirisame.
>> No. 9466
[x] Tell the girls the truth, all of it.
>> No. 9469
[x] "Baby, I don't wanna talk about this. I'm tryin' to be low-key about my abilities, y'understand?"
>> No. 9471
[ ] Tell the girls the truth, all of it.

We asked the Gods for help. Unfortunately, the wrong God answered.
>> No. 9472
The result of this vote seems clear. Writing now.
>> No. 9473
>>9472

Hooray!
>> No. 9476
Too tired to finish tonight. Update is almost finished and will be posted sometime tomorrow.

Selfsage for weakness.
>> No. 9545
File 12260179117.jpg - (138.66KB, 622x849, 119984304079.jpg) [iqdb]
9545
[ ] Tell the girls the truth, all of it.


There's no avoiding this, is there? Surely the bringer of mischief must be laughing at your predicament, for true to his nature even his aid brings you trouble in the end. But even so, there is no real question as to what you must do. For what honour has the man who talks with twisted tongue in company of comrades and kin?

"Aye, your questions are fair. As much as I know, I shall tell." You silently search for the right words, the ones that will make the girls accept the revelation you are about to share with them.

"When battle was met I called for the ones on high. To the lords of Asgard I cried, fair-named gods above." You sigh heavily and continue speaking despite the growing sense of foreboding in your heart.

"One did answer, Loki Scar-Lip, god of fire. To me the Sky-Walker lent his powers. Fire, wit, and malice to burn the demon of borders."

"A god?" Alice immediately asks, her face slightly paler than usual. "A god from outside?" She specifies in a worried tone. You reluctantly nod in reply.

"Oh shit..." Marisa moans and buries her head in her hands. "Not again, Reimu's gonna flip isn't she -ze?"

"Similar things have happened before," Alice cautiously explains, "And certain individuals are known to react quite... zealously to any new powers entering Gensokyo."

An uncomfortable silence follows the blue-red one's words. The dollmaker seems lost in thought, and Marisa nervously shifts her weight from one foot to another. You half expected, half dreaded that this would happen. Another unintended consequence, another foolish failure of your making. Are you cursed with ill luck, fated to bring misery and despair to the ones close to you?

"I have brought trouble upon you, have I not?" Your soft-spoken question turns the gazes of the girls upon you, and you find all the confirmation you need in the look of their eyes. You sigh heavily and proceed to answer your own question.

"No, this I know. What else could it bring but strife? What else but spear-shake and shield-clash? For few are the ones, those of power, who live in stillness and peace." The girls exchange a single, awkward glance, then quickly proceed to break eye contact and look away. After another spell of uncomfortable silence the dollmaker finally speaks.

"Yes, to be honest you might have. Though I suspect that there might be more trouble for you in the end. Reimu is known to shoot first and ask questions later." The dollmaker's soft voice bluntly states while Marisa fidgets nervously, tugging a strand of her hair. For some reason you find their reactions most disturbing.

Who could she be, this Reimu they speak of? One whose wrath even these two fear? Your heart starts beating faster as you suddenly realize that you want to meet this woman. If nothing else the battle would be truly glorious. A more melancholy part of your mind reminds you that the final result of your battles so far still hasn't been much else than death and sorrow.

"We're so screwed -ze. First he offs the gapbitch, an' now there's a buncha gods knocking at the gates. Reimu's gonna bathe in our blood an' tears before she's satisfied -ze." For some reason Marisa seems to take this especially hard, though you cannot tell why. Her voice is strangely melancholy, strikingly contrasting with her normally upbeat tone.

"Would you shut up about Reimu already?" Alice snaps, her irritation evident from her voice. The dollmaker glares at the young witch, the two of them apparently falling back on a familiar way of letting out their frustrations.

"Hey! You watch that tongue of yours, you doll otakul." Marisa shoots back. The dollmaker's expression hardens for a moment, her blue eyes reminiscent of ice and steel. Then her face shifts into an arrogant expression, a small, mocking smile on the proud puppetmaker's lips.

"Oh stop it Marisa. We both know that you're only whining about Reimu getting upset because you want to get into her..." Marisa's eyes flash with rage and embarassment as the puppetmaker speaks. With blushing cheeks the black-white immediately cuts off the dollmaker's implication with a furious shout.

"YOU SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH -ZE!" Alice's sarcastic smile widens ever so slightly in reply. In an instant the air is charged with tension and swirls of formless energy. Marisa reaches for her mini-hakkero, and hovering above Alice's shoulder Shanghai glows with a subtle, inner light.

You sigh and calmly walk between the girls, slowly raising your hands in a warding gesture. You turn your head left and right, meeting the eyes of Marisa and Alice in turn, then you speak.

"If she comes to do battle, I shall meet her, and I alone. As wise witch and proud puppetmaker have been for I, so strong-armed singer shall be for them. The trusty shield that splinters not, the sharp-edged, unshattering sword."

The girls seem to be calmed down a little by your words, though you suspect that they wouldn't need much of an excuse to start fighting again. You hope that your next revelation won't give them one, yet you suspect that it may just do. But regardless of the conflict between emotion and reason you must tell them everything. Honour demands you to speak, and so you do.

"So listen, as my tale draws to an end. A debt is owed, a fair demand, for Byleist's brother came when called. Loki Scar-Lip spoke to me, calling on ancient law. To seek his blade he bade me. Weapon of black steel and venom, forged beneath Hel's hall." You make a slight pause and speak slowly and softly, for it is unwise to speak the secret names so that all men can hear.

"This name it bears, a name of power. Lävatein, the wounding-wand."

"Wait a minute, I think I've heard of that one -ze." Marisa frowns slightly as she thinks. For a while it seems as if she's drawing a blank, but then her eyes widen in shock and recognition.

"Hey, that's Flandre's boomstick, ain't it?" The black-white blurts out.

"You can't be serious." Alice whispers, all colour draining from her face. With a frightened expression on her face, Shanghai hides behind her mistress' head.

The name "Flandre" is one you recognize. The sister of the so-called "Scarlet Devil", and no doubt a powerful sorceress of some sort. You silently resolve to punch Loki in the face if the opportunity ever presents itself. With a calm expression and steady gaze you regard the pair of magicians.

"I am." You answer while look around you. The night will be upon you any moment now, and you're still out in the open. You really should be getting out of this place. What further business would you have here anyway?

"But the day is ended, and high-walking Hrimfaxí's mane casts darkness over the land. Should we not seek shelter or travel on? Words can be traded as one walks, and tired minds find little wisdom."

Alice nods in agreement, then she yawns elegantly while covering her mouth with her hand. "Yes, I am slightly sleepy as well. We should get going."

"Yeah, but where are we goin' to sleep -ze?" Marisa wonders aloud.


[ ] Try to find somewhere to sleep in Mayohiga

[ ] Try to camp out in the forest

[ ] Try to get out of the border zone and back to Gensokyo proper.

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

Sorry about the delay, but I had to rewrite almost all of this as it didn't turn out as I wanted at first.
>> No. 9546
[X] Try to get out of the border zone and back to Gensokyo proper.
>> No. 9547
[x] Try to get out of the border zone and back to Gensokyo proper.

Yeah, this is good.
>> No. 9554
[x] Try to get out of the border zone and back to Gensokyo proper.

in b4 we get lost
>> No. 9558
[x] Try to get out of the border zone and back to Gensokyo proper.

I wonder how we're going to deal with Reimu.
>> No. 9562
>>9558
Like men.
>> No. 9563
>>9558

Humans die when they are killed, so a danmaku contest, probably.
>> No. 9564
>>9558

We'll lock armpits.
>> No. 9566
[x] Kill a bear and sleep inside of its carcass.

Manly option.
>> No. 9567
>>9564

And suddenly I am reminded of the Snake vs. Vulcan Raven boss fight.

"You want to pull on each other's ears?"
>> No. 9576
Norseman, this was the coolest and most hilarious goddamn update I've ever read in this story yet.
>> No. 9577
> "YOU SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH -ZE!"

You have won the internets.
>> No. 9580
[X] Kill a bear and sleep inside of its carcass.

Sounds good to me, ze.
>> No. 9589
[X] Kill a bear and sleep inside of its carcass.
>> No. 9590
[X] Try to get out of the border zone and back to Gensokyo proper.
>> No. 9591
[ ] Try to find somewhere to sleep in Mayohiga

Only rational choice. Eveybody is tired, and the most dangerous beasts walk at night. And maybe we can meet a recovered Yukari by the morning.
>> No. 9595
>>9591
And this is a good idea how?
>> No. 9605
>>9595

Yukari will most definetly be surprised about Sigurd's sudden empowerment and will want more.
>> No. 9613
[X] Try to find somewhere to sleep in Mayohiga
>> No. 9665
>>9605
>will want more

Of viking awesomess, of course.
>> No. 9667
[X] Try to find somewhere to sleep in Mayohiga
>> No. 9669
>>9576

Why, thank you. It's always nice to know that people like what I write.

And I'll start writing the next update sometime tomorrow morning. Vote's open until then.
>> No. 9703
Vote's called, writing begins.
>> No. 9704
>>9703

hooray!
>> No. 9739
File 122635870329.jpg - (107.18KB, 712x1000, 120915928544.jpg) [iqdb]
9739
[ ] Try to get out of the border zone and back to Gensokyo proper.


Where to sleep? There is this village, but you doubt the wisdom of staying so close to potentially vengeful sorceresses. Alice looks worn and tired, you think you even can see the hint of bags forming under her eyes. And you're near exhaustion yourself, not to mention the fact that your weapons are broken or blasted, even your shield seems to have disappeared somewhere during the melee. Strangely enough Marisa seems the most energetic out of the three of you, she almost seems charged with vigour even though she is wounded and fresh out of the crucible of battle.

Yet despite being in good shape considering the circumstances, you doubt that you would fare well in another skirmish. Fair fortune has been with you so far, and you have no desire to push your luck more than necessary.

"Let us leave this place. Few are called wise who stay in sight of foemen, few live long who sleep in hostile hall."

"Yeah, that sounds good -ze. Let's get our stuff an' leave this dump." The black-white picks up her bag from earlier, a telltale clatter sounding from inside as she hefts it over her shoulder. With a small, mischievous wink the black-white sets off with her loot, taking the lead as the three of you make your way through the empty streets of Mayohiga. You find yourself walking next to Alice, and turn to the dollmaker for some conversation.

"Tell me, who is Flandre, the scarlet sister? Does she hold Lie-Father's blade?"

"Um, Marisa knows her better than I do," The dollmaker answers in a slightly evasive tone "but I think she does have a black-iron wand called Lävatein."

"Flandre's a good girl." The black-white interjects from ahead while turning around so she floats backwards a few inches above the ground. "But she's a bit crazy, if ya know what I mean -ze."

"See, she ain't a fan of playing nice. Almost killed me the first time I met her, wouldja believe that -ze?" Marisa scratches her head and chuckles in a somewhat embarassed way. Is this truly the girl who admonished you for risking your life only a short time ago? You manage to refrain from pointing out the irony for now, but a small smile creeps on your lips unbidden.

"Indeed, she is probably the most dangerous being in all of Gensokyo." Alice continues in a sombre voice. "But moving from one thing to another, I would like to know exactly who this 'Loki' is."

Alice's question only serves to reinforce the nagging doubt you harbour with regards to the wisdom of your planned course of action, but for now you decide to answer the dollmaker's question to the best of you ability.

"He is a friend of the gods, though a trickster and twister of truth. His names are Loki Scar-Lip, for Eitri's brother sewed shut his mouth.
Sly-God is he called, for he speaks with malice and cunning, razor-sharp are his words. Giants and men have they led to death and despair.
His father was Farbautí of Jötunheim, Helblindi and Byleist his brothers. By blood is he bound to the son of Bor, wide-famed War-bringer.
Loki Shape-Changer is he, for he decieves the eye as well as ear. Not even sharp-gazed Heimdall can tell his tricks from truth."

"So he sounds like a jerk. Why are ya helpin' out someone like that -ze?" Indeed, the black-white one makes a fair point, you're actually not too certain about that yourself. But trickster or no, Loki still is counted among the powers of Asgard, and seldom has a man found fortune by breaking his word when given to a god.

"Gratitude I owe to Laufey's son. In battle, the warrior asks not for an honest tongue from the man standing beside him as long as he stands strong and firm. And given word is not lightly recalled." You softly respond as the three of you ascend the same hill you and Marisa camped on earlier this day. As you reach the supplies and general magical trinkets you left behind, the black-white unceremoniously dumps all the various bags and other assorted things in need of carrying on your shoulders.

Ladened down by bags and sacks, you turn around a final time and let your gaze wander over the village of illusion. The starlight is strong in this place, as if magnified by some strange magic, and the swathe of destruction you've left throughout Mayohiga is clearly visible. Despite your doubts and mistakes this day, you are sure that Odin must be pleased with your actions. Those who would play with your life have been humbled, their arrogance and power cast down before your will and strength. Your honour is pure, yet it comes with a price. It always does.

You dismiss these thoughts and turn back to face your companions, and the deep woods you must traverse. The forest looms ahead, a dark mass of shadows and mist with silent moonlight shining down between the treetops. The twin paths are open before you, the clear sky and the dark earth.


[ ] Walk through the woods.

[ ] Fly above the woods.
>> No. 9740
[ ] Fly above the woods.

First vote
>> No. 9741
[X] Walk through the woods.

More than a dumb idea, especially since I don't think we've suddenly lost flight. But I want adventure.
>> No. 9742
[x] Fly above the woods.

I don't wanna get eaten by a grue.
>> No. 9743
[X] Fly above the woods.
>> No. 9745
[x] Fly above the woods.
>> No. 9746
[x] Walk through the woods.
Need more random encounters and EXP.
>> No. 9754
[x] Walk above the woods.

Sigurd Cloud-Strider
>> No. 9755
>>9746

But the party is exausted, and there are no healing items left!
>> No. 9756
File 122642490967.png - (183.07KB, 399x301, 12157825585847.png) [iqdb]
9756
>>9755

Suddenly, F.O.E!
>> No. 9786
>>9756

EVEN IN YOUR SAGA

Also, writing now.
>> No. 9787
>>9786

hooray!
>> No. 9789
File 122650422520.jpg - (56.33KB, 600x600, 121150086923.jpg) [iqdb]
9789
You turn to the girls and softly speak your last words before leaving the battlefield for this day.

"Fair friends, this day is ours. Fickle foes have fallen, torn down from high thrones by might and magic. Fair friends, done are this day's deeds. Let us fly."

Though it certainly makes you a highly visible target you confidently stride into the sky. Caution be damned, you're too tired to slog through some godsforsaken wood at this hour. The canopy slowly recedes beneath you as you take the lead, like a sea of dark green illuminated by the subtle light Máni's chariot. You note that the moon is nearly full this night, a fact you're thankful of. You decide to forgive Mundilfari's son his earlier transgressions, as he seems willing to light your way back.

But the moonlight proves to be a shortlived relief as your path suddenly takes you over some invisible border. The world is swathed in grey fog, enveloping you like cloak of mist, its colour the same dull one that Grimnír is known to wear when walking the wide lands of Midgard. You can barely see the hand before you through the sudden veil drawn over the earth and sky, and your hand darts towards your belt before you realize that you are unarmed. Cursing your ill fortune you turn around and see the blue-red dollmaker slowly moving towards you through the mist. She looks slightly uncomfortable, almost frightened by this sudden turn of events.

She draws to your side and lightly grasps your hand. You must confess that this gesture does surprise you, Alice has always seemed slightly aloof, not really the type to need comforting. Maybe this day has affected her more than you thought? She doesn't even seem to notice the peculiarity of her action as she tightens her grip. After a moment the dollmaker seems to realize this herself and she suddenly looks up at you with an embarassed expression on her face.

"W-We should stay close to each other." Alice quickly explains, a slight hint of rosy red colouring her cheeks. She still holds on to your hand however. Shanghai seems to take her mistress' point literally and flies to you and sits down on your shoulder.

Alice's hand feels smooth as silk against your own rough skin. For a short time the two of you enjoy the silence and touch of each other's hands, her soft, pale skin against yours, and the subtle beating of her pulse, growing ever so slightly faster for every second you hold her.

"This ain't normal, the border shouldn't stop ya when you move back towards Gensokyo -ze." Through the mist you can make out the black-white witch peering suspiciously around her as she approaches you and Alice. The dollmaker jumps at the voice and pulls away from you before Marisa can see you holding hands. From what you've seen of the interaction between the two girls this seems understandable, but you can't help feeling slightly disappointed by this. Shanghai also jumps off your shoulder and gives you an apologetic look before rejoining her mistress.

"Maybe it's Yukari messin' around with the border to get back at us -ze?" The forest witch suggests as she comes into clear view.

"Y-yeah, that's possible," Alice hesitantly replies "Or maybe the border acts strange because Yukari is currently incapacitated?"

You remain silent, having nothing to add to the speculation.

It is then that the light catches your eye, a dancing glitter of something not quite like a flame. You can't tell how far ahead it is, but it pierces the mist like the cast of Gungnir itself. Something within you feels a slight pull from the light, as if you recognize it from somewhere. The girls don't seem to have noticed the glow yet.


[ ] Onwards, try to find the source of the light.

[ ] No, this must be a trick. Ignore it and continue.

[ ] Travel through the air seems to be hazardous. Land and make your way back by foot instead.
>> No. 9793
[ ] Onwards, try to find the source of the light.

VIKINGS ONLY GO FORWARD AND INTO THE HEART OF MADNESS
>> No. 9794
[x] Onwards, try to find the source of the light.

Yukari, Yuyuko, and Mima masquerading as the three Norns, portending an ambiguous (yet ominous) Fate for Sigurd.

Of course we'll be meeting someone who could change all that rather soon.
>> No. 9795
[X] Onwards, try to find the source of the light.

Seems to me that the prospect of getting out of this border space outweighs the risk of getting attacked.

Unless it's, y'know, Yuka or someone like that. Which I doubt.
>> No. 9796
[X] Onwards, try to find the source of the light.

Let's just hope this won't end with us falling onto flandre when she's going berserk or something.
While an interesting twist, it would also most likely end with one rather barbaqued viking...
>> No. 9797
[X] Onwards, try to find the source of the light.

Let's hope the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a freight train.
>> No. 9798
>You note that the moon is nearly full this night, a fact you're thankful of.

This is...not good.

>Something within you feels a slight pull from the light, as if you recognize it from somewhere.

What if the party is actually going OUT of Gensokyo? With such a heavy mist it is easy to get lost. And if Sigurd feels it familiar, maybe his going home?

[x] Onwards, try to find the source of the light.

No risk, no gain.
>> No. 9799
>>9796
No killing Flandre, we have to find a way to end this situation without killing anymore. We are playing right into Loki's hand, gotta take her of him.
>> No. 9816
Votes tallied, writing starts.
>> No. 9818
>>9816

Hooray!
>> No. 9820
File 122661857144.jpg - (17.35KB, 288x425, Aurora-Borealis--C11764853.jpg) [iqdb]
9820
[ ] Onwards, try to find the source of the light


"There is a light ahead." You calmly state while extending your arm towards the subtle glow. Both girls turn to look at where you're pointing, and after a short while both of them seem to have discovered the light ahead.

"Should we go check it out? Might be something awesome -ze." The black-white witch's voice and expression are full of excitement, as if you by chance have discovered some rare, hidden treasure. Yet even from pure pragmatism you do find reasons to investigate this mysterious glow.

"Have we a wiser path? Better to follow flickering flame, than walk blind like ill-fated Höðr."

The three of you set off towards the light while you take the lead again and reasoning that you have little time to waste you walk swiftly towards your goal. Yet even after walking for several minutes the light still seems as far away as it was when you first saw it. The only thing that seems to change is a subtle thickening of the mist, until the fog starts wrapping itself around you like unseen ash-coloured serpents. Your movement slows, at first so slightly that you don't even notice, but soon you feel as if struggling through deep water with iron chains around your limbs.

"S-sigurd, this ain't normal -ze." Marisa shouts somewhere behind you, a hint of panic entering her voice.

"Sigurd? Marisa? Where are you?" Alice's voice also sounds distressed, but for some reason you pay the girls little mind. The light is almost hypnotic in the way it beckons you to approach, as if you were a moth drawn to candlelight.

Onwards, onwards! You will not stop. You cannot stop now, some strange compulsion forces you to move forward step after ponderous step. It feels as if the mist is crushing the life out of you, yet you push on. You can hardly breathe as the grey substance around you tries to press you back. You strain your muscles, you force your body to move, and finally you break through the mist and stagger out under a clear sky. Wearily you lift your head and gaze out over the scene before you.

The sight is majestic. A thousand stars shine down, all of them brighter than any you've seen before. The heavenly sparks of Muspelheim crown an enormous, snow-capped mountain, the only landmark you can see in the dark of the night. Even the air itself seems to shimmer slightly, and you can sense an imposing presence ahead, like a wall of power cutting through the air on the far side of the mountain. But all these sights pale in comparison to one you thought you'd never see again, the flames of the northern sky dancing across the firmament.

Norðurljós, the ghostly-green glow reflected from the gold-worked armour of Allfather's handmaidens as they ride across the sky. The glorious light of the aurora wakes a thousand memories of your homeland, the beautiful frozen north. You remember the friends you left behind, those you drank with, the ones you fought beside, the men you called comrades and brothers. There were the old storytellers in your youth, mysterious men who taught you the legends and poems telling of the gods and the heroes of old. You remember how your father taught you to fight with sword and axe, and fondly recall the memory of the first girl you kissed beneath the stars, back in another place and another time.

The bittersweet memories of your homeland calm your heart and soothe your weary spirit. With your restored focus of mind, you suddenly find yourself wondering where Alice and Marisa are. You turn around and find yourself slightly surprised. There is no sign of any mist behind you, only a vast expanse of dark treetops. What then did you just spend so much effort moving through? An illusion, or some darker sorcery?

Your gaze wanders back to the mountain and you suddenly notice something on the slope, maybe a cave or hut of some sort? Yet no matter what it is, there is clearly some sort of fire casting its light on the mountainside. Was this the flame that guided you here?

No, that does not matter. You should return, you should find your companions and leave this place. Yet something still draws you to investigate further, somehow you know that if you leave now, you will never find your way back to this place again.

Your curiosity demands of you to find out who or what lives here on this mountain at the world's end, and your heart demands you to find your companions. Torn by the conflicting emotions, you feel hard pressed to come to an decision, yet a decision you must make.


[ ] Investigate the fire. Alice and Marisa can take care of themselves.

[ ] Turn back and search for the girls.

[ ] Do something else (write-in)
>> No. 9821
[x] Investigate the fire. Alice and Marisa can take care of themselves.

Nought venture, nought have.
>> No. 9822
[X] Turn back and search for the girls.
They don't have our VIKING SPIRIT.
>> No. 9823
[x] Investigate the fire. If Alice and Marisa followed you through, then they would eventually gravitate there themselves.
>> No. 9824
[x] Investigate the fire. Alice and Marisa can take care of themselves.
>> No. 9825
[x] Investigate the fire. Alice and Marisa can take care of themselves.
Fire is fun.
>> No. 9832
[ ] Turn back and search for the girls.

This will turn out bad if we don't have the two at our side. Better find them, pick them up and investigate together.
>> No. 9834
[x] Turn back and search for the girls.

Changing vote.
>> No. 9836
I want Alice/Marisa Route. Double the fun, can't just pick one, wouldn't be fair.
>> No. 9837
[ ] Investigate the fire. Alice and Marisa can take care of themselves.
>> No. 9839
>somehow you know that if you leave now, you will never find your way back to this place again.
What part of this do you turn-backers not understand?

[ ] Investigate the fire, but look back first, and call loudly for the two of them. Then continue on your way.

Is Shanghai still with us?
>> No. 9848
[ ] Investigate the fire. Alice and Marisa can take care of themselves.

Are we going to meet another god?
>> No. 9851
Votes counted, writing now.
>> No. 9852
>>9851

hooray!
>> No. 9857
File 122678087163.jpg - (93.05KB, 350x300, ff4b3b86.jpg) [iqdb]
9857
[ ] Investigate the fire. Alice and Marisa can take care of themselves


Cold reason turns out to be the thing that cuts through your doubts. Marisa and Alice are both powers in their own right, they can surely fend for themselves. And even if you went back, what guarantees do you have that you would find them? Would it not be more likely that you would pass by each other in the dark? Finally there must be a reason you arrived at this strange place, and for good or for ill the will of Urd has decreed that you must face it alone. Unwise would it be to struggle against the workings of the world.

Driven by reason and curiosity you stride across the sky towards the mountain, and also towards something else. As you approach it you can clearly make out the shimmering field in the air, a barrier of such power that it pricks your skin like the sting of some unseen frost-wind. You shake off the feeling and continue towards the fire, now revealing itself to emanate from a tunnel leading into the mountainside. Willing yourself to land, you let your feet touch the ground next to the cavern and turn around to take a better look at the great barrier. From close range you start noticing the subtleties of the magic ward, the variations of colour and opacity revealing something that resembles a great rune, yet you have never seen any mark of writing this complex. Slightly humbled by the enormity of the powers in this place you walk into the fire-lit cavern, grimly determined to find out what this place is.

The light grows brighter as you cautiously walk deeper into the cave, working your way from shadow to shadow until you reach a quite spacious cavern with a large bonfire burning near the far corner, by all outward signs a regular fire, except that it sheds no smoke. But the supernatural qualities of the fireplace immediately take a back seat as you lay your eyes on the inhabitant of this place.

He sits near the bonfire, a tall and thin man, if you're any judge he's only slightly shorter than you. Even stranger, the one living on this mountain is an old greybeard with long, nearly white hair and a short beard and moustache of the same colour. He is dressed in plain garments, a green robe of some kind, and a cloak of grey wool. Judging from his appearance he is a quite regular old man, but as you have learned well, appearances are both decieving and dangerous. For how could a regular old man live on this far-flung mountain in the middle of the great barrier?

First of all, it is the scars on his face that hint of something more. The marks of battle would be enough to demand caution, but there is also something about the way he sits with his back facing the fire, his eyes closed and his expression serene, almost as if he were asleep... or dead. You can't even see if the old one is breathing, yet somehow you know he's ready to spring into action at any moment. There clearly is something unearthly about this man, as if he sees with more than his eyes, as if he is more than a mere mortal.

But it is when he opens his eyes and meets your gaze that you feel certain that your judgement is correct. His ice-blue eyes are piercing and intense, ferocious yet tempered by wisdom and nobility. This old man is a true warrior, body and soul.

For a few, tense moments the two of you carefully take the measure of each other, a wordless match of spirit and will unfolds as you carefully study the slight movements of the old one's eyes and muscles. Even though his fighting style in unknown to you, it is clear that this man is a true master of battle. His movements are extremely subtle, yet you can see how his stance shifts ever so slightly into one that would allow him to lunge forward if you were to approach him.

You can't help feeling impressed by this display, even as you realize that this man could very well be the most dangerous being you've met in Gensokyo so far. Yukari and Ran were formidable, yet they relied on their sorcery and supernatural powers and so did not know the strength of will and steel. Not so with this man. You quickly decide to attempt a diplomatic approach and raise your hand in a gesture of greeting as you hail the ancient master.

"Peace be with you, old battle-master. He hath need of fire, who now is come, numbed with cold to the knee. Food and clothing the wanderer craves who has fared o'er the rimy fell."

The old man settles back as you've spoken your greeting. His eyes lose some of their cold intensity and he smiles slightly, like an approving master to his apprentice.

"Gazing on this night
what do you see, old mountain,
but a chance meeting?"

His voice is calm and powerful as he recites this strange verse. You have never heard a poem like this, yet even though it sounds alien to your ears you find yourself appreciating its simple elegance. The old one smiles as he notices your reaction and speaks.

"Welcome young warrior. To my shame I have little to offer in the way of hospitality, but what I have is yours." He gestures for you to sit down by the bonfire.


Option 1:

[ ] Sit down by the fire. The old one seems to be honourable.

[ ] Politely decline. Appearances are decieving, and you can't trust this man yet.


Option 2:

[ ] Ask the old master who he is.

[ ] Ask the grey-cloak what this place is.

[ ] Ask the white-haired warrior if he has seen your companions.

[ ] Ask the him about something else.(Write-in).

[ ] Remain silent.
>> No. 9858
[X] Sit down by the fire. The old one seems to be honourable.
[X] Remain silent.
>> No. 9859
[ ] Sit down by the fire. The old one seems to be honourable.
[ ] Ask the old master who he is.
>> No. 9860
[X] Sit down by the fire. The old one seems to be honourable.
[X] Remain silent.
>> No. 9861
[ ] Sit down by the fire. The old one seems to be honourable.
[ ] Ask the old master who he is.
[ ] Ask the grey-cloak what this place is.
[ ] Ask the him about something else.(If he has family).

Youki never stops being awesome.
>> No. 9862
[X] Sit down by the fire. The old one seems to be honourable.
[X] Ask the old master who he is.

Aside from general Youki awesomeness, I'm thinking this meeting could possibly be a nice opportunity to rearm ourself.
>> No. 9863
[x] Sit down by the fire. The old one seems to be honourable.
[x] Ask the old master who he is.
[x] Ask the grey-cloak what this place is.
[x] Ask the him about something else.(If he has family).

Oh god. Is there a Youki route? Because if he speaks in Haikus all the time it will be GOLD.
>> No. 9864
[ ] Ask the old master who he is.
[ ] Ask the grey-cloak what this place is.
[ ] Ask the white-haired warrior if he has seen your companions.

Youki speaks in Haikus? Awesome, he Sigurd should fight crime.
>> No. 9865
[x] Sit down by the fire. The old one seems to be honourable.
[x] Ask the old master who he is.
[x] Ask the grey-cloak what this place is.
[x] Ask the white-haired warrior if he has seen your companions.
>> No. 9879
[x] Sit down by the fire. The old one seems to be honourable.
[x] Ask the old master who he is.
[x] Ask the grey-cloak what this place is.
>> No. 9899
>>9863

Erm, not a route as such, no.

Also, writing now.
>> No. 9903
Writing postponed until tomorrow because I'm about to fall asleep on my keyboard.

We apologize for this inconvenience.
>> No. 9922
File 12269658385.jpg - (76.47KB, 500x500, 807c6daf.jpg) [iqdb]
9922
[ ] Sit down by the fire. The old one seems to be honourable.
[ ] Ask the old master who he is.
[ ] Ask the grey-cloak what this place is.


You calmly walk over to the bonfire and toss down the various bags slung over your shoulder. After unloading your burden you sit down close to the fireplace and rest your legs. Strangely enough the air smells slightly sweeter near the flames, and the heat is intense, yet not scorching. You admire the enchanted flames for a moment, marveling at the dancing fire and basking in the heat. Truly you did not know how cold and weary you were before experiencing again the comforts of rest and warmth. With gratitude in your heart you turn to your host and thank him for his kindness.

"Honourable host, as warrior to warrior I give you thanks. May Odin's eye look on you with fair-earned favour." The old man inclines his head slightly and responds in a formal tone.

"The Enlightened One teaches that the greatest gain is to give to others. Please accept what little I have to offer without obligation."

The old man gestures towards the corner of the cave, and as if from thin air a clay jug and a pair of flat cups appear. No, not from thin air, upon closer inspection the objects float atop a strange, grey-white coud. It stops beside the grey-haired one who deftly takes the jug and pours a clear liquid into both cups.

With a flowing movement he takes one of them, leaving the second cup atop the cloud which starts floating towards you. The whole display is slightly unsettling, even though you have seen many strange sights during your short stay in Gensokyo. As it reaches your side the ghostly blob sets down the cup next to you and immediately flows back to the old one's side. You reach down and pick up the cup, still somewhat disbelieving the ethereal delivery.

What kind of man could this greybeard be? You're tempted to ask, yet it would be rude to demand he divulge his name and nature before you give your own. You draw a deep breath, take a deep draught from your cup, marvel at the foul taste of these spirits, and finally introduce yourself in deep, booming words.

"Mine are many names, O honourable lord. Tale-Weaver is one I have carried for five winters. Demon-Slayer was I named by far-famed son of Farbauti. I am called Song-Smith and Sky-Strider. My name is Sigurd of the north, son of Odin. Old one, will you honour me by sharing yours?"

The ancient master smiles gently before answering, apparently somewhat amused by your long-winded introduction. He sets down his cup and bows slightly before speaking.

"To my shame I bear few names. I am Youki of the house of Konpaku, a simple hermit seeking enlightenment." Though his tone and manners are impeccably polite, something about the old one's answer pricks your sense of pride ever so slightly, but you decide to let is slide. For is it not the prerogative of old warriors to criticize the boasts of youth?

Yet you can't help wondering about the meaning Youki's words. Why would a warrior live as a hermit? What glory can a warrior find when isolated on the top of a mountain? And "enlightenment"? What does that mean? The old man's half-smile doesn't waver by your slightly disbelieving stare, apparently all too aware of the questions spinning through your head.

"One is led to wonder if my words have led you away from enlightenment young one. If so, I apologize for my failure." Youki softly says while giving you an apologetic half-bow.

"No, old one. True they are, the treasures of thy word-hoard. From a faraway land I hail, one of frost and fire. When a thousand miles divide shore from shore, any man will wonder at strange sights as his sea-steed lands on far-flung coast. In the north warriors seek not solitude, we march to battle with comrades at our sides." The old man does not answer, but he does not appear displeased by your words either, and so you continue speaking your mind.

"Yet I wonder, my mind births the question: What is enlightenment? Does the fierce fighter need such a thing or not?" As your words leave your lips the old master's smile returns, this time reaching his eyes. He looks you over for a few moments, then replies in an amused voice.

"It is not that there is no enlightenment, but how can it be helped that it falls into the second class?"

You struggle to follow the meaning of Youki's words until you seriously contemplate asking for another clarification, yet you finally decide against it. The warriors of Gensokyo must be a strange breed, apparently overly concerned with frivolous matters. Yet who are you to question the traditions of this land, custom handed down from bygone age? Unwise it would be to speak too much of matters unknown, and so you decide to steer the conversation onto another, more fruitful, track.

"Now let me ask, old master, would you share your wisdom? Strange is this place, the starlit sky-spire. Far greater than any other it rises, higher than any mountain that I have beheld. Tell me, old master, tell me true, what is this place?"

"Ah, that is a good question young one, one that has many answers." Youki takes a sip from his cup, then sits silent for a moment. When he speaks again the strange poetry flows from his lips, a haunting and melodic verse.

"Mountain of binding,
from your root to the heavens,
the gateless barrier."

"This mountain is where the Hakurei Border was first created. If one thinks of the Hakurei Shrine as the gate, then this mountain would be the location of its lock." Youki explains after a slight pause.

"It is also the strongest part of the barrier, both towards the outside as towards Gensokyo proper. You are the first visitor I have had in a long time, young Sigurd." You ponder the implications of Youki's explanation while draining your cup of ill-tasting spirits.

"Strong is the barrier, so have you spoken. High rise the walls of hidden fortress, how then can one enter? How can one find himself in barred hall, behind walls of sorcery and stone?" Youki takes another sip of liquor, his expression serene and thoughtful. He finally speaks in a slightly cautious tone.

"None but the powerful and determined can reach this place even knowing the keys. As you say, how could you reach this place without knowing the path? Why did not the wards turn you away?"

"I walked on and did not stop." You reply with laconic deadpan. The old one's eyes widen for a moment, then his lips curl into a smile. With admirable self-control he keeps from laughing at your poor joke, and a short silence is born, punctuated only by the crackle of fire.

"Honesty is the path to virtue." Youki finally says. "I apologize for my rudeness, but the road to longevity is prudence."

"No, old one. I took no offence, how then can you apologize?" Youki nods in reply and finally drains his cup of liquor. You silently wonder if he actually likes the stuff.

"When I think of it, there have been some disturbances in the border today." The old master finally says. "One would be tempted to conclude that this is the cause of your visit."

After speaking the grey-haired one falls silent and refills his cup of liquor. You also hold your tongue, for you have much to think of. You suspect that you already know what has caused the "disturbances" that Youki refers to. Yet it might be wise to ask for the wisdom that comes with age? Then again, if this truly is the heart of the barrier you might be able to turn the fact that you reached this place to your advantage. And finally, how will you leave this place when the time comes?


[ ] Ask about the recent disturbances.

[ ] Ask if someone else has visited Youki before.

[ ] Ask if something from the outside has ever reached this mountain.

[ ] Ask for another cup of spirits.

[ ] Ask how one can leave this place.

[ ] Keep your silence.

[ ] Do/ask something else (write-in).

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

Please pick up to three choices. Now I'm off to sleep.
>> No. 9923
[X] Ask about the recent disturbances.
[X] Ask if someone else has visited Youki before.
[X] Ask how one can leave this place.

Tough choices.
>> No. 9924
[x] Ask about the recent disturbances.
[x] Ask if someone else has visited Youki before.
[x] Ask if something from the outside has ever reached this mountain.

Eh, we can find out how to leave the hard way.
>> No. 9926
[X] Ask about the recent disturbances.
[X] Ask if someone else has visited Youki before.
[X] Ask how one can leave this place.
>> No. 9928
[X] Ask about the recent disturbances.
[X] Ask if someone else has visited Youki before.
[X] Ask if something from the outside has ever reached this mountain.

>>9924
Same way we came in, I was figuring.
>> No. 9934
[x] Ask about the recent disturbances.
[x] Ask if someone else has visited Youki before.
[x] Ask if something from the outside has ever reached this mountain.
>> No. 9946
>"It is not that there is no enlightenment, but how can it be helped that it falls into the second class?"

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFfff

Well played Norse, well played. I really like your version of Youki.

[x] Ask about the recent disturbances.
[x] Ask if someone else has visited Youki before.
[x] Ask if something from the outside has ever reached this mountain.
>> No. 9958
Status update guys.

As I will be going on a trip over the weekend, the next update will be written and posted sometime on monday.

Until then, ta-ta.
>> No. 9959
>>9958
Have a fun and safe trip~
>> No. 10031
Trip was fun, but sooner or later every nigger has to return to his plotton field.

And I believe I have plotton to pick right now.
>> No. 10037
>>10031
Spoken like a true man.
Godspeed, you.
>> No. 10115
Um....

*fidget*
>> No. 10197
As you may or may not have noticed, this update is resisting me something fierce.

I'll try to force my way through my current malaise tonight, but I can't really promise anything.
>> No. 10299
File 122825045836.jpg - (263.99KB, 712x712, 121525735617.jpg) [iqdb]
10299
Again, this has taken far too long for various reasons. For this I apologize.

On a more positive note I feel like my creative batteries have been recharged by my little hiatus. You all can expect a slight increase in the frequency of updates.

____________________________

[ ] Ask about the recent disturbances.
[ ] Ask if someone else has visited Youki before.
[ ] Ask if something from the outside has ever reached this mountain.


The old one has indeed given you much to think about. Your mind slowly works through the options you have at this point, carefully pondering and sifting out the grains of wisdom and fruitful thoughts from among the countless trivial and irrelevant distractions.

But no matter how much you think about your situation your mind always returns to a single fact. Youki said that this place is the lock of Gensokyo, a place of power that few can find. If even the powerful monsters and sorceresses of Gensokyo would struggle to reach this place, it truly must have been the gentle hand of Urd that opened the way for you. There is a purpose for you in this place, and you need only find it.

Yet to find a purpose is always hard, and even the wisest alderman would need more knowledge than you have right now. The old master seems willing to answer your questions, and you feel in your heart that his words are true, but for some reason you almost hesitate to ask your first question. Almost.

"Honourable lord, will you share your wisdom? What disturbs the great spell-wall?" Through mental discipline you manage to keep your voice from wavering as you pose your question. Perhaps it can not quite be called deception to ask something that you already know the answer of, but you still feel uncomfortable asking the old one to share his knowledge while you try to hide your own. To calm your mind you mentally remind yourself that this is a time where caution is warranted. The fact is that despite his gentle manners and honourable demeanour you still know next to nothing about your host.

If Youki notices your hesitation he gives no sign of it, instead taking a sip from his cup before replying. "You ask a diffcult question young man. The exact cause of the disturbance is unknown to me, but what I know I will share."

"The barrier started wavering slightly earlier this day, as it often does when the lady Yakumo is up to mischief. In itself that is nothing out of the ordinary."

Your body tenses ever so slightly as the old one mentions Yukari, for if he is acquainted with the lady of borders this conversation could turn ugly quite fast. Even worse, if he is a friend or ally of hers, you are truly dancing on a razor's edge. Yet even though your reaction must be quite obvious, Youki still doesn't show any hint of what he is thinking. While this is what you expected it still makes you slightly more uncomfortable, as if you were sailing blind through treacherous waters.

"However, it can not have been more than an hour ago when I sensed a force great enough to disturb my meditations. It felt as if the barrier suddenly lost its sense of purpose, or perhaps its will." The old one softly says as he continues his tale. He pauses and takes a sip from his cup, then lets out a regretful sigh. "Yet it did not attain the illumination of not-being. It lost itself in wordly passions, and like a great fire it came close to consuming itself."

The sudden sadness in Youki's voice takes you by surprise. Slightly hesitantly you decide to ask him for clarification.

"Of what do you speak, old master?" Youki turns his gaze towards you, a sad and weary one as if he was mourning a dear friend. The old one takes a deep breath and composes himself, adopting his familiar, serene expression.

"Anger, young one. Anger and pain. I have not seen such a thing in a long time, not even when lady Yakumo first fought the Hakurei shrine maiden."

"How can a wall of magic feel rage?" A moment after you ask the question you feel slightly foolish for wording it so bluntly, but the concept of a mere wall, even a sorcerous one, being capable of feeling emotions is truly alien to your mind. Again Youki shows no reaction to your question, and to your surprise you find that the old master's near-supernatural serenity is starting unnerve you ever so slightly.

"The border is a strange thing, young northman. In some ways it is almost alive, and in other ways it is connected to both lady Yakumo and the Hakurei maiden." You think about this for a moment and see both the sense in the old one's words and the hidden dangers within them. You decide to try and steer the conversation away from the topic of Yukari for as long as possible, and with this goal in mind you speak.

"Aye, true are your words. Even the walls of Asgard are nothing without wary watchmen. How then could the spell-wall stand without guardians?"

"That is so."

To your mild surprise Youki seems content to let the matter drop, and the conversation dies down for a few minutes. The only sound that can be heard is the fire's crackle as you ponder the implications of what you have learned, but all you know is that you still have to learn more about this mysterious mage-wall. Somehow you feel as if it is central to whatever purpose you may have in this place.

"Are you the guardian then? The watchman of spell-wall's heart, as eagle-eyed Heimdall is the warden of Bifrost?"

"Ah, I am afraid I can claim no such title. As I have told you, am a but simple hermit" Youki gently protests "The only true 'guardian' would be the Hakurei miko."

"Yet she is not here, old master. If she does not visit this place, how can she guard it?"

"She guards it by existing, young Sigurd. The lady Yakumo visits from time to time, but I am afraid all others who once knew the way to this place have continued on their path through the six realms." Youki sets down his cup and makes a strange gesture by pressing together his palms in front of his chest, maybe out of respect for the dead? In any case the knowledge that Yukari has visited here reinforces your wariness. Perhaps you should not linger too long in this place?

Or perhaps your worries are misplaced? There is still so little you know, and so much you cannot ask. If only one being outside knows of this place, then what about those on the outside? Maybe someone or something has found its way through?

(cont.)
>> No. 10300
"Is it unbreakable then, the star-spanning barrier? Has any spirit or sorcerer breached it from the outside by spell or sword?"

"No, that has not happened." Strangely enough the old master sounds slightly amused as he answers. "Though I do not know whether anyone has ever attempted such an endeavor."

"What about guile, old master? Has any trickster or thief slipped through the spell's shadow?" You have already met one sly shape-changer. Could the wizard of lies have slipped through the border to reach Gensokyo? Would not this barrier, mighty though it may be, be little hindrance to the one who stole into the hall of Sessrumnir, the thief who took Brísingamen from fair around Freyja's neck while she slept?

"Unlikely. There are places where the border is far weaker than here. Anyone wishing to enter would reasonably do so through one of the thin spots. Especially in this place the barrier is not only sustained by magic, but also by faith. I know of no one but the Lady Yakumo that could pass through the heart of the border undetected."

Again you wince slightly at the mention of Yukari, but there is also something else that Youki said that grips your interest. To you the son of Laufey was, if nothing else, a good teacher. To decieve you must use the belief of others against them, so the Scar-Lip said. And if even the wise one living in the barrier's heart believes the spell-wall to be impregnable, then Loki Sky-Walker would certainly not be above taking advantage of it.

And now that you think about it, what did he say about faith? The old man speaks of strange things, for how can one build a shield of mere belief? How could the ones wielding raging magic and earth-shattering spells be turned away by faith?

"Old one, faith is ever fickle, wishes will never stop swift spear-cast. How can the unbreached barrier be raised by faith?" Youki raises an eyebrow and gives you a thoughtful look.

"It is said that a sage from the western lands once taught that faith can move a mountain." The old master finally replies in an authoritative tone.

"Gensokyo shapes belief into reality, and so truly powerful faith can give great powers. Because every soul in Gensokyo believes in the power of the border the enchantments are amplified far beyond what magic alone could create. And accordingly, perhaps it was faith that led you here, young Sigurd?"

You consider Youki's argument for a moment. Does pure faith truly hold power in this land? And if so, is it your faith that allows you to perform the fantastic feats you have accomplished? Is it your faith that makes you soar across the sky, and is it your faith that calls down the gods themselves to your side?

A ridiculous thought, of course.

"I say it was not, old master. Honour are the scales and courage the coin by which High One measures worthy warriors. What does faith matter to Odin Fimbultýr? Who has gained his seat in Valhalla by faith alone? When at last the Twilight of the gods comes, how many men will faith save from Surtur's sword? Nothing, no one and none the answers are, three and true as I have them spoken."

The words flow like water from your lips as you voice your opinion on the subject. For what are your great deeds worth if mere faith could purchase the same rewards? With conviction you meet the gaze of the old master and speak your heart's belief.

"Clash of spears and unbroken courage please Allfather's eye, daring deeds and fair fame mark the heroes of Odin. Leave faith for the franks and greeks, for those too weak to win power with their own arms."

For the first time the old one's face betrays a hint of surprise at your answer, an expression that seems quite out of place on Youki's otherwise serene features.

"An interesting point of view, young Sigurd. Perhaps it is true for one from the outside?" The old one suddenly smiles at some private joke. "Or maybe I have been away for too long, and Gensokyo has changed beyond recognition?"

"Ever changing are the lands of men, old master. Perhaps the same is true for the lands of magic as well?"

"Maybe so, young one."

Again silence falls over the cave, yet you care little because this talk already has been fruitful. The scattered threads of thought and memory are slowly coming together into something resembling a reasonable explanation. A place of power, connected with the guardians of this land. The heart of a barrier that cannot be breached. The lock to a gateway, leading to a realm of magic and mystery where it is said that belief grants power. And a god known for his cunning trickery appearing to aid you in a struggle against the only living being besides Youki who knows of this place.

You have been wrong before, the cautious part of your mind reminds you. You will not be jumping to conclusions again, but you decide that the next time you meet you shall demand a long explanation from the Father of Lies concerning the reason why he sought the death of Yukari with such eagerness.

Of course, if you wished to know better you could always take a closer look at the barrier itself, though you know not if it would accomplish much. You are no sorcerer nor wiseman who knows the workings of magic, but if Youki is correct thinking you have some sort of powers you might figure something out. Then again, you could leave this place. Alice and Marisa still haven't shown up, and you're starting to doubt they will do so. And in the end, what concern of yours is the border of Gensokyo when compared to the wellbeing of your companions or your honour-bound quest?


Option 1:

[ ] Tell Youki about your suspicions, and everything about your recent deeds.

[ ] Tell Youki about your suspicions, but try to hide some parts (specify)

[ ] Don't tell Youki about your suspicions.

Option 2:

[ ] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.

[ ] Go and investigate the barrier. Don't ask Youki to accompany you.

[ ] Thank the old one for his hospitality and leave this place. You have nothing more to gain here.

[ ] Do something else?
>> No. 10302
[ ] Tell Youki about your suspicions, and everything about your recent deeds.

[ ] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.

For the record, is Yukari completely out of the picture for now since we didn't have Loki completely obliterate her?
>> No. 10303
>>10302
This question contradicts itself, I think.
>> No. 10304
"Now I shall take my leave, for I hold no desire to meet that woman after she recovers." The shape of fire flickers and dies, and you feel the final link between your minds dissolve. Around you is nothing but scorched earth and ash, and beyond the smoke-filled haze you can make out the charred sides of the buildings around the square. With a sense of dread and foreboding stronger than any others you've had before this you sit down on the fire-swept earth and bury your head in your hands.


For clarification, to be sure. This seems to suggest she isn't completely gone. Or I am wrong? Please correct me if I am.
>> No. 10305
>>10302
>>10304

Well, if she were completely gone, then Gensokyo simply would not exist anymore. The Barrier requires both Yukari Yakumo and the current Hakurei Maiden to be alive. My guess is that since we only snapped her neck, instead of using hell-fire to obliterate her, Yukari will eventually regenerate.
>> No. 10307
>A ridiculous thought, of course.

Schwup

Hear that? That's the sound of your superpowers disappearing.
>> No. 10308
[ ] Tell Youki about your suspicions, but try to hide some parts (Don't mention what exactly you did to Yukari)
[ ] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.
>> No. 10311
It's not easy to make solid exposition seem epic. Well worth the wait, Norseman.

[X] Tell Youki about your suspicions, and everything about your recent deeds.

To lie would be a dishonor to ourselves and a disrespect to the old master; to omit any detail could ultimately be catastrophic.

[X] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.

We know very little, he knows, if not much, then certainly more.
>> No. 10312
>>10307
>Hear that? That's the sound of your superpowers disappearing.
Pfffft, no.
See, Sigurd believes that the gods are pleased by actions, not faith. But in Gensokyo, it is his faith in this belief that makes it true.
>> No. 10314
>>10312

So the more epic shit we pull off, the more superpowers we get?

I approve of this.
>> No. 10315
[X] Tell Youki about your suspicions, and everything about your recent deeds.
[X] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.

I fail to see how Youki won't see through our lies right away. In fact, he might already guessed through our emotional changes during the last update. Coming clean will show him that we fear nothing and we are honourable.

>>10312
>>10314
I like how the thought goes, you have my approval.
>> No. 10316
[ ] Tell Youki about your suspicions, but try to hide some parts (Don't say WHO did that to Yukari)
[ ] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.
>> No. 10317
[X] Tell Youki about your suspicions, and everything about your recent deeds.
[X] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.

i support this course of action
>> No. 10318
[X] Tell Youki about your suspicions, and everything about your recent deeds.
[X] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.

I liked the meeting of two alien cultures here, blended in a very interesting way.
>> No. 10330
[X] Tell Youki about your suspicions, and everything about your recent deeds.
[X] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.
>> No. 10377
[ ] Tell Youki about your suspicions, and everything about your recent deeds.
[ ] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.


Is it your concern, the star-spanning spell-wall? Is it your concern to uphold the the border and life of Gensokyo? Is not a son of the north bound only by his word, his honour and the will of the norns?

And yet, even though it may not be your direct responsibility you still need to know. You still need to see the border, to watch it with your own eyes, and to confirm your suspicions. Driven by curiosity and wisdom you decide to investigate the border, by your own will and no other. And is not the will of Odin's servants infinite? Is not your will unrelenting? Is it not a fierce fire, a raging stream? Is it not fire and ice, forged into a shape as that of a flame-forged blade?

And that is not all. For has not the old one answered your every question? Has he not given of his knowledge and wisdom without asking for reward? Bound by honour you are, bound to give back a gift to match the one that the old one has freely shared with you. For such is the law of Odin, so commands the High One's song. Though it may be your doom you will tell the ancient master of your deeds. You will tell him every suspicion and share every shred of wisdom that your mind holds, for nothing less would satisfy the Raven God, nor would any duplicity from your part escape the gaze of the one seated upon high Hlidskjalf, the throne of insight where one can view the nine worlds and beyond. If it is your fate, let him cut you down. Let your body be sliced to shreds and be trampled into the mud as long as your soul shines pure with honour.

With head held high, and eyes bright with pride and honour you turn to the old master and speak.

"Old one, hear the words. True are they spoken, sure as the High One's spear they fly. I tell you of mighty deeds, I tell you of darkness and fire. Listen, O master of blade and blood. Listen as strong-spoken song-smith tells you of his works, of far-famed feats worthy of song and saga." You draw a single, mighty breath and speak the truth, without hiding anything, without boasts or embellishments.

The old one silently listens to your tale, your story of daring deed and fair-earned fame. You tell of your abduction and awakening, of your meeting with the pair of mighty magicians. Of your relentless resolve you spin a web of words, a true-spoken tale of vengeance and victory. Even though your song rings, and the poetry flows from your lips as if the Allfather has given you a draught of Kvasir's blood, Youki remains serene and impassive. The only hint of emotion is the old master's intense gaze, a piercing vision of ice-cold blue carefully watching and judging your every expression and word. Regardless of this, you tell the true tale, you tell of your voyage to Mayohiga, of your battle against the Wizard Fox, and of Loki Laufey's son and the death of Yukari Yakumo. You tell of fire and sorrow, of the God of Fire and Malice, and of the might and magic that the Son of Giants can wield. And finally you tell him of your suspicions, of the guile and cunning that Loki Scar-Lip can muster, and of his tricks and treachery.

Before long you finish your tale. Yet even though he now knows your deeds, your role and your suspicion, Youki remains quiet for a long while. Finally he meets your gaze and speaks.

"Ah, young one, you have placed a great burden on my heart. It is as I feared, another power has entered Gensokyo." The old master's voice is soft and gentle, yet with a hint of sadness and regret. He meets your gaze, with unblinking eyes that glimmer with resolve as hard and cold as iron, and he softly continues speaking, carefully choosing his words as he asks the one question you feared he would.

"And as the immortal phoenix arises from the ashes, so rises the question. Knowing that I know of the lady Yakumo, knowing that I am at least an aquaintance of hers, why did you tell me of your battle?"

For a brief moment the old master's ice-blue eyes flash with something you can't quite place, yet something that you immediately recognize as a sign of danger. In your heart and soul you know that a false answer now may lead to your doom. Yet in your heart and soul, you also know the true answer, you have always known. You need only speak.


[ ] Because a lie would stain your honour, and shame you in Odin's eyes.

[ ] Because you trust the old one's honour. Even if he is a friend of Yukari he surely wouldn't strike down an unarmed man.

[ ] Because your vengeance was just. Allfather's law tells that your deeds are lawful and godly.

[ ] Because you know that the old one cannot defeat you if you were to battle. He is no threat.

[ ] Because of something else (write-in).

--------------------------------
Currently on hold.
[ ] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.
>> No. 10378
[ ] Because you know that the old one cannot defeat you if you were to battle. He is no threat.

Oh god, do want to duel Youki.
>> No. 10379
[x] Because a lie would stain your honour, and shame you in Odin's eyes.

You are not a coward.
>> No. 10381
[x] Because a lie would stain your honour, and shame you in Odin's eyes.

Our vengeance was just, but that's not why we told him. This is the reason.
>> No. 10382
[x] Because a lie would stain your honour, and shame you in Odin's eyes.
>> No. 10384
>>10381
Quite so.

[X] Because a lie would stain your honour, and shame you in Odin's eyes.
>> No. 10409
[X] Because a lie would stain your honour, and shame you in Odin's eyes.
>> No. 10411
[x] Because a lie would stain your honour, and shame you in Odin's eyes.
>> No. 10423
>Allfather's law tells that your deeds are lawful and godly.

Faith points increased. Sigurd's power boosted up.

[X] Because your vengeance was just. Allfather's law tells that your deeds are lawful and godly.
>> No. 10427
[x] Because a lie would stain your honour, and shame you in Odin's eyes.

>>10378

We're unarmed, halfwit.
>> No. 10430
[x] Because a lie would stain your honour, and shame you in Odin's eyes.
>> No. 10440
>>10378
>[ ] Because you know that the old one cannot defeat you if you were to battle. He is no threat.
You are forgetting Rule One.
>> No. 10494
Hey guys, have any of you considered that Youki might not be too thrilled by the Old Norse philosophy?

In fact, I'm surprised that he hasn't taken us down already considering that we almost managed to collapse the entire border. So maybe we should try to appeal to his honour instead of invoking a bloodthirsty god of war and death?


[X] Because you trust the old one's honour. Even if he is a friend of Yukari he surely wouldn't strike down an unarmed man.
>> No. 10501
>>10494
I propose a GATTAI DA.
>> No. 10503
Writing has begun. Will probably be finished tomorrow.

In the meantime, go and read Egil Skallagrimsson's Saga. That shit almost defines epic badassery.
>> No. 10508
>>10503
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/egil/index.htm

For those of you too lazy to do a proper search yourselves.
>> No. 10514
Writing continues, but won't be finished today due to lack of time.

Tomorrow, though, unruly update shall be completed. This I swear by the spear of Odin.
>> No. 10541
[ ] Because a lie would stain your honour, and shame you in Odin's eyes.


"For honour." You calmly state. "The liar is shamed in Odin's eye, for only a coward dares not face the consequences of his words."

"Nobly spoken, young one." Youki softly answers. But even though his words are gentle you notice a wary look in his eyes.

"And as you have told me, you are prepared to fight for your honour." The silver-maned master continues in a voice tinged with a slight sadness.

"And if I were to ask you if you would give your life for the sake of honour, you would answer 'yes'." The old one's gaze is unflinching, a twin to your own as your eyes meet. You don't reply, for no words are necessary when both of you know that the old one speaks truth.

"Better for worthy warrior to freely face his fate. Doom and death come to all men, yet only heroes with honour in heart hold High One's favour." Youki nods at your words, and as warrior to warrior you know that he understands your heart when you speak of honour and death, even though the shores of your homeland may lie a thousand leagues from his.

"Though it saddens me to hear of the lady Yakumo's fate, I cannot fault your actions." The old one sighs softly, and his serene expression is slowly replaced by sadness as he speaks.

"However you are also a vessel for strange gods, willing or not. Though I am but a simple hermit, I have not completely turned my back to Gensokyo. I am still bound by duty and loyalty towards my princess and my family." The old one's ice-blue eyes flicker with light, and by some strange sorcery he grasps a wooden scabbard out of thin air. The long, single-edged blade sings as the old master draws it, flashing out at his command like a grey-scaled serpent of steel.

Your body tenses reflexively as you see the gleaming wound-bringer leave its resting place. But even though the gesture is threatening the old one makes no move to attack you. Though his bladework is exquisite and the unsheathing almost too fast for you to follow, the master seems content to simply regard his blade in silence. After what seems like an eternity Youki speaks again.

"And there lies my dilemma, young Sigurd." The old one slowly raises his sword as he speaks, holding it in front of his face while carefully studying its edge.

"If I were to attack an unarmed man I would sin against the warrior's virtue." The old master's regretful voice tells while he slowly turns his blade in his hand. "And if I were to ignore the danger you pose, even though you may not intend harm, I would sin against my oath to my princess and against the laws of heaven."

Your sharp ears hear the emotion in his voice, and with unblinking gaze you see the sadness in his eyes. Yet it is your heart that tells you how the old silver-hair must be feeling. Have you not yourself felt the conflicting pulls of honour and duty? Have you not also found yourself trapped in a web wowen by your own oaths and Odin's law? Again ill fate seems to follow you wherever you go, reaching out and calling down misfortune upon your head.

"But it is always a sin to take innocent life. And to raise my blade against a man who has no weapon to defend himself is unthinkable." The old master's voice suddenly cuts through your musing, and a sharp, metallic clang sounds as he sheathes his long blade.

"I thank you for your honesty young Sigurd, and to my regret we could not meet under happier circumstances. I will not raise my sword or otherwise hinder you from leaving, and I pray that I will not have cause to regret my decision." After speaking his courteous words the old one falls silent and gives you a slight bow.

Yet even though you should feel somewhat relieved by this outcome, you find that a bitter venom is flowing through your heart. But for a son of the north there is always resolve, no matter what darkness affects him. You have only one thing to do.


[ ] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honour to be stained. If he cannot challenge you, then you shall challenge him.

[ ] Bid the old one farewell and leave this place. He has given you a precious gift, and you should not reject it.

[ ] Try to reason with the silver-maned one. Surely you are no threat to Gensokyo, and no force can turn you into one against your will.

---------------------------------
Currently on hold.
[ ] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.
>> No. 10543
[x] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honour to be stained. If he cannot challenge you, then you shall challenge him.

If you pick anything else, then all he said was but a lie.
>> No. 10546
>[ ] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honour to be stained. If he cannot challenge you, then you shall challenge him.
>[ ] Try to reason with the silver-maned one. Surely you are no threat to Gensokyo, and no force can turn you into one against your will.
>[ ] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.

GATTAI DA

[x] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honor to be stained. Ask him to follow you: If there comes a time where you pose a danger to that which he is honor-bound to protect, you will accept his challenge then and there.
>> No. 10551
>>10546
I like this.

[x] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honor to be stained. Ask him to follow you: If there comes a time where you pose a danger to that which he is honor-bound to protect, you will accept his challenge then and there.
>> No. 10556
[x] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honor to be stained. Ask him to follow you: If there comes a time where you pose a danger to that which he is honor-bound to protect, you will accept his challenge then and there.

This. And if he cannot leave this place, we can always promise, warrior to warrior, that we will come back to challenge him once we have properly rearmed ourselves.
>> No. 10557
FUCK YES YOU ARE THE BEST COHORT EVER
>> No. 10560
[x] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honor to be stained. Ask him to follow you: If there comes a time where you pose a danger to that which he is honor-bound to protect, you will accept his challenge then and there.
>> No. 10562
[x] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honor to be stained. Ask him to follow you: If there comes a time where you pose a danger to that which he is honor-bound to protect, you will accept his challenge then and there.
>> No. 10576
[x] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honor to be stained. Ask him to follow you: If there comes a time where you pose a danger to that which he is honor-bound to protect, you will accept his challenge then and there.

It is the strange god Youki has qualms with, not Sigurd himself. The old master's wisdom could prove invaluable to see through this haze of unknown, both god and border alike.

Don't ask for his help in invading SDM though.
>> No. 10614
I'm calling the vote here. Writing is starting now, and will probably be finished sometime tomorrow morning.
>> No. 10615
I'm calling the vote here. Writing is starting now, and will probably be finished sometime tomorrow morning.
>> No. 10616
And is it just me, or is the site acting funky lately?
>> No. 10617
File 122912773521.jpg - (494.36KB, 1120x800, 1922821.jpg) [iqdb]
10617
>>10616
Site has been weird for a day, but it's getting progressively worse
>> No. 10621
I'd love to see Youki team up with Sigurd, but that would be cool and not interesting. I doubt after a while it would be much fund, even if the concept is awesome it's best saved for a moment where surrounded by enemies on either side they must fight back to back against impossible odds.
>> No. 10622
File 12291310444.jpg - (124.56KB, 320x660, 1228978362927.jpg) [iqdb]
10622
>>10621

*cough*
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BackToBackBadasses
>> No. 10625
I'd want to see Youki and Sigurd have a rap battle. Only, instead of rapping, it'll be Youki using Haikus and Sigurd doing whatever it is he does.
>> No. 10674
>>10625

Sigurd laying down some Skalding hot rhymes? Sounds awesome.
>> No. 10683
>>10674
Goddammit.
>> No. 10684
>>10621

Well, Youki really wouldn't "team up" with you if you get him to join in this way.

Remember, you're asking him to come along with the condition that he can try to kill you the moment you do something that he doesn't approve of.


And the writing has hit a snag as some plotwise details will have to be reworked in order to accommodate the write-in. Please watch warmly until it's ready.
>> No. 10685
>>10684

How the fuck am I supposed to watch warmly when Cirno is trekking across the southern U.S.?
>> No. 10689
>>10622
>Chen
>Theme Naming (Her name actually means "Orange" in Chinese. The Yakumos (which includes Chen) are named so that their relative power levels correspond to the placement of their names' colors on the electromagnetic spectrum. So Chen, whose name means "orange" is weakest, while Yukari whose name means "purple" is strongest.)

I didn't know that. Maybe I should read the wiki more.

Oh, and Touohu really is everywhere, isn't it?
>> No. 10758
[x] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honor to be stained. Ask him to follow you: If there comes a time where you pose a danger to that which he is honor-bound to protect, you will accept his challenge then and there.
>> No. 10807
>>10685
>How the fuck am I supposed to watch warmly when Cirno is trekking across the southern U.S.?
That needs to get translated already.
>> No. 10811
>>10685

Why don't you snuggle up with Mokou? That ought to keep the cold away.

But anyway, a status update is in order. As of now I am finished with planning the potential changes in the plot, and writing should be finished tomorrow. For real this time, for so I swear upon the sacred name of Mjolnir.
>> No. 10837
>>10811

Why do you stain the god's name? Do you have no honor?
>> No. 10839
>>10837
Ragnarok happens.
>> No. 10844
File 122972619456.jpg - (51.20KB, 500x345, Ragnarok.jpg) [iqdb]
10844
>>10839

BRB, fighting legions of fire-giants.
>> No. 10845
File 122973634350.jpg - (57.77KB, 408x600, grrrarrrg.jpg) [iqdb]
10845
>>10844
Oh IT'S ON NOW!
>> No. 10846
File 122973766751.jpg - (15.72KB, 240x300, freyr.jpg) [iqdb]
10846
>>10845

Bring it.
>> No. 10849
Back from Raganrok, was kinda fun.

Seriously though, I was exessively optimistic with my estimate. On the positive side, my exams are over and I have copious amounts of free time. This should translate to quick updates until sometime in mid-january. Odin knows that this thread has been far too slow.

____________________________

[ ] As warrior to warrior you cannot allow the old master's honor to be stained. Ask him to follow you: If there comes a time where you pose a danger to that which he is honor-bound to protect, you will accept his challenge then and there.
[ ] Go and investigate the barrier. Ask Youki to accompany you.


The path of the honourable man is one that you strive to follow, and above all else you are a guest in the old master's hall, spartan as his dwelling may be. For just as the High One's song bids the host to welcome weary travelers, so does it oblige the guest to return kindness in full. If you are to keep your favour in Odin's eye you must not run from this responsibility. Knowing this truth, you stand your ground and answer the silver-maned master.

"I answer you, old battle-master, that even though you ask me to I shall not slink away into the night, for fleeing the field is not the lot of Odin's warriors. My host you have been, gracious gift-giver, and for the wayfarer High One's law brings the duty to defend the honour of his host."

The old one looks back to you and gives you a knowing look, as if your answer was what he expected.

"The wheel of Dharma turns, yet there is no road to follow. We seem to be at an impasse then... unless you have thought of a way to avoid this dilemma?"

"Aye, honoured host, that I have. For as you have told, the bright-gleaming blade cannot rise until it has a reason, and if ever reason it gains, the star-mountain's blade-master will already have failed his duty." Carefully you pick and choose from among the treasures of your word-hoard, for it would not do to to speak hastily this time.

"There is one path that we can follow with undiminished honour. Join me, old master, join me and witness my deeds, and if there ever comes a day when I threaten that which your oath and law bids you protect, our blades will clash fiercely and freely at that time. So I swear upon the name of Odin Veratýr."

Youki's eyes widen slightly as you speak and for the first time since you met him he seems genuinely baffled. For a few moments he seems to be at a loss for words, then he quickly composes himself, though you still detect a hint of uncertainty in his words.

"You... would have me accompany you? Even knowing that you are inviting a drawn sword to hang over your head?" The old master still looks somewhat skeptical, and thus you meet his gaze and calmly reply.

"All men must die. Why then should I stray from the path of heroes to prolong my life?" Youki sighs softly and slowly shakes his head after you finish speaking. His expression is unreadable as he meets your gaze, but his tone is soft and almost nostalgic.

"There is bravery, young one, and then there is recklessness. I cannot say whether your suggestion is of the first or second kind, but I will... take it into consideration." Though his voice still is gentle, the old master's last words ring ominously in your ears. But for some reason this doesn't unnerve you in the slightest, for you can sense the hand of the gray sisters subtly weaving your destiny this day.

For better or for worse the dice is cast, and at last the matter is out of your hands. All that remains is to wait for the old master to make his decision.

"Aye, so be it. Wise men act not in haste, for hasty thought and hasty tongue are ever banes of men, as surely as sword and axe can they bring doom and despair." You decide to try and steer the conversation onto a more fruitful track, and you still want to investigate the barrier. What better time is there than now?

"For now we should turn our minds to other matters, let us search and spy around, for the spell-wall may give the ever-welcome gift of knowledge." Youki also seems happy to change the subject, for he immediately replies to your words.

"You want to examine the barrier? Very well, I have no objections." The old master gracefully rises to his feet in a single, flowing motion. Unlike him you slowly push yourself upright and again feel just how tired your limbs are. Truly it was wise to avoid battle this day, for you surely are in no condition to raise gleaming blade nor stout shield. But even if it is somewaht justified, this weakness is unbecoming and you force your body to walk swiftly as you follow Youki out of the cavern.

Outside you are greeted by the chill of night and the mountain wind whistling in your ears. You shiver slightly because of the sudden shift in temperature and the air blowing against your bare chest. The gods know you really could use some new clothes once you get back to Gensokyo. Again you push away the unworthy longing, for hardship is to be endured.

Instead you gaze up at the wall of power looming ahead. The northern lights still dance across the sky, and you notice a few sparks of Muspelheim falling from the firmament. The runes marking the barrier flicker with light, and they are obviously far brighter than they were when you arrived to this place. You turn to the old master, intent on inquiring about the runes in the sky, only to be greeted by a strange sight.

You believe it to be the same blob of smoky white that you saw earlier. It flows around the old one's head, and with faint surprise you notice that Youki's eyes have turned entirely white and glow with a slight inner light. For a minute or two the old master watches the heavens, then the translucent blob floats away and Youki's eyes regain their ice-blue colour. You find yourself wondering what this blob of white actually is, and for that matter, what kind of being the old master actually is.

"Young Sigurd, I cannot see or sense anything out of the ordinary right now. It appears that the barrier has stabilized." The old master turns back to you and smiles slightly.

"If you still wish to investigate we have to get closer to the barrier itself, but moving closer to the border would be like stealing past a drunken oni. Even if you are careful it might awake."

So there is danger? In truth you expected no less. Surely you could brave the risks, but would you gain anything? With a slight sting of embarrassment you realize that you don't know what you should be looking for in the first place. Should you hunt for signs of Loki? The sly-god could have walked through the air, as he is known to do. Or might he have chosen the less obvious route?

Or maybe should you search for wisdom in the flickering runes above? They burn ever brighter, and you think you can see a slow pulse in the light they shed. Or should you simply forget about the idea? Would it not be a waste of time to search blind?


[ ] Investigate the runes burning in the sky.

[ ] Investigate the peak of the mountain.

[ ] Investigate the foot of the mountain.

[ ] Call off the investigation.
>> No. 10850
[x] Ask Odin for help.
>> No. 10851
>"If you still wish to investigate we have to get closer to the barrier itself, but moving closer to the border would be like stealing past a drunken oni. Even if you are careful it might awake."

Yes, but we want it to. Coming to a reckoning with Yukari was the entire point of this exercise.

[x] Investigate the peak of the mountain.
>> No. 10853
Oh, and since I forgot to mention this earlier, please pick only one option.
>> No. 10854
[X] Investigate the runes burning in the sky.

>I cannot say whether your suggestion is of the first or second kind, but I will... take it into consideration.

FFFFFF. Well played.
>> No. 10855
[x] Investigate the runes burning in the sky.

Runes? What's going on with those runes?
>> No. 10864
[x] Investigate the runes burning in the sky.
>> No. 10867
>>9922
>"It is not that there is no enlightenment, but how can it be helped that it falls into the second class?"
I still don't get this.
>> No. 10869
>>10867

He's essentially telling Sigurd that Enlightenment isn't important to being a warrior.
>> No. 10870
>>10867

I must admit that the reference is somewhat obscure. At the risk of sounding pretentious, Youki is referring to a Zen Koan here, so there really isn't any straightforward answer to his question.

>>10869

Actually he's asking whether the question about enlightenment itself is meaningful, or at least that's how I have always interpreted it.


And I'm going to wait for additional votes until sometime tomorrow. Then I will write, votes or no votes.
>> No. 10872
Ahhhhh, okay.
>> No. 10873
[X] Investigate the runes burning in the sky.
>> No. 10875
Right, writing now.
>> No. 10876
>>10875

hooray!
>> No. 10877
[ ] Investigate the runes burning in the sky.


After a short moment of hesitation you decide to examine the runes in the sky. As you study them more carefully you're certain they do burn brighter than they did when you arrived. Curious indeed. The symbols themselves seem to be far more complicated than the runes of Odin that you're familiar with. These ones consist of multiple lines and strange dots scattered around them.

"Old master, strange to this song-smith's eyes are the sights of this night. What tale do they tell, the fiercely flaming runes scribed on starlit sky?"

"Runes?" The old one asks in a questioning tone. "You are not familiar with Kanji? No, of course you are not. My apologies." Youki looks up towards Aurgelmir's skull and points towards a vertical column of elaborate symbols.

"What is written there is the lady Yakumo's name. Why it is there I do not know, but I have always assumed it to be a matter of vanity."

"Vanity, old master?"

"Yes, the lady Yakumo likes to take credit for the things she does." The old one suddenly smiles and laughs softly. "And sometimes for the things she doesn't do as well."

While Youki's explanation isn't as exhaustive as you had hoped it still clarifies the matter somewhat. For if this is the name of Yukari, might it not have some connection with the demon herself? And if there is such a possibility you need to investigate it.

Even though you loathe to admit it, there is the one thought that has occurred to you before. Until now you've managed to ignore it, but it would truly be unwise to do so any longer. For if the words of the Sly-God were true and Yukari will recover from her injury, will she not seek revenge? And if she does, could you win another battle against her?

It is not within your character to admit defeat before the fight has even begun, but somehow you suspect that this may be the one battle that would be lost even before your blades are unsheathed. Again it seems as if the fates conspire against you while you hold only a few scraps of the knowledge you need, and also that every answer you do find gives birth to two additional questions. Ironic indeed that it is only after the accomplishment of your quest of vengeance that you find it important to learn about a foeman you've already killed. But that mattes little right now, for at this moment you must seek wisdom by yourself.

Without hesitation you stride up into the sky and approach the runes. The sensation as you walk closer is very strange indeed for the air itself resists you slightly. It almost as if you were moving in water, while some unknown power is making your hair and beard tingle. Sorcery again. Something that you have faced, and something that you have overcome before. Summoning your will and your courage you walk closer and closer to the flames inscribed upon thin air, studying the runes as they slowly draw near. They are certainly a majestic sight, flickering and shifting while slowly pulsating with inner light. They almost seem alive as they shift colour and intensity, and if you strain your eyes you can make out blurred shapes and sights within the fires. You also find that you're unable to make any sense of what you're seeing.

Perhaps this is not so stange, for even though there are many skalds and wisemen who claim to hold the secret knowledge of spells and sorcery, you have never been one of them. Of course you know the ancient legends and the song of spells, for Odin himself passed on that tale to mortals, but magic has ever been the province of gods and spirits in your mind. In fact you have never seen true wizardry before entering Gensokyo. But even though you cannot say what these runes want to tell, might not the old master be able to shed some light on the visions contained within the strange symbols? You should stop and ask him.

It is only then that you notice that something is wrong. Try as you may, you cannot turn your head nor slow your steps. Guided by a will other than your own, your legs inexorably move you closer and closer to the burning runes, and the barrier they are inscribed upon. The light is almost hypnotic, as if it is calling out to you to step closer. It may be to a terrible doom, or it may be to a glorious destiny but somehow you can sense that something vast and unknown is inviting you and obviously won't take no for an answer.

A faint sense of panic flutters across your mind as the magic around you becomes more and more intense. You have only seconds to act before you make contact with the spell-wall.


[ ] Call upon your will and try to break free from the compulsion.

[ ] Don't resist the compulsion and keep walking towards the runes.

[ ] You will not be bound. Call upon the red fury, the berserker rage.

[ ] Call to the gods for aid.
>> No. 10879
>For if the words of the Sly-God were true and Yukari will recover from her injury, will she not seek revenge?

I have a feeling it is not so much as revenge that Yakumo seeks, but a settling of debts.

[x] Call upon your will and break free from the compulsion.
[x] Stride on toward the runes, but under your own strength and will.

Oh and merry Christmas, Norseman.
>> No. 10881
[x] Call upon your will and break free from the compulsion.
[x] Stride on toward the runes, but under your own strength and will.

Let us see where this will lead.
>> No. 10882
What the fuck would Yukari want revenge for or to settle? She fucked with us, we fucked with her back.
Equation is balanced, end of story.
>> No. 10884
>>10879

And a fair Yule-tide to you as well, good anonymous.

>>10882

Well, some people keep grudges. And as for the historical background, there are several famous examples of vicious cycles of revenge in the Icelandic sagas. Egil Skallagrimmsson's saga contains a good example in the feud between Egin and king Eirik Bloodaxe.

So based on cultural context it is quite reasonable for Sigurd to expect that someone will seek vengeance against him. Whether somebody actually will do it is an open question of course.


And I suppose I'll wait until tomorrow for votes, then I'll fire up a new thread.
>> No. 10885
>It may be to a terrible doom, or it may be to a glorious destiny

50/50 chance, I will take it.

[X] Don't resist the compulsion and keep walking towards the runes.

>[ ] Call to the gods for aid.
Tempting, maybe another god will be summoned?
>> No. 10887
[x] Call upon your will and break free from the compulsion.
[x] Stride on toward the runes, but under your own strength and will.
>> No. 10893
[x] Call upon your will and break free from the compulsion.
[x] Stride on toward the runes, but under your own strength and will.
>> No. 10894
Sufficient votes? Groovy.

Writing now.
>> No. 28026
set your countenance and your will, upon those portals of soul! cringing spirit flees, but cannot escape its gaze, and is twice judged; the face of battle measures, exposes weakness; doubt, fear, sets upon itself; that beholding moment, that pierces mind, steals strength, locks limb; let the hoary eye of north channel odins consuming fury, his command, and despair!
>> No. 28027
File 138468222474.png - (92.07KB, 800x540, 3c3bb108fee242f98bb960c81a34b62e.png) [iqdb]
28027
>>28026
I don't know who you are, but I will find you and I will kill you. You bumped an old excellent story that has been dead for five years, just to shitpost. For that, I will give you no quarter.
>> No. 28029
>>28027

Eh, technically it's only been dead for a year and a half and Norseman has come back from longer, Necroanon just voted in the wrong thread.

You've still got a point though. Oh well, at least I got a good reaction pic out of this. Thanks for that, by the way.
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