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8 mos ago
Current My favorite genre. :D
2 likes
1 yr ago
hehe lore go brrrrrr
1 yr ago
Wasn't the Black Knight "None shall pass," though?
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1 yr ago
You ever realize that you haven't changed your status in months, go back to change it, and then wonder what the *fuck* your previous status was even talking about?
12 likes
2 yrs ago
No, no, they clearly are referring to Ohio -- which Georgia is geographically south of, so the theory is still sound.
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Bio

Oh, hi. Thanks for checking in.

I'm an exceedingly enthusiastic roleplayer who's been writing for about ten years now and yet still hasn't managed to produce any kind of solo piece of writing worth reading. I like to consider myself a good writer, but that's kind of a matter of opinion, as many would argue that my tendency to ramble on at entirely excessive length about things is boring rather than interesting. I'm also incredibly OCD about formatting, so if you're wondering why my bios look so fancy, that's why. It's just something I do because... reasons, I guess.

Anyway, as you've probably noticed from my avatars and RP choices, I'm more than a bit of a fan of anime and manga, but also enjoy movies, video games, the occasional comic book... the list goes on. For you see, I am not a mere dork - I am the one spoken of in legends, the one whose dorkiness transcends all forms and boundaries. I am... the Legendary... OMNI-DORK!

...Anyway, thanks for dropping in to check on my profile! Hope to RP with you sometime!

Nyanpasu~.

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I'll be dropping my CS either tonight or tomorrow!

A Chivalric (Mis)Adventure



Tervellan had only averted his eyes for a split second, but once again, to his dismay, there was another infraction to adjudicate in his quarter... and sure enough, the Baker boy was responsible again.

That much wasn't surprising, all things considered. None of the happenings in the lad's prior matches had given even the slightest indication that he would be fighting fairly. His... creativity was honestly almost impressive, though it could hardly make up for his utter lack of qualities befitting a knight. Perhaps he would have done well if he had instead submitted himself to one of the more discreet branches of Grayle's military -- the Prince's Shadows, for one. But unfortunately for everyone, and especially for Tervellan, he had decided to make a spectacle of his little tricks instead.

And what was surprising was that, apparently, in the very first instant of his third battle, they had worked.

It hadn't been Tervellan's intention to give his opponent an easy win. Though he had pulled a great many strings in the organization of this tournament, and would be pulling even more to get his way come the selection afterward, he hadn't seen any need to rig the odds in young Lothwren's favor. He was, after all, one of the most promising young swordsmen of his generation -- and the only reason to add the "one of" qualifier was because of the Absolute boy in the next quadrant over. Even so, there wasn't any contestant on the entire roster that should have been able to overwhelm him so thoroughly. He had competed against the best of the best and had not been found wanting.

But the best of the best did not make a habit of carrying pocketfuls of sand into the arena with them -- and not even the most powerful of Auras could protect its wielder from a threat they did not anticipate. This, which should have been that boy's finest moment, was turned to ignominious shame by such a trifling thing -- and he, in some sense, was accountable. If he had simply disqualified the Baker boy after his last stunt, then...

But what was done was done, and a Knight Commander was not supposed to play favorites, no matter how promising the cadet in question might have been. Since he had let the previous "victory" -- if it could be honestly called such -- stand, he would have no choice but to do the same again.

But that didn't mean he had to let things end like this. The Baker boy was creative, tenacious, and honestly, even amusing in his own way, if only for how easily his antics incited anger in a particularly contemptible colleague. But even a man as open-minded as Tervellan knew that such paltry "skill" could not be presented side-by-side with the champions of this year's tournament.

Then the solution was simple. A black mark would have to be placed upon the boy's record. Someone who had succeeded through such underhanded methods couldn't complain if he came to be unseated through the same, now could he? And the captain could always make up for jeopardizing the lad's future by taking him into his own division as a consolation prize -- not that any of the other captains would have selected him in the first place.

Excusing himself from the discourse of his peers -- not that there was much discourse to be had beyond Vallentin's flabbergasted tirades about the flagrant dishonor and contemptible incompetence of the commoners this year -- Tervellan rose from his seat, and stalked down from the stands, towards where the subordinate managing his corner was standing. He doubted anyone would notice his absence -- all eyes were still transfixed on the arena, where one Aura user had just spectacularly defeated a skill Incanter in a white-knuckled duel more intense than any the crowd had seen that morning... and where another had just lost so anticlimactically that few in the crowd could yet believe what had occurred.

Yes, indeed. Tervellan had pulled many strings in the organization of this tournament. It would not be difficult to pull another. But who to make use of? The Absolute would be too obvious -- making one street urchin face two Aura users in a single day was sure to draw attention. But there were other prominent nobles, and other great talents, who would surely take the defeat of one of their own to heart... A youth of overweening pride and accomplishment, then. Perhaps the son of Marquess Keighley? Yes, the young lord Zeno's temperament was exactly the sort that would see the matter settled quickly and decisively. He would do quite nicely...

But elsewhere, even as his opponent's friends were helping him from the field, a young blonde boy was still naively celebrating his upset victory, oblivious to the whispers of the crowd around him, or to the conversation that was unfolding between the announcer and the man in black armor off to the side of the arena...


The journey down the shrine steps was normally a short one -- but in consideration for the labor her unfortunate guest had no doubt taken to scale the hillside in the first place, the return journey was conducted very slowly and deliberately. Even so, the village streets were quiet and relatively devoid of bustle by the time the amateur shrine maiden and hobbling doctor arrived before the elder's household. Even at such a busy time of year, few people wanted to be out and about when it was still so unseasonably chilly.

...Would that the cold was the only thing they had to worry about. Oyuki had tried on several occasions to make small talk with her no-doubt perplexed companion, but now even moreso than ever, she just couldn't find the words. The weather was unfavorable and inauspicious, and she was not quite so out of touch with the rumors spoken of her in the village as not to realize that there were those who held her responsible. Some comments about the chilly wind quickly gave way to the usual apologies, leading her to try a different tack.

Next she had tried speaking about the festival -- but that all-too-quickly reminded her of how inadequate she had been in performing the previous year's ceremonies. Another apology quickly rose to her lips, and this line of conversation, too, died out. Yet even so, Masaki-sensei had accompanied her without complaint -- despite her complete inadequacy as a conversationalist, and her uneasy reticence regarding the exact nature of the assistance she required. Surely, he must have been growing irritated by now -- she had forced him to trudge all this way on his weary legs, and had yet to offer even the slightest bit of an explanation.

By the time they reached the elder's manor, and the elder's nephew had gone inside to inform his uncle of their visit, she was already apologizing for a third time.

"I'm so sorry to take up so much of your time. It's just... this is a matter of no small importance, and I believe your insight on the subject will be just as valuable as Elder Takamori's..."

She could only pray that the elder was not otherwise engaged. If only he could see them quickly, and she could begin finding answers to the strange and terrifying questions that the fox's warning had stirred in her mind... If only everything could be resolved, and go back to normal before the dire prophecy which she had been entrusted with came to pass...


The dark-haired woman breathed a faint sigh of relief as Kenichi managed to haul himself to his feet. He seemed to be alright, despite what looked to have been a rather nasty fall. Lending her shoulder and a hand, she allowed herself to serve as a makeshift support until he was fully upright and balanced again, then gingerly handed over his crutch once he had the space and the footing to properly make use of it.

Hearing his answer, she breathed a faint, somewhat disappointed sigh. A cat, was it? There were quite a few bakeneko who liked to frolic around the hillside near the shrine, enticed by the food offerings she frequently left for them. Unfortunately, they didn't always respect good manners when there wasn't someone around who could keep them in line, and ever since her mentor had passed away, they'd grown quite ornery and sometimes even downright mean. While the agreement between the townsfolk and the youkai of the valley still stood - or at least, still should have stood - they tended to play some rather cruel jokes on villagers when nobody else was watching.

"I'm terribly sorry. I'll properly scold them for you," She lowered her head, giving a series of brisk, rather embarrassed bows. After all, if she was more like a proper shrine maiden -- proper enough to earn their respect -- then surely he wouldn't have been inconvenienced or hurt in such a manner. Far from being able to get their help in the matter entrusted to her by Inari-sama's messenger, she couldn't even keep them from pranking the shrine's visitors.

...Hm? But wait a moment. Even if they didn't respect her, wouldn't the bakeneko have been able to sense the presence of such a powerful spirit just now? The lesser Youkai might have only grudgingly acceded to the contract, but they should have still respected the authority of such an important emissary enough not to cause trouble in its vicinity...

This line of thought was distracted, however, by the apology of the man in front of her, one which puzzled her for an entirely different reason.

"Ah, no, please, raise your head! There's no need for you to apologize! It's no inconvenience at all, I was simply surprised that someone came to visit so early! I'm terribly sorry for not being able to offer you a more proper welcome -- and that such a thing happened under my watch. As I said, I'll be sure to scold them for you, so --" She quickly tried to reassure him, but just as quickly fell into apologizing herself. He was acting as if it was his fault for falling, or his fault for even being there -- but really, wasn't it hers? Her own negligence must have led to this, and now he felt uncomfortable, here in this place where all should have been welcome.

And yet, even so, as he continued, why was it that her heart felt so warm?

Before she knew it, Oyuki found herself distracted out of her overwhelming worry by just how unexpected it was to receive such kindness unasked. Most of the villagers had little to do with her outside of problems with the local youkai or commissions for her sewing work, after all -- and for the most part, she had just as little to do with them. If there was a problem, she'd address it herself sooner than troubling anyone else for their assistance, and of course, her duties preparing for the festival were no different.

It had always been this way. Since she was being relied upon to prepare the shrine for the festivities and to ensure everything went smoothly, she would just have to make more time to ensure that she could fulfill those expectations -- even if it meant beginning her work days or weeks in advance. It was always hard, and tiring, and sometimes even frustrating to the point that she was glad when it was over. And yet, seeing the warmth on the faces of the visitors to her shrine, even if she didn't have a place among them, always made her feel like it had been worth her while.

...And yet now, that same warmth was being directed at her. "For all the work you do here at the shrine," he had said. He had noticed. He acknowledged her effort, and was glad because of it. Before she knew it, a small smile had reached her lips, though it was just as quickly hidden as she lowered her head in a gracious bow, hiding her partially-reddened face beneath the brim of her hood.

This time, when she went to speak, she found that the words came easily -- so much so that she marveled at how uneasy she had been just moments before. It was like all the fear and self-doubt that had struck her so suddenly had just as quickly vanished into the winds.

"You have my sincerest gratitude. It's... very thoughtful of you to go so far out of your way for my sake -- particularly when you no doubt have many pressing duties of your own," She said, gingerly accepting the small teabag. "The chilly season hasn't quite gone away, after all, and I'm sure there are many who want for your services."

Right. This was just another one of his duties, just as tending to the shrine and the affairs of the Kami were hers. In his own way, he, too, had to look out for the people of the village. And if the contract was broken, then he, too, would surely...

It was then that suddenly, her many questions received an answer -- one that seemed obvious in hindsight, but somehow had eluded her completely until this very moment. It was simple. The reason the bakeneko had been so brazen, even in the presence of Inari-sama's envoy, wasn't because it hadn't realized; it was because this was the way things were meant to be.

While she hated troubling others on account of her own incompetence, that was one thing -- the will of the Kami was another. They had entrusted this matter to Oyuki, true; but they had also never once said that she had to deal with it alone.

If there was one person whose discretion and dedication she could trust absolutely, it was the doctor. Of course, it wouldn't do for her to go sowing panic until she knew more about what was happening -- but at the same time, the matters which had just been revealed to her would certainly concern him as well. And, where the safety of the entire village was concerned...

Elder Takamori. She needed to see Elder Takamori. If anyone would know what the meaning of this message was, and what needed to be done, it would be him. And if anyone could help her with whatever came after that, then it would be...

Oyuki's eyebrows shot up, eyes widening for just a moment in realization. Then, her face softened, and a sense of calm washed over her features. She raised her head, and for the first time, her hood slipped back in the chilly breeze that swept over the hilltop, revealing strands of raven black hair, and pale cerulean eyes that suddenly seemed to be filled with conviction.

"Masaki-sensei," She began suddenly, the words spilling out before her resolve had time to waver. "I'm terribly sorry for asking this so suddenly -- especially when you've already come all this way for my sake, but... truth be told, there is an important matter I need to attend to, and though it shames me to admit it... I believe my own skills may be inadequate to resolve it. Would you be willing to spare some time to accompany me into town?"


In a daze, the befuddled Shrine Maiden read the message before her at least three times before it finally sank in that, no, she hadn't mistaken any of the words. Yet even so, try though she might to comprehend it, she couldn't wrap her head fully around the enormity of what she held in her hands. How could the order which her preceptor had so esteemed and protected be shattered? Had there been some kind of mistake on her part? Because she had failed in her duties, then, was everything going to fall apart? No, no, no. It couldn't be. If it had been her doing, then why would Inari-sama warn her in such a manner? Rather, if she was the one at fault, the spirits wouldn't have come to her seeking aid, but rather surely would have punished her directly for her impudence. Even if she had somehow gravely insulted them, they surely wouldn't have gone back on their word and abandoned their compact with the entire village. Which meant that maybe... there was yet something she could do. Miorochi-sama would wake soon, and then perhaps whatever impurities had crept in and breached the contract could yet be excised, and the harmony of Heiseina mended. But what? What was she supposed to do in this sort of situation?

She hadn't been trained for this. Her grandma would surely know what to do in this kind of situation, but... Oyuki wasn't like her. Could she appeal to the Spirits somehow? Impossible. She didn't even know their names. She didn't have any kind of special powers -- she was just a girl playing at being something bigger than herself. A naive child whose hands were still far too small and frail to repay her debts, no matter how she grew into an adult's shape.

She took a deep breath. It didn't matter. The spirits had placed this responsibility in her hands; that meant she had to see it through. Firstly, she'd start with what she did know, and work from there. An important spirit was currently at her shrine, and judging by its fidgeting and shifting towards the gate from whence it had come, wanted to be gone quickly. She couldn't let it leave empty-handed; that would be shirking her duty. So, reaching into the voluminous folds of her long white sleeve, she withdrew a small strip of dried meat, one of many such small treats she carried with her at all times in case she encountered one of the smaller, wilder youkai on her walks. It wasn't much, but it was the best offering she happened to have on hand at the moment, and a meager gift was better than giving nothing at all. Kneeling down upon the cobblestones, she placed it before the fox, bowing deeply.

"You have my utmost gratitude for bringing me this warning. I will -- The village of Heiseina will do everything in our power to mend that which was broken, and protect the sanctity of this place and this shrine from whatever may come. Please continue to watch over us, as you always have."

She did not dare to raise her head while uttering this prayer, for she knew that everything she said now would be heard not only by Miorochi-sama, the kami of the shrine, but also ultimately perhaps even by Inari-sama, the great kami of providence and fortune who had sent this messenger to her. She chose her words and her manner of speaking, then, as if she was addressing both in person. To even speak to them this directly already verged on overstepping her mortal authority, but even so, when one was granted a boon, one was expected to return their gratitude.

After she finished speaking, however, she was left at a momentary impasse. Namely... when would it be proper to raise her head? She didn't hear the fox moving at all, and couldn't tell whether or not it had accepted her gift. She had expected to hear paws upon the cobblestones, or some kind of signal... but what she actually heard was a loud meowing, followed by a muffled exclamation from down the stairs and the sound of something - or rather, someone - tumbling to the ground. Opening her eyes and raising her head, she found that the fox had disappeared without a trace, taking the meat she'd offered with it. Well, at least her return gift had been accepted... No, but now wasn't the time for that! Someone had just fallen on the stairs, and it sounded like they were hurt. Quickly rising and stuffing the scroll into her sleeve, she rushed under the cracked and faded red torii gate and looked down from the top of the stairs to find her unexpected visitor, lying against the stones just a few steps shy of the top of the hill. As she met his gaze from under her hood, recognition flashed across her face, followed by an intense worry slipping into her bright blue eyes.

"E-eh? Masaki-sensei? Oh, dear...!" Hastily descending the stairs, she knelt down, first retrieving his crutch, then extending a small, pale hand to help him up and speaking a flurry of questions, evidently looking him over for any scrapes, cuts, or bruises. "Are you alright? Did you hit your head? Please, allow me to help you stand."


Before the dawn had finished creeping over the horizon, and long before any of the other villagers had roused themselves from sleep, a lone figure clad in a blue kimono, a hooded white robe, and a woven mantle of tattered straw could be glimpsed walking upon the hillside road on the verge of the Mumbling Wood. She moved slowly, methodically, swaying slightly from side to side as she walked, and periodically rapping the dull butt of her shakujō staff against the path before her, causing the six rings and countless small bells trailing from its circular head to jingle in the morning breeze. The howling of the distant Yokai grew fainter, replaced by the serene chiming of bells, then by the song of birds as the maiden passed by in her walk.

It was important that Oyuki do her rounds thus, for a number of reasons. For one thing, her presence was a reminder to the Yokai of the pact, and that the village was to be protected. And, for another, it was her duty to greet the spirits in this auspicious time, and offer them gifts and her best wishes.

They still didn't trust her enough to speak with her directly, of course. After all, even though she had been doing this for almost three years now, that span of time was a mere moment in the eyes of those who had roamed these forests when the mountains were still young. Indeed, it would no doubt take another decade or more before they would tell her their names, as they had once done for the one who had taught her everything she now knew, and who had once led her by the hand and walked this very path down the mountainside so long ago, on a cold day much like this one.

While others might have resented the long winter, Oyuki found it reassuring. The snow always brought with it unpleasant memories -- but it also carried with it the reminder of something precious. How could she hate the very source of her own name? How could she grieve when she had been given so much? It was only on cold days that one could truly treasure the warmth they still had. The oft-mended robe she wore, the staff she carried, and the duty she proudly and gladly conducted were all treasures more precious still than the joy that had once been taken from her. And when she looked to the still-snowy peaks high overhead, she did so with a faint, melancholy smile.

She still had a long way to go -- but when she looked back at the path she had walked, she couldn't but give thanks for how far she had already come. The spirits had already stopped fleeing at the sound of her bells, and even now, she could almost spot a few eager eyes watching her from the other side of the trees. Silently, she stopped, then knelt by the roadside, reaching into her sleeve and withdrawing a few small rice cakes, wrapped in leaves, which she placed in a stone bowl before clapping her hands once.

"Please be sure to share them with everyone, if they're to your liking. I will bring by more in the afternoon, so please look forward to it."

Giving this address to the silent forest before her, the pale young woman smiled sheepishly under her hood, then bowed and began to walk away. As she did, she could already hear the rustling in the leaves behind her, but politely refused to look back. After all, they would show themselves when they wanted to be seen. This was what she was taught.

Her walk continued all along the perimeter of the forest, and included several other stops. Last night's frigid rainstorm had knocked over the stones piled before the old Jizo who watched over the roads, so she made sure to stack them neatly back up again. Seeing as the kindly old statue seemed terribly cold and forlorn, and the hat she had made him had blown away, she removed her own straw mantle and draped it over the guardian's shoulders, offering a prayer as she tied it securely onto him for his continued help in watching over the village and its children.

Of all the spirits, the guardian Jizo was one to whom she felt a particular sense of closeness. After all, she herself had once come down this road as a destitute orphan in need of shelter, and surely, he had been watching over her ever since. There was something in his kindly smile that seemed to tell her so, and so she always took special care to make sure he was warm and shielded from the rain.

"Please watch over me... over all of us, in the year to come. And thank you."

She thus diligently passed the remainder of her solitary walk, leaving an offering here, giving a prayer there, and everywhere showing that there was yet one in Heiseina who remembered the old contract. Truth be told, it was always a little sad, following this path alone, and when she would first set out in the morning retracing the footsteps of those who had gone before her, even after all these years it was hard not to cry. And yet, there was something about it that was liberating as well, reassuring her that her efforts weren't in vain -- that she wasn't alone, even if she couldn't see those who walked beside her. By the time she found herself back at the foot of the shrine's long staircase, shielding her eyes against the dawn shining through the torii gate, she would always be smiling, and she always did her best to take that smile with her through the rest of the day.

She put up her staff by the offering box, and went to draw water to cleanse her hands. After so doing, she set about her usual chores, sweeping the courtyard, cleaning the outside of the shrine, and them preparing breakfast both for herself and for any Yokai who might drop in to visit that morning. When she'd finished her own meal, she put out several extra trays by the back step, then headed to the outbuilding to take some lanterns out of storage. It was a little early, to be sure, but she'd feel more at ease once they were hung in preparation for the festival. Besides, if the shrine looked more welcoming, then maybe the villagers would feel less uneasy about the upcoming festival. Maybe... they'd trust that she could actually handle the responsibility, this time.

But such hopeful thoughts were swiftly turned to confusion as she heard the sound of skittering paws scrambling frantically up the steps. Turning to glance at the source of the sound, she found herself face to face(?) with a small white fox, which tossed down a small scroll at her feet, then began to yip and yelp with tremendous urgency. She nearly dropped the storehouse key that she was holding as it at last sank in what exactly she was looking at. Even for her dear Aunt, the once-beloved Miko of Miorochi's shrine, such a guest would be considered unfathomably rare. And though she'd have loved to call such a once-in-a-lifetime visit auspicious, judging by the creature's desperation, the circumstances were anything but.

"Please, stay a moment and rest, servant of Inari-sama. You've clearly come a long way. Erm... Then, I hope I'm not being presumptuous, but I'll look over your message at once." Giving this hasty offer of welcome - as she did not want to be disrespectful, but her guest's mannerisms clearly suggested that now was not the time for pleasantries - she wasted no time in bowing, then knelt to retrieve the scroll. Unfolding it, she cast her eyes over the message there contained... and felt a chill run up her spine. Her eyes went wide, and her blood ran cold as a chill wind swept through the shrine's courtyard like a forewarning of the storm yet to come.

"What... What is this?"
She's back.

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