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File 142924944472.jpg - (1.07MB, 1920x1031, gtb1a.jpg) [iqdb]
Prologue: Dancing Days

Her song wakes you up. The guitar tickles your spine. The drum measures out the beats of your heart. You listen. The singer is different, the instrumentation.

The territory is strange. You know the shape of it.

"Dancing Days," the Stone Temple Pilots cover, pipes over the tinny bus speakers, one right over your dreaming head. The sound is just louder than the rain pattering on the roof and against the windows. You can't ignore the song, but you try to focus on the rain. It anchors you in time.

You are moving to your new home.

You feel the slight but distinct weight of your medication in your pocket. Not now. Not yet.

You pass the last hour of the ride in a silent haze. If not the song, the constant lurching of the bus as it pulled into stops hardly several blocks apart would have shaken you awake. It's needless how many stops there are; you almost wonder if the route itself is mocking you.

Your memory is coming in fits and stops now, struggling against the rain and cold; the sharp smell of old whiskey, the color and angle of the sun. A much-loved copy of "Houses of the Holy" playing on a well-worn player seated on her front porch. The nature of that last smile.

Her shrine broken. Her name profaned.

The bus rattles to a stop in front of a looming apartment complex, its sides stained with exhaust and rain and time. A sign out front reads "Land of Enchantment Apartments -- Y. Yakumo, Proprietor." A dim "Vacancy" sign juts out from the second story, lit in the only bright colors on the block.

You shuffle off the bus, past the mother and child, past the snoring old man, past the business-suited man reading a new hardcover, "A Crown of Swords," with great intensity. You step into the rain, immediately soaked. A bored busman hands you your luggage, a single modest piece with a sleeping bag tied up top, and waves you off. You're not even to the door when the bus rides out.

A chime over the door rings your entrance to the smoky little front office. There's a pair of little yokai here, a cat-child and bunny-child. They are lying belly-down on the carpet in the corner and intently coloring in matching books. A competition, maybe? Behind the counter, watching a small TV is a blonde fox-woman. She turns to you now, startled out of her reverie. She's in her thirties, perhaps. A cotton cap covers her ears; a few fox tails that have seen fluffier days sway behind her, splayed like peacock feathers. She smiles at you. Her front teeth are sharp--not cartoon sharpness, a mouth full of daggers, but teeth which come to a gentle, rounded point. The smile of an apex predator whose teeth get a lot of use.

The territory is strange. You know the shape of it.

"Welcome to the Land of Enchantment," the fox-woman says. She gives a crisp bow; you nod your head. "Here to visit or--ohh, right!" She glances at a piece of paper on the counter, and you glance with her. It is an ink-heavy photocopy of a somewhat blurry fax. Still, there are signifiers that belie it as a photo of you. "You're the new resident! Glad to have you. Welcome to Enchantment." She shuffles through a set of open files and pulls out a form and, a moment later, a clipboard.

She hands the paper and a ballpoint pen over to you. You tap the blunt end against the clipboard. There are a few questions you have to answer before you can step into your room. Your new home.

Your new base of operations.

Someone killed Mima. You're going to find out who. And you are going to kill them.


The paperwork asks for your specie...

[ ] A demon from the Makai. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN6sfJ1qFQg )
[ ] A rabbit yokai from the Moon. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PAP3kN8J8w )
[ ] A violin yokai from New York. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATmBOnMJJkE )
[ ] A human, nothing special, from LA. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwlogyj7nFE )

...your talent...

[ ] Onieromachy. Dream warfare. Gather information. Connect with others. Battle spirits, strike minds. The path of knowledge--less useful for confrontations.
[ ] Novogenuatanthropy. Mask of the beast. Take a variety of forms on a particular theme, at sizes from "life size" to "pickup truck." The path of physic--gets you places and through obstacles, with only your mortal wits to save you.
[ ] Warlockry. Count coup on other talents. Get a portion of their talent for yourself. You have a few tricks already. Limited only by your willingness to kill.

...and, at the very end of the sprawling, over-designed form, your name and sex.

[ ] Propose a name and sex, or vote for someone else's. Most votes wins--ties are broken by which I personally find the most interesting.
[X] A rabbit yokai from the Moon. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PAP3kN8J8w )
[X] Warlockry. Count coup on other talents. Get a portion of their talent for yourself. You have a few tricks already. Limited only by your willingness to kill.
[X] Sheila.
-[X] A mix of male and female.
[x] A demon from the Makai.
[x] Onieromachy.

[ ] Robert Blackstone
[ ] Male
[x] Rabbit Youkai from the moon
[x] Warlockry
[x] Luna (no last name)
[x] Female

An interesting premise. This looks promising.
[X] A rabbit yokai from the Moon. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PAP3kN8J8w )
[X] Onieromachy.
[X] Luna
-[X] A mix of male and female.
[x] A human, nothing special, from LA
[x] Walockry
[x] Robert blackstone
[x] Male

We are a man on a mission, and we will accomplish our mission.
[x] Rabbit Youkai from the moon
[x] Warlockry
[x] Luna (no last name)
[x] A mix of male and female.
[x] A rabbit yokai from the Moon. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PAP3kN8J8w )
[x] Onieromachy.
[x] Luna
-[x] A mix of male and female.
[x] Rabbit Youkai from the moon
[x] Warlockry
[x] Luna (no last name)
[x] Female
[x] A rabbit yokai from the Moon.
[x] Warlockry
[x] Robert blackstone
[x] Male
[x] Rabbit Youkai from the moon
[x] Warlockry
[x] Luna (no last name)
[x] Female

This seems fine.
Ten votes so far... I'mma cut the vote off at noon and start work on the next part! (When I wake up, at least.)
[X] A rabbit yokai from the Moon. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PAP3kN8J8w )
[X] Onieromachy.
[X] Luna
Vote locked! Next part's in the woiks.
File 142939569465.jpg - (494.24KB, 816x799, portrait of a brain weirdo.jpg) [iqdb]
Luna: Enter your name.

The fox-woman watches you fill out the form. It takes you longer than you think, if only to navigate the florid design and the ludicrous gothic font.

Your specie is Lepus sapiens luna. Writing "moon rabbit" on official paperwork always felt like you were trying to be cute. The entry for your talent has no check box labeled "I wish to keep my talent discreet." In your neatest print you write Warlockry. "Name" is a single uninterrupted line, left mostly empty as you you write in your oath-name, Luna.

Your pen abruptly runs out of ink once you try to check the "F" for your gender. You ask for another pen, which fails at the task once more. By the time you test the five different failed pens on scrach paper, finding them all to write normally there, a "?" box has appeared next to "F." It accepts a check mark quite readily.

The fox looks you in the eye and gives you an exhausted smile. "Sorry," she says, eyes darting to the cat-child. "Mother has a, uh, morbid sense of humor."

"I can tell." You hand her the paperwork, which she sheepishly turns to file in a rusty filing cabinet. You pass the time by rapping your fingers against the counter and glaring at the picture of you.

You don't appear in the photocopy so much as loom out of the darkness like a ghost, a faded emptiness in a sea of ink. Your features are indistinct gray suggestions, your race only given away by the ears jutting from your head. You are reminded of the image of the saint on the shroud of Turin.

It's not an unfair representation, you suppose. Like most moon rabbits you're tall, around six feet, and slightly-built, with ghostly silver hair worn as long as you can keep comfortable in the gravity and wind of Earth. Your eyes are drops of fresh blood. In the moonlight, you glow, sweet and bright, much to your disdain, and in the darkness, your eyes are glowing rubies.

The fox-woman turns to you again. "Right, you're all signed up." She sets a key on the counter and slides it over to you. You palm the key and slide it into your pocket. "Welcome to the Land of Enchantment, and, uh. Please don't take that too seriously. Mother just likes to be... annoying."

You nod. "Thank you." You head to a map of the first floor near the left door leading to the first floor apartments. There's an elevator in the center, just on the other side. Convenient--your room is on the seventh floor, and you're not in the mood to haul your luggage all the way up. Only now does the faint odor of mothballs reach your nose, emanating from the wallpaper.

"Miss!" the cat-child says. You turn and see she's waving at you. "Tewi says that you're her cousin?"

"Yeah!" the rabbit-child says, now on her back and looking quite pleased with herself. "Totally. She knows my sister. They went to high school together. She's cool, right?"

"I guess," the cat says.

"Don't guess," Tewi says, "she totally is or she wouldn't be an Inaba."

"Okay, okay. She's cool."

"That's better, Chen." She sits up gives the cat a condescending pat on her hat. Chen mewls at the Earth rabbit. Tewi sticks her tongue out at Chen.

"Please play nice, you two," Ran says.

"Yes, mom!" Chen says.

"Sure, I will," Tewi says, sighing with the effort. "Seeya, cuz."

You wave at her. "Bye, cuz." You have never seen her before. You may have met her cousin, but nine out of ten moon rabbits emigrating to Earth take the last name "Inaba." She could be literally any other female moon rabbit you've met.

The elevator is smaller than it should be, and one of its two bulbs is broken. You fight the urge to take your medicine here. Not enough time. Too shaky, at that. Last thing you need to do is drop anything.

The seventh floor welcomes you with the scent of tea and a warm gust of air. The heater on this floor must be better than on the first--or the air conditioning worse at keeping out the encroaching summer. It's not that late and not that warm outside, so you cross your fingers and hope. The smell of tea grows stronger as you approach your room, no. 714. There is a woman leaning against the wall opposite your door. She wears a wan smile and a modest dress, a tangle of gently-pulsing arteries emerging from her clothes and cradling a third eye against her breast. She is carrying a shiny tray which is definitely not silver, but which bears a teapot emitting steam from its spout, a single porcelain cup, a slice of lemon and a few cubes of sugar.

"Welcome, neighbor," she says, quietly.

You nod at her, and then at her tea.

"Go ahead. It's just for you."

You pour yourself a cup and empty it in one long, needy sip, immediately pouring out a second and spritzing it with lemon. It's been too long since you've had tea. You suddenly realize how much you've missed it. You'll need to get some when you finally get around to buying groceries.

"Might I get your name?" the purple-haired woman says.

"Luna," you say. "This is good, by the way. Very good. Thank you." You find yourself readying a third cup.

"Welcome kindly." She curtseys best as she can with both hands full. "Not a lot of people moving in to lucky number seven. I've made it my goal to welcome everyone in personally."

"It's nice of you." You set the cup back on the tray. "Ah. Don't mind me, but I'm--" You point at the door, at your luggage. "Setting up. Yeah."

"I don't see a mattress with you..." the woman says.

"Don't need one."

"The bed frame doesn't come with a mattress."

"It doesn't?"

"Sanitation reasons. And budget, I'd imagine. There is a refrigerator, and I made sure it would be clean for you, but I never got word back about your stove. So tread lightly there. If you need something cooked or brewed you can borrow mine."

"Noted." You unlock your door. "Didn't get your name..."

"Satori." She curtseys again, with a short bow of her head as emphasis. "I'm room 701. Don't hesitate to knock."

"If I need to, I will." You grab your luggage and head in to your new home.

Your new home smells of Pine-Sol and stale air. It's a few degrees cooler in here than the hall, for reasons you can now only begin to guess. The bare bulb in the living room casts a cold, dim light on faint impressions in the carpet where a sofa and chairs used to be. The kitchen a few paces away has an ancient, enormous refrigerator and a prim little oven. A door leads to the single bedroom, which has a single queen-sized bed frame tucked in the corner, with no mattress and no headboard. The bathroom is through a door to the right. Praise Mormo, the bathroom is clean. Acceptably clean, if not sparkling.

You lay out your sleeping bag--you had a feeling you'd need it--in the living room. First things first. You unzip your luggage and pull free a few items: a quart of distilled water, your hormone pills, your Bic, and a repurposed car first-aid kit. You fetch a small rubber balloon and set it next to the kit--your medicine.

It's just about time to take your hormones, and so you do. You have never missed a pill. You've had hungry weeks, but you have never had no-hormone weeks.

The rest of your medicine takes some time and effort to prepare. In the doing you think about Mima.

"Hell of a thing, huh?" she said. Her first words to you. You were in the woods outside your house, near a little lake. Your lake. You were there because it had been a day you desperately wanted to forget. Your eyes were puffy, your face flushed; it was an easy question to ask. You said yeah, it was a hell of a thing.

"No," she'd said. "You chose the Earth over the moon. Gravity and pressure and song. You chose being a woman over being caught in between male and female. You had a choice between inaction and action, and judging by those knuckles you're not a big fan of inaction." She was terribly overdressed. You had never seen a magic-user dressed up like that outside of formal occasions. Her skirt was grass-stained and flecked with damp leaves. "And you've kept trying to figure out what your talent is. Am I right?"

You said yes.

"You've never taken the easy way. You've only taken the ones that felt right for you. You keep hearing that you're a false positive for talent, yeah?"

You nodded.

"Well, kid, good news." She sat next to you. "I can smell talent on you. It's just not something you can test for in a lab. You need the right, ah, circumstances for it."

That day, it felt like you had absolutely nothing to lose. So you said, "Show me."

She'd laughed. "Alright. Take my hand. Quick question--did you have lunch?"

Within the hour you were choking down the hot, bitter brains of a blonde-haired witch who looked half your age. You were fourteen then. She stared at you, even in death. You remember those pale green eyes as you tap the needle, watching the bubbles float to the top. Careful now. Almost there.

You incinerated the witch's remains with blinding strobes of light. The first time you had ever used magic. It felt like being alive. It was easy, all too easy, to sweep everything else aside. "All I'm saying is," Mima said, "I had a pest problem, and you had a bad day. This moment was preordained. We're joined at the hip, spiritually. You know?"

"What are you?" you'd said.

"I'm an evil spirit," Mima said. "And we're walking the left-handed path together."

You tie off your arm.

You remember Mima's last words for you. The day before, you'd left home. You took your things to Mima's place first, to say goodbye, and she insisted you stay the night.

Her last words to you. The last words you would ever hear her say.

"You are a walking revolution, Luna. They aren't gonna know what to do with you."

You pull back the plunger. The sun rises in your needle, red and hazy. You hold your breath and inject it all. Not ten seconds later the heroin hits your brain. You prepared a dose half the size of your usual. Wise. In this place, in this state of mind, you may as well have a virgin's veins, and you are on the floor, crawling onto your sleeping bag, and the pain goes away.

Far too soon, someone knocks on the door. "Yoo-hoo~" a far-too-happy voice says.


[ ] Let them in.
[ ] Keep quiet.
[ ] Tell them to come back later.

[ ] Propose an action (or vote for a proposed action).
Don't expect all new entries to come so fast, but today I was inspired.

Also, if you're in need of reassurance: don't worry, that was just Ellen. RIP in piece Ellen
[x] Keep quiet.
Maybe she'll spill out something interesting while, invevitably, entering anyway.
Well, this just became way too dark for me.
So it goes! No hard feelings, this is gonna be a rough ride and not everyone's speed.
[X] Tell them to come back later.

We're tired. And indecent.
File 142958386769.jpg - (110.43KB, 480x406, supbar speed.jpg) [iqdb]
It has become evident I may have stuck the grimmedarke a little too high for folk. In the interest of diplomacy, I can dial it back!

To start, my reasoning for the grimdarque thus far! I'll say I was gonna have a vote for what debilitating issue she had to deal with on top of her other debilitating issues--manic-depression, alcoholism, or a back monkey--but I opted to just go for the one that sounded the most interesting because I figured voting for a negative wasn't gonna go over. As for the brain-eating.. what can I say, I dig it. And the being-intersex thing? The details of the backstory just sort of fell together neatly with that detail.

That said, "moon rabbit intersex cannibal heroin-addict" might be pushing it too far. So! Let's have a quick discussion/poll/whatnot on what I figure are the lynchpins.

Issue 1: The brain-eatin'. This I can most easily dispense with in favor of a cleaner form of slay-and-obtain-powerz.

Issue 2: The heroin addiction. Thiiiis I like, but I can give it up. To me it feels more honest if Luna has either a substance abuse problem or medication for brain problems, because damn. But I (hesitantly) admit it could be rough. So: an addiction to something that isn't potentially able to kill her instantly if one variable is out of whack? Or just some keep-my-brain-chemicals-in-order pillz with (comparatively) minor side effects. I could drop this entirely if there's enough demand, though.

Issue 3: Luna being intersex (and transgender). To be utterly honest I wanna keep this unchanged. It's challenging but the kind of challenge that gets me super excited to write. (That and being a gadfly and blocking the implied "let's get us some futa" was delightful.) Buuuuut if this is the lynchpin, I could at least have her be a physically complete biological male and not an in-between.

And issue 4: the general overall dark tone. What with the 90's inner-city grimness and Mima being a cheerfully evil spirit and drugs and depressing music and so on and so forth. This is basically the one thing I don't want to change at all if I'mma be honest. But I'll leave it on the table, at least.

(Issue 5: it was something else entirely all the while.)

Raise complaints or issues and I'll work on alteratin'! Or I can stay the course if that's how the wind blows.

To be honest half of those would be fine, to make a brain eating/wizard slaying intersex drugaddict lunar bunney in a grimdark city seems to be kinda overdoing it, like you are just stapling things onto each other for the sake of it.

My thoughts on it:
#1 Seems decent enough, easy to get rid of but I dont really see the point, makes a good plothook and seeing how you want the past with Mima to be a big thing its good.

#2 Same as above, though it depends on how heavily addicted she is and how you handle it, like the need to get more and enable crazy choices if she goes too long without(with whatever you want her addiction to be.

#3 I couldnt care less what gender Luna is as long as you write it good, but from your reaction it seems to be a huge thing for you. From your reaction it just seems like you would go out of your way to try and make this work, which could have negative effects on the plot of the actual murder investigation etc.
If you wanna roll with it, go for it, but I see no reason for the intersex part in a grimdark lunar bunny adventure, I dont know why you think it fits with the rest or what you have thought up, but thats ultimatively your decision.

#4 Is basicly the whole setting. Dont even try to change it if you want to keep this kinda story. Thats like going into a Slice of life kinda story and complaining about the boring character interactions.

You have to think about what you want this story to be and where it should go. There is such a thing as too many gimmicks and you should think about what to keep and what is not needed.

Thats just my opinion though.
Kudos for being open to change. That said, I'd have preferred an update!

I understand that some people may have issues with the story as it is but I don't consider myself one of them. That said, when you put all the dark elements together, it kind of sounds like too much.
I'd say drop the brain eating (I was expecting Warlockry to be like Satori's reflection that forces mirror matches all the time) and change Heroine to a drug that comes in pills (a la vicodin) and, heck that last one isn't that important.

As for the transgender thing... Keep it, but if we start getting SWJs or it gets in the way of your story... You know what to do.
[X] Let them in.

I personally don't mind a fucked up character.
[X] Let them in.
Yeah, sure.
[X] Tell them to come back later
In my opinion, it may be good to keep the brain-eating but change the heroin addiction to a dependence on medicine to counteract the effects of eating brains. Magical prions, yo.

[X] Tell them to come back later.
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