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15726 No. 15726
[ ] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.


You let your gaze wander around the table, silently watching your companions for a few moments. Youki is serene as usual, the very portrait of the calm wiseman. Alice is similarily giving off an air of refinement though she smiles slightly in greeting. Marisa on the other hand gives you a wide grin and a grateful look, as if you had saved her from a fate unfortunate. Considering the company you suspect that you might have, for surely the mischievious magician would be the third weel to the refined duo of dollmaker and blademaster.

Perhaps then it is fortunate or maybe only fair that you soon shall pose a question that surely shall bring great delight to the black-white witch. You pick up your cup to wet your throat and wince as the strange-tasting liquid enters your mouth. It is pleasantly warm though, somewhat offsetting the bitter taste.

You replace your cup and close your eyes for a brief moment. A deep breath is drawn and the voice of the song-smith begins its work.

"Returned we are, victorious warriors, at quest's end as Odin wills." You slowly and deliberately recite, "No longer do they seek to cast us down, war-bringing steel-fang, wound-washed battle-ice, fiend and foeman are far and
forgotten."

"Now is time for tale-telling, for saga and song to echo far, tale not untold in nine worlds. Now, noble friends, we speak of mighty deed and worthy valour." You continue, voice growing more animated and fiery as the poetry begins to flow through your veins. Fire grips your very soul and you lift your voice in invocation, calling out to the highest realm and to its lords.

"On Allfather Odin I call, to grant our tongues the taste of his mead and our minds the fire within. On long-bearded Bragi I call, to bless us with wisdom and song-skill. On one-handed Týr I call to hear and know our courage for only the bravest can judge the brave, wolf-feeder's honour this is. The gods I call to aid us, the gods I call to hear us, and the gods I call to remember us." You speak, words of power, words of invitation. It feels as if the air itself is charged with power, as if the world itself is holding its breath and listening.

Again you pause to study your fair friends. Youki's expression is one of curiosity mixed with wariness. The spirit cloud of his swirls around him and his eyes glitter with a subtle light. Next your gaze turns to the black-white one, who seems awestruck by your performance. Her eyes burn with excitement, and you can hear a soft whisper escape her lips, the word subtle but unmistakable.

"Awesome-ze..."

"A tale I have, daring deeds and fabled feats spun into song, yet it is not fit for telling now." You continue, flashing a wide grin to the black-white witch, then you finally turn to Alice. The puppetmaker watches you with expectation in her eyes and a cunning smile on her lips. You return her fox-like smile with one of your own and in a clear voice you pass the tale to the princess of puppets.

"Who would when invited,
Ill-counsel offer, ill-word utter
'Neath roof-beams of high hall?

Not for friend to friend shame,
Not for guest to host usurp,
Not for noble tongue to scathe-word speak,
So sang Odin, highest of high.

High-esteemed host is first among friends,
For each one is master at home.
Her tale is the first, hers is the honour."

(cont.)
>> No. 15727
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15727
The dollmaker glances towards the black-white witch. The mischievious magician glances towards the puppeteer. Then both of them grin in unison, a sight that you honestly must confess sends a small shiver down your back.

"Then I'll tell you what I and Marisa have done while you were gone." The puppetmaker begins, showing a side of her that you now see more clearly than ever before. Her words are still elegant and chosen with care but her voice is now proud and powerful, one surely blessed by inspiration divine. And were the voice of a skald not proof enough, her eyes and expression show the confidence of a conquering hero returned to her home-shore. The air itself grows even more charged with ethereal force, though if it is only the mood of the occasion or the presence of the gods of poetry and victory you cannot say.

"We have, as you must have suspected, searched for you." The proud one states. Then, with a small smile she adds an offhand comment. "Incidentally we also happened to defeat one of the greatest Youkai in Gensokyo while we were doing so."

"Hah, wasn't that one for the books, eh?" The forest witch says with a loud laugh. "What'cha usually call it Sigurd? 'Glorious victory', or something -ze?"

"Naturally. But if this is to be a story we should tell all of it don't you think?" You notice Shanghai nodding enthusiastically as the little doll's mistress speaks. Somehow this gesture manages to raise your own spirits further, the small puppet's energy apparently rubbing off on you.

"What'cha think about me, hey? If we didn't tell him everything then all that awesome stuff I did would be wasted, wouldn't it -ze?" Marisa shoots back with a confident laugh.

"Indeed. It may take a while though, but you don't mind do you?" Alice courteously asks, though it only takes one look at her to see that 'no' is not an answer to her question. And even if it were, who would dare to deny the sacred custom of tale-telling?

"How can time be better spent than in tale-telling among fair friends?" You respond with a wide smile. "A thousand times a thousand tales could we tell, until end of time spin song and saga, and yet could we not exhaust its magic, aye, like the Thunderlord once tried to empty the far-famed drinking horn of Utgarda-Loki, all our might would be for naught if we seek to drain the well of stories."

You see the old master nod sagely at your words, and the black-white witch grinning and giving you a thumbs-up. Alice herself smiles even wider and happily begins to craft the story.

"Very well then. First I must confess that I was slightly distressed after you disappeared." The puppetmaker states, beginning the telling of her tale, "Not because I doubted your ability to take care of yourself," she quickly adds, "but because Marisa here always kicks up such a fuss when the unexpected happens. You have no idea how annoying it is."

"Bah, just 'cause I'm a nice gal who's concerned about others, she says stuff like that. Dummy Alice has a heart of stone, y'know?" Marisa indignantly replies. "An' I told her that too, I did, and that's when she started picking a fight -ze."

"Only to shut your whining." The red-blue one snaps back in an annoyed voice.

"Oh yeah? As if you never whine, 'specially when you have no luck with Patchy an'..." Marisa slyly answers, her smile growing more and more impish by the moment.

"Anyway!" The dollmaker interrupts the black-white one, her voice taking on a tone of equal parts anger and embarassment. Ignoring the amused, devilish grin of the forest witch the proud puppetmaker's determined voice steers the tale back to its course.

"As we could not find you, we decided to return to Gensokyo proper and see if you had made it out on your own. On the way we did run into a few fairies and minor Youkai on our way back, as well as some other magical beasts who were quite insistent in attacking us."

"Small fry, don't really count." Marisa interrupts, "Didn't even slow us down -ze." The black-white adds with a wicked grin.

You suddenly find yourself enjoying this unorthodox storytelling far more than you actually should, for no tale is lesser or greater than its tale-weaver, and the fierce flyting of the two mages truly adds spice to the story.

"Indeed. We eventually were able to leave the borderlands, which I must confess was a welcome relief, especially as Marisa's rudeness was becoming quite unbearable."

"You still totally started it, y'know." Marisa calmly comments, evoking an angry look from her friend.

"Oh shut up."

"Hah, can't handle the truth, doll girl?"

For a moment the two magicians glare daggers at each other before descending into inarticulate bickering. The old master raises an eyebrow as he surveys the spectacle, though if it is in confusion or ironic amusement you cannot say. Finally you manage to make out Alice's indignant voice cutting through the cacaphony.

"...which ended with that scruffy mushroom lover trying to hit me with a Master Spark. Can you believe it?" The dollmaker huffs.

"Hmph, you totally deserved it you big dummy." Marisa shoots back. "And besides, I missed didn't I?"

"You did. And that's when we noticed that Marisa had disintegrated a few hundred sunflowers. The flower Youkai was not pleased." Alice remarks in a deadpan voice.

In reply Marisa simply laughs weakly and scratches the side of her head. With an embarassed look she interjects a somewhat sheepish comment. "Yeah, Yuka was kinda pissed off, wasn't she -ze?"

You suddenly feel a slight change in the atmosphere, as if some facet controlling the mood suddenly has changed. While the forest witch speaks you cast a glance towards the old master, and to your mild surprise his expression now reveals a perfect, ice-cold focus, an attention sharper than any blade, seemingly evoked by the mere mention of the flower Youkai's name. You turn your eyes back to the black-white one, for this story has suddenly taken on a far more epic scope then you had thought.

"Anyway, it's really her own fault." The black-white continues while nodding to herself, apparently not noticing the old one's reaction. "If she hadn't taught me to Spark, I couldn't have blown up her flowers -ze."

"As I recall, you have admitted that you stole the Master Spark from her." Alice dryly replies, her smile not quite gloating, but as close as it could be.

The black-white witch winces slightly at that comment, then protests in a truly wounded voice.

"Hey Alice that's not fair y'know? She really showed me -ze, almost blasted my face off that first time." The black-white pouts slightly in an not entirely successful attempt to look miserable. The dollmaker wastes little sympathy on the forest witch, instead continuing her explanation.

"So you say. In any case the flower youkai was not pleased, and she was not responsive to reason either, even less than usual in fact. And that was when the true story began."
>> No. 15728
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Alice theatrically sweeps her hand in fron of her, ending the gesture with a small flourish. Conjured into being by this simple gesture are three dolls, one a likeness of the puppetmaker herself, another wearing the well-known white-black garb of the forest witch, and a third doll, a green haired one clad in a red plaid dress and holding a yellow parasol. The craftsmanship of the puppets is nothing short of marvelous, you quickly decide, for even from the lifeless painted faces you can clearly see the emotions burning as fierce as Muspelheim's flames.

There is a confident arrogance tempered by caution upon the features of the dollmaker's likeness, as if she knew her fate was victory, yet could not bring herself to fully believe this truth. In the forest-witch's doll-self a burning, joyous eagerness is mixed with a hint of fear, the face of a warrior facing a foe he knows could easily bring to him a terrible end, yet savouring the challenge nonetheless. And in the face of the final doll, a blank, deceptive look. For even if her face seems serene, there is a look in those eyes, though mere likenesses of the red orbs of the true flower-beast, a look of madness, of fury deeper and purer than any berserk of Odin could feel.

"And so it began." Alice intones, small threads of power flowing from her fingers to the puppets, animating the crafted beings with spell and sorcery, a breath of life into that which has none of its own. The two dolls representing the magicians of the magic forest float towards the roof, many-coloured magic flowing around them. The flower-beast's effigy follows, taking up a position opposed to the other puppets, no less sorcery flaming into existence around her.

"We defended ourselves, of course." Alice's voice calls out as the three puppets begin a complex dance, filling the air with small orbs of light. The puppet-Alice and puppet-Marisa work in concert and with blinding speed, weaving intricate patterns in perfect harmony. Yuka's puppet, on the other hand, surges with raw, unfettered power, wielding it with the same subtlety as one of Odin's battleragers as she assaults the magicians. For a minute or two the four of you watch the display in silence, you yourself feeling slightly awed even by this small reenactment of the true battle. You find yourself regretting that you missed the real thing.

"But we fought not only for ourselves." The puppetmaster slowly intones while the blaze of colous grows brighter. "We were in a hurry, after all. We wanted to end this battle swiftly."

"An' then that dummy Alice got impatient, she did." Marisa comments in a slightly disapproving voice. Alice suddenly blushes and looks down. The puppet performance seems to snag for a moment, but with stubborn determination the dollmaker brings the show back to a smooth running again, continuing the tale, steering the story towards its end.

As the bolts of colour grow more numerous and the patterns grow more and more intricate, you notice that the Alice-puppet's movement slowly changing. It moves faster and faster, weaving and dodging through smaller and smaller gaps, launching more and more spell-bolts of her own. The flower-beast's puppet responds in kind until it seems as if the black-white witch's doll is all but forgotten in the fierce duel between dollmaker and mistress of sunflowers. It does not last long though, for in a head-on duel the Alice-doll seems outmatched. It is only a small slip of hers that causes a mass of magic missiles to smash into the Alice-doll, burning and battering the little puppet.

"Hah, she gotcha good there, didn't she -ze?" Marisa comments with a small chuckle.

"Yes. Truly rude, was it not?" Alice replies with a hint of indignation in her voice as her scorched effigy crashes down on the table with a sharp crack. The battle in the air continues between the black-white doll and the sunflower-wielding puppet, no less intense than before.

Yet in its rage the flower-beast seems to have overlooked the warrior's wisdom, for the Alice-doll rises to its feet again, its expression now enraged, face twisted by anger and shame, and a fiery determination apparent from its posture.

"Not something that I could just let go, was it?" The dollmaker darkly continues as her doll-self shoots into the sky and weaves through the storm of sorcery and positions itself behind the doll-form of Yuka.

There is a surge of power, there is a red flash and there are innumerable bolts of magic shooting out in flower-like patterns from the Alice-doll, followed by a thousand red arrows tearing into the flower-beast's doll almost faster than the eye can see. This sorcerous storm continues for almost an minute, after which the doll-Yuka, badly burned and battered by this brutal sorcery, crashes down on the table and lies unmoving. Alice's own effigy stands still in the air for a moment, savouring her triumph. Then it topples down as well, only to be caught in mid-air by the puppet-Marisa, the black-white one gently cradling the puppetmaker in her arms and slowly carrying her down to the ground.

"The Phantom of the Grand Guignol isn't a spell I use lightly, it is... inelegant." Alice calmly explains, though her expression reveals her embarrasment. "But I felt as if it was warranted then."

"Yeah, that was pretty awesome -ze. Reminds me why I hang aroud with a dummy like you." Marisa remarks. "Did have to save ya though -ze." The black-white adds with a smile.

"Thank you very much. It's good to have such an dependable friend." Alice replies, her voice thick with sarcasm, but her expression reveals true gratitude.

"Hah, don''t mention it, don't mention it -ze." Marisa replies with a wicked grin. "Takin' care of you when you're helpless is what I'm good at, y'know?"

"I-it wasn't more than a case of slight overexertion anyway," Alice indignantly shoots back, her cheeks slightly flushed with a rosy red. "So don't get any funny ideas." With a snap of her fingers the puppetmaker sends the three dolls back to where they came from.

The black-white witch and proud puppetmaker then drift away from the stuff of legends, instead telling of how they visited several places you do not know. Apparently they had already spoken with the guardian of a local village as well as a man Marisa refers to as 'Kourin'. Finally they simply ended up at the house of Alice apparently in preparation of some sorcerous spell of divination.

"An' then we heard a big, roaring sound and went out to check, and there you were." The black-white witch ends the explanation.

"And so we have told our tale." Alice adds, ending her story.
>> No. 15729
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"A remarkable feat." The old master calmly answers, "Yuka Kazami is a foe that few could face on equal terms."

"Yeah, aren't we awesome, or what?" Marisa happily answers. "Hey old man, I think you're an allright guy after all -ze."

"Hmph, how rude." Alice indignantly interjects. "Youki-dono, you mustn't think badly of her because of her lack of manners, after all she cannot help her boorish nature."

"I take no offense from the truth, Lady Margatroid," The old master kindly answers, "I am an old man, and so the Lady Kirisame's comment is accurate."

You think you can see a hint of annoyance flicker over the features of the dollmaker, probably because the diplomatic words of the old master leave little opportunity for further flyting on this point. Unsurprisingly the black-white witch also seems slightly disappointed. Instead the two magicians turn to you with expectation evident from their features.

"And you Sigurd, what did you think?" The crafter of puppets suddenly asks of you.

You lean back in your seat, reflecting upon what you have heard. The first truth is that it is for your sake that these two women have fought, if for no other reason then because it was you who dragged them with you on your quest.

And this friendship you share is true, forged in fire and sealed by the blood you have spilled for each other.

"A tale of great deed, and a tale well told, so I deem it." You reply to the puppetmaker. "And more than this, a tale of true valour, great gain of the coin of heroes have they earned, mighty mages of wildling wood."

"This I know, in his heart every man it has, the feeling when among true friends. For him they have shed their blood, as he would shed his blood for them, true and tried kith found in forest of magic." You gently continue your word-weave, for you feel as if you must give something back to these two wonderful women for the deeds they have done for your sake.

"Little has he to offer, though great is his gratitude. No rings of red gold he owns, nor fine silver-wrought blades. His is not the wealth of kings, no lands of plenty can he gift, nor sleek-sided sea-steeds, such ones that a man joyously rides upon Aegir's realm. Only one thing can he give." You pause for a short moment to catch your breath, then you rise from your seat and turn to face your audience while beginning the gift-giving.

"Hear, ye who would know, for this is his gift. He gives a memory, he gives a prayer and a song. Hear, ye who are heroes among gods and men, hear and remember."

Your audience, both the ones seated around the table and the gods watching and listening, had better be ready for this performance. So your mind speaks as it is filled with the fire gifted by Kvasir's blood, that best of draughts, and that madness when the Skald finds the gift to turn words into magic.

Clear rings the voice, calls out and bids all who hear it to burn the words into their memory. So is the voice of the song-smith as he begins his work.

"Thus has he heard, right-renowned song-smith, tale told like no other.
Well-fought battle, worthily waged, so was it told by honoured host,
Spear-song's sound, Sigföðr's delight, raven-cry's rasp, Rúnatýr's joy,
Battle-din, battle-sound, such it was, when High One saw blade-clash born.

Wonder-crafting wizardess, wide-famed witch. Two they were, facing fierce flower-beast.
Sought victory's ash-tree, far-famed foe-gallows, found the favour of Odin.

Thus has he seen, sharp-sighted tale-teller, high heroes like no others.
Brave they were when spear-clash called, Týr's match among Midgard's mortals,
Noble they were when blade-dance began, Balder's equals among heroes of men,
Fought they did, as High One bids, the fiercest battle, but flee did not.

Rising high, heaven-striding, this they did, to clash of spells, clash of curses,
Will and valour victory won, coin of courage and honour among heroes.

Never friend leaves friend in need, never in true heart falsehood is found,
So spoke Odin, One-Eyed God, in days of yore he uttered.
Thus he knows, high-hearted word-weaver, fair friends like no others.
True they were, beloved black-white, dear dollmaker, fought for friend as friend shall."

Now is the time. Well-chosen must the Skald's words be, well-honed his instict. Know he must when to open wide his word-hoard and when to keep his verse well-measured. Now is the time, and now you sing the end of this song.

"Battle blazing,
Blade biting,
Blood blooming.

Wizard-spell woven,
Wound-curse wielded,
Witchcraft wrought.

Fire flying,
Flower flaming,
Foeman fallen."

You end the rapid word-weave with these swift staves and turn to your audience. The pause you make is short, but seems to drag out for eternity. Alice's expression is almost stunned, as if she can not quite believe her ears. Marisa's eyes are filled with wonder, as if she has found some rare and hidden treasure. Even Youki seems truly impressed. With little left to say you seize the moment and end the weave of words.

"So by Fimbultýr's favour, so by song-smith's staves, victory will ever last.
Highest honour he has been handed, to sing the tale of flower-fiend's lay,
So has he spoken, crafted the gift to fairest friends, gift of song and saga.
Honour to the heroes, honour to the fallen, and honour to Odin who judges."

For another long moment there is silence. Then Shanghai silently floats up to you and suddenly hugs your arm tightly. Glancing at the doll's mistress you see that Alice is looking away, yet the tears flowing down her cheeks and the smile on her face cannot be hidden.

"AWESOME -ZE!" The black-white witch suddenly yells, jumping up from her chair and knocking over her cup in the process. Nearly shaking with excitement the forest witch slams her hands down on the table and looks you straight in the eye.

"You! You're hired -ze!" The black-white witch exclaims, the statement accompanied by a huge grin.

Marisa's outburst is followed by a moment of silence, which is followed by the soft laughter of the puppetmaker. Wiping the tears from her eyes, Alice smiles slyly at the overly excited black-white before shooting off a sarcastic comment.

"What are you going to hire him for, you silly girl? Not even you can be that desperate... or can you?"

"Shut yer trap, doll otaku." The black-white replies, brushing off the implied insult. "It doesn't matter for what he's hired for anyway, it'll end up in kickin' ass an' takin' names anyway, and you know it -ze!"

"Oh dear." Alice mumbles while slowly shaking her head. Shanghai mirror's the gesture of her mistress, but the little doll fails adorably at replicating Alice's look of exasperation.

"Bah, you're too stiff, too stiff I say -ze. This is gonna be awesome, just you watch!" The forest witch replies with a laugh. "An' don'cha worry Sigurd, even though you're my hireling, I won't boss ya around too much -ze."

"An' that reminds me, what'cha wanna do now Sigurd?" The black-white witch asks you. Pondering the question for a moment, you find innumerable paths of possibility in front of you, a myriad ways you can wander. Which one should you pick?

[ ] Write-in only.

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

So update's wordcount lenghtened, and ending was too open-ended. Pick something to do, kind Anonymous.
>> No. 15731
>>15730

No, you didn't.
>> No. 15732
[x] "I would very much like a warm bath and sleep. But first to matters of far greater importance."
[x] Tell them your tale. They told you their own after all so it only seems right.
>> No. 15733
[x] "I would very much like a warm bath and sleep. But first to matters of far greater importance."
[x] Tell them your tale. They told you their own after all so it only seems right.
>> No. 15734
[x] "I would very much like a warm bath and sleep. But first to matters of far greater importance."
[x] Tell them your tale. They told you their own after all so it only seems right.
>> No. 15736
[x] "I would very much like a warm bath and sleep. But first to matters of far greater importance."
[x] Tell them your tale. They told you their own after all so it only seems right.
>> No. 15737
[x] "I would very much like a warm bath and sleep. But first to matters of far greater importance."
[x] Tell them your tale. They told you their own after all so it only seems right.

Wow, they took on Yuka? Very impressive! I wonder if that spell came from Alice's Grimoire.
>> No. 15738
[z] "I would very much like a warm bath and sleep. But first to matters of far greater importance."
[e] Tell them your tale. They told you their own after all so it only seems right.
>> No. 15739
[x] "I would very much like a warm bath and sleep. But first to matters of far greater importance."
[x] Tell them your tale. They told you their own after all so it only seems right.
>> No. 15741
[x] "I would very much like a warm bath and sleep. But first to matters of far greater importance."
[x] Tell them your tale. They told you their own after all so it only seems right.
>> No. 15742
Vote seems unanimous, so the process of writing starts now.
>> No. 15745
The only reason this hasn't been said yet is probably because it was unbelievably obvious... but it should be said at least once.
Norseman, that was epic, and you should feel epic.
>> No. 15746
>>15745
Definitely this.
>> No. 15748
Wooow. Excellent update. Can't wait for the next one!
>> No. 15756
>>15745

Indeed.
>> No. 15770
>>15742

Agreed.
>> No. 15808
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15808
>>15745

Well, it'd have to be after two weeks.

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

[ ] "I would very much like a warm bath and sleep. But first to matters of far greater importance."
[ ] Tell them your tale. They told you their own after all so it only seems right.


Though many of your possible choices are tempting, none have the allure of simple rest. Thus far you have managed to push your weariness aside, but the truth still remains that you have waged battle after battle with little rest in

between. And weariness, if allowed to take root and fester, can bring down even the greatest of men. A warm bath and a soft bed, these are the remedies you require, and perhaps a hearty meal of food as well?

"I would very much like a warm bath and sleep..." You respond to Marisa, but before you can say anything more the forest witch's previously eager expression shifts into one of purest disappointment.

"Eeeh?" The black-white witch exclaims, interrupting you in mid-sentence. "How lame! Y'can sleep when you're dead, can't you -ze?"

"...but first to matters of far greater importance." You finish your sentence. Truly the trusty witch is a wonder to behold, blessed as she seems to be by both the power and the patience of the Thunderlord himself. The old master gives both you and the black-white questioning looks, while Alice simply sighs heavily and shakes her head at the antics of the forest witch.

"And nay, mighty Marisa, little sleep there is for the valiant dead." You add with a smile directed at the winsome witch. "Another fate is theirs, those who ascend to Odin's side."

"That better be good -ze." The forest witch skeptically replies. "What's so important anyway?"

"As tale you told, fair friends, so I would tell mine." You state, causing Marisa to visibly perk up. Alice also seems to sharpen her ears and eyes in reaction to your words.

Encouraged by the attention of the audience you draw a deep breath and begin the smithing of story and song.

"At time of our parting, as you well know, through treacherous lands we traveled, through borderlands of bounded realm, saw shining lure-light..." You start your tale, then briefly describe how you battled through the strange, constricting mist.

"There he won through spell-smoke, sorcery shattering 'neath his will and wish. Drawn he was, and only after the deed was done he saw that he alone had stepped through sorcerous smoke-veil." Your deep voice slowly intones. You continue with a brief description of the mystic mountain and how you assumed that the two mages would find their way to that place. Alice and Marisa don't seem offended by this explanation, giving you a slight amount of relief, for you would not wish for them to think that you had meant to abandon the magician pair. After this you tell of the cave, the fire, and the old master.

"...and thus we met, wise master of ages and wandering weaver of tales, 'neath stone-spire's stretch we spoke." You turn to the old master and continue your word-weave. "And so this is his tale as well."

"Yes. I had been meditating upon the nature of the Hakurei barrier for some time when young Sigurd suddenly arrived." The old one calmly explains. "Naturally I was surprised, few have ever found their way to the mountain of the seal after all, but in the end young Sigurd turned out to be a human wanderer, thus my suspicions were shown to be unfounded."

"And so we spoke, and so the knowledge was to me given, and so I shared my thought-treasure. Of Loki Laufey's son I told, and of the star-spanning spell-wall did I learn, many things hidden were revealed..." You add, then briefly explain your suspicions about Loki and how he may have used you and the weakened barrier to enter Gensokyo.

"...as Loki's schemes can bring great grief to those caught in them." You finish your sentence, your voice coloured by a slight hint of annoyance. You do no longer know exactly what to think about the son of giants, but if nothing else, he is still infuriating.

"There I also told of our battle with golden-haired daemon, that spirit of borders, her who Loki's will would have slain." You add, glancing at Marisa while you speak. The black-white witch smiles slightly as if recalling a fond memory. Which, you supect, she has.

"It was, of course, a sad thing to hear about the fate of the Lady Yakumo." Youki comments, a hint of regret in his voice. "Though perhaps not very surprising. Of more concern is this being known as Loki and of his attempt to take the true life of the Lady Yakumo." He adds, his voice now slightly harder, but also coloured by some curiosity.

"Yeah, I see what'cha mean -ze." Marisa replies, her expression suddenly thoughtful. She rhythmically taps the table with one finger, apparently deep in thought for a few moments before speaking again. "I hadn't realized, but if that Loki guy tried to kill the gapbitch for real, this shit's serious, isn't it -ze?"

"Your talent for understatement serves you well." Alice dryly comments, drawing a half-annoyed look from the black-white witch. "And yes, that it is." The dollmaker coolly continues, her eyes revealing a newfound focus.

"As I have spoken, I have told you the words and claims of the Sky-Walker himself. The truth of his words I do not know, yet wise each one is to remember his name, for he is Loki Lie-Smith, the Trickster God." You add for clarity, for true it is that you know little of Loki's true motives and schemes.

"Hmm, If he truly could have killed Yukari, would not that lead to the barrier collapsing?" Alice states, the question directed to no one in particular.

"This is correct," The old master confirms, "The Lady Yakumo's existence is one of the necessary components sustaining the barrier."

"So why would that Loki wanna crash Gensokyo?" The black-white one wonders aloud, her arms crossed before her and her face marked by a slight frown. "Is he just doin' in for fun or what -ze?"

(cont.)
>> No. 15809
"Loki Scar-Lip is known for his love of mischief, this is true," You cautiously respond, "but seldom has he wrought harm without cause. His reason I do not know, for this he has not revealed."

Silence follows your words. The two magicians seem to be deep in pondering, even little Shanghai doing her best to look thoughtful. The old master, on the other hand, seems unruffled by the revelations, sipping some of the strange drink from his cup, though as he has heard this before you suppose this is only natural.

"Perhaps he didn't know that killing Yukari would dissolve the barrier?" Alice finally suggests. This possibility is certainly persuasive, for not even Loki Laufeyson could know that slaying the shadow-lady could bring down Gensokyo's spell-wall. And if his answers to your later questions were true, would not destroying this realm go against the scheme to conquer this hidden realm, to turn it to a haven for the Aesir?

Thus the son of giants could not have known that the slaying of the lady of shadows would have destroyed this realm's spell-wall. Or he could have known this, and thus his revelation that Asgard's lords seek to take this land for their own must have been a lie, one of the deceptions he is so well known for. Or finally, and perhaps most unsettling of all, there is the possibility that the Trickster God did know that the slaying of Yukari would bring down the bounded realm, yet he also knew that you would never take him up on his offer to truly end the existence of the gap daemon, thus making you serve his will while hiding his true intentions. Can the God of Fire, Loki Lie-Smith truly be wise and wily enough to make you do his will even as you think you are refusing his wishes? Perhaps you should ponder more carefully the words and deeds of Loki in the future. But for now this is only a possibility, and wild guessing will do you little good.

"It seems as if we lack the knowledge necessary for us to reach enlightenment." The old master finally concludes. As you have little to add to his assessment of the situation, you remain silent. So do the forest witch and crafter of dolls, and the silence lingers for a short while until you decide to break it, for there is still the story that has to be told.

"Aye, this is true. Yet perhaps we can find more wisdom when worthy verse-weaver's tale is told, for the part of the Trickster God is not yet over." You calmly state, for perhaps careful consideration of all you have learned can reveal that which has been hidden. Next you should tell the rest of your discussion with the old master, and how you convinced him to join you in your travels.

It is now that you suddenly realize that there are parts of your story that the unbridled tongue may bring forth mishap from, ill fate even greater than the revelation of Loki's deeds could create. You did ask the old master to watch your deeds, and to draw his sword if they ever were to threaten this realm of Gensokyo. But even if this is what you have asked him to do, his actions so far have been kindly and aided you he has, aye, even saved you from the dark void of the Lady of Borders.

Even so, you suspect that telling the black-white witch and the maker of puppets that the old master's reason for accompanying you is to slay you if necessary might not end well, even if you attempt to explain the circumstances.


[ ] Tell the magicians the truth. They deserve no less.

[ ] The oath sworn between two men is not a matter for outsiders, even if they be kith or kin. Leave it unmentioned.

[ ] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.
>> No. 15810
[x] The oath sworn between two men is not a matter for outsiders, even if they be kith or kin. Leave it unmentioned.

manly
>> No. 15811
[ ] The oath sworn between two men is not a matter for outsiders, even if they be kith or kin. Leave it unmentioned.
>> No. 15812
[X] The oath sworn between two men is not a matter for outsiders, even if they be kith or kin. Leave it unmentioned.
>> No. 15813
[x] The oath sworn between two men is not a matter for outsiders, even if they be kith or kin. Leave it unmentioned.
>> No. 15814
[x] The oath sworn between two men is not a matter for outsiders, even if they be kith or kin. Leave it unmentioned.
>> No. 15817
[x] The oath sworn between two men is not a matter for outsiders, even if they be kith or kin. Leave it unmentioned.
>> No. 15820
>>15809
[X] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.

Personally, I want to tell them so if Sigurd genuinely fouls up and Youki has to fulfill his obligation, Alice and Marisa don't go nuclear. Imagine Youki striking down Sigurd for some unknown reason while Alice and/or Marisa watch. Youki is good, but a 2 on 1 with the forest team and all the potential fall out of such a conflict boggles the mind. Acknowledging that Sigurd is a threat to Gensokyo (and his friends) if care isn't taken is a responsible choice, particularly since Marisa's and Alice's well being is at stake. However, it is still a vow between men, so we should have Youki's approval before explaining this.
>> No. 15822
[X] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.
>> No. 15823
>>15820

I have a feeling in such a situation, he would immediately leave for border-space, so as to continue his meditation. He's shown he's capable of moving between planes at will, such that even Yukari was unable to stop his exit.
>> No. 15824
[X] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.
>> No. 15825
[X] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.
>> No. 15829
[x] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.
>> No. 15832
Vote's kinda close. As I don't have time to write right now anyway, I'll keep it open until tomorrow.
>> No. 15833
[X] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.
>> No. 15834
>>[ ] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.

"Huh? Whacha talkin' about, Sigurd?"

Marisa and Alice are right there, you know. I suppose we could keep the conversation aside from them, but if we're keeping secrets, why not just not say anything at all? Plus, whispering at the table is pretty rude.
>> No. 15837
Bah, I leave for a week and so much win occurs. Tis late, but I must say Norseman you have outdone yourself. Well told, wordsmith.

[X] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.

It is an oath sworn by two, not one, so two shall be the decider. Youki will likely say its up to us anyways. If Sigurd does explain, it should simply be that the path we walk is strange, and a good warrior knows that sometimes he must be saved from himself so to not cause unintended harm to those dear. Foolish is he who plays with fate and gods without caution.

Still I'm a bit wary of telling Youki about the new relationship we have with Loki though.
>> No. 15854
Calling the vote here. Update probably won't be finished today though.
>> No. 15879
[X] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.
>> No. 15903
>>15854
hooray!
>> No. 15942
File 124562433362.jpg- (498.88KB , 1250x1250 , marisa1.jpg ) [iqdb]
15942
[ ] Ask the old master if he has any objection to revealing this fact.


But of even greater importance than the consequences of revealing or not reavealing the old one's reason is the fact that this tale is not only yours. Youki's reasons are his own, and no man has the right to reveal what his honoured friend may wish to keep hidden. Let one know thy secret, but never a second, if three a thousand shall know.

"Old master decided then, his was the choice to join song-smith's journey," You state, continuing your tale, "Yet ever are a man's reasons his own, and not for others to reveal without counsel and consent."

"Old master, what is your will? May verse-weaver's words speak of it? Of that what was sworn between him and wise blademaster?" You end the question, attempting to keep the matter as obscure as possible. Though even so, the necessity of speaking about this matter may already have had you saying too much, for little escapes the attention of the witch of wildling wood, especially not secrets of men, those treasures of words and knowledge, those things of greater value than even Otter's ransom.

"Hey, can't be that secret, can it -ze? C'mon, tell me." The black-white witch eagerly interjects while giving pleading looks to both you and the old master.

The old one's expression is inscrutable as both you and Marisa await his reply. Still, even with all this attention and expectation the old one is still serene, as if the demands of his audience matter not to him.

"This is a question that carries much weight, young Sigurd. I have for some time had the intention of discussing the matter you refer to, but circumstances have conspired against us." The silver-maned blademaster finally answers.

You study the old one carefully, for this was not the answer you had been expecting. Perhaps you can detect a hint of hesitation in his answer, or perhaps you're imagining things, but it is clear that every one of his words is chosen with great care.

"For now I would prefer to keep this matter between us." The old master finally concludes.

"What's up with that -ze?" Marisa indignantly protests "Y'both havin' some secret secret-club that us gals can't join or what -ze?"

"My Lady Kirisame," The old one calmly answers the annoyed witch, "The answer to a question should be one that brings the asker closer to Enlightenment."

Marisa seems to be taken slightly aback by the old master's gentle words, but after a moment her annoyed look returns.

"Perhaps an example will serve to illuminate this matter." The old master continues when it becomes obvious that the witch's wrath will not be mollified. "A man once asked of the Sage of Shakyas: Is the world eternal?"

The old one pauses for a moment, a moment that grows longer and longer. Marisa seems to await the old one to continue, but he remains silent.

"If the world's eternal?" The forest witch replies, her voice and expression now somewhat unsure. She frowns slightly and continues. "So why's that important anyway -ze?"

Stoic would be an understatement if you were to use this word to describe the old master in this moment. You can't help but to smile slightly at the black-white's confused expression, for though you yourself do not completely understand the old one's question, his meaning is clear to you, and the mighty Marisa has little hope of besting the old master in this game of wits.

"What'd he answer -ze?" The forest witch finally demands in exasperation.

The old master remains silent. The black-white one again waits, visibly growing more and more annoyed. Just when you suspect that her temper might flare up again, the forest witch simply freezes for a moment. After this brief second her annoyed expression returns, but now it is the irritation of one having been bested in a contest of wits and who knows it.

"All right, I get it. Can't say I like it, but I get it." Marisa grudgingly admits. "Well played, gramps, well played -ze." As the witch speaks the old one's stoic expression shifts into the gentle smile of an approving master.

"Truly Marisa, you should not even try, the honoured Sage of Konpaku is clearly beyond you in these matters." The puppetmaker gently chides the forest witch. Marisa doesn't answer, but you suspect that violence may not be far off if the dollmaker chooses to press this issue.

"My Lady Kirisame, my Lady Margatroid, I must apologize for my rudeness." The old master humbly addresses the magicians with a slight, apologetic bow, fortunately defusing the beginning confrontation. Alice merely smiles kindly in reply, and the forest witch shrugs her shoulders and seems to throw off her annoyance with this gesture.

"Heh, no sweat, old man. It's not like I really wanted to know your secrets anyway -ze." Marisa says with a small laugh.
>> No. 15943
Entertaining as this spectacle has been, it would perhaps be prudent to return to the matter at hand? So you ponder in this moment, and truly it would be better to bring the tale-weave to its end before speaking of other matters.

"Long have we lingered on subjects that matter little to tale of brave battle-singer." You state in a deep, booming voice, drawing the attention back to you and your story.

"Wise master agreed, oath was sworn, oath to Odin that gallows-god. So we went, so we watched, for great spell-wall was to be searched, clues to be hunted and twisted trails to be tracked. For where Loki has went, only all-hearing Heimdall can know."

"There he saw runes of fire, runes of power, flame-pillars scorching spell-wall's side. To them I was drawn, by strange sorcery and by my will. Yet know I did not of wizardry hidden within, for as I drew near, the runes of power worked their magic, spell to spirit away skilled song-smith from this realm. Into the black void in between the worlds I was hurled."

"That is not entirely accurate, young one." The old master interrupts. You turn to him with a newfound curiosity awakened within you, for surely the old master would not halt your words without reason.

"In truth, your very spirit was severed from your body and dragged within the void between all borders." Youki calmly explains, though the severity of his words is apparent even so.

"Whoa -ze!" Marisa blurts out in shock. You can see that both her and Alice suddenly grow paler from this revelation.

"Sigurd, what were you thinking when you decided to walk straight into the barrier?" The dollmaker softly asks. Her voice and expression are gentle, but in her eyes you glimpse something strange and slightly unsettling.

"Matters remained between I and the shadow-lady of all borders, for how does death settle debt when it is not final?" You calmly answer, trying to ignore the strange look the maker of puppets gives you. In truth you yourself must admit that this course of action was reckless even for one chosen by Odin. But that is all int the past, and matters little.

"There I again met the Lady of Borders..." You continue, describing your conversation with the shadowed one, your pleading with her and her refusal to accept your promises. Of the lady's words you tell, of her claim that you are a bridge for Asgard's lords to work their will in this realm, and of her dark warnings of the old trickster's scheme.

And then you tell of the forging. Of how story and legend came to life in the void of chaos, of how Sól's essence and Muspelheim's fire were wrought into wound-bringer's blade. Sólargeisli you named it. You briefly feel as if you should
remember somthing else as well, but this must surely be a figment of your imagination.

Then you speak of the hopeless battle, of how you strove against the will of the void's mistress while trapped within, and how you tried to wage this battle for honour and for favour of Odin. Finally you tell of the end of this conflict, and of the old master's daring deed, of how he rescued you from fell fate.

"So I was saved, by old master of mystic mountain. His sword keen, yet sharper was the power of his spell. Great wheel he conjured, void-ending circle. So he did save song-smith from shadowed realm"

"To leave a being in need without aid is not the way of the enlightened one." The old master answers. "And the void poses little resistance to one who has passed through the gateless barrier."

The old one falls silent after this comment, and thus you continue the tale, describing how the old one offered you aid and shelter is his humble dwelling. Of your strange dream you do not speak, for to this decision did you come long ago, to tell of Allfather's secrets would surely bring down divine disfavour upon you.

Then you speak of your journey to the garden of ghosts. Three were the paths, and this one you chose, for it sounded the safest and swiftest. You tell of how the old one and you parted ways for the moment, the old master confirming that this was because of his honoured daughter, that diligent swordmaster, who had sensed the two of you and wished to confront these new intruders. You tell of how you wandered for a while, and of how you visited the princess of
ghost-garden. But as you reach this part of the tale another problem presents itself.

Laufey's son. How much should you tell of his involvement?


[ ] Tell them of Loki's actions, and of what he told you as you two spoke.

[ ] Speak of Loki's deeds to aid you, but mention not the answers he gave you.

[ ] Do not include the aid of Loki in your tale.
>> No. 15946
>>You end the question, attempting to keep the matter as obscure as possible.
>>obscure as possible.
>>Sigurd's speech

Argh, you chipped the paint on my fourth wall.
>> No. 15947
[x] Tell them of Loki's actions, and of what he told you as you two spoke.

Not only is this important in facilitating your friends' help, but every secret maintained between to you and Loki draws you yet deeper into his clutches. He's called by the epithet "lie-smith" for a reason.

And this is the only response that can be given if Sigurd was genuine when he asked Youki to strike him down if he were to bring ruin to Gensokyo and it's inhabitants.
>> No. 15952
[x] Tell them of Loki's actions, and of what he told you as you two spoke.
>> No. 15960
[X] Tell them of Loki's actions, and of what he told you as you two spoke.

Another fine update!

I am also quite pleased with Youki's question to Marisa. I wonder how many of the other readers have figured it out.
>> No. 15962
[X] Tell them of Loki's actions, and of what he told you as you two spoke.
>> No. 15966
>>15960
>I am also quite pleased with Youki's question to Marisa. I wonder how many of the other readers have figured it out.

Most of us I hope. It was clever, but it wasn't that clever.
>> No. 15967
Ah, we've come to the part I've been dreading. Its damn hard to choose. If you tell them, Sigurd is betraying the gods. But at the same time, perhaps ole Loki could have been spreading false information in the hopes that you would tell of it. If you tell them, you might get a clue from their input just as well as it could have horrible repercussions. Heck this could even end up being a test. There are so many what-ifs that the entire situation is troublesome.

[x] Speak of Loki's deeds to aid you, but mention not the answers he gave you.

Do not voluntarily drink an undependable antidote derived of poison when you are not ill.
>> No. 15968
[x] Speak of Loki's deeds to aid you, but mention not the answers he gave you.
>> No. 15969
[x] Speak of Loki's deeds to aid you, but mention not the answers he gave you.
>> No. 15971
[x] Speak of Loki's deeds to aid you, but mention not the answers he gave you.
>> No. 15978
[x] Speak of Loki's deeds to aid you, but mention not the answers he gave you.
>> No. 15982
>>15946

As long as it's not knocked down it's fine.

>>15960
>>15966

Yeah, the reference shouldn't be that obscure.


And writing is commencing.
>> No. 15992
>>15960
>>15966
>>15982

Uh... mind running that reference by me? Since I'm apparently a retard...
>> No. 15994
>>15992

It's one of the fourteen unanswerable questions. I could write a small essay about the subject, but it's easier for all interested parties to simply look them up.

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

[ ] Speak of Loki's deeds to aid you, but mention not the answers he gave you.


Better to keep the Trickster God's words to yourself. Or at least the answers to the questions you asked of him, for you are far too unsure of how much you can tell without inviting ill fate, and also how much you could honourably reveal, for even the Loki is Aesir by right of blood-brotherhood, and the secrets of the gods are not to be shared lightly. But you surely can't hide his involvement, and even this necessary omission of truth leaves a bad taste in your mouth, no wish do you have to soil your tongue any further.

"Ghost-garden's mistress I met, that spirit-girl who rules the dead, and that faithful friend to border-daemon." You continue the tale.

"This was to him told by another, one whose words were wily warning. Loki Laufeyson it was, God of Fire again at song-smith's side." Your audience visibly sharpen their ears and minds as you name the son of giants, only natural, but now you surely have to choose your words with care.

"Yet unkind was the will of Urd in that hour, ghost-princess knew of song-smith's deed, how he and Lie-smith laid low Lady of Borders." You dramatically intone, using your deep voice to convey an ominous tone to your words.

"Spell she cast, death she wove, death for brave battle-singer. But greatest spell and sharpest sword all fail before Loki's cunning, crafty trick the sky-walker wrought, time he bought so this selfsame skald could escape wrath of vengeful ghost."

"Huh, that's unlike ya Sigurd, runnin' away. Why didn'tcha try and beat her up -ze?" The black-white asks, curiosity colouring her voice.

"Many are the resons, O witch of wildling wood, and them I cannot reveal, for oathsworn I am." You reply while meeting the witch's gaze with your own, for to say anything more would surely shatter your earlier promise to the old master.

Marisa stares at you in silent disappointment for a moment before relenting. "All right -ze." The black-white simply repilies and lets the matter go, to your great relief.

"So he ran, through spirit-swarm he sought the way, way to freedom, way to leave that hall of dead." You continue, briefly explaining how you escaped from the scourging spirits and how Loki's spell twisted their eyes. You tell how the Trickster God crafted his wall of illusion beneath the great tree, and then you tell your friends that you waited beneath that tree for an opportunity to act.

"You didn't find out anything important from Loki, did you?" The dollmaker suddenly interjects. "Nothing that he let slip, or some question or reaction that could reveal his motives?"

"Yeah, y'shoulda' grilled him good -ze, didn't ya do that?" The black-white asks. "I woulda pinned the guy down and made 'im squeal -ze." She adds with a wicked smile.

"Indeed. Were you unable to interrogate him?" Alice continues her train of thought, much to your discomfort.

Unkind she seems to be this day, the eldest Norna, for it seems as if she conspires against your honour this day. A question like this is another trap, as surely as any other you have faced, but regardless of what you answer you know that the answer must be swift, the answer must be sure and the answer must be believable. The two mages are already waiting for your answer, and so you must speak.


[ ] Write-in only

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

All right Anonymous, don't screw this up. Bad shit could happen if you do.
>> No. 15997
>And then you tell of the forging. Of how story and legend came to life in the void of chaos, of how Sól's essence and Muspelheim's fire were wrought into wound-bringer's blade. Sólargeisli you named it. You briefly feel as if you should remember something else as well, but this must surely be a figment of your imagination.
...Well, time to go back and have a look, I guess.

...

>>11226 and >>11262 are the relevant posts, I believe. The closest thing to odd I can find there is this:
>The void fills with the sound of creation, and somewhere far, far away you can feel an faint echo, as if something that does not quite belong notices the binding of chaos and approves.

Can anyone else find what it is that he might have 'forgotten'?
>> No. 16007
>>15994

Not voting; too much pressure.
>> No. 16008
>>15997
he forgot the awesome Bad End where Yukari raped him to death.

[x] "Veiled is the lexis of Loki Lie-Smith, for words weaved in truths and nots does he often cast. A half truth taken makes for a half-wit, and tangled becomes even the most careful who tries to grasp them. Whatever the Trickster will ever choose tell me, I shall never know if it is what be or what he wishes for me to believe be."
>> No. 16009
[x] "Veiled is the lexis of Loki Lie-Smith, for words weaved in truths and nots does he often cast. A half truth taken makes for a half-wit, and tangled becomes even the most careful who tries to grasp them. Whatever the Trickster will ever choose tell me, I shall never know if it is what be or what he wishes for me to believe be."
[X] If it wasn't already said in the above quote, also mention how he could have given you answers that may be intended to piss off his allies if he were to repeat them honestly.
>> No. 16011
[x] "Veiled is the lexis of Loki Lie-Smith, for words weaved in truths and nots does he often cast. A half truth taken makes for a half-wit, and tangled becomes even the most careful who tries to grasp them. Whatever the Trickster will ever choose tell me, I shall never know if it is what be or what he wishes for me to believe be."

follow the doc
>> No. 16025
[x] "Veiled is the lexis of Loki Lie-Smith, for words weaved in truths and nots does he often cast. A half truth taken makes for a half-wit, and tangled becomes even the most careful who tries to grasp them. Whatever the Trickster will ever choose tell me, I shall never know if it is what be or what he wishes for me to believe be."

Let's hope that following the doc doesn't end in "he's dead, jim"
>> No. 16033
[ze] "Veiled is the lexis of Loki Lie-Smith, for words weaved in truths and nots does he often cast. A half truth taken makes for a half-wit, and tangled becomes even the most careful who tries to grasp them. Whatever the Trickster will ever choose tell me, I shall never know if it is what be or what he wishes for me to believe be."

>>16011
wherever~
he~
may go~

De dum~
DD~
>> No. 16036
[x] "Veiled is the lexis of Loki Lie-Smith, for words weaved in truths and nots does he often cast. A half truth taken makes for a half-wit, and tangled becomes even the most careful who tries to grasp them. Whatever the Trickster will ever choose tell me, I shall never know if it is what be or what he wishes for me to believe be."
>> No. 16040
File 124574192276.jpg- (27.62KB , 400x357 , pied_piper_of_doujin.jpg ) [iqdb]
16040
>>DD~
Well played, sir.


Gods this story is so fun.
>> No. 16057
>>16040
If Norseman ever quits, we know that there is one person who can carry it on.
>> No. 16067
The good doctor's write-in seems to have won. Writing now.
>> No. 16071
Thank you, but there is no way I could ever match Norseman's viking vernacular and verse. He has a gift and knowledge of this world well beyond our scope, and to try to recreate it would be an insulting mockery of how awesome GS is. I'll stick to silly write-ins.

Besides, Norseman will be with us forever and ever because we all loves him
>> No. 16072
>>16071
Norseman will have his hands full for another year at least. Because GS is a Saga after all, and those are fucking long.
>> No. 16073
>>16071
>Besides, Norseman will be with us forever and ever because we all loves him

Indeed (:
>> No. 16116
[ ] "Veiled is the lexis of Loki Lie-Smith, for words weaved in truths and nots does he often cast. A half truth taken makes for a half-wit, and tangled becomes even the most careful who tries to grasp them. Whatever the Trickster will ever choose tell me, I shall never know if it is what be or what he wishes for me to believe be."


You quickly draw up one of the only facts you can, and one that holds a tinge of truth as well. Hoping for the best you start speaking, keeping the hesitation away from your voice with your will.

"Veiled is the lexis of Loki Lie-Smith, for words weaved in truths and nots does he often cast." You explain in a neutral tone. "A half truth taken makes for a half-wit, and tangled becomes even the most careful who tries to grasp them.

Whatever the Trickster will ever choose tell me, I shall never know if it is what be or what he wishes for me to believe be."

The magicians ponder these words for a few moments, then Alice looks up at you. She carefully studies you for a moment before speaking, silently watching and apparently searching for something, but for what you do not know.

"In other words, as this Loki is both manipulative and inscrutable, anything he would tell you willingly is worthless." The dollmaker finally concludes.

"That's a point there." The black-white witch calmly comments. "Though he'd hafta be really, really good at lyin' if he could really tell somethin' that I couldn't wring some secrets out of -ze."

"That's also true." The crafter of puppets answers, then she falls silent for a moment."I believe that we need to speak with this Loki ourselves." She ominously adds. Marisa doesn't reply, but her wicked grin shows her approval of this train of thought. You are not entirely sure you like this idea, but choose to reamin quiet for now. It is then that you plans begin to go awry.

"Sigurd," The dollmaker suddenly asks, "You do not have any way of contacting this Loki? If we are to find any answers to this mystery we must wring the truth out of that man."

"Yeah, that's the spirit -ze!" The forest witch's fierce voice adds, "If we can find 'im, we can make him squeal, fire god or no."

The two magicians give you expectant looks. Even little Shanghai is trying to look fierce, the martial atmosphere in the room now palpable. Only the old master seem to keep his cool.

By the venom of Nidhögg root-gnawer, how did it come to this? What are you supposed to answer?


[ ] You do not know exactly how to contact Laufey's son, but you're willing to try.

[ ] What they ask of you is beyond your powers, nor would you attempt such a foolish feat if you could.

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

Not planning to stop anytime soon, I assure you. We're barely halfway through the story.

And the good doctor's write-in managed to avoid the immediate SAD END. GJ.
>> No. 16120
>>16116
I'm helping! Can you tell us what would have happened in the Sad End anyways? I'm curious now.

Although I get the feeling we are ducking and dodging something that maybe Norseman wants us to do? Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but it just seems like the options in these last few updates are nudging us towards telling them about Loki (perhaps it triggers something to advance the plot?) At the same time it could be a test, who knows.

[x] What they ask of you is beyond your powers, nor would you attempt such a foolish feat if you could.

The Gods are not meant to be whimsically called, and Loki would likely want something from them in return. Sigurd is already bound by an honour debt to him, I wouldn't want to see Alice and Marisa shackled as well. Yeah that's it...we are actually protecting the girls from Loki! Totally legit reason~
>> No. 16121
[x] What they ask of you is beyond your powers, nor would you attempt such a foolish feat if you could.
>> No. 16125
[x] What they ask of you is beyond your powers, nor would you attempt such a foolish feat if you could.

The doc cannot be wrong
>> No. 16126
>>16120

You've avoided the immediate SAD END. That gives no reason to assume that it is the only possible one.

After the possibility of triggering a horrible downward spiral is over I will reveal how it could have been, but until then I'll simply point out that there are similarities between the apparent motives of Loki and Sigurd that could be cause for misunderstanding.

tl;dr, Tread carefully.


And as I've said earlier, Loki's motives, or at least part of them should be possible to figure out. This could be made easier by referring to certain parts of norse mythology.
>> No. 16127
And by the way, as the recent trend on this site has been introspective, I'd be happy to hear if anyone has any critique of my work.

It's only by knowing when you screw up that a writer can improve, and too often is a man blind to his own faults.
>> No. 16136
>>[ ] What they ask of you is beyond your powers, nor would you attempt such a foolish feat if you could.

I don't think it is beyond siggy's powers to contact Loki, though it may not be a good idea. One thing I specifically want to point out here: LYING IS BAD.

>>"Though he'd hafta be really, really good at lyin' if he could really tell somethin' that I couldn't wring some secrets out of -ze."

If he lies, they will probably figure it out and then the ceiling's gonna break faster than you can say "Oh Shit". Trust is very important, wherever possible, though sometimes secrets must be kept. Calling Marisa and Alice's idea foolish also seems like it could cause some unnecessary sparks to fly.

[X] You do not know exactly how to contact Laufey's son, and doing so is likely to bring about more harm than good. Loki lie-smith has a way of turning every battle of words to his advantage, and a battle of words is one he is apt to win.
>> No. 16137
>>16127

I love the story but sometimes Sigurd seems... torn apart. Sometimes he does heed the call of battle, sometimes he runs away, sometimes he's merciful.

He seems "un-viking" at times, though I suppose it's fault of the votes that get by. Nothing else I can say off the top of my head.
>> No. 16138
>>16137

This seems to be the inevitable result of a CYOA story where tens if not hundreds of people throw out conflicting ideas on.
>> No. 16143
>>16137

Or maybe Sigurd is experiencing the phenomenon known as "character development"? He seemed from the start to take a relatively syncretic approach to dealing with new concepts. A skald would pass down tales of gods and giants, but skalds have imaginations, and oftentimes tales of the gods themselves were told, where foolish and ribald acts are committed. We recognize most often that he is a warrior and a devotee, but he is foremost a poet, and like any artist living his work, he sees the world with glasses that frame things in a certain perspective, and acknowledging that the way of men being opposed to the way of the gods is far from blasphemy.

Take Homer's Iliad: Although he places all due deference to the will of the gods, he still paints Hector as the tragic figure, the ostensible villain who yet embodies all the virtue that could be found in men (filial piety, honor, love of peace, and a lack of hubris), far removed from the qualities of the wild antihero Achilles, who prevails not by skill or cunning, but by the intervention of the Athena, and by the enchantments placed upon him at birth.

Another thing to take into account is the nihilistic and fatalistic cosmology of Norse myth. Of course the possibility that this may not truly be the way of things is going to sound appealing. The gods would likely indeed be revered by his brothers, but this would be more out of fear than piety, but Sigurd has come eyeball-to-eyeball with monsters and beings whose power eclipses that of his gods, as well as haven spoken to a few on occasion, so we could expect to retain a relatively open mindset on the preconceptions he entered Gensokyo with.
>> No. 16147
>>16136
You bring up a pretty good point. They know Sigurd called to the gods for help and was answered, and the girls seem rather suspicious already. Still I can't help but to feel like calling Loki to them is a conflict of interest. Its like Sigurd is a double agent and this would force him to determine which side he is on.

Dammit, we are caught in a lie that only begets more lies. Loki will easily be considered an enemy by most of Gensokyo. Sigurd isn't exactly on Loki's side, but close enough for trouble. The gods gifted him with power and task which supposedly might help them with Ragnarok (but more immediately benefits Loki.) If we don't follow the request, there isn't much story to be had.

Odin wants to avoid Ragnarok. It would benefit Loki to avoid it, since Loki is prophesied to die as well. Gensokyo has "much power for the taking" so it seems like they want to undo Urd's words predicting their (and the world's) doom. Personally I think Loki could do just as well to ally with Gensokyo's inhabitants against the Jötnar, or hide in Gensokyo to avoid Ragnarok if it really is such a "hard to find place" and could be spared the destruction.

I'm still a little confused about Loki's lore, because every story about him doing something wicked results in the same punishment, which is being bound on top of 3 stones by the organs of his own son Nari and venom drips on his head which his wife Sigyn tries to keep off with a bucket until Ragnarok. Did all his misdeeds become exposed at once? Anyways some his deeds include: setting up the death of the god Baldr and impersonating the giantess Þökk to prevent Baldr's return from Hel. Later, as told in Lokasenna, Loki gets into a flyt (contest of insults) all the other Gods. Loki goes too far and angers all of them enough to be bound as mentioned before.

Anyways, it is said that Loki will finally break free, which heralds Ragnarok, and fight along side the giants and beasts (which many are considered Loki's children? its a bit strange) against the gods and in the end kill and be killed by the god Heimdall. The fire giant Surtr will burn the world, but the world is flooded with water which eventually recedes and remaining gods (including Baldr who returns from Hel) help out the last man and woman left on earth.

Not quite sure where in the legend timeline we are, but either Loki is still bound while his shadow spirit plays with Sigurd, or has Loki has broken free and is stirring up chaos in preparation for Ragnarok. Maybe they let him off for good behavior, who knows. All I know is that helping Loki seems like it would be a bad idea, but we are doing it anyways. And does Sigurd even know the full tale of Ragnarok?

Back on the last thread...
>>"Earlier you asked me about opportunity," Loki calmly continues, "And one thing in this realm that is for the taking is power, mortal warrior. If you seek it, it shall come to you, but ever at a price, for this is the way of the world."
This pretty much sums up my worries the the magicians. The girls ask for an audience, but it is an instant boon of information they want. What will be the price? Their friendship with Sigurd destroyed?


Gah this is too much. I want to make a write-in but am a bit overwhelmed.
>> No. 16152
Norseman, I really love your writing. The only concern I have, really, is the possibility of things going far too fast compared to the amount of time that passes by, though that could probably be changed depending on what we choose. I'm not saying everyone should be slow as molasses - more like Sigurd should take a few days to get to know Gensokyo, let his body rest, and such before going to the SDM.

Did that even make sense? Ah well.

Anyways, about the current write-in... I think it would be best if Sigurd were to explain that it is up to the gods themselves to show up to speak to a mortal, and to even think you can summon them is rather much like hubris, and could call down misfortune upon the mortal.

In fact...

[X] What I just said up there.

Also, I'm now somewhat curious as to the time difference, considering Sigurd's probably from the Viking age, and Gensokyo only existed at the beginning of the Meiji Period, and Reimu explicitly lives in the '00s, so... Does this mean that the Norse gods of the 800s or so are interacting with 2000s youkai, or that they still exist? I mean, it sorta depends on how gods work, be they faith based, or independent of faith, or...

Also, my guess is that Loki is projecting an avatar (in the Hindu sense).
>> No. 16153
>>16127
When you spend a lot of work on Sigurd's speeches, the rest of the dialog seems to suffer for it.
>> No. 16161
>>16147

I would trust a write-in from you more than the half-assed one I made. The only reason that I made that was because I think either answer is apt to cause a bunch of problems.

Refuse to even try to summon him? You're on his side. Readily agree to attempt to summon him? You're likely to screw up the situation more... Though I would be more apt to side with the magicians than with loki. Remember, if alice sees fit to open that book she is one of the most powerful beings in gensokeo and youki is standing right there. If shit goes down they may be able to fix it.

A cautious approach is what I think is needed, one indicating you're willing to work with the magicians if they believe they can handle it but wish to approach it with care. If someone could post a better write-in than mine saying that, I think that would help everything.
>> No. 16164
[x] Agree to try contacting Loki, but make it clear that you think it's a very bad idea and stress that Loki will demand a high price that they may not be willing to pay.
>> No. 16165
If we summon Loki (and Loki actually answers) it might be revealed that Sigurd was lying. We could gamble upon Loki not appearing, which would solve some problems. If we refuse it would seem like we'd be protecting him or ourselves, unless we explained that we were protecting them. Also, no one else has seen or heard Loki but us, so it is possible that Loki is using Sigurd as a vessel. The thought of inviting Loki to speak and then him using Sigurd's voice is frightening and worthy of a Bad End in Youki's presence.

...or maybe not. Loki needs Sigurd and would not endanger him. He is clever and cunning, so by this fact alone I think Loki would preserve Sigurd.

The girls are our allies, and we don't want them to mistrust us. I hope Loki would see this and not jeopardize this. Constantly lying and hiding the truth seems like a doomed path. Lets take a chance, even if it runs the risk of self sacrifice. That's the warrior way.


[x] You do not know exactly how to contact Laufey's son, but you're willing to try. But warn them that Loki's words are always to serve Loki, and he may try to snare them with debt for his audience. You suggest against it, for the Gods should only be called upon in praise or dire moments, but if they truly desire it you will attempt a summon.

(I get the feeling my write-ins endanger us as much as they help us.)
>> No. 16166
>>16152
Maybe the norse gods have been hiding in their own little version of gensoukyou?
>> No. 16168
>>16137

This is partly the "fault" of the votes, and also a conscious decision on my part to tone down Sigurd's character a little. This may be slightly anachronistic, but the alternative is having the hero of the story carving the blood-eagle on some local moeblob. Basically, if I would have Sigurd act as brutally as one of the true Viking antiheroes, I think he would become an unlikeable character pretty soon.

>>16152

There currently isn't any rush other than Reimu rampaging through Gensokyo. This can be avoided or dealt with, however.

>>16153

This is very possible. It takes some time and effort to compose Skaldo Modo speech, even when taking stilistic shortcuts like no tomorrow, so I might not have the time and energy (or the patience) to keep the other dialogue up to the same standard. I'll attempt to rectify this problem.

>>16165

>(I get the feeling my write-ins endanger us as much as they help us.)

To be honest, it was your write-in way back in thread 5 or thereabouts that ultimately led to the introduction of Loki at an appropriate moment.
>> No. 16174
>carving the blood-eagle on some local moeblob.
Norsenese for rape?

Also, such lengthy discussion and multi-Anon brainstorming and all would be greatly appreciated over in HLA, with the wedding-vow-writing.

Sage for reader-ection (of readers).
>> No. 16181
[x] You do not know exactly how to contact Laufey's son, but you're willing to try. But warn them that Loki's words are always to serve Loki, and he may try to snare them with debt for his audience. You suggest against it, for the Gods should only be called upon in praise or dire moments, but if they truly desire it you will attempt a summon.
>> No. 16184
>>16168

16137 here. In my book that'd make him AWESOME.

Now maybe this is me being selfish, but think maybe there could be an "alternate version" where we embrace the northern ways? I understand you're quite busy with the story at the moment, but perhaps as a second playthrough?
>> No. 16185
>>16174
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_eagle
>> No. 16188
[x] You do not know exactly how to contact Laufey's son, but you're willing to try. But warn them that Loki's words are always to serve Loki, and he may try to snare them with debt for his audience. You suggest against it, for the Gods should only be called upon in praise or dire moments, but if they truly desire it you will attempt a summon.

Honestly, at this point in time, I have no clue how we could possibly come out of this story with a happy ending.
But, for the time being, it'd be better to bank on the fact that Loki needs us in one piece.
>> No. 16189
>>16185
...Wow.
Rape would be a pleasant alternative.

Bad times, man.
>> No. 16199
>This is partly the "fault" of the votes, and also a conscious decision on my part to tone down Sigurd's character a little. This may be slightly anachronistic, but the alternative is having the hero of the story carving the blood-eagle on some local moeblob. Basically, if I would have Sigurd act as brutally as one of the true Viking antiheroes, I think he would become an unlikeable character pretty soon.

This was the right decision. Every Character develops in every story.
>> No. 16220
[x] You do not know exactly how to contact Laufey's son, but you're willing to try. But warn them that Loki's words are always to serve Loki, and he may try to snare them with debt for his audience. You suggest against it, for the Gods should only be called upon in praise or dire moments, but if they truly desire it you will attempt a summon.

I'm thinking Loki's convinced Odin and the other Aesir that sending Gigurd against the Scarlets would be a significant step toward their goals, because defeating them would almost certainly retrieve Gungnir in the process.

Loki's requests for Lævateinn because he wants it for himself. In the process, Sigurd will inevitably have to defeat Remilia to get to Flandre, retrieving Gungnir and fulfilling Loki's promises to Odin.

Attacking the Scarlets is a relatively safe method for grabbing power from the Aesir point of view: The vampires were once an adverse party to the youkai of Gensokyo, and Yukari is still forced to provide for their sustenance by contract. Secondly, they have a right to these artifacts that not even Yukari could object to. It is also a rather sure fight, being that neither Remilia nor Flandre would require divine intervention to defeat, being that the vampires, and especially Flandre, are weak to his sword's namesake ("sunbeam").

Sigurd might die in the process, being broken by Flandre or being inflicted with fatal injuries, but he is sure to inflict enough pain so that Loki can sweep in and take the weapons. But that's acceptable, since his legend will in this be established in the minds of the very powerful of Gensokyo, and therefore that of his gods. Furthermore, using his own power and weapon, he doesn't risk having Loki himself being broken by invoking his fire.

The weakened Yukari will likely play wait-and-see, since the potential removal of the artifacts, Sigurd, and even the Aesir themselves by Flandre would leave the Norse gods without a firm enough base to invade.

There are even more interesting possibilities, that Flandre is Sigurd's Fafnir, in a figurative sense, if not being an actual dragon. Take into account that the weapon Sigurd possesses is not the destined Gram, the only sword capable of piercing Fafnir's scales. One possibility has Sólargeisli cleaving off Flandre's 'wings' resulting in Flandre breaking Sólargeisli. But if the dragon is not truly Flan, but some sort of alternate personality or possession (the figure Fafnir only became a dragon as the result of an incredible obsession with material objects, collecting many objects, including Gungnir in his hoard), Flan might be restored to sanity. The crystals of her wings could then be used to reforge Sólargeisli into the legendary Gram, further fixing Sigurd's fate and tying the Norse gods to Gensokyo. This leads to a more accurate allusion of Yukari as Sigurd's Fafnir (whose 'hoard' is Gensokyo in its entirety), with Flan having the role of either the Grendel or the Gendel's mother.

Slaying Yukari would of course be catastrophic, as it dooms both Sigurd and Gensokyo, but perhaps the Sleeping Dragon can yet be reasoned with, with the threat of Gram bringing her into hard negotiations with the Aesir.
>> No. 16231
>>16184

I've toyed with the idea of writing a few scenes that might have been, so it's entirely possible. I'll try whipping up one sometime soon-ish.

>>16188

Now, now. Let's not be negative here, a GOOD END is still entirely possible.

Not to mention the GLORIOUS END.

>>16199

That's true. In fact Sigurd's character is a flexible one, as the Vikings historically were quite openminded when it came to new ideas. There are some core traits that almost certainly won't change, and I try to keep the evolution of all personalities logically consistent, so you can't just decide to e.g. toss out Sigurd's faith in the gods, but through interaction with the various inhabitants of Gensokyo our Viking Hero could become a very different man when all's said and done.


And writing is commencing.
>> No. 16249
>>16231
Hmm...I do enjoy glory...

Does Sigurd know the tale of Ragnarok? Or would that knowledge hinder the story?
>> No. 16251
>>16249

Sigurd knows the Völuspá. The poem in question is pretty vague, though, so it may not help too much.
>> No. 16255
>>16251
Hmm, that is indeed vague. Still, it works well for the story and doesn't disrupt with metaplot knowledge.
>> No. 16266
[ ] You do not know exactly how to contact Laufey's son, but you're willing to try. But warn them that Loki's words are always to serve Loki, and he may try to snare them with debt for his audience. You suggest against it, for the Gods should only be called upon in praise or dire moments, but if they truly desire it you will attempt a summon.


What can you answer? To refuse outright would not only cast suspicion upon you, but also drive another wedge between you and the fair friends you call your own. But caution and reason are the virtues of the wise, and even if you cannot deny this request, you can still advise aright and still share what you know of the traps laid by Laufey's Son.

"I know not exactly how to summon the trickster, yet some bond we must share. If asked I will attempt the task, yet unwise could it be. Seldom do the gods take kindly to summons, and know that if Laufey's Son answers, he does it for his own reasons. A wise man calls not that which seeks to him snare, the hunter waxes wary when nearing the bear's den." You reply, spinning out the words into a warning.

"That is acceptable." The puppetmaker softly replies. You watch her for a moment, searching for the meaning between the obvious in her words. Why would she insist like this on calling Loki scar-lip? This you dearly wish to know, and so you speak.

"There could be danger, O courageous one, for a god is not easily chained. Aye, only high Hreidmarr's song-weave, that old rune-caster's spells, did this feat accomplish." You again plead to the dear dollmaker. Alice's gaze meets your and for a brief moment you lose yourself in those blue eyes, so full of determination and beauty.

"Sigurd, I won't let this Loki torment you any further." She calmly replies, her words carrying an air of finality.

To this you have no reply, neither one spun from silver tongue or shown by daring action. Even the black-white witch seems to have no veiled insult of playful comment to the dollmaker's heartfelt answer, only silence. Finally the forest witch merely smiles and nods her head in assent. Little Shanghai floats next to you and places one hand upon your wrist. The doll looks up at you with an determined expression on her face, as if assuring you that she will protect you from even the most terrible of foes.

For a moment you feel as if on the verge of tears. This, this is far more than you could hope for or deserve.

"I thank you." You answer, voice warm with heartfelt gratitude.

"We'll settle this matter later Sigurd. Trust me." The dollmaker continues with a small smile, "For now, let's hear the lest of your story."

"Aye, the end it now reaches, song-smith's tale, yet still is there life in the words." You reply, calming your frayed nerves and continuing on the final leg of your story.

"For as he waited 'neath trickster god's spell, the soul-host of ghost-garden sought him. As their mistress bade, spell and spirit filled the sky, yet Fire God's veil their sight did not pierce."

"And so he waited, so he hoped. Not in vain was his patience, for the garden of ghosts was entered by another, raven-haired red-white, that divine maiden of power and fury. Spirit host was vast, yet scatter it did, like hosts of lesser men do before battle-ragers of Odin."

"Reimu's already on the warpath ?" Marisa dejectedly asks. The black-white witch seems truly melancholy for a brief moment, then she leans back in her chair and gazes at the roof in abject misery. But as swiftly as the lightning of Mjölnir the black-white witch suddenly slams her fist down at the table and turns eyes flaming like black Surtur himself upon you.

"Nothin' left to lose then." The black-white growls. "Might as well kick her face in, b'fore she does it to me -ze."

"That's the spirit." Alice calmly replies, but her voice does not tell about her true feelings. For in the dollmaker's eyes burn a confidence seldom seen among the scions of Rig mixed with a strange expression, one almost grateful.

"Tch! Watch me, doll girl, I'm not gonna back out on this." The forest witch confidently answers. "Hey Sigurd, tell me the rest -ze."

With a smile you take a deep breath and speak one more. "Not the last trial this day was the song-smith's escape. Another he met, that swift-footed swordfighter, lightning-swift Youmu. With her he did cross blades."

"So didja beat her -ze?" Marisa inquires with an impish smile.

"No, O witch of wizard-wood, her blade he could not best, but neither could she shatter his sword. A draw I would deem it." You answer, then explain how you met the old master, and how the two of you came to the house of the puppetmaker. The magicians ponder this for a short moment, then the forest witch pipes up in a cheerful voice.

"So anyway, why don't we beat that Loki up an' tell Reimu it's all his fault?" Marisa asks, perhaps a little too eagerly. "It's worked before, y'know?"

"That is a possibility." Alice answers in agreement, then the dollmaker turns to you. "Sigurd, do you need to rest before we attempt to contact this Loki, or shall we get down to business?"


[ ] Sorely do you need sleep, for in truth you are tired. The wise man would wait until the next day.

[ ] First you would wish a moment's rest. Little sense in taking a task upon yourself when weary and weak.

[ ] No sense in waiting. If the mages of the forest are ready, so are you.
>> No. 16274
[X] Sorely do you need sleep, for in truth you are tired. The wise man would wait until the next day.
>> No. 16276
[ ] First you would wish a moment's rest. Little sense in taking a task upon yourself when weary and weak.
>> No. 16277
>"Sigurd, I won't let this Loki torment you any further." She calmly replies, her words carrying an air of finality.

>To this you have no reply, neither one spun from silver tongue or shown by daring action. Even the black-white witch seems to have no veiled insult of playful comment to the dollmaker's heartfelt answer, only silence. Finally the forest witch merely smiles and nods her head in assent. Little Shanghai floats next to you and places one hand upon your wrist. The doll looks up at you with an determined expression on her face, as if assuring you that she will protect you from even the most terrible of foes.

YES! YES!

>"Nothin' left to lose then." The black-white growls. "Might as well kick her face in, b'fore she does it to me -ze."

Sigurd has gained Bro-tection from Red-White

[x] No sense in waiting. If the mages of the forest are ready, so are you.

Best to go for it while they're ramped up. Otherwise, I'm afraid of what lies Loki might put in Sigurd's head while he sleeps.
>> No. 16282
[B] Sorely do you need sleep, for in truth you are tired. The wise man would wait until the next day.
>> No. 16283
[ze] Sorely do you need sleep, for in truth you are tired. The wise man would wait until the next day.

Sleep is good.
>> No. 16284
[x] Sorely do you need sleep, for in truth you are tired. The wise man would wait until the next day.
>> No. 16285
[X] Sorely do you need sleep, for in truth you are tired. The wise man would wait until the next day.

Rest is needed, maybe someone will appear in a dream too.

>"Nothin' left to lose then." The black-white growls. "Might as well kick her face in, b'fore she does it to me -ze."

This. Alice, Marisa and Sigurd against Reimu. Should be interesting.
>> No. 16298
[x] First you would wish a moment's rest. Little sense in taking a task upon yourself when weary and weak.

Back when Sigurd first mentioned sleep, I thought "Hmm, wouldn't it be interesting he if had a night time visitor to his bed..."
>> No. 16301
[X] Sorely do you need sleep, for in truth you are tired. The wise man would wait until the next day.
>> No. 16306
All right, sleep option won.

Writing is commencing.
>> No. 16340
File 124649334512.jpg- (517.46KB , 800x800 , alice15.jpg ) [iqdb]
16340
[ ] Sorely do you need sleep, for in truth you are tired. The wise man would wait until the next day.


"Aye." You answer, for truly the weariness your will had held at bay now threatens to overwhelm you. "Into battle, out of battle, travel and thought, sword-swing and song-smithing. All these tasks, strength-stealing, spirit-sapping, has he performed."

"I understand perfectly," The dollmaker gently answers. "I'll show you to the bath and then to the guest bedroom."

"Figures that you'd be eager t'get Sigurd into bed, doesn't it Alice?" Marisa impishly asks the puppetcrafter.

A woman of her word, the dollmaker ignores Marisa's bait and instead rises and motions for you to follow. Shanghai, on the other hand, gives the black-white an annoyed look.

"Young one," The old master suddenly calls out before you leave the room. You and Alice stop and turn towards the old one, she surely as curious as you are.

"I apologize for my directness, but I would like to discuss certain matters with you after you have rested." He tells you, his voice and manners impeccably polite, as you have come to expect.

"Aye, old master, to this I can agree." You reply, for this and more do you owe him. Youki merely nods and turns back to his cup, apparently content with your answer.

You follow the dollmaker through her hall, noticing that it is both impeccably clean and far more elegantly furnished than the house of the forest witch, though considering the endless sprawl of clutter filling the black-white's hall this feat isn't too difficult. The only thing that could be said to clutter this place are the multitude of dolls filling several small shelves and seated on the window boards. You find yourself slowing down to inspect and admire the dolls while you walk past them.

After a few seconds you notice that the dollmaker has stopped and is watching you with a strange, slightly hesitant look on her face, as if pondering whether to spear or not. A short moment of silence passes, then the crafter of puppets summons her voice.

"Do you like the dolls Sigurd?" She asks, a slight waver in her voice. You suddenly find that the way she tries to avoid your gaze and simultaneously seek it is exremely cute, creating an impression of both expectation and slight embarassment. Glad you are now that you can answer this question in a pleasing manner, and so you reply.

"I now know truly that artful artisan, Alice puppet-crafter, creates dolls without equal. Finer work I have never

seen, not in the lands of my home, nor in realm of the greeks or franks or the shining cities of Särkland." You answer, for true this is, and ever is skill to be appreciated. And seldom is it a poor thing to make a beautiful girl happy.

"Thank you Sigurd, you're so kind." The dollmaker answers with one of her warm, grateful smile. She turns

around and continues on her way, now humming a happy tune. Little Shangai floats over to you and sits down on your shoulder. You glance up at the doll who answers your look with a happy smile mirroring the one that graced the features of her mistress.

In this manner, in a matter minutes, you complete your short journey through the hall of dolls until Alice stops in front of a large door.

You are ushered into a spacious bathroom. Alice gives you a quick run-down where you can find soap and instructs you how to find your way to your bedroom. Shanghai floats off your shoulder, then gives you an apologetic bow before joining her mistress. The little doll and its crafter then leave you to your solitude.

You draw a bath of pleasantly warm water, then undress and proceed to thoroughly cleanse your grimy and battered body. Dried blood, dried sweat, dirt and dust, all you wash off, feeling the water purify both body and mind. When you're finished the bath-water is brownish with dirt, and thus you proceed to drain and refill the tub before settling down for a nice, long soak.

Now you finally have solitude, and so time to think. In this private moment the worries and wishes of men and gods are far away, replaced by other matters. You find yourself thinking about Alice, about her warm smile and beautiful face, of her kindness and devotion even though you have only been friends for a few, brief days.

Your thoughts wander to the forest witch, to mighty Marisa and her boundless energy. Blessed by the thunder god you had thought her, and true this is, her courage and passion truly beautiful, her merry laugh and her fierce loyalty both marks of Thor's chosen.

Even mysterious Yukari drifts through your thought-stream, that strange lady of borders. Inscrutable in truth, yet also a pleasant riddle, one that you would not mind solving. Wherever she is, and whatever has passed between you in the past, you find yourself hoping that you will meet again.

These things and many other fill your mind as you think back and remember your short time in this land of mystery and magic. A long, long time passes and the water is only lukewarm when you finally rouse yourself from the bath and dry yourself off. You let the water drain and then dress and set out in search of the promised warm bed.

Easily found is the bedroom, for it is only a few doors away from the bathroom. Quite small, but still not cramped, the large bed promises a pleasant rest from the day's trials.

It is when you have removed your shirt and britches and settled down beneath the covers that a thought strikes you. In this realm your dreams have been strange, aye, every night has some vision or visitor entered your mind. Perhaps then could you direct these sights with your own will? Should you attempt to call and guide this strange dream-sight?

[ ] Aye, an opportunity for gaining precious knowledge. Guide your dreams towards... (Specify person, location or general concept)

[ ] No, such visions you need not. Better to rest and sleep well, for tomorrow is a new day with new challenges. It is then your strength is needed.
>> No. 16341
And a quick heads-up:

I'll be going on vacation starting friday and ending on the twelfth of July. The availablility of internet access is unknown, but there probably isn't any, so updates will be on hold.
>> No. 16347
[x] Aye, an opportunity for gaining precious knowledge. Guide your dreams towards Alice. Bathroom. She is helping you scrub your back with Shanghai floating around trying to help too with a toilet brush.

Something like this. Seems like a crossing now to determ which character we go for? I wanted to try Yukari, but Alice just needs more love.
>> No. 16349
[x] Aye, an opportunity for gaining precious knowledge. Guide your dreams towards the future. Ever does Odin seek to avoid Ragnarok, so do you search for a world in which both companions and glory may be held.

So many possible questions to ask, its hard to choose just one. Perhaps Frigg will bless Sigurd with a vision of foresight. Or is it an illusion of Loki? Who knows what dreams may come~

Have a good trip, Norseman. May Hlín keep ward over you.
>> No. 16350
[x] Aye, an opportunity for gaining precious knowledge. Guide your dreams towards Alice. Bathroom. She is helping you scrub your back with Shanghai floating around trying to help too with a toilet brush.

A Viking boner is forged
>> No. 16351
[x] Aye, an opportunity for gaining precious knowledge. Guide your dreams towards the future. Ever does Odin seek to avoid Ragnarok, so do you search for a world in which both companions and glory may be held.
>> No. 16352
[x] Aye, an opportunity for gaining precious knowledge. Guide your dreams towards the future. Ever does Odin seek to avoid Ragnarok, so do you search for a world in which both companions and glory may be held.
>> No. 16362
[x] Aye, an opportunity for gaining precious knowledge. Guide your dreams towards Alice. Bathroom. She is helping you scrub your back with Shanghai floating around trying to help too with a toilet brush.

I honestly hate to play favorates between alice and marisa... But I'm gonna go with alice here if only to steer this more in the same direction. 'Sides, there always seem to be marisa haters lurking everywhere. I'm watching all of you... If they stay in their bleak, dark, hateful holes, perhaps there will be room for more marisa yet in this story.

>>After a few seconds you notice that the dollmaker has stopped and is watching you with a strange, slightly hesitant look on her face, as if pondering whether to spear or not.

Also, this has helped guide my choice.
>> No. 16368
[x] Aye, an opportunity for gaining precious knowledge. Guide your dreams towards the future. Ever does Odin seek to avoid Ragnarok, so do you search for a world in which both companions and glory may be held.

Making sure there will be an Alice in the future is slightly more important than wooing her.
>> No. 16374
>>Inscrutable in truth, yet also a pleasant riddle, one that you would not mind solving.

If you know what I mean...
>> No. 16375
[x] Aye, an opportunity for gaining precious knowledge. Guide your dreams towards the future. Ever does Odin seek to avoid Ragnarok, so do you search for a world in which both companions and glory may be held.
>> No. 16381
Calling the vote here. Writing commences.
>> No. 16389
File 124656922410.jpg- (279.17KB , 1600x1200 , dreamscape.jpg ) [iqdb]
16389
[ ] Aye, an opportunity for gaining precious knowledge. Guide your dreams towards the future. Ever does Odin seek to avoid Ragnarok, so do you search for a world in which both companions and glory may be held.


You decide to try your thought, cast out your will like a barbed hook into sea of dreems. And no less a catch than the fish of future do you seek, scry you shall, spirit-sight soaring, searching for future where both greatness-granting glory, courage-coin pleasing Odin's eye, and your fair friends may be held.

Thus determined you close your eyes and relax. Your consciousness slowly slips away as weariness takes hold of you, that strength-stealer and bringer of sleep. And as your waking self is gone, only the dream-self remains, strangely vivid in your mind's eye.

You know not if only moments or long hours have passed when you begin to see something strange, seer-sight of things that have passed, things that are and things that will be. But ever shifting are the sights, like watching a picture drawn on the surface of a raging stream they are.

This vision you watch, trying to divine meaning from the strange sight, but failing again and again. The failure is frustrating, the dreamscape destroying calm and caution. Just when you feel as if you will lose your mind you hear two voices calling out to you, strange and powerful voices, strong like stone yet soft like velvet.

"Young mortal, child of Rig, you will not find what you seek here." A motherly voice tells you, kindly and wise.

"In dreams can all things be found." A beautiful voice whispers in your ear, "But not all things are true, are they, handsome mortal?"

"And most dangerous of sights is the future." The motherly one tells you with sorrow in her voice, "For this I have learned well, a future known is a future that must come to pass."

"Perhaps a kindness, handsome mortal, that you cannot see. What would you do if what you saw would not be to your liking?" The other asks, a hint of bitterness poisoning the honey-sweet voice.

You call all your will, summon your power and focus to take control of this dream-vision. The flowing visions slow down before your eyes, and with a supreme effort of will you open your mouth and force your voice into being.

"Hail, virtuous voices, who speak so song-smith shall win wisdom. Who would wield their tongues to teach, glorious, great goddesses? What names bear you?"

There is a moment of silence, then the beautiful voice giggles and replies to your well-woven words.

"Handsome mortal, know us you do. No need to ask, no need to wonder, only to accept freely given gift."

"Now sleep, young mortal," The motherly one tells you, "Your future is in your hands."

Then the vision fades and you drift off into the darkness of blessed sleep, the voices of great goddesses granting you calm and rest.

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

When you wake you know not, but stir you do nonetheless. Looking out of the window, you would judge the evening to be young though Máni's chariot already ascends towards the heavens.

You feel refreshed by the rest, but slightly disappointed by the fact that you could learn nothing about your future. But perhaps, as the sweet voice told, this was for the best. At the very least you now know that this dream-vision can be directed, even though the result might not be exactly what you hoped for.

Then the thought strikes you, what now? You could go back to sleep, or you could do something else, what shall it be?


[ ] Get up and do something (Specify)

[ ] Go back to sleep. Try to dream about something else (Specify)

[ ] Go back to sleep and rest until tomorrow. Then your power will be needed.
>> No. 16391
And this is the last update before my vacation.

Next stop motherfucking Iceland. Expect inspired writing upon my return.
>> No. 16410
[ ] Go back to sleep and rest until tomorrow. Then your power will be needed.

Hope the trip goes well, and legends take wing to follow you home.
>> No. 16444
[x] Go back to sleep. Try to dream about Yukari's influence in things to come.

If there's one confounding factor who we know is not going to be taking this presumed invasion lightly, it's Yukari. And it likely won't matter that this locks in her fate, since there's nothing we could really do anyway to change her course.
>> No. 16459
[x] Go back to sleep. Try to dream about Alice and Marisa. What a fine wives these magicians might make.

Hmm, well foresight was a waste. And now for something completely different. Alternatively, dreaming about Lävatein or Loki's motives would probably be a good idea.
>> No. 16461
[x] Go back to sleep. Try to dream about Alice and Marisa. What fine wives these magicians might make.
Earned it.
>> No. 16464
[ze] Go back to sleep. Try to dream about Alice and Marisa. What fine wives these magicians might make.
Dammit.
>> No. 16465
[x] Go back to sleep. Try to dream about Alice and Marisa. What fine wives these magicians might make.

What I wanted to do at first.
>> No. 16583
>>16410

Changing this too...

[x] Go back to sleep. Try to dream about Alice and Marisa. What fine wives these magicians might make.

Marisa made it in there. I am glad.
>> No. 16621
[x] Go back to sleep. Try to dream about Alice and Marisa. What fine wives these magicians might make.

Only path.

By the way, who were the voices who appeared in Sigurd+s dream? Norse goddesses or something else?
>> No. 16626
>>16621
I'm frowning at you quite hard.
>> No. 16655
I'm back. Trip was fun. Writing is commencing.
>> No. 16663
>>16655
Fuck yeah!
>> No. 16665
File 124744133634.jpg- (468.54KB , 1000x1300 , malice8.jpg ) [iqdb]
16665
[ ] Go back to sleep. Try to dream about Alice and Marisa. What fine wives these magicians might make.


In the end your desicion is simple. Though you could attempt some nightly task, you see little profit in this. In all probability the magicians and the old master alike all would be as tired as you are by now, and you suspect that their power and yours will be needed before long. Better not to disturb them with matters of little meaning.

Thus you settle down again and close your eyes. For a time you toy with the idea of summoning another vision within the realm of dream, and finally this comes to pass as your waking self slips away.

But this time your dreams are guided not by wisdom and will, but by emotion, by burning desire and heartfelt wish. In dreams you imgine and wonder what fine wives the beautiful magicians might make.


The dreamstuff conjures, the shadow-matter forms, and before you know it, all sense of reality is lost. You live the dream, and the dream lives you. The world holds its breath, then creates...

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

You slip through a cavernous hall filled with high shelves. All around you the smell of ancient times reeks from a hundred thousand tomes, the mountains of vellum and paper lending an imposing feeling to this half-haunted place.

But this is where your beloved has once again dragged you. And how can a man love a woman if he would not aid her in the large-scale looting of a library, you silently wonder to yourself with a smile on your lips.

"Hah, 'Theory and Application of the Theurgical Arts'?" Your beloved black-white mutters beside you while she searches through a bookshelf, "Patchy still has some good stuff stashed away -ze."

"Despite your best efforts." Another voice answers, causing Marisa to freeze in her tracks. The two of you spin around to confront the purple-haired wizardess floating in the sky.

"Oh shit," Marisa grumbles before pulling forth her trusty mini-hakkero. "Well, here we go again -ze"

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

"Ahaha, wasn't that somethin', hey?" The winsome witch asks you with an impish smile as the two of you lie there, side by side in a small grove, exhausted but strangely happy. Even now, sweaty and battle-marked as she is, do you find your beloved witch truly beautiful.

"Indeed, O fair witch of the forest. Ever does this song-smith's life grow more exciting when black-white witch seeks to sate her greed." You reply, unable to keep from smiling as you gently tease this wonderful woman.

"Heh, hafta admit I used to sneak in 'cause I was, y'know?" The fair one replies, ignoring your bait completely.

"Why then, O witch of wildling wood, do you raid the mansion of devils if you seek no profit?" You reply, curiosity colouring your voice.

"Cuz it's excitin' -ze." The forest witch replies, her smile unrepentant and for a brief moment truly wicked. You find yourself enjoying the implications of this.

"An' that excitement stopped halfway, if ya know what I mean -ze." Your mischeivious Marisa purrs as she leans towards you and takes your head in between her hands. She slowly pulls your head towards hers and gently presses her lips to yours. Your tongues meet as Marisa snuggles closer to you, and unwilling to waste this excellent opportunity you slide your hands down her back, evoking slight shivers from the black-white's body.

"Mmmm," Your wicked witch moans as you caress the inside of her tigh. Her muffled sounds of pleasure intensify as you gently move your fingers closer and closer to her weak spots, slowly intensifying your teasing of your beautiful lover, your own desire growing along with hers.

With a well-placed finger you make her utter a sharp cry of ecstasy, and with desire burning within you prepare to gift your beloved black-white many more of these touches, her delight at this prospect evident from the wetness between her tighs.

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

Then this moment of lustful play fades, the fickle dreams guiding you in on another track. You dream, and in dreaming you see and feel once more.
>> No. 16666
File 124744149384.png- (725.43KB , 687x893 , malice5.png ) [iqdb]
16666
You enter the familiar hall of your beloved dollmaker for the first time in many days, this home you now have shared with her for many moons. Could it truly be less than an year that you have been lovers as well as friends?

"Dear one," You call out as you step into the hall, "Here stands one who has been denied his heartfelt wish for far too long. Once again would he lay eyes upon your beauty."

You recieve no reply.

Intrigued by this silence you slip through the house of your love, seeking her silently, following the suspicion in your heart. It proves true as you enter her workshop and find the dollmaker asleep at her workbench, a half-finished doll in front of her.

As you see her sleeping face you feel a heartwarming tug at your heart-strings from the sheer cuteness of your love, this sleeping beauty who you have the honour of calling yours.

And if you remember the story you have heard correctly, the prince had only one way of waking his princess.

Silently you sneak next to the dollmaker and kneel down beside her. Alice stirs slightly as you gently embrace her and lift her head so you are face to face. When your lips meet hers she shivers, and when you kiss her, her blue eyes open in slight shock, an expression that is quickly changed into milder surprise, then happiness as she kisses you back.

"How rude," The dear dollmaker gently chides as the two of you finally break off your kiss, "It is not proper to disturb a lady's sleep."

"Then this boor who dares defile dollmaker's rest surely must pay the price, his service to her swear until satisfied she is, does he not?" You ask, voice coloured with eagerness to be close to your love once more.

"Indeed," The puppetmaker answers with a cunning smile, "I can think of a few punishments for this occasion."

"Would she show them?" You reply, meeting her expectant look with one of your own. A soft hand sliding down your belly reveals that she would indeed do just that.

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

Shifting dreamstuff steals away this moment of reunion and expectation, replacing it with another feeling. So the dreams create another truth for you to explore.

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

You walk homewards, your lovely Alice at your side. Today's performance was better than usual, or so your love assured you after the two of you had set up a strange play about a priest traveling to the west.

"How did you like today's play Sigurd?" The dollmaker inquires. "You seemed into it when doing the monkey king." You turn your head towards her and smile in reply, for truly are the stories of the eastern taleweavers fine works, and always it is a joy to perform such things.

"Very much, O artful one, these songs and stories of eastern lands are fine indeed, aye, tales made even greater by enchanting performance from enchanting beauty." You truthfully reply.

This praise evokes a warm and satisfied smile from the puppetmaker, and she falls silent for a moment. After a few metres she suddenly stops and summons her lovely voice.

"Sigurd?" She asks, calling your attention at once. You stop and turn to face the dollmaker, then feel slight surprise as she suddenly embraces you and draws you into a long, sweet kiss. For blissful moments you stand there, embracing your dear, feeling her sweet warmth and heartfelt love meet your own.

Finally the moment passes and your lips part once more. Your dollmaker looks up at you, those blue eyes shining as she speaks.

"Thank you Sigurd." She says with a happy smile. You meet her gaze and feel a smile coming over your own lips and your heart warming with an nearly indescribable feeling.

"Thank you, Alice." You gratefully answer the love of your life.

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

Changing visions make this moment of joy vanish, and another take its place. Clarity returns and you see once more.

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

The sky crackles with the power of sorcery unbound.

Red is the power, red like water from well-of-blades, red like the arrows of faith wielded by the Hakurei Miko. Her raven hair falls down on her brow, but does not obscure the enraged eyes glaring at you.

Red is the power, red like the sorcery of the Scarlet Devil, the blue-haired child-demon's rage matching the one of the maiden of paradise. In her hand is a tall spear, black like the night, a weapon you feel as if you should recognize.

Yet not only red, for the witchcraft of the Gap Daemon bears many colours, as do the spells of the Wizard Fox. Rage there is in the eyes af the second, but the face of her mistress shows no emotion.

You stand there, your love at your side. Two alone against the storm.

"We're doin' this then, ain't we -ze?" The black-white witch asks you with a confident smile on her lips. "You've got my back, don't ya, Siggy?"

"Until the Twilight of the Gods, beloved." You gently answer. Marisa replies with a single, roguish wink. Then battle is joined.

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

So does this vision end, this moment of loyalty created by love. Another moment, another sight shown.

Finally there is only darkness and quiet. After a long while you again see a glimpse of the light, and so you awaken.

The room is still as you remember it, but even if it were changed you might not have noticed as you are, your heartbeat racing and happy memories flooding your mind. For a few minutes you simply lie down and try to sort out your emotions. Finally you manage to regain control of your racing feelings and are left with a happy feeling, a seed planted within your heart that could bloom one day.

As you rise to dress you discover that you're still slightly tired, but in a good way. But gifted you are with the blessing of Delling's son, for the sight of Skinfaxí's mane drives away your last weariness as you look outside and know this day, one of promise and danger in equal measure.

Now it is time for deeds.


[ ] Breakfast first. You barely can remember when you last ate.

[ ] Seek out someone (specify)

[ ] Wander the halls of the dollmaker, see what you can find.

[ ] Go outside and get some fresh air.
>> No. 16667
[x] Breakfast first. You barely can remember when you last ate.

Every strong Viking needs food and booze.
>> No. 16668
[X] Breakfast first. You barely can remember when you last ate.

Worrisome that none of the dreams actually include both Alice and Marisa.
>> No. 16669
[x] Breakfast first. You barely can remember when you last ate.
>> No. 16671
[x] Breakfast first. You barely can remember when you last ate.
Eat up. I have a feeling this is going to be an eventful day.

>>16668
An excellent observation.
>> No. 16672
[X] Breakfast first. You barely can remember when you last ate.

A full stomach, a talk with Youki, and then a séance with everyone to get to Loki. Sounds like a plan.

>>16668

Curious indeed.
>> No. 16675
[x] Breakfast first. You barely can remember when you last ate.

>>16668
Sad, that. Think we should settle this here and now with a vote to steer this story down a specific track instead of wavering between the two? Indecision or, much worse, fickle moods and a changing mind, could ruin this.
>> No. 16678
>>16668

You'll have to work a bit if you want the Malice end. Where would the fun be if I'd simply serve it to you all on a silver platter? Though the lack of threesome in this particular update is partially due to other reasons.

It's certainly not impossible to get threesome end though, provided that you manage to unravel the secrets of the very tangled relationship between the magicians of the forest.


Anyway, calling the vote here. Writing commences.
>> No. 16684
Short update today.

Generally, in the near future the update length might be a bit shorter than usual, and as I pretty much have all day free for goofing off, the update speed may increase as well.

So tl;dr If you vote, I'll write.

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

[ ] Breakfast first. You barely can remember when you last ate.


The growling of your stomach quickly gives you an immediate goal. Thinking back, you can't recall eating much of anything at all the last day, a fact that surely must have contributed to your fading strength and one that surely continues to sap power you will surely need in the future.

Intent on remedying this unfortunate situation you leave the small bedroom and swiftly wander down the way the dollmaker had led you the previous day, this backtracking quickly leading you to the kitchen.

You find the room empty. Looking around, you see that there is no hint of where you might find something to eat. It might be considered slightly discourteous to snoop around, but you're certain that your hostess won't mind you searching a bit. Ceetain of this fact you begin to assemble a heartly breakfast from the contents of various cupboards, building a meal out of bread, meat and some strange vegetables.

After a swift devouring of this fine-tasting feast you remain seated for a few minutes, relishing the feeling of a full belly. Too long in truth has it been, for a man's strength can never conquer the curses of hunger and exhaustion, no matter how great it is. Then, remembering the rules of courtesy, you spend a few minutes cleaning up the kitchen. The dollmaker seems to prefer to keep her hall pristine, and ill would it be to thoughtlessly offend your host with something so minor in nature.

After these matters of necessity are over you take another look at the halls leading from the kitchen. There are stairs leading up at one point near the outer door, as well as a corridor leading off into the opposite direction than the one leading to your guest bedroom. You think you can hear some strange sound from the corridor, but this may only be your own imagination.

Acting on an impulse you look out of the kitchen window as well. The only thing out of the ordinary that you can notice is a fine mist obscuring the view in the distance. Other than this, you now note that the chariot of Sól still is in the beginning of its ascent to the firmament. This may explain why none of your companions have shown themselves, for it may well be that they still travel through the realm of dreams.

This, of course, means that you either have to wait or find them yourself. You wonder where they could be found.


[ ] Why not explore the second floor?

[ ] Check the corridor. You're sure you heard something from there.

[ ] Go outside and catch some fresh air.

[ ] Just wait in the kitchen. The others must come eventually.

[ ] Do something else? (Write-in)
>> No. 16685
[X] Go outside and catch some fresh air.
[X] Maybe do some morning exercises to prepare body and mind for the upcoming trials.
>> No. 16686
[X] Go outside and catch some fresh air.
[X] Maybe do some morning exercises to prepare body and mind for the upcoming trials.
>> No. 16687
[X] Go outside and catch some fresh air.
[X] Maybe do some morning exercises to prepare body and mind for the upcoming trials.
>> No. 16688
[X] Go outside and catch some fresh air.
[X] Maybe do some morning exercises to prepare body and mind for the upcoming trials.

Bear wrestling
>> No. 16694
[%] Check the corridor. You're sure you heard something from there.
>> No. 16696
>[x] Return to the realm of dreams in order to find them.

[~] Check the corridor. You're sure you heard something from there.
[z] Go outside and catch some fresh air.
[e] Maybe do some morning exercises to prepare body and mind for the upcoming trials.
>> No. 16699
Calling the vote, outside wins.

Writing is commencing.
>> No. 16701
[ ] Go outside and catch some fresh air.
[ ] Maybe do some morning exercises to prepare body and mind for the upcoming trials.


Perhaps someone could be outside? Or if not, would it not be a good thing to fell the fresh air blowing in your hair and let your stiff muscles warm up a bit?

Reasoning thus you exit the hall of the dollmaker, stopping only to pick up your shining sun-sword where you left it yesterday. You note that the bags you carried are gone somewhere, but the blade seems untouched.

Outside the air is fresh and cool, the kind of morning weather that the weary man finds truly refreshing, and so do you this fine day. And a fine morning for some practise as well you deem it as you begin.

Slowly you unwrap Sólargeisli from its makeshift scabbard and raise it in a guard. One day you must procure or make a real one, but for now the leather straps will have to do.

Turning your mind back to the present, you carefully observe the distance your golden wound-bringer's tip extends from your body. It is slightly hard to judge as the blade seems to shimmer in the sunlight, its inner light straining your eyes slightly. A weapon with a will of its own, and a blade difficult to use, you deem it.

Yet even discounting its supernatural aspects, Sólargeisli still is an unfamiliar and strange weapon, too long to be used with a shield, more like a dane-axe than a sword. Yet it has not the concentrated mass of an axe, and so would not be as useful in breaking through shield-walls or an opponent's guard. You know its strike to be swift, but the sheer momentum of the sword leaves you exposed if the first blow does not connect.

You have already tested the sword in battle and aquitted yourself well in the clash-of-spears, but still you clearly see that much work will be needed until you can call yourself its master, for many are the traps the blade holds.

But even so the power within the blade is certainly worth the drawbacks. There are some things you have seen when wielding the blade, and some things you wish to see, and so you spend some time experimenting with the sword.

First you swing it low, into the tall grass growing in the grove. Where the sword cuts, green strands turn into black and gray. Intrugued by this you carefully touch the flat of the blade, but only find it slightly warm to the touch. Strange this is, for it seems like only the edge is hot enough to set things on fire, and even so the fires of your sword did not burn the leather straps you used to bind the blade. You try to hold the blade-edge against a rock, and as far as you can see it does not heat it up at all. Perhaps then the fires are only unleashed against that which you intend to burn, or perhaps only against living beings. This you cannot determine.

Next you raise the blade and catch the shine of Skinfaxí's mane in it, steering the reflection towards the ground. Amplified by the shard of the sun the light is intense enough to dry up the morning dew on the leaves, and seeing the light itself head-on would surely be like staring into the eye of Sól herself. An useful trick in truth, one that may win you a battle one day.

Last you raise the blade and try to practise some bladework, searcning for a way to use the blade properly. As you already knew your blows must be wide to make use of the sword's length and momentum, yet this leaves you exposed. Then you remember how silver-haired Youmu wielded her own long blade, how she launched a lightning-fast slash, then disengaged and repeated the maneuvre. You attempt a similar tactic, and find that it works reasonable well. Letting your imagination conjure ideas you then try everything from carefully placed thrusts to wide, powerful swings while letting the momentum from one blow to flow into the next like a whirlwind of gold sweeping through the air.
>> No. 16703
After a few minutes of bladework you lower your blade and look around you. To your slight surprise you find

Youki standing only a short distance away, quietly observing you. Strange, you should have been able to see the old master sooner considering how close he is.

"Forgive my directness young Sigurd, but your technique is unrefined." He calmly states his judgement of your prowess.

"Aye, old master, for this weapon is new to me. A long time must a man wield wound-bringing battle-wand before he knows it well." You reply matter-of-factly. Little sense would there be in denying such an obvious lack of skill.

"This is true, but the Way is more than only physical prowess, young one." Youki enigmatically replies with an appraising look on his features.

"What do you speak of, old master?" You ask, now intrigued by the prospect of learning some hidden wisdom from the old blademaster. Youki remains silent for a few second, perhaps pondering how to reply, or perhaps searching for words.

"Perhaps it would be simpler to show you the Way. Direct a blow towards me and I shall strive to Enlighten you." Youki finally says.

A strange request, for as far as you can see the old one is unarmed. But the foolish warrior's beard grows not gray, and so you raise your blade in preparation to fulfill his request, trusting that the old one knows that he is doing.

Moments later the sun-sword whistles through the air in a vicious swing, and impossibly enough the old master is already moving when your swing started, calmly, almost sluggishly sidestepping the overhand blow. Carried by its own momentum, the blade misses completely and leaves you looking rather foolish.

"Again, if you will." Youki calmly states. This time you try a horizontal sweep with your blade, but again the old master somehow steps past the sword. Half a dozen times you try, but even when you could have sworn that you must have connected the blow, you feel your sword cutting nothing but air.

"Why can you not cut me?" The old master calmly asks after you finally lower your blade. "It is neither

because I am moving faster than you are." He continues after a moment, a thoughtful look on his features. "Nor is it because of some trick or magical spell, young one."

"It is simply because your blade cannot reach the place where I am." The old master finally concludes.

"And what wisdom have you hidden in your words, what lesson buried beneath the, old blade-master?" You ask, slightly awed by this performance. You have met many men who have been your superiors with the sword, but only a few who would begin to approach the skill that Youki has demonstrated.

"Only that your mind must reach where I stand before your blade can." He enigmatically answers, "One who has realized his Bodhi-nature sees with his mind, and the mind is always faster than the arm or the eye."

You ponder Youki's words and find them holding much truth, for did not even the sage of Utgard speak thus when his thought outraced swift-footed Thialfi in that giant's second challenge? Swiftest of all things thought surely is.

"In every experience one may learn something, young one, for in this realm of humans there are no challenges that cannot be overcome." The old master speaks in encouragement as he sees the dawning understanding in your eyes.

"Ask yourself this; Where must you be before you sword can reach where I stand?" He finally demands and falls silent, waiting for your answer.


[ ] If the old master can predict your mind, you must be unpredictable. In the rage of Odin's chosen can no thought be found. Your mind must be within this fire.

[ ] If the old master's thoughts move swiftly, yours must move swifter. In wit, in cunning and in swift word-weave can this speed be found. Your mind must craft its song, one that is a thousand.

[ ] If the old master sees with his mind, then you must see further. In the centre of the storm of battle can this eye of calm be found. Your mind must find its sight.

[ ] If the old master can only be reached by the mind, your sword must be one with it. In the deepest heart of the flames are all weaknesses burned away. Your mind must be within your blade.

[ ] The Way is not any of these, but... (Write-In)

[ ] This question is one you cannot find an answer to. You must ponder it further.
>> No. 16706
[X] If the old master can only be reached by the mind, your sword must be one with it. In the deepest heart of the flames are all weaknesses burned away. Your mind must be within your blade.

Is the "real" answer, but goddamn does that bard option look tempting.
>> No. 16710
[x] If the old master's thoughts move swiftly, yours must move swifter. In wit, in cunning and in swift word-weave can this speed be found. Your mind must craft its song, one that is a thousand.
Skald build for life.
>> No. 16712
[x] If the old master sees with his mind, then you must see further. In the centre of the storm of battle can this eye of calm be found. Your mind must find its sight.

No Rage, calm and clear.
>> No. 16713
[X] If the old master can only be reached by the mind, your sword must be one with it. In the deepest heart of the flames are all weaknesses burned away. Your mind must be within your blade.

The rage option, while possible, will either make us look like fools, or will end up with someone getting hurt. I do like the skald option, though...
>> No. 16716
[x] If the old master's thoughts move swiftly, yours must move swifter. In wit, in cunning and in swift word-weave can this speed be found. Your mind must craft its song, one that is a thousand.

Even if it isn't the best answer, it seems to be the most enjoyable and fitting of the character.
>> No. 16723
[ze] If the old master's thoughts move swiftly, yours must move swifter. In wit, in cunning and in swift word-weave can this speed be found. Your mind must craft its song, one that is a thousand.

There is no other acceptable option.
>> No. 16724
[x] If the old master sees with his mind, then you must see further. In the centre of the storm of battle can this eye of calm be found. Your mind must find its sight.
>> No. 16729
>>Ask yourself this; Where must you be before you sword can reach where I stand?

I, personally, would use a slight alteration of the fourth option.

[x] Answer matter-of-factly, for though the old master's words may carry that which you do not yet fully understand, his ultimate meaning is simple. You must be where your blade can reach him, and to do that, you must move. Keep him in your striking zone.

As a recreational student of historical Western (and some Japanese) swordsmanship, I can vouch for this one.
I'm envisioning Sólargeisli as something like claymore or a similar heavy, double-edged sword. The point of such weapons is that, by keeping the blade moving constantly, you conserve your momentum in such a way that someone with a shorter weapon can't get close enough to retaliate before you've swung again. Unlike an axe, the edge encompasses the length of the entire shaft, meaning a blow with even the lower half of its length was still quite dangerous for someone rushing in to counterattack. At the same time, the heft of the sword (which was likely being wielded by a borderline giant) would make blocking a difficult prospect. When wielded in formation, it made for an intimidating display.

On the other hand, like an axe, such a heavy sword would cut more like a cleaver than a katana; with simple, driving force behind the edge, rather than utilizing the (non-existent) curve for a longer, deeper cut. Maybe we ought to take Youki's future lessons with a small grain of salt?

But I digress. This particular lesson is fundamental. Sigurd should be keeping Youki in his ideal range, and moving with him to do so. Also, following through with each slash in a circular motion to lessen the opening afterwards would help his style, as far as sword-to-sword combat is concerned.
>> No. 16730
Hm, was going to call the vote right about now, but since someone did take the time to make a long, informative post I'll keep it open until sometime tomorrow instead in case a discussion develops. Informed voting is never a bad thing after all.
>> No. 16731
[x] Answer matter-of-factly, for though the old master's words may carry that which you do not yet fully understand, his ultimate meaning is simple. You must be where your blade can reach him, and to do that, you must move. Keep him in your striking zone.

Makes sense.
>> No. 16732
[x] Answer matter-of-factly, for though the old master's words may carry that which you do not yet fully understand, his ultimate meaning is simple. You must be where your blade can reach him, and to do that, you must move. Keep him in your striking zone.
>> No. 16737
[x] A mix of:

[x] If the old master's thoughts move swiftly, yours must move swifter. In wit, in cunning and in swift word-weave can this speed be found. Your mind must craft its song, one that is a thousand.

And

[x] Answer matter-of-factly, for though the old master's words may carry that which you do not yet fully understand, his ultimate meaning is simple. You must be where your blade can reach him, and to do that, you must move. Keep him in your striking zone.

I like the write in but I don't want to lose the awesomeness of composing Sólargeisli's song.
>> No. 16740
[ze] >>16737

Changing to this. Music and logic together!
>> No. 16742
>>16716

Yeah, I think this calls for a change to a mix.

[x] If the old master's thoughts move swiftly, yours must move swifter. In wit, in cunning and in swift word-weave can this speed be found. Your mind must craft its song, one that is a thousand.

And

[x] Answer matter-of-factly, for though the old master's words may carry that which you do not yet fully understand, his ultimate meaning is simple. You must be where your blade can reach him, and to do that, you must move. Keep him in your striking zone.
>> No. 16744
All right, I think that combo option wins this one.

Writing is commencing.
>> No. 16749
File 124778691119.jpg- (208.38KB , 1050x1165 , youki1.jpg ) [iqdb]
16749
[ ] If the old master's thoughts move swiftly, yours must move swifter. In wit, in cunning and in swift word-weave can this speed be found. Your mind must craft its song, one that is a thousand.
[ ] Answer matter-of-factly, for though the old master's words may carry that which you do not yet fully understand, his ultimate meaning is simple. You must be where your blade can reach him, and to do that, you must move. Keep him in your striking zone.


The old master has spoken of reach, and though the wisdom of his words is obscured, as it tends to be, you know that he means reach of both your mind and your blade. You close your eyes and search your mind for the answer, that elusive scrap of knowledge that you feel must be there.

And yet, even though the possible answers are a thousand trails branching out before you, you know your own path, one so simple it is a wonder you did not see it earlier.

If the old one's thoughts are swift like sky-striding Sleipnir, your own mind must be swifter. And as you know this, you know your answer, for when is your mind swifter than when wit-wrought verse is woven, when words are spun into song and saga?

For the first time you open your eyes, and you see. You see that this battle is a tale yet untold, a story unsung, saga unwritten. A slight lightheadedness grips you as the words begin to arrange themselves into verse, the verse into staves and staves into a poem filling the world itself in its magic.

"I understand, old master," You answer, keeping your words and voice simple, "For though your words are strange to me, ones I do not comprehend as well as I would like, their meaning still is known to this sword-singer."

The old master's eyes narrow slightly as you speak, his posture changes into the one of a man alert, a warrior of old, wily silver-maned wolf, that sharp-sighted hunter.

"Insight, young one, is Zen." He answers you with steel in his voice. "Have you realized the Way of Bodhidharma?"

You raise your blade in reply and position yourself at a well-judged distance from the old one so that you will have room to maneouvre freely to counter the inevitable dodge, and as you do the poem whispers in your mind. You draw a deep breath and give voice to the verse conjured by the voice of the world.

"Sun-Sword, fierce foe-feller forged from formless flame,
now noble song-smith swings, searing, slashing Sólargeisli.

Words worthy verse-weaver wields, spoken stave-stream,
well-worked wit-wealth, word-wrought wisdom without peer.

With verse in heart song-smith speaks,
Brings lore to life, seals spirit in song.

Swiftest of Skald's servants, tale-thought.
The world with words song-smith catches."

You declare, calling on the hidden tales of all things around you, singing the world's song, and finally weaving the verse itself into your mind and shifting your world into the realm of story and saga, that place where skilled Skald's thoughts run like the swift-flowing stream.

The old master now watches you with the eyes of a hunting hawk, and no less fierce a gaze do you return, you who is drunk on Kvasir's blood this day. Now shall your world be tested.

With only the slightest of motions your blade begins to move, a golden arc slashing through the air, as does the poetry within your mind. The old master again dodges almost before you can begin your swing, and the words move with him, your thought following his movement and intent without error.

And as your mind can reach, so your body can follow. You take a half-step to the side and turn your torso slightly, keeping the old one in the path of your blade. As he did earlier the old one's movements immediately change and he tries to twist out from beneath your golden sword, and again the words and the blade follow him. For a fraction of a second a duel of mind and body is fought until the shining blade is only inches away from the old one's unprotected head.

For a brief moment you wonder if you should stop your swing, as it becomes obvious that the old master can no longer dodge it, but this decision is swiftly taken out of your hands as the old master suddenly moves. Or perhaps disappears would be a better term, as Youki no longer is where he was only a moment ago, but about a metre closer to you where his iron-hard grip catches your hands and stops your swing in its tracks.

"You understand." The old one tells you as he releases his grip, his voice full of approval and his eyes kindly and warm. "For this time you could not cut me only because I did move faster than you."

You turn aside your blade, feeling slightly lightheaded again as the whispering verse falls silent. You have certainly learned something this day, or perhaps you always knew this, but did not realize it before now?

"Insight, young one, is a difficult path." The old master's kindly voice tells you. "You should reflect on what you have learned."
>> No. 16750
The old one then turns around and motions for you to follow. He leads you into the shade of a large tree where the two of you sit down. You begin wrapping Sólargeisli back into its leather bindings while the old master serenely waits.

"We should speak now." Youki calmly states as you finish and set down your golden wound-bringer.

"Aye. Yesterday you told me, O wise master, that you wished to speak of matters between us." You reply, intrigued by the old master's earlier words and of what he wishes to discuss with you. For all his friendliness you still remember well what you have promised to this man, and of what this promise means.

"Yes, that is true." The old one replies. "For reasons you certainly know yourself, I did not wish to speak of this contract between us in front of your companions."

"It is said that the greatest warrior is the one who never unsheathes his blade." The old one calmly says. "The masters of ancient times taught that the Way is overcoming life's obstacles before you are forced into battle."

"Often it is better to settle matters by the law," You agree, for the broad idea that the old master presents is one familiar to you. "For little good comes from battle between kinsmen and neighbors."

"That is so, young one, law is one way of overcoming an obstacle. Another is knowledge." The old master answers, then he halts his words and seems to think for a moment.

"But I am getting ahead of myself," The old one comments, "First I must tell you something about Gensokyo itself, young Sigurd." He continues in a thoughtful voice.

"It is said that a peaceful realm does not have many lords. You may know this alraedy, but in this land there are many beings of power, and the balance between them is often uneasy; If something disturbs it there are forces that strive to correct that imbalance."

"I understand, old master, for I know that this balance has been disturbed by my hand." You answer, seeing there Youki is going with his train of thought.

"Your insight serves you well." The old master answers. "And yes, this you have done. And unfortunately I can see the possibility that you may upset the balance even further, which is why I agreed to join your journey. I suspect you understand this as well."

"That I do, old one." You answer truthfully, for the old master confirms a suspicion you have held for some time. The old master studies you for a moment, then he nods to your words and continues speaking.

"Then I shall be honest, young one. I would wish to overcome this obstacle before I am forced into battle, for both my sake and yours." The old master pauses for a moment, perhaps searching for words, then continues.

"Young one, you need to learn. I cannot stay as your watchman for the entirety of this age of the world, but I can be a teacher for a time, thus I would wish to teach you the wisdom of the Enlightened One. All I ask in return is that you refrain from causing further imbalance in Gensokyo."

You study the old master for a while. In his face can you find no signs of hidden motives or trickery, not that this was likely in the first place. From your recent experiences you know that the old master can teach much and certainly draw out much hidden power within you, yet something about this offer worries you, as if it were a path entirely different than the one you have walked so far. This decision does need some thought.


[ ] Accept the old one's offer. Much has he to teach, and much do you need to learn, even this strange wisdom of the eastern wonderland.

[ ] Reject the old one's offer. Though his wisdom is great, the lore of this land is not for you, only Odin's words do the northmen follow.
>> No. 16754
>"You should reflect on what you have learned."
[X] Accept the old one's offer. Much has he to teach, and much do you need to learn, even this strange wisdom of the eastern wonderland.

Max skill gains per level.
>> No. 16756
[ ] Accept the old one's offer. Much has he to teach, and much do you need to learn, even this strange wisdom of the eastern wonderland.
>> No. 16757
[X] Accept the old one's offer. Much has he to teach, and much do you need to learn, even this strange wisdom of the eastern wonderland.

Though I think this is straying strongly and absolutely off the loki path... I don't think that's a bad thing.
>> No. 16759
[ ] Accept the old one's offer. Much has he to teach, and much do you need to learn, even this strange wisdom of the eastern wonderland.
>> No. 16763
[x] Accept the old one's offer. Much has he to teach, and much do you need to learn, even this strange wisdom of the eastern wonderland.
[x] However, do not forget who you are. Choose carefully what wisdom word-weaver wields, for first followed is Allfather's guidance by men of the North.

First attempt at Norse-writan', and I think I failed pretty hard. Oh well.
>> No. 16767
Forgot to mention this, but if it is unclear to someone, this choice is an important one. Depending on whether you accept or refuse, the plot for the rest of the saga will be quite different, so ponder well your choice.

For this reason I think I'll keep the vote open until tomorrow as well.
>> No. 16769
[x] Accept the old one's offer. Much has he to teach, and much do you need to learn, even this strange wisdom of the eastern wonderland.
[x] However, do not forget who you are. Choose carefully what wisdom word-weaver wields, for first followed is Allfather's guidance by men of the North.
>> No. 16770
>>16767
Accept: You will integrate into Gensokyo and learn to live and love the inhabitants?

Refuse: You will be a true Viking killing machine like >>16239 and will only live to follow the norse gods and spread their ways and teachings?

Well, i would like for him to learn new ways beside the norse ones. He changed much already through the course of the story and the way he is heading is a good one.
>> No. 16771
[x] Accept the old one's offer. Much has he to teach, and much do you need to learn, even this strange wisdom of the eastern wonderland.

>>16763 >>16769
That's trying to get it both ways, there's no way that could end well.
>> No. 16772
>>16770

It is not that deterministic. Rather, think of these choices as the broad tendency of future character development as well as a shift in the direction of the story. It would also be wise to consider the reactions of all characters involved to judge how the story itself will be affected.

Basically there's nothing forcing you to become a bloodthirsty killing machine by refusing, and neither is there anything forcing you to become a pacifist saint by accepting. It's more like tradition vs. change.
>> No. 16773
>>16771

Not really. It's more or less accepting Youki's offer, but making it clear that Sigurd is a viking first and foremost. Some of Sigurd's beliefs and Youki's teachings are bound to conflict, and so it would be up to Sigurd to choose what he follows. If we're lucky, we'll be able to find a middle way.

It's like what Norseman said:
>>Basically there's nothing forcing you to become a bloodthirsty killing machine by refusing, and neither is there anything forcing you to become a pacifist saint by accepting.
>> No. 16776
It still feels like another "choose your side" question, which we have been artfully dodging until now. It would be difficult to serve the gods while not causing imbalance, though I suppose not impossible. I still plan on getting back Lævateinn though.

Alice would be happier with Youki style. Marisa would likely be less impressed since she prefers the blunt power method.

Gah the Gods seem determined to take over Gensokyo. Couldn't they simply ask for help to avoid Ragnarok instead? I don't think anyone really wants to ally one side over the other. We are greedy and want it all. I'm still curious as to what Loki's other suggestion might be.

[x] Ask Youki what he considers further imbalance. You are still bound by word oath to return Loki's stolen wand, and to betray your gods would be to betray yourself. While you do not desire to cause more death, you do still fight for honor and glory.
>> No. 16778
[X] Accept the old one's offer. Much has he to teach, and much do you need to learn, even this strange wisdom of the eastern wonderland.
>> No. 16781
All right, calling the vote for accepting.

If nothing else, this could lead to interesting times.
>> No. 16785
>>16781
>If nothing else, this could lead to interesting times.
>interesting times
...
......Fuck.
>> No. 16800
Well, as you may or may not have noticed, this update seems to become another long one.

I hope to finish it tomorrow, but I can't promise anything.
>> No. 16802
>>16800

Hooray!
>> No. 16808
>>16800

Walls are always a good thing.
>> No. 16809
>>16800
Beautiful.
>> No. 16831
[ ] Accept the old one's offer. Much has he to teach, and much do you need to learn, even this strange wisdom of the eastern wonderland.


You ponder the question and ponder your answer for a long while. First you wonder what the old master wishes to teach you, what wisdom does this eastern wonderland hold? And can you truly swear an oath that you will not cause upset in the land's balance of power when you still need to find frost-forged Lävatein for Laufey's son? How would the gods above and your fair friends take the news of this apprenticeship under the silver-maned blademaster? Can you stray from the wisdom of Odin, from the lore he paid an eye to gain, from the knowledge that he sacrificed himself for, riding the world tree in agony for nine days and nine nights?

Finally, after much thought you find that despite your misgivings, you can. Your time in this realm has been turbulent, and much have you upset with your deeds and presence though this was not your wish. No more trouble do you wish to bring upon your dear friends, and so, if you must learn the wisdom of this realm, you shall. No place for pride, no place for hesitation in your heart, not in this matter.

"Aye, old master, your offer does the smith of songs accept." You answer while meeting the gaze of the old one. "And upon Odin's name I swear that I shall not knowingly or willingly wreak more scathe upon this land's balance." You add, ignoring the doubts gnawing away at your mind as you speak.

Youki's stern look softens for a moment, his expression still hard, but now approving.

"To my shame I have not all the wisdom of the Sage of Shakyas, but what I know I shall share." The old master calmly answers.

"And as the path to Enlightenment is knowledge, I shall begin with sharing a story with you; The story of Shakyamuni Buddha." The old one continues, his voice now somehow stronger, as if charged with some strange sorcery.

And he tells the tale, the tale of a prince raised among power and abundance, a prince born to a long line of proud warriors. He tells of a prince who came to know the suffering of the world, one who resolved to suffer himself and one who tortured himself with denial and self-inflicted hardship in search for the truth, a prince who gave up his foretold kingship for something greater.

You listen to this strange tale with keen interest, you listen as the old master tells you of the man who seated himself in the shade of the Bodhi-tree for forty-nine long days, and he tells you of the man who arose after this time. This man had come to know, and in knowing the Middle Way now was called Enlightened One.

The words are spoken, words telling of the great teacher who had understood the universe, who had seen through all that clouds the sight and mind, the one who had reached Enlightenment. He traveled far and taught his wisdom to many, and as the great Wheel of Dharma began to move his teachings spread through all the vast lands of the east, though you do not recognize their names.

"This is the Way that I and many others like me follow hoping for liberation." The old master concludes.

"The one you call Buddha was not a god?" You ask the old one, for truly the thought of a mere man being able to rise above the lords of the sky and the earth seems strange indeed.

"He was not, young one. The Bodhi-nature exists within all beings, not only the Devas of the higher realms, but only a few realize it." Youki calmly answers. "And many paths lead to Enlightenment, though only a few find them."

In truth you find much of this tale incredible and other parts incomprehensible, but it is a tale well told nonetheless, and interesting in all its alien strangeness. But still you begin to wonder what the purpose of this tale was? Even if it were true, you know that your own gods are also walking through Midgard. Why then should you consider the teachings of this eastern wiseman to stand above the lore of Odin?

"Then old master, as story is told, my mind wonders; What would you teach me? Tales I know many, and well told was yours, but why was it told this day?" You ask the old one, curiosity colouring your voice.

(cont.)
>> No. 16832
"To make you understand how the wheel of dharma moves, young Sigurd." The old master replies.

"Your arrival to Gensokyo was caused by the Lady Yakumo's meddling, which caused her own demise as well as the appearance of the being you call Loki. And that action has caused other consequences; Our meeting, the Hakurei Miko's search for a culprit, and by that way, even your own escape from the garden of my princess." He continues in a matter-of-factly tone as he lists the branching web of consequences you have experienced during your stay.

"All actions are caused, and all actions lead to consequences, young one. What we sow with our actions always grows into the fruits we must taste in the future." Youki then concludes his explanation.

"Can it be guided then, this future you speak of?" You ask, fairly certain that you understand where the old one is going with his tale.

"Yes, young Sigurd." The old one gently replies. "It can be guided towards good, it can be guided towards balance."

"You have spoken of balance, old master, but not explained what you mean by this." You reply, for the old one's idea begins to appear in your mind, yet you would like confirmation of your guess.

"In this land of Gensokyo there exist, as you know, many beings of great power and longevity. As an example one may consider the Lady Yakumo, whose actions are chiefly driven by boredom." Youki calmly answers you.

"Boredom, old one?" You ask to make sure you have not misheard the old master, for surely he can not have meant what he said.

"My life has been long, young Sigurd, and even I who has had the Way of the Sword and the Way of the Buddha that I have striven to perfect, have on occasion felt that I have seen everything beneath the heavens already. The Lady Yakumo has lived for far longer." The old master answers.

As you ponder this revelation, and as you ponder the actions and behaviour of the Lady of Borders, you come to the conclusion that it may very well be how matters stand. But the thought of a realm populated by ancient sorceresses motivated by the avoidance of boredom is a sobering one indeed. In all your years and all your travels you have never heard of a land with such an perilous potential.

"I see your point, old one." You finally state with a small sigh. "Wish I do that I had known this earlier."

"No mind except the Enlightened knows all things, young Sigurd." The old master replies, then falls silent. For a minute or two you spend your time pondering and searching for insight.

The old one's words must mean that the Border Daemon brought you here to relieve her of her boredom, yet her words about what she had planned for you also reveal that she must have counted on you to stir up things slightly, and perhaps in doing so, relieve some other of Gensokyo's powers of their eternal idleness. Perhaps then can balance be found in creating a challenge or disturbance in the order of things, and this is the way that the Lady of Borders does her part of upholding the balance.

"Then balance can be attained by keeping the peace, old one?" You ask, for you suspect that the old master's way is different from the Gap Daemon's.

"That is the way of order." Youki calmly answers, "If the powers in this realm turn their interests in other directions than conflict, balance will be upheld."

"Yet there are others, are there not?" You inquire, for you are curious whether your earlier idea hods water.

"Yes, young Sigurd, there are many other ways. Some say that balance is found in absolute control, others say it is hidden within an equal conflict. The third man may hold that balance is attained by compromise and cooperation, and a fourth can claim that balance is found in worship of gods or spirits." The old one replies, yet a hint of sadness in him is evident as he speaks.

"But, young one, no matter the beliefs of a man, the wheel of dharma still moves. By every action we take we cause it to move faster, and if the wheel turns too quickly in a place such as Gensokyo, that land would be shattered into dust." He finally concludes this melancholy warning.

For a long while there is silence. You feel as if you understand the old one and his warnings, yet you cannot bring yourself to fully agree with them even though they have the ring of truth to them. But even careful pondering upon this subject brings you little benefit, for is not the fate of a man guided by the hand of Urd? By his will and her mercy, he benefits or breaks on the long path that is life.

"And what else, old master? What more would you teach me?" You finally ask, breaking the long silence. Little good does this philosophical pondering do you right now, and while you shall keep the old one's words in your mind, you can find no immediate use for them. Better to move onto other matters.

"I have some familiarity with the sword, young Sigurd." The old master answers, and in your eyes he also seems content that the discusion has steered itself onto another track.

"While I cannot teach you how to wield your own weapon, as it is strange to me, I can teach you how to use your mind in battle." Youki explains, then falls silent for a moment, apparently thinking about something.

"Or I can show you the techniques of the swordsmen in the east, so you know how to face them in battle if you need to." The old master then adds. "The choice, as always, is yours young one."


[ ] The mind is the sharpest weapon, it is said. To wield it you would like to learn.

[ ] The techniques of this eastern land would be useful to know. Ask of him to show you.

[ ] Perhaps he could teach something else (write-in)?

[ ] The teachings of the old master have been useful, but what you have learned is enough for one day. Head back inside instead, for you have other things to do this day.
>> No. 16833
[x] The techniques of this eastern land would be useful to know. Ask of him to show you.

Sigurd, Samurai Viking
>> No. 16835
[X] The mind is the sharpest weapon, it is said. To wield it you would like to learn.

The mind can apply regardless of weapon, while who knows how well the techniques are transferable to our solar sword.
>> No. 16836
File 124814099077.png- (148.56KB , 910x295 , b37f055db69955fe665d8ac597bcfc08.png ) [iqdb]
16836
[JE]The mind is the sharpest weapon, it is said. To wield it you would like to learn.

Self-explanatory and Sigurd could use kinder, wiser faculties to temper his mean. Everything else he already seems to have in spades.
>> No. 16838
[X] The mind is the sharpest weapon, it is said. To wield it you would like to learn.
>> No. 16841
[X] The mind is the sharpest weapon, it is said. To wield it you would like to learn.
>> No. 16842
[X] The mind is the sharpest weapon, it is said. To wield it you would like to learn.

Always 2 steps ahead of the enemy.
>> No. 16884
Calling the vote. Writing is commencing.
>> No. 16943
I appear to have fallen back to my wastrel ways of late considering the atrocious speed of updates. I shall attempt to rectify this.

-----

[ ] The mind is the sharpest weapon, it is said. To wield it you would like to learn.


Somewhere you have heard that no sharper or swifter blade can be found than the mind of a man, not even among the far-famed treasures crafted within the forge-flame of Nidavellir's lords. And if the old master knows ways to wield this weapon, you would like to learn them.

"Teach me then, old master, teach me of the mind and how to wield it in battle, for finer weapon can no man find, aye, not even if old Völund were to hammer the steel with strength and spell, fashion forge-treasures as he did in ages past, those faithful friends to heroes of old." You answer the old master with a vell-versed weave of words, evoking an approving look from the silver-maned swordmaster.

"A fine choice." The old one replies as he rises to his feet "We shall begin then."

The morning then passes swiftly as the old one teaches you many things. He tells you how to calm the mind and the body, he teaches you how to breathe steadily even during the greatest exertion, and to see past the superfluous movements of foemen and irrelevant distractions on the field of war. You learn much you had not thought of, and much that you already knew you now know better.

Finally, as you begin to understand the basic concepts, the old one speaks of the place where the swordsman can stand, with wise words he reveals a place where none but a true warrior can reach.

"You wield the blade, young Sigurd, it is not your arms, not your torso, not even your body alone. Your heart, your breath, your mind. All these contribute." The old master tells as you finish a series of blows against an imaginary foeman, trying to make your body and mind work in concert, yet this task is hard indeed.

"As you say, old one. Yet there feels as if something is missing, as if the puzzle's final piece is lost." You reply,

frustration colouring your voice, for even as you try to recall the focus you have felt before, it remains elusive and uncooperative.

"The Way cannot be taught, young one. It can be shown, but to walk it requires realization." The old one sternly replies. "You have already taken one step along it, now you must take the next"

"Again." The old master then demands. You slow your breath and try to feel the rhythm of the blade and body and mind.

You swing the shining sword, you strike and move, turning the gold into a deadly whirlwind before you. Heartbeat thunders like a drum in your ear, your breath whistles like a northern stormwind and your mind sharpens into purest crystal, yet the final inspiration remains elusive. Then you remember, and in remembering, realize.

"With fierce fire-wand bound in hand, strong-armed song-smith stood." You slowly intone as you raise your golden wound-bringer for another blow. As you did once before, you call upon the poetry to fill the missing piece and again turn the world into a tale crafted by song-smith's staves.

Now the thunder-drum beats in rhythm with the northern wind's wail and the clear crystal reflects the golden light wielded by powerful arms. Now you reach a focus you have only touched before, a place where your every movement works in concert, a place where your mind moves in poetry. For a few, long moments your sword moves perfectly according to your will, for a few moments you touch that wellspring of inspiration, Kvasir's blood mixed with the draught of age-old heroes.

"Bishamonten wakes,
Dainichi opens the way
The gateless barrier."

The clear verse calls you back from the martial trance, the old master's poetry drawing your attention back to the mortal realm once more.

"Excellent, young Sigurd." The silver-maned master then says, the slightest hint of pride entering his voice.

"This realization is yours. Remember it, and it shall serve you well."

You lower your blade, feeling strangely drained by this exercise, but still truly content with the knowledge that you have touched upon something greater. You look around you and though there is little remarkable to the forest around you, the old trees and the soft grass feel more vivid than you can remember, the magic of this place now made clear to you even as your former focus is swiftly draining away.

"Aye, old master. With gracious guidance this warrior has reached greatness for a moment." You answer the old blademaster. "For your teachings I am grateful in truth."

"A teacher can only guide young one. It is the student's effort that gives insight." The old one humbly replies.

"Maybe so, old one, yet Odin's song this teaches, that no man should leave good deed unrewarded, though gratitude is all he can offer." You say, for though the old one is strangely modest for a warrior of his skill he still deserves the recognition that is his due.

"If you wish so, young one, I shall accept your gratitude." The old one replies. "For now you should reflect on what you have learned."

You answer him with a nod and the two of you begin walking back towards the hall of the forest's artful puppetmaker. As you come into view of the front door you immediately spot the lady of the hall and her little companion, as well as another woman apparently speaking with the dollmaker.

The second woman is raven-haired and dressed in a white shirt and a very short black skirt. Very short indeed, you conclude upon a slightly more careful examination of her long legs. After a moment you also notice a strange red hat perched on the woman's head. Strange in truth you deem it.

Before you and the old master can reach the two, however, the black-haired girl hands Alice something, then spins around and leaps into the sky, and in a blur she is gone. Strange that as well, for you have never seen any man or beast move that swiftly, yet for a moment you thought you glimpsed great black wings upon her back.

(cont.)
>> No. 16944
Dismissing this stange girl from your thoughts you instead turn your gaze upon the dollmaker. In your eyes she seems slightly annoyed, but whether it was because of that other woman or some other reason you cannot determine. Little Shanghai, on the other hand, is more explicit in her reaction, shaking her fist as the quick-moving dot in the sky.

Even so, the puppetmaker quickly notices your approach and turns to greet you. Or perhaps this is what she attempted, for when she lays eyes upon you Alice seems to freeze in surprise for a brief moment, but she quickly composes herself.

"Sigurd..." The dollmaker finally says with a slight blush colouring her cheeks. "Ah, and Youki-dono as well, good morning to the two of you,"

"A fair morning to you as well my Lady Margatroid." The old one courteously answers with a small bow.

"Aye, a fair morning in truth." You add, somewhat perplexed by her reaction.

"Good timing. You just missed that annoying crow." Alice comments, a frown coming over her fair features.

"She can be a real pain, especially when she's hunting for a scoop." You notice the old master nods sagely at the dollmaker's words, a nearly pained look on his face. Now you find your curiosity piqued, for who could that

black-haired girl be to affect even Youki like this?"But where are my manners?" The dollmaker suddenly says. "Do come in, I've made tea."

You follow the dollmaker into her kitchen, stopping only to put down your sword near the door. The kitchen itself seems empty, an impression that proves to be in error.

"You can come out now." Alice calmly comments as she walks into the room and sets down that strange paper she's carrying on the table.

"Jeez Alice, whyt'd I hafta crawl under the table -ze?" The black-white witch complains as she emerges from beneath the tablecloth. Marisa rises and dusts herself off, then turns to face you, nearly jumping in surprise as she lays eyes upon you.

"W-whoa -ze." The forest witch blurts out, "Hey, no fair sneakin' up on me like that." She huffs before sitting down at the table. Now you're convinced that something is strange, but what exactly you can but suspect.

"So Alice, why'd you make me hide all of a sudden -ze?" The black-white one again demands to know as the dollmaker has joined you at the table.

"I had my reasons." Alice answers, then calmly takes a sip from her cup. "Besides, I think this might interest you more." The dollmaker says with a wicked smile. Then she folds out the strange paper and begins to read.

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

Mysterious murder case shocks Gensokyo.

Dangerous criminals settle disputes.


X month, X day, around 7 p.m. a heinous assault resulting in the apparent death of the border youkai Yakumo Yukari occured in the village of Mayohiga, within the borderlands of Gensokyo. Yakumo Yukari is known to possess enormous power so any incident involving her must be considered serious.

Our reporter, acting on information gained from the shrine maiden of Hakurei Shrine, managed to find her way into the village of Mayohiga and proceeded to interview eyewitnesses to the crime.

As the victim herself was still in the process of regeneration, our reporter attempted to speak to Yakumo Ran, the Shikigami of the victim, who angrily declined to participate in an interview and threatened our reporter with physical harm unless she left the village.

These threats, which we are unable to print in good conscience, were directed at our reporter by the enraged Shikigami despite our reporter's well-known love of justice and her repeated assurances that out newspaper would do everything in our might to help apprehend the criminals.

It is sad that the hard work of the Bunbunmaru Newspaper's journalists is not appreciated by all of Gensokyo's inhabitants.

Our reporter was undeterred by such threats and managed to interview the Shikigami's Shikigami, Yakumo Chen, the ghost cat. This innocent child had witnessed the arrival of the assassins, who proceeded to defeat Ran Yakumo before their assault on the gap youkai herself.

Eyewitness reports indicate that the culprits were the magician and renowned burglar Marisa Kirisame, as well as a creature described as an enormous and extremely violent giant. Our reporter theorizes that this must be a magical construct created by Kirisame to aid her in her criminal career.

With this incident, the criminal enterprises of Kirisame seems to have moved from burglary into assault and assassination. Considering Yakumo Yukari's own unsavory reputation we theorize that this may have been a struggle for power between rival criminal organizations. Situations like these occur frequently among criminals in the outside world.

Regardless of the danger, our reporter has unsuccesfully tried to find the culprit to interview her. We shall strive to provide more details as the dark truths of this affair come to light.

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

The black-white witch's mood visibly sours throughout the reading, culminating in something you could only

describe as the battle-madness of Odin's chosen. For your own part you're strangely disappointed that you were not identified in this tale, for a man's fame, be it infamy, is always a goal for the heroes of Odin.

"Well, that's just fuckin' marvelous -ze." Marisa growls in a voice that signals danger on every level. "There goes my hard-earned reputation."

"Oh, come on. It's not as if anyone believes anything that Aya writes anyway." The dollmaker coolly comments. "It'll blow over."

"Yeah, it might, but who do you think that Reimu'll be gunnin' for next?" The black-white grimly asks.

"You, naturally. We should accelerate our own plans accordingly." The dollmaker calmly answers with a cunning smile, the look on her face now slightly disturbing, though you can't really say why.

"You're really creepy when you do that y'know -ze?" The black-white's best snide voice comments, her earlier foul mood apparently judged to be of less importance than this opportunity to deliver a good insult.

"H-how rude." The dollmaker protests while blushing slightly. "I'm not!"

The forest witch merely smiles in that way only she can.

"I have questions, my fair friends." You interject before this exchange goes past the trading of words.

"Yes?" The dollmaker asks while turns to you.

"Who is this 'Aya', why does she write of these matters, and what is this strange sheet of paper?" You list your questions.

"Oh, of course, these things muct be unfamiliar to you." The dollmaker answers, then she quickly explains the concepts of the 'newspaper', the 'journalist' and tells you of the Black Crow of Gensokyo, apparently a liar and slanderer of the worst sort if the opinions of the dollmaker and forest witch are to be believed.

"I understand, and for gift of knowledge I thank you." You reply with gratitude colouring your voice.

"Don't mention it." The dollmaker replies with a warm smile.

(cont.)
>> No. 16945
"Yeah, yeah, but now we gotta get goin'." The black white witch comments. "Don't have all day, do we -ze?"

"This is true, O witch of wildling wood." You calmly answer to cover your anxiety, for certainly time must grow short already.

"Yes, all preparations are complete." The dollmaker replies. "Shall we?"

You follow the dollmaker and black-white witch as they make their way into the basement of the dollmaker's hall, the old master taking up the rearguard of your little warband.

"We set up everythin' yesterday." The black-white witch explains as you walk. "Did a pretty good job too -ze."

Ahead the dollmaker opens a heavy door and the four of you enter a spacious, torch-lit chamber. You see strange runes on the stone walls, and on the floor is inscribed a large and extremely intricate series of symbols and runes. You also see strange dolls positioned around the room, some human-like, others bestial, and a few almost formless, a strangely disturbing sight in the torchlight.

"This array can be used for channeling, summoning, or imprisoning various forms of magical creatures." The dollmaker proudly states. "If we must, we can catch anything in here."

"Don't wanna use it if we don't hafta though." The forest witch comments. "More fun to beat stuff up the good ol' way." She adds with a smile.

"Aye, the sorcery I leave to you." You answer the two sorceresses, then turn to Youki, who has reamined silent about his intentions so far. "What of you, old master, what part do you intend to play?"

"Young one, I would not intervene unless I must." The silver-maned master gently answers. "But if something threatens any of you, I shall take appropriate action." He adds, his voice now carrying a definite iron edge.

"Very well then." You calmly state, "Fair friends, as you bade I shall attempt to call the Trickster God."

The magicians take up their positions at the edges of the magic circle and the old master waits near the door to outside. For your own part you feel strangely calm, though this may be a fateful hour for all of you. You kneel down near the center of the room, close your eyes and take a deep breath, then you begin.

"Fire-God, Farbautí's son, the Trickster, Laufey's son." You whisper while visualizing Loki in your mind.

Mischief, wit and trickery. Mocking tongue, razor-sharp, malice and dark humour. He is there. With each heartbeat you feel yourself nearing, this strange power welling up within bringing you closer to the flickering flame you sense.

You feel the mortal world slipping away, the trance dulling your senses, forcing you to use others instead. In this darkness created by the death of sensation you feel only the divine flame and you hear only one sound.

"Odin's blood-brother, I call you, Sky-Walker I speak to you, Loki, I desire an answer." You whisper out into the dark void. And the sound you heard, that faintest of whispers, answers.

"Mortal warrior?" It wonders, the words faint and strangely distorted, yet familiar in your ears.

"It is I, Loki Laufeyson, I Sigurd Daemonslayer." You respond, identifying yourself as all noble men should.

"Strange." The whisper-voice answers. "Unexpected." It continues.

Within your mind the faint flame suddenly grows until it is like a man standing before you. Sculpted in flame are the familiar features of the son of giants, his expression clearly amused, yet also somewhat cautious.

"What is your wish, mortal? Why have you sought out Laufey's son?" Loki now wonders. And unwise it is to keep a god waiting for an answer, you remind yourself. Yet unless you word your wish well, would this wily god accept your wish and answer the questions of your fair friends?

How then shall you answer?

[ ] Write-in only.
>> No. 16950
Doc, we need a write in here.
>> No. 16965
No! I'm mad at Anon. Sigurd has now forgone his Viking heritage, his very nature, by the siren call of oriental mysteries and veiled words! I won't have it!

Ah who am I kidding? I can't not make one. Its not a great write-in, but its all I got in me atm:

[x] "This warrior's witchly allies grow wary with questions, and great would be their aid in retrieving your stolen wand. They request audience with Laufey's son and the light of knowledge to cast aside this fog of war."

I really am half tempted to tell Loki to not appear and save us the trouble, but realize we probably should have done that before hand. Ah well.
>> No. 16966
[x] "This warrior's witchly allies grow wary with questions, and great would be their aid in retrieving your stolen wand. They request audience with Laufey's son and the light of knowledge to cast aside this fog of war."
>> No. 16968
[x] "This warrior's witchly allies grow wary with questions, and great would be their aid in retrieving your stolen wand. They request audience with Laufey's son and the light of knowledge to cast aside this fog of war."

Hopping on the bandwagon
>> No. 16974
[x] "This warrior's witchly allies grow wary with questions, and great would be their aid in retrieving your stolen wand. They request audience with Laufey's son and the light of knowledge to cast aside this fog of war."
>> No. 16975
[x] "This warrior's witchly allies grow wary with questions, and great would be their aid in retrieving your stolen wand. They request audience with Laufey's son and the light of knowledge to cast aside this fog of war."

Good work doc.
>> No. 16980
Right, doc's special wins this one. Writing commences and new thread should be up sometime later.


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