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    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 72
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Theo 10th May 2022, 5:08 pm

    Theo Silversong was on the loose once again!

    As the inky-haired man wandered the streets of Crocus while fidgeting with the plasticy hospital bracelet circling his wrist, taking in the pastel decorations of the Spring Festival in full swing with a distant smile. He wondered how he really felt about such a thing, but it was nice to be among so many happy and laughing people for a change. A lot had happened. Was it okay for him to feel this flood of... not happiness, more like appreciation. For quite a while now, no one had seen hide nor hair of him. He'd left the Silver Wolf guild hall one day and seemingly disappeared, something he was sure was for the best. Prior to that, his behavior had been odd. Well, odder than usual. He would disappear for short periods of time or lock himself in his room or aboard his ship, the Krystal Jr.. When he was present, he was his normal goofy self, at least on the outside. One collapse in the middle of the cafeteria, and then he was gone.

    Lots of things were wrong with Theo and had been for some time.

    Mentally he was stuck in a torturous loop he was powerless to end and had been since Rin's death. Grieving the loss of everyone and everything he knew in the past and frantically trying to prevent such a thing from happening a third time was exhausting. Keeping people at a distance now wasn't only for his own sake, but for theirs, as well. In his deep but hidden depression, he thought himself cursed. Everyone who got too close to him either disappeared or died. He didn't want that for Aspen. He didn't want that for Mythal and Serilda, the parents that hadn't even had him or his siblings yet. It terrified him. Paralyzed him. The distance at which he held these three most important people in his life grew wider and wider as he fell deeper and deeper into his dark pit from which there was no escape, not even in death, though he'd certainly contemplated it, if only because he feared that most of all.

    Physically, he wasn't doing so well, either. The deathly injuries he still suffered from were kept at bay by demonic magic alone, but magic didn't really last forever. It was taxing being both a heart and a nervous system for a human, both things that needed to constantly work for the body to survive. What was involuntary for Theo was very much voluntary for Big D. Though not perfect, it had worked well enough for the last two years or so, but something had changed. Something had happened to Big D in the last year. It was as if the demon's powers were a fraction of what they once were, like he could no longer pull endless energy from the netherworld, which had some very, very bad implications for poor Theo. He'd nearly died a fourth time if you counted that time Big D took over his body for a bit as Ike.

    But today was a good day! Theo didn't have very many of those, but it was hard to remain too gloomy when it was the first day in months he'd taken a breath outside without a backless gown, a wheelchair and/or tons of beeping monitors, and a nurse that couldn't stop giggling at his old infamous nickname 'Silverschlong'. Well, Mrs. Molly had seen said schlong many a time during his stay (sponge baths amirite), but she never grew tired of bringing it up, perhaps trying to get a giggle out of him. He hadn't gotten far from the guildhall when his medical crisis came to a head and landed him in St. Neville's Hospital off and on for his entire absence. At first, it hadn't looked like he'd survive his last visit, but for the last three months, things seemed to be turning around. Big D was picking up the slack again and he could be weaned off of all the machines and most medications. They kept him under observation while he worked to strengthen his body back to a functional but comparatively weakened state, and now that everything looked as good as it could be, they'd finally released him with a bag of pill bottles and his suitcase. Pending finding him a heart to transplant, he only had to return if Big D took a break again.

    The hospital stay didn't do much for his outlook on life in general, but he couldn't say he wasn't glad to be out and antsy to do some things he liked! He was depressed and lonely, not dead! Theo was itching for a treasure hunt, but an egg hunt would have to do. As he entered the park, he was handed a basket and directed to an area with other adults looking to have a little light-hearted fun. Hopefully he hadn't lost his touch!

    [wc: 827/4000]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited 60709_s
    NPC
    NPC

    Posts : 23880
    Mentor : Admin

    Character Sheet
    First Magic:
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by NPC 10th May 2022, 5:08 pm

    The member 'Theo' has done the following action : Dice Rolls


    'Normal Dice' :
    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Die_03_42160_sm
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 11th May 2022, 7:41 am

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited JXV0jKi


    A day like any other.

    The golden rays of the sun illuminated the vibrant green of trees that had started once again sprout leaves. Hardly a cloud covered the azure-blue skies above. A light, still somewhat cool breeze occasionally disturbed the greenery. The general scent of the sun, something that everyone could place by feeling rather than association with any one particular smell, permeated every corner, and the mood of the people crowding the Capital of Crocus on this day reflected the perfect day of an ideal spring. The mood was exceptionally cheerful, and why should it not be? Despite the fact that Fiore, at least officially, found itself in a state of conflict with other nations on the continent of Ishgar, the war was far, far away from here, not only in terms of its actual location, but also within the hearts and minds of the Fiorean people. Spring, however, yes, that was indeed a worthy occasion to celebrate. A day to rejoice at what the year would bring. A day that was exactly what it should have been.

    And yet, for one of these people, it was not.

    Aspen had been to Crocus only once before, during an event that she would have rather forgotten about 4 years ago. The sky had turned dark and strange particles had fallen from the sky which, well, for better or for worse, had entirely reversed her personality. It was embarrassing to even think about, and however nice it would be to see Crocus now bathed in daylight, that shameful remembrance was a small part of what kept her from enjoying her stay here fully. Well, at least it would only be a temporary one.

    The biggest part, however, was what she had been through in these past months and years.

    The war that was now openly raging across Ishgar was something that she had fought on a smaller scale, ever since that day, that hated, fateful day at the guildhall of Silver Wolf nearly two years ago. The then Ace of the Mages Guild had begun to integrate into the ordinary life of a Fiorean mage, had begun to explore things that she did not even know existed, had made friends, actual friends, among her peers there. And then, it was all robbed from her once again. Pergrande had stolen her life, her prospects to find happiness, her prospects to finally find a family and a place to belong a second time. It had been an event with devastating consequences, an occurrence still hard to recall with clarity, and even when she did, her hands would begin shaking with not only fury, but also fright. She had nearly died that day in an almost ironic repeat of the day when she had escaped Pergrande the first time, when she had made the decision to take her life into her own hands.

    But they had underestimated her. Pergrande had underestimated what she had become capable of, and it was quite possible that this fact was the only reason why she was still alive. She had no longer been a meek faux-Esper of the Paladin's support corps. No longer had she been afraid to face her past. Her path had led her down one of draconic magic, and a fearsome mage she had been, at that. The girl had learned quickly, and despite the fact that her magic had stemmed from Lacrimas alone, she would have been able to rival a true, natural-born dragon in power, if not exceeded it.

    Now, however, all of that was gone. Whatever they had done to her had robbed her of all but the most basic form of arcane control. Her ability to manifest and shape magic into anything that was not fundamentally utilitarian in nature had been destroyed entirely. No matter how hard she had tried, her magic had not come back. No matter how hard she had pushed to change this fact, no matter how much she had searched for a clue, for answers, had covertly scoured all of Fiore for anything that could hint at her ailment and how to treat it... there had been nothing. It had been a devastating realization when it had finally dawned on her that this process she had gone through, that the obliteration of her status as a mage, had been permanent in nature. She'd hidden from her pursuers, locked herself away in frantic study, had wallowed in her misery, but it had all been of no use whatsoever. She wanted to live her life, now more than ever, though the fact that this had happened to her weighed heavily upon the former Paladin's psyche. Perhaps, she had thought, it was a weight too heavy for one alone to carry.

    This, along with the outbreak of open war between Fiore and Pergrande, had been the reason she emerged from hiding. It was risky, that much she knew, Pergrande was still looking for her on the behest of her brother, she imagined, but she had to do something, now more than ever. And who better to ask for aid than her comrades at Silver Wolf. If they even saw her as such still after she had abruptly deserted the guild, that was. It had been an act of pure, pragmatic necessity, of course, but would they even want to listen to her explanations? She had to try, even though the thought of meeting the few people she truly considered friends, him especially after all this time, the thought of them turning her away again... it pained her.

    There she was now, walking these Festival-crowded streets, alleys, and finally, through a park in the hopes of finding the train station. She had already purchased her train ticket beforehand with the very last of her Jewels. Back when she could still use magic, earning them had been no trouble at all. A job would do the trick. Without magic, however, everything became insanely complicated. Savings had kept her afloat, she had earned considerable sums back then, but using her bank account was risky considering Pergranti agents were proven to be around, looking for a sign from her. Money was tight. It was just like when she had first come to Fiore as a fugitive, the only difference being that the girl, albeit looking slightly older and definitively more confident and feeling considerably more depressed, appeared disheveled now more than ever before, the hood of her charcoal-hued hoodie drawn over her face to blend in with the crowd, her skirt in plain grey and practically indistinguishable from those you could buy at every other clothing store.

    Lost in thought, however, she hadn't quite been looking where she was going, her gaze firmly on the graveled walkway snaking through the public park around her. She noticed the figure only when it was too late, the girl bumping into them with all the gusto of a hastened pace. She jerked back, more out of reflex than anything else, the hood sliding from her head over the course of the sudden motion. "Ah", she began, looking up with a lightly perplexed, but overall characteristically stoic expression, her voice drained, though it rang with the same unmistakably Pergranti accent it always had. "Pardon me, Sir, I wasn't-".

    The words refused to come out. Her mind had completely shut off upon laying eyes on the man she had bumped into. Was this even possible? No. She had to be dreaming. She blinked, once, twice. He was still there. The normally so expressionless face warped into one of obvious shock. What in the world was going on. There... there was no mistaking it.

    This was, without any doubt, the man named Theo Silversong.



    Post Word Count: 1,283
    Personal Word Count Total: 1,283 / 2,000
    Thread Word Count Total: 2,110 / 4,000



    Last edited by Aspen Azarov on 30th October 2022, 12:13 am; edited 2 times in total
    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 72
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Theo 11th May 2022, 12:27 pm

    Theo wandered the open field, disappointed to be very middle-of-the-pack in collecting the brightly colored eggs hidden all around, but doing an okay job at self-soothing. He was just rusty. It'd been a long time since he'd hunted an item. Also, most of these just weren't shiny and were just cheap plastic. Shininess and worth had a lot to do with his nose for treasure, so it wasn't his lack of skill, it was his lack of thrill. This was hardly worth the effort of a renowned treasure hunter such as himself. Once he came to terms with this, however true it ended up being, he enjoyed the activity for what it was, though he did occasionally snag an egg out of another hunter's basket. Good to know his pick-pocketing fingers still worked.

    His general observational skills, however, were still very lackluster. With his focus on the eggs, he didn't even notice the person close enough to barrel into him until the barreling had been done. He stumbled a step or two, looking like a clown attempting to juggle several unjugglable things. A basket of eggs, a hospital bag of pills, and his small suitcase were bumped and tossed around with Theo going "ah! ooop! whoop! eep!" until inevitably all three crashed to the ground, leaving the man in a simple black T-shirt and pants completely empty handed.

    It was good his hands were empty because his next movement, thoughtless as it was, would have probably knocked the girl out if he'd still had the suitcase. As soon as he heard her voice, that accent, he forgot every intention he'd had of never seeing her again. In a deceptively fluid motion, he was standing face to face with Aspen, his lips pulling in a sharp gasp as his hands made an attempt at smooshing her cheeks as if to check if she was real. A figment of her had haunted him in his missing days. No matter how hard he tried to forget so he wouldn't be tempted to reunite, their good times together filled him with a warmth he clung to. Making snowmen together, drinking hot cocoa, that time they kissed at that fake wedding and he'd been so nervous, but she'd been so unbearably cute. Even their simple adventures together, just existing comfortably in the outer orbits of each other's space had been a bright spot in the darkest times of his life. Theo was thankful for them, even if they'd been a risk each time.

    "Aspen," he exhaled with the breath he'd been holding, turning her shocked head back and forth if she'd let him. That only lasted for a second or two before he would attempt to pull her into a bear hug. It was only then he seemed to remember his place, promptly released her, and dropped his hands. Even so, as much as he tried to recover himself and play it cool, it wasn't unlike the time he met his parents. His body brimmed with barely restrained emotion and energy. Tears prickled at the corners of his frigid hues. How eyes that particular color of glacier could ooze so much warmth was a contradiction he was powerless to stop. He wanted to play aloof and as stoic as her face normally was, but this was Theo. He was bad at that. And, oh, he was just so happy to see her. The broad, reckless grin said as much.

    He was also very afraid she was mad at him, given how he'd just disappeared. If she was, that'd be best for her, but... as much as he should want that, he very much didn't.

    "How have you been?" he asked, and it wasn't just the standard awkward part of greeting-an-old-friend-you-ghosted etiquette. Theo was genuinely desperate to know. He was ignorant of everything that had transpired since he left. In fact, given where he'd been and his condition recently, he was actually one of the few blissfully unaware of the current state of world events. As far as he knew, the world was how he'd left it, lumbering on as usual like a clumsy giant who didn't care who he stepped on.

    [wc: 696 || total: 2806/4000]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited 60709_s
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 15th May 2022, 10:25 am

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited JXV0jKi


    For a passing second at first, a painfully long, slow one, then another one that immediately followed, Aspen was not only speechless, but practically stunned into a state of complete paralysis. The girl's mouth slightly agape, she simply stared at the other as he corrected the disturbed posture that had been more or less broken from the little bump they both had received. It had been her carelessness that had caused this, of course, but too surreal was the situation, too much of an unbelievable twist of fate for her to do anything at all, even when he reached out and touched her face. The man was evidently similarly blown away, his behavior suggested as much, but he had the capacity to act, his voice pulling the girl back to reality. It was unmistakably his, Theo's voice, something that she had last heard... years ago.

    She had often thought of him in the context of not only Silver Wolf and her old comrades at the guild, but also these past moments of what had, in retrospect, certainly been some of the most enjoyable, if undeniably chaotic days of her time in Fiore. Especially that one time when they'd went to the faux wedding event still present in her memory as something she looked back on with mixed feelings, a day where, Aspen reckoned, she had more or less made a complete fool out of herself. In her mind, it had morphed into a monument of somewhat somber reminiscence, inscribed with the words "this is what could have been". It had been a painful thing to think about, but now that she found herself face to face with him, it was brought back to her as if it had been yesterday, and when he stepped forward, when he hugged her tightly, the girl found herself transported back to that formerly painful moment, though the gloom and discomfort that had been associated with said memory seemed cast away. For a moment, just one ever so sweet moment in time, hardly more than a heartbeat or the blink of an eye, she forgot her worries, forgot the anxiety and aches of the past two years. Her body moved automatically, the girl, still in a mild state of stunned disbelief, embraced the man, tenderly, hesitatingly, not with the same force that Theo seemed to muster.

    "Theo". His name escaped her lips involuntarily, her so strictly emotionless and monotonous voice uncharacteristically shaky. Just when she had fully comprehended his action, really felt his warmth close to her own body and wanted to reciprocate the action, he let go and stepped back. It would have been a lie if she'd said that she wasn't craving just a few more moments of fond recollection, hadn't wanted to banish the weight of reality just a bit longer, but the reality of their situation was simply too present to ignore. It was inappropriate to think like that, to feel like that. She couldn't simply force that momentary impulse into reality, not after all this time, not here, not now.

    Still, when Aspen saw Theo's smile, she simply couldn't help herself, a soft, barely perceptible smile finding its way onto her expression, too. It felt so unnatural. She was pretty sure that she hadn't smiled since those days back then. Not once. There had been nothing to smile about. Now, though, it seemed that those times were present once more, and it was evident that the man before her was still the same goofy idiot he had been two years ago. When he spoke again, though, the girl once again didn't know what to say, how to answer that question he'd asked with an obvious interest. She felt much the same, after all. "I-". She paused, wanted to ask him all kinds of questions, wanted to explain to him what had kept her away, why she had vanished from Silver Wolf, wanted to do so right here and right now, but there was simply too much to discuss, too much to clear up. Too many thoughts raced through her head at the same time. The smile faded. The burden of her condition and the trail of events that had led up to it couldn't simply be pushed off, no matter how enchanting this reunion was.

    "It is... a rather long story", the girl replied, the anxiety connected to the things that came to mind more than overt. Just like Theo was afraid that she would be mad, Aspen, too, would feel the nervousness settle in. What if he had his own emotions to deal with, was angry with her after her disappearance from the guild, after she had essentially abandoned her previous life? She didn't know what he had done in the time since they had last seen each other, of course, but she desperately wanted to know. She swallowed that particular impulse. Her gaze lowered to the suitcase, bag, and basket the man had dropped. She bent down, beginning to pick his things up to hand them to him. "What about you, Theo?". She tried very hard to make her question sound like nothing more than idle conversation between acquaintances, though the cynical stoicism she radiated normally was replaced by poorly veiled curiosity. "Are you on vacation or what's this for?". The girl's hand pointed at the suitcase, Aspen, considering the circumstances of their meeting, paying very little attention to the contents of the bag he had also carried with him.



    Post Word Count: 911
    Personal Word Count Total: 2,194 / 2,000
    Thread Word Count Total: 3,717 / 4,000



    Last edited by Aspen Azarov on 30th October 2022, 12:23 am; edited 1 time in total
    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 72
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Theo 16th May 2022, 3:02 pm

    "I... er... It's a long story?" he answered, not questioning her answer, but mirroring it for his own only with far more uncertainty.

    Theo paused, wondering if he should tell her the truth. He would have loved to think of himself as an honest man, but he couldn't deny that the ship for that had sailed long ago from the moment he'd been plopped in ancient Desierto. Those few years when he first returned to Fiore, when he'd made such a frantic effort to redeem himself, might have painted him in a certain light to those who knew him during his Rising Star days, but if anything, he'd slipped back into some old comfortable habits in the wake of all the bad that happened. He'd been dishonest about his state of mind every day since then. That said, no matter his own delusions about himself and the skill he thought he had for dishonesty, it didn't really stretch into the verbal. Stealing? Yes. Lying? He could try, but his face always gave him away. Did he really want to reunite with Aspen and lie to her right away? But what if she got worried...

    As his brain used the pause to buffer, his body seemed to take charge instead and lift his arm where the admittance band remained. "My luck hasn't been so good," he said, still smiling despite the content of his words. Granted, his luck had always been either ridiculously good or tragically bad. No in between. It was actually pretty funny. "I spent...uh... quite a while in the hospital here. I just got out," the man chirped, trying to make it sound less bad than it was. He was stooping with her while he talked, taking the things she handed him while also picking up the remaining things himself.

    No longer interested in the egg hunt, Theo glanced around for the attendent so he could get rid of one of the things filling his hands. On the way to the park he'd seen a whole street brimming with food and plenty of places to sit. That seemed like a much better setting for this reunion. Also, he'd had nothing but hospital food for a very long time and was craving some sweets.

    "Wanna go get something to eat and talk?" he asked, turning back to Aspen with bright eyes while motioning generally toward the Easter Feaster. "I'd really like to get the long stories with you if you aren't busy or in a hurry or something."

    [wc: 419 || total: 4136]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited 60709_s
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 30th October 2022, 1:29 am

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited JXV0jKi


    Her mind, feelings, emotions, all of it was a complicated jumble, a mix of quiet elation and desperate worry. How could she be so happy to see him again, yet at the same time so worried about what he might have to say? He appeared just as bubbly as ever, something the ex-Paladin undoubtedly appreciated, but how much of that could be attributed to the social circumstance they found themselves in, a mandatory degree of polite receptiveness to what the other was saying? She couldn't tell, the nervous feeling in her chest making it hard to focus on any coherent or structured thought.

    He returned the answer she had given before, this doing very little to sate her very obvious curiosity. For a moment, she found herself disappointed, had the feeling that he was brushing her off with a very non-commital and standard reply, a more or less reflexive "A-ah, I see", escaping her lips, a mixture of an exclamation and a sigh. When he held up his arm only a few moments later, though, explained that his stay here in Crocus had been in a hospital of all places, that feeling of disappointment shifted immediately. Her brows furrowed, her normally mask-like expression shifting to portray something that she seldomly showed others: a face of intense worry. She didn't look directly at him, her eyes lowering on the belongings in his possession once again, the girl's amber oculi only now making reason of the assorted things he carried with him. What had happened after she had gone? She was dying to know, but she was also too ashamed of herself to simply come out with it and inquire directly. Instead, she could only bring herself to utter some meaningless platitude in a painfully familiar monotone. "Glad to see you're doing well".

    She meant it, of course, but there was no way to tell just why he had been in a hospital. How bad had it been? What had affected him to the point that he needed medical attention?

    Aspen had only ever known the happy, goofy, and apparently carefree hunter of treasures. It had taken her a little bit of time to warm up to the force of nature that was Theo's personality, but once she'd gotten to know him, she found herself strangely appreciative of the man who contrasted herself so much, who seemed to diametrically opposed to her own outlook that it had been a refreshing breath of new life, something that she only realized now had been healthy for her back then. Now, however, she found herself back in a decidedly negative headspace with everything that had happened in between. The fact that he somehow found the strength to deliver such bad news with such a characteristically cheerful demeanor was baffling to her, albeit, on some level, inspiring nonetheless.

    He offered food and stories. Her gaze rose to his, finding his eyes again. An offer such as the one he had just made was exactly what she had been looking for, naturally, but she had not found the will or the determination to express that desire, nor was she certain that she'd ever found a way to do so if he hadn't. "I would love to!". It was a swift and semi-reflexive answer, delivered without much thought or hesitation, though as a result, it perhaps gave away a little more of her excitement concerning the offer than she'd have hoped. "N-not at all". What was wrong with her? Why couldn't she get a grip? She had to take a moment to collect herself, breathe in once, exhale, twice, focus. She had to stay objective, keep a reasonable and factual outlook on this situation. Then what the fuck was it that had her so goddamn upbeat all of a sudden? The prospect of returning to her old life? No, that couldn't be it. That time was long gone, now so far away that it was unattainable in the here and now. Things had changed, though now she had to consciously remind herself of that fact. Still, that curiosity from earlier had not abated, and while the ex-Paladin readily followed the Treasure Hunter when he would lead toward the site of the apparent feast, she couldn't help but wonder, that same intrigue coupled with a distinct concern that bled into her tone getting the better of her.

    "I know it has been a while, and it might not be my place to ask, but... what had you in a hospital here, of all places?".



    Post Word Count: 755
    Personal Word Count Total: 2,949
    Thread Word Count Total: 4,891

    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 72
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Theo 31st October 2022, 7:19 am

    Her acceptance of his offer was good news! Theo had been a little afraid she'd decline since her more muted nature was sometimes hard for him to read. Lost time had done its damage between them, but it was nothing that couldn't be repaired. The awkwardness was a forgettable side note versus the overwhelming relief of seeing that she was still alive and seemingly well. Well on the outside, anyway.

    As they arrived at the tables laden with an abundance of both sweet and savory treats, Theo had to stay on his toes so as not to drool. It smelled heavenly! He made a beeline for what looked like-- and was-- a mountain of his favorite thing on this planet. Blueberry muffins! Chonky boys dotted with plump fresh blueberries with shiny glazed tops rolled in the nice, crunchy finishing sugar. He dropped his stuff where they would sit without much care as if they hadn't just spent a few minutes gathering it all back up before heading over here. By the time she asked her question, he had once in each hand and had chomped the tops off of both into puffy, hamster-like cheeks.

    The icy-eyed man abruptly plopped down onto one of the tables' benches, though it was unclear whether it was because he'd spent his small amount of energy on their reunion or because he'd rather be relaxing while speaking. He also fully intended to lie to her so she wouldn't worry, so there was a small pause while he tried to fabricate something. Theo thinking hard always scrunched his face up as if tensing the muscles in his face would lend his brain extra juice. It didn't.

    "Weehw," he started, words garbled by a full mouth. He flushed with sheepish embarrassment and hurriedly swallowed so he could make another attempt. "Well, a while after you... uhm... disappeared," Theo began, clearly feeling a flush of emotions at its mention, "I stuck around Silver Wolf for a while, but then something kinda went wrong."

    Wait, no, he was supposed to lie! And yet, the words, the truth, spilled from him anyway. He could deflect and avoid, but he was never very good at lying to people he cared about after the tragedy in Desierto.

    "I started feeling pretty bad and passed out in the cafeteria. It was suuuper embarrassing!" He peppered his account with animated gestures, nearly losing one of his muffins in the process. "I didn't want everyone to worry, so I left. I didn't want to be such a bummer for the guild and wanted to stretch my legs, anyway. By the time I reached Crocus..." the man trailed off again, his eyes finally dropping their content contact with the girl he'd missed and worried about so much. How could he spin this that didn't sound horrifying and as dire as it was?

    Also, it occurred to him that Aspen had no idea how his other magic worked. The one that was keeping him alive. The consequence of his selfish actions was something he didn't like telling people about. 'A demon is pumping my blood' usually didn't go over well.

    "You see, my heart and some other stuff are kinda busted. Old injuries from dumb mistakes. I managed just fine, but something changed outta the blue and... I just needed a little help for a while, you know? I'm better now."

    Theo was sugarcoating this story about as heavily as the tops of those muffins.

    [wc: 578 || total: 5469]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited 60709_s
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 5th November 2022, 5:06 am

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited JXV0jKi


    It was something of a relief to see that the friend she'd practically stumbled over had not changed despite the passage of time. Theo readily and with unparalleled focus located and devoured the sweets once they arrived at the site of a festive buffet not far from where they had run into each other, Aspen watching the man for just a few moments as he devoured his sweets. The girl swiftly realized she hadn't had a treat like that in a while...

    To hell with it.

    There was no moment to enjoy herself like the now. She was already here. Might as well.

    Mimicking the raven-haired man, the ex-Paladin scavenged her own set of sugary baked goods, making her own sweet-tooth obvious. Glazed pastries filled with fruity-tart jam, a slice of triple chocolate cake, and that delicious, liquid gold: A steaming-hot cup of coffee. How she'd missed that flavor. A few heaping spoonfuls of sugar made it even better. She would take a seat on the bench opposite Theo, much like him, although reserved at first, begin digging into her own food, her appetite, after taking the first bite of her cake, seeming to become gradually more ravenous. She tried to keep her fondness for these treats lowkey, but it was more than obvious. It had just been too long.

    Regardless, her curiosity had not abated, the blonde listening intently to Theo's answers between bites, the stoic facade quite hard to maintain with a smudge of chocolate around her lower lip. She felt guilty. What he said was true. She had "disappeared", as he had put it. That was, of course, a definitive understatement. Was he angry? Disappointed with her? He had every right to be after she had dropped off the face of Earthland from one day to the next. The deliberation pained her, filled her with remorse and shame about the way she had handled things, but she had panicked that night two years ago. A fight or flight response, with little contemplation of the consequences. She regretted those actions, wished that she had handled it differently, that she'd been there, but there was no way to turn back the clock and redo it all. She had to live with the consequences of her choices. Aspen continued to listen as he described what had occurred after she had left Silver Wolf, her gaze averted from him in silent thought.

    When he detailed that his heart was "busted", as Theo had put it, she would again look up, though, worry evident in that same face that was usually so emotionless. His assurances did little to assuage these worries. Her gaze remained on him, focussed more intently. Was he really alright? She sighed. He really was the same as always, putting on the same bubbly facade as ever, even through tragedy. She wasn't the most insightful person, certainly, but anyone could tell that there was more to this than he conveyed. The girl wanted to know more, probe a little deeper than that, but figured that, especially after her rather prolonged absence, it wasn't her place to do so. She accepted what he'd said at face value, wouldn't push it further, but took the info in that explanation with a grain of salt. "You're not a bummer". The response was simple, in a way sheepish, but earnest. "But... good to see you're doing better. Would've missed you otherwise".

    Oh no, had she really just said that out loud? As soon as she had spoken those words, she immediately became hyper-aware and self-conscious about what she had said, trying to brush over her self-evident embarrassment by chugging her still-hot coffee. Ah fuck. That burned. Shit. Ouch. Tears formed at the corners of her eyes as she swallowed the searing liquid, her tongue numb with pain. She'd feel that in the morning. Oh, how she missed being a Dragon Slayer, a mage. It had made things so much more convenient. Oh, fucking hell. Had he noticed?

    She immediately bit into one of her pastries to distract herself and hopefully Theo too from that ordeal. She chewed before her voice, a little scuffed based on the hellish nuclear inferno that had been that cup of coffee, rang out again, perhaps a bit too hasted.

    "A-anyway! W-what are you gonna do now that you're out? Return to Silver Wolf or do your own thing?".



    Post Word Count: 730
    Personal Word Count Total: 3,679
    Thread Word Count Total: 6,199

    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 72
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Theo 6th November 2022, 3:39 am

    Though he didn't say anything, his expression warmed as he watched her frantic, shy antics. It was just like before, that time in the snow when they'd enjoyed a winter festival a few years ago and she'd had marshmallow foam on her upper lip. Or the fake wedding, which made him blush a little to remember. He'd thought the same those times that he did now, despite his attempted mindfulness about getting too close. Cute. She would've missed him. She did something silly and chugged steaming hot coffee. And she had chocolate on her lip. Theo liked this look way better than the worried one she'd been giving him a moment or two before.

    Cramming the bottom of one of the muffins into his mouth, he reached his newly freed hand over the table and snatched her some sort of chilled juice and wordlessly sat it in front of her. You know, to soothe that burning throat she had to have for her voice to sound so singed.

    Hmm, would he return to Silver Wolf? Truthfully, that hadn't been his intention. He'd resigned to treasure hunting alone so no one would have to worry or would have to suffer the curse his company seemed to bring. His gaze was distant for a moment as he mulled it over. Nothing had really changed for him, so his reasons for ghosting to start with were still very valid. But... "I hadn't really thought about it," Theo lied again, shifting his gaze back to Aspen with curiosity. "Are you?" he asked, his hopefulness betraying his willingness to decide depending on her answer. After a beat, though, the inky-haired man seemed to realize himself and cleared his throat. "I mean, did whatever you... err, left to do get taken care of?"

    God, he really wanted to know why she just up and left Silver Wolf. It had to have been pretty big, like her homeland or family, right? For her not to tell even him? Or maybe she'd done it purpose...

    [wc: 337 || total: 6536]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited 60709_s
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 15th November 2022, 11:40 am

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited F2ncfoz


    The girl had a hard time suppressing the blush on her cheeks after he set down a new drink in front of her, Aspen not missing the implication behind his action. He'd definitely noticed her making a complete fool of herself. Why did it even worry her so much? Why was she forced to think about what would normally be such a trivial bit of conversation, to think about how the man opposite her might see her if she was being stupid? Fuck it. She decided to pretend like absolutely nothing had happened, still, the somewhat sheepish, wide-eyed stare and the slightest hint of rose on her face couldn't be fully hidden as she wordlessly took a sip of that juice. He was considerate, wasn't he? The cool sensation of the drink served to ease the aching numbness somewhat.

    Still, when the topic of their conversation returned to a more somber topic, Aspen would appear lost in thought for a few moments as Theo spoke. He hadn't thought about it? Well, sure, that seemed to make sense. She figured that his heart, his condition, as he'd said, had kept him more than busy. Had he been in limbo this past year? The details weren't very clear, and despite the fact that the ex-Paladin yearned for more insight into the events of the Treasure Hunter's life, as anyone would after meeting one's old friend again seemingly at random, she didn't want to pry, or rather, didn't want to appear as though she was willing to. She had to keep it cool. Keep it all casual. Wait-... why was that? To make herself appear less interested? But she was interested in what he had to say. Why was her first impulse to pretend just the opposite? She blinked, still in introspection, when Theo's words pulled her attention away herself and away from these thoughts.

    ...Only for her to fall silent again as she paused and thought in surprise. How would she even explain what had happened to him? How could she? The blonde didn't even know where to begin. Aspen averted her gaze once more, if only to try and focus, search for the right thing to say, her eyes wandering towards the blue, somewhat cloudy sky above as she crossed her arms, drew a deep breath, and then sight in contemplation.

    "I was... on my way back. In fact...", she began, pausing once more, her demeanor now decidedly more stern than it had been before. She returned her gaze to the Treasure Hunter before she continued.

    "...I need the guild's help. To be honest with you, if I can't return to Silver Wolf, I am practically dead. And even then-". The girl paused once more. She had given all of this much thought. Considered her options carefully. In the end, she knew that it was an entirely selfish decision, but there was no way around it. She was done with it all. She wanted an end to the past she had tried so hard to bury these past 5 years. She wanted to live her life. Free from the slavery of the Paladins. Free from the fanaticism of her family. Free from Pergrande. Come what may.

    She would achieve her goal at all costs. She was ashamed, ashamed that she felt this way, averted her eyes again, awkwardly staring down upon her plate of half-nibbled food. It was so, so selfish, but she had spent her entire existence in a prison. Now that she had gotten a taste of freedom, she would pay any price, sacrifice anything. The girl hoped that Silver Wolf would aid her in this. Her thoughts raced. She had arrived at the same conclusion, time and time again. Over the course of two years she had been so anxious for an alternative, so desperately grasping at any kind of straw opportunity extended towards her, no matter how short it may have been. No more.

    There was a hint of regret mixed with determination in her voice when the girl spoke anew, definitively, gently, but with the confidence of someone who had made a decision. "-I will probably endanger the guild and everyone in it with my presence alone. The reason I left is because I am a risk, and have always been a risk to everyone involved with me... but I can't run away any longer".



    Post Word Count: 730
    Personal Word Count Total: 4,409
    Thread Word Count Total: 6,929
    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 72
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Theo 16th November 2022, 3:11 am

    The treasure hunter across from her was a kaleidoscope of rotating expressions. Theo was her opposite in almost every way, at least on the surface. Aspen was stern and stoic and intelligent, while Theo was emotional and expressive and a bit dim. It didn't take a genius to worry over someone you cared deeply about, and he was just that. Alarmed. Worried. Scared, even. He didn't want her to die. That's why he'd accepted her leaving to begin with, thinking it was what was best for her. Was she telling him that even without his bad luck she had run from death this whole time, all alone? He exhaled a pained, short sigh as his chest squeezed and his tattered heart pumped a little faster.

    Once she finished her explanation, there was something else in his expression as he gazed at her. Resonance. That last part hit a bit close to home and his eyes tightened. They'd both left because they felt like they were a risk to others, even to each other. And even though he could relate, he also had yet to truly come to terms with no longer trying to keep his distance.

    Even so, without really thinking about it-- as was normal for him-- Theo scooted forward and reached out and took one of her hands. Always with the touchy feely, especially in emotional moments like these. He wanted her to know she wasn't alone anymore. "I'll go back with you, Aspen!" he impulsively declared, even though he suspected he'd be no amount of use to her as he was now. Still, how could he let her continue on alone when it was so dangerous without being by her side to try and help? If she was already at risk of death, surely he couldn't make it any worse for her! And that notion was his selfishness rearing its ugly head. What he offered her was exactly what he craved and wished someone would give him. There was just the smallest spark of hope in his endless inward gloom. Theo didn't want to be alone.

    "We can go back to Silver Wolf together and figure it out. Even if I can only get you some cold juice when you burn your throat on hot coffee, I wanna help. You can't die!" The last part was laced with panic, a little tremble in his voice and the hand that held hers. Together or apart, Aspen was the last tenuous thread he had to hold onto. Just thinking about her joining his dead lovers and friends almost sent him spiraling. Though he hadn't witnessed most of them die, his cruel mind's eye placed them all in a twisted pile, Aspen splayed on top, all eyes open, accusatory as blood drip, drip, dripped into the enormous pool beneath them. He seemed to realize himself and slowly released her hand. As weird as he was, the jello man didn't want to weird her out any extra. Theo had to disarm this bomb before it exploded.

    After clearing his throat and working to ground the panic and darkness trying to pull him down by the ankles into some breakdown, he attempted to look more casual and 'normal' by grabbing the first thing he saw; a large drumstick from some sort of unlucky pheasant. A lovely distraction! "So... yeah, what do you think? Is that okay with you? Rejoin the pack together?" Theo asked, offering her a smile right before he chomped into the juicy leg meat like a caveman.

    [wc: 588 || total: 7517]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited 60709_s
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 22nd November 2022, 1:45 am

    Rolling for Witch's Brew Punch
    NPC
    NPC

    Posts : 23880
    Mentor : Admin

    Character Sheet
    First Magic:
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by NPC 22nd November 2022, 1:45 am

    The member 'Aspen Azarov' has done the following action : Dice Rolls


    'Normal Dice' :
    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Die_02_42159_sm
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 22nd November 2022, 2:32 am

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited F2ncfoz


    The motivation behind Theo's expressed support was, of course, more or less lost on the Pergranti ex-Paladin, but the words he used, what the Treasure Hunter perceived as a selfish declaration, was a reassurance that she needed. It was the first bit of understanding, of support she had received in years. Subconsciously, this was undoubtedly a desire she'd had for a long time, and when the man had spoken these words, she felt something that she'd yearned for, had searched for a while now. Relief. Aspen had been practically alone these past two years. Isolated and in hiding from her pursuers, for her own safety, of course, but while that fact made it a necessity, certainly, she'd wanted to talk to her old friends, Theo especially. She knew that he'd understand it. She knew, but all of this didn't make things easier. In fact, it complicated things severely. If it'd been just herself, well, she'd have found a way. She always had, after all. A lie to make herself feel better. She hated it when others touched her. But this time... she let it happen. It was odd, the same as it had been back then. His hand felt warm against her own. Maybe she'd just been alone for too long. Maybe it was just comforting. She tried not to think about it too hard.

    "Yeah...-", she responded plainly and without much outward expression. The truth was, she didn't know how to feel about a potential return to Silver Wolf, but she'd already made her call, and the Treasure Hunter had agreed. The anxiety she felt didn't make things better, and she even overlooked the obvious comment about the coffee that would have shaken her had she been in any other headspace. "-Don't really have much of a different choice". Theo had readily accepted her offer, and as elated as she was, what if the guild, her old companions felt differently about that? If they were even still there, that was. Guilds could change a lot in two years, she'd learned. She'd simply have to wait and see. She wouldn't die if she could help it, at least. "That's the plan". She'd always been a survivor.

    More meaningless mantras meant to comfort herself? It was no use thinking about it, these notions, much like anything else she found displeasing, banished from her mind.

    She looked up. There it was. That carefree smile that almost seemed to radiate a warm positivity while he talked and devoured some kind of oversized piece of poultry. The same old goofy attitude. The girl couldn't help but smile, weakly, but a smile it was. Maybe it was time to tell him about the things that happened to her in these past two years. The things that made her leave Silver Wolf and her established life behind, even the things before that. Her family, the Paladins, Pergrande. Maybe, just maybe...

    No.

    It wouldn't change a damn thing. She owed him that explanation, owed all of Silver Wolf that, but she wasn't ready, hadn't prepared herself to open that particular can of worms. This meeting was, for the most part, unplanned, and the information that filled her mind was equally without structure. She had to think about it, sort her feelings on the matter out for a while before she was confident enough to recount her experiences, but that would need time. All she could do in the moment would be to rely on his understanding once again. "Thank you, Theo". It was a genuine, heartfelt word of appreciation. Something she didn't offer others often, but she still felt bad after he'd shared something so very obviously painful of his own when she wasn't ready to return that yet.

    In a twist that would, perhaps, prove fortunate for her, a distraction would appear swiftly, moreso than she would have ever assumed. A wheezing *poof* of magic, first one, two, then dozens that filled the air with multi-chromatic smoke turned the color of the decorations around the pair from the previously bright and summerly hues to oranges, blacks, and browns. "Welcome, everyone, to our annual Halloweeaster!". An electronic voice echoed through the streets, echoing from a multitude of speakers all over. "Feel free to partake in this lovely local tradition as we celebrate Halloween with a twist!. It's time to Partyyyyyy!".

    At once, the mood shifted from a quiet and relatively muted festivity to a very much lively and joyous celebration. People who had hidden a costume were suddenly dressed as a wide array of monsters, beasts, and fantastical characters who, while they had been focussed on feasting before, had now shifted their attention towards exactly what had been announced: A very sudden, but definitively planned, party.

    "Huh?". Needless to say, the girl was more than just a bit confused. A local tradition? These Fioreans were a crazy bunch. Easter-themed Halloween? What a strange thing. Halloween by itself was already strange to her. Had she known beforehand would she have prepared a costume? Probably not. She kinda wanted to try it, though. Maybe not today, but... perhaps in the future.

    Aspen barely had time to process this fact, the sudden shift of the world around her, before music began playing over the same speakers the voice had come from just moments before. People began to dance, to laugh, to drink, and continue their feast. A woman, who was dressed as something Aspen recognized as being eerily close to the characteristic depictions of witches in Pergranti propaganda, a caricature, certainly, approached with a kettle in hand. "Hello, my lovelies-", she began with a twisted cackle, swinging that container from side to side, "-Can I interest you in some creepy witche's brew?". Aspen tilted her head. "It's just a Halloween-themed punch, really!", she continued in a more down-to-earth manner upon encountering the display of confusion. The girl nodded. Alcohol was something the Pergranti girl would never say no to, even if she wasn't particularly partial to the more fruity sort of liquors. The woman nodded back, a plastic potion bottle being promptly placed before her. The offer was directed towards Theo, as well, of course.

    The girl reached for it, took a sip. Palatable, but regrettably, the mixture lacked booziness. It had a different kind of kick, though. For a second, her normally golden oculi and vision flashed with a deeply indigo hue, leaving her blinking, though the blue glow in her eyes remained. The world returned to normal after a few seconds, but something had changed. At once, it felt as if her sense of sight had been opened to a new dimension entirely. The surrounding area was filled with previously unseen spirits of a differing kind. Otherworldly and strange appearances defined these beings, some appearing like sea creatures gently floating through the sky as if gliding through water while others appeared vaguely humanoid, mingling with the groups of partying people. Aspen looked around with raised brows, a barely suppressed "Woah" leaving her lips, getting her to wonder...

    ...What else was in this drink that had gotten her high as fuck?



    Post Word Count: (Paused for Halloween Event)
    Personal Word Count Total: 4,409 (Paused for Halloween Event)
    Thread Word Count Total: 7,517 (Paused for Halloween Event)

    Halloween Event WC: 1,180 / 4,000


    Last edited by Aspen Azarov on 23rd November 2022, 11:20 am; edited 2 times in total
    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 72
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Theo 22nd November 2022, 6:20 am

    rollin' for draaaank, gimme something good please


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited 60709_s
    NPC
    NPC

    Posts : 23880
    Mentor : Admin

    Character Sheet
    First Magic:
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by NPC 22nd November 2022, 6:20 am

    The member 'Theo' has done the following action : Dice Rolls


    'Normal Dice' :
    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Die_06_42164_sm
    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 72
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Theo 22nd November 2022, 7:08 am

    Causal. Yes, keepin' it casual. Like a boss. Smooth as wet jello. Aspen didn't notice he was doing anything odd and even thanked him. Whew! He only smiled brighter in response before gnawing the giant drumstick down to the bone like a beaver might saw through a log.

    And then magic happened and everything changed. He gasped. Meat wasn't good air. Poultry in lung. Theo dramatically hacked and coughed until his airway was clear again, at which point he lurched forward and the leftover bone flew off in a random direction.

    "...What the heck is Halloweester...?" he wheezed, using a fist to thump on his chest. Could they not have warned them first? Theo was easily startled. He could have died! Again!

    While he'd never had a surprise party for his birthday, he was familiar with the custom. This seemed like that, except those kinds of things didn't happen for holidays, as far as he knew. At least, it hadn't in Desierto, or in any of the recent years he'd been living in Fiore again.

    Confusing as it was, Theo didn't stay alarmed or baffled long. Easily distracted, as usual, he was soon grinning as everything transformed into the autumn festivities he'd grown to love over the years. "Awww, look at all the fun costumes!" he cooed, eyes darting to every one within visual range. "Too bad we don't have any!" the jello man added, thinking about the contents of his suitcase. It was very light and definitely didn't have anything fun in it.

    Peeking over at the equally baffled Aspen, he caught himself idly wondering what type of costume she'd pick, if they ever got the chance to go to one of these properly? And because he was a degenerate, he did imagine her in a particularly skimpy golden bikini from a popular space themed movie he'd watched once. It was okay if it was just a thought, right? His expression was quite pleased, even as he looked back over the dancing folks around them to keep her from seeing his cheeks warm up.

    A witch puttered by peddling little potion bottles, and Theo was never one to turn down something sweet. Once upon a time he would’ve turned away alcohol, which he also assumed this was, but those days had regrettably passed. Throwing the punch back, it was neither sweet nor alcoholic. It was magical, though. “Woah,” he echoed Aspen. Drinking magical things always made his throat tingle and his nose burn, so he promptly sneezed.

    And when he sneezed, his clothes blew off and his pupils blew out. But fret not, he wasn’t sitting there in the buff. No, the bits and bobs were covered, but just not nearly enough. There Theo sat in an exact replica of the itty bitty glittery bikini he’d been imagining on Aspen, though he was still very much a man, so the top part was tragically empty while the bottoms were a bit full. Despite being in the hospital for so long, the months of rehab had done him good. His muscles were far more defined than they used to be, and ointments had faded his grotesque scars considerably, though they remained like the ghosts Aspen was seeing. A particularly large phantom was poking up above the golden cup over his heart.

    Did he notice what happened? No, not until a breeze blew and he shivered. “Eyyy, what–”

    Before he could finish his initial question of this drafty change, his hair also exploded out of his head like a chia pet, cascading down his back and over his shoulders in luscious ebony locks that the most vain supermodel would be green with envy over.

    Most importantly, Theo was higher than a kite flown from the top of the Phoenix Mountains. If the girl with the paranormal sight at his side had appreciated his goofiness before, it would become painfully obvious that the lightheartedness displayed before was a mere shade compared to the beaming of his face now. All of his worries and fears and depression had been blasted out of the three working brain cells he had left.

    What was he laughing at? When had he started laughing?

    Late, as usual, the somewhat dim-witted man suddenly jolted with realization. "WAIT, IS IT ACTUALLY FALL, Y'ALL?" he asked, 100% bamboozled. While in the hospital, he'd lost all track of seasons. Wow, when they said trick or treat, they meant it! He'd been utterly tricked into thinking it was spring! And this was in no way connected to the half realization that he was sitting there half-naked in the breezy autumn air.

    [Halloween wc: 769 || total: 1949/4000 || 2/3 skull tokens from Witch's Brew x2]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited 60709_s
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 23rd November 2022, 11:04 am

    Rolling for Tunnel of Terror
    NPC
    NPC

    Posts : 23880
    Mentor : Admin

    Character Sheet
    First Magic:
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by NPC 23rd November 2022, 11:04 am

    The member 'Aspen Azarov' has done the following action : Dice Rolls


    'Normal Dice' :
    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Die_02_42159_sm
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 25th November 2022, 1:23 pm

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited F2ncfoz


    For a few timeless and blissful moments, the world felt light, free of things to weigh her down. Aspen felt existence spin and turn as things she could never even have imagined before danced right there in front of her eyes, the display possessing an ethereal and strange beauty in resemblance to a mystical and alien, though shockingly elegant ballet. The floating creatures in particular were stunning, the ghostly figures imposing, momentarily drowning the blonde expatriate in a blunt feeling of shocked awe. Until she laid eyes on Theo. At first, his new outfit wasn't perceived in the least, the girl first, with wide eyes, finding her gaze falling upon the figure that stood towering over Theo, resting on it for a second, two. She blinked. It was gone. Huh? It had been there just a moment ago, she'd been sure. Had it been a hallucination? Now that she thought about it, she didn't really seem all herself. Everything felt just the faintest bit distorted, enough to arouse suspicion, but not enough to make her think that something was wrong. In fact, this apparently systemic sensation of relaxed lightness carried with it the idea that one couldn't help but be carefree under its azure-hued intoxication. There was no worry, only the muffled feeling of subtle excitement. The world was a crazy place with lots of crazy things on offer, and only a fool would refuse to explore them. A belief that Aspen had genuinely held, if in secret, for as long as she could think.

    Then, her eyes fell on the Treasure Hunter.

    For a passing moment, there was nothing she could do but stare in dumbfounded, overwhelmed surprise. Her eyes involuntarily found their way to a particularly toned chest and a gruesomely large scar, then down to an exposed abdomen of equal definition, then further down to a poor singular piece of fabric that, in all honesty, was struggling. Unconsciously, almost frantically, she turned her whole body around to face away from him, half based on an instinct that appeared somehow tied to a long perished sense of dignity, while the other half was her own reaction in this moment.

    Ho-

    -Ly

    Shit.

    At once, her entire face had become beet-red, the girl instinctively raising her hands to try and cover her expression that was twisted into a never-before-seen grimace of complete and utter embarrassment. She could've dealt with a lot. Almost anything, she liked to think. This scenario was not something she had been prepared for, and whatever had been in that drink, she now figured that she wasn't quite high enough. Would intoxication have helped with that inhibition? No... the fact that Theo looked thinner wearing clothes would've probably made it all that much worse. She hadn't expected that. Against all assumptions, Theo was built, and as much as she hated to admit it, she immediately found the brief glimpses she had seen confront her with a feeling that was entirely new to the ex-Paladin. She wanted to say something but couldn't find words, wanted to move away but her body wouldn't listen. Had Theo changed into this costume when she hadn't looked? No, he had taken a dose of the same drink, right? Was that the magical effect that he'd gotten? Aspen didn't know, couldn't know, her brain simply didn't have the capabilities to process all of this in her current state. She didn't want to look and simultaneously found herself wanting to sneak in one more glance. No. Wait. What was she thinking? She didn't! This was just one of the man's perverted antics! But why, then, was it that...

    Ah, to hell with it. She really didn't wanna think about it right now. They simply had to go to a place where she didn't have to look at Theo and his ridiculous get-up. She wasn't embarrassed or nervous at all! She took a deep breath and without looking back at the man she simply started walking, hastily stammering out what had sounded a lot more confident in her mind, the drink from before certainly not easing her tensions. "No no no no no, y-you'll c-catch a cold like this. Come with me really quick. L-let's just head over there for a second!".

    Without a good direction, Aspen began to simply walk, uncertain steps taking her through the street crowded with cheerful and merry party-goers until she reached a sign that read something or other. She didn't care enough to pay attention to it, locked only onto the dark tunnel that extended behind it, the girl advancing further and further into the darkness until she was sufficiently certain that the darkness blinded her. Actually, it wasn't just blindness, was it? There was a thick fog hanging in the air in here, making orientation for the now especially magicless ex-Paladin more than a little difficult. Wait... her and Theo in a cramped dark space together, with him wearing nothing but that skimpy outfit to cover him? Oh no. Oh no. She hadn't thought about that at all.

    She turned to where she assumed Theo had followed, hoping that darkness and fog would obscure that which he had so generously displayed before. "Theo, I-".

    She froze. Her eyes found it hard to adjust to the dark now that her Slayer senses were gone, but she found herself not facing a Treasure Hunter in an outrageously light bikini. Instead, she could barely perceive a figure that was taller than herself, her vision barely perceiving a distinct uniform cladding the person in an all-too-familiar appearance.

    A Paladin. Fuck.

    Her brain shifted gears into fight-or-flight immediately. The girl reached for a pocket on her side and pulled a handgun from it. A single motion, swift, determined, practiced. She extended her hand, aimed down the sights. The figure was gone. Her eyes darted left to right. Still no sign. She lowered the weapon, senses on the highest alert they could be.

    What the fuck was going on here?



    Post Word Count: (Paused for Halloween Event)
    Personal Word Count Total: 4,409 (Paused for Halloween Event)
    Thread Word Count Total: 7,517 (Paused for Halloween Event)

    Halloween Event WC: 2,944 / 4,000

    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 72
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Theo 26th November 2022, 2:03 am

    His query about the actual season went unconfirmed, but that was fine. No sooner had the startled question left his soft lips, it left his equally soft gray matter, too.

    Oblivious to the very large thing that threw his reunited companion into a tizzy, the bikinied man turned with a silky-haired flourish to look at her as she abruptly turned away and then leapt up. Still confused, yes, but also... "Awwww, you care if I catch a cooooold," he cooed through the mental fog, cupping and rubbing his own cheeks because he felt so warm and fuzzy inside. Or maybe that was the laced drink. Maybe it was both things. Theo was feeling a lot of things, to be honest. It would likely only get worse from here.

    Blissfully weaving a dizzy little path behind her as if he were an adult-male-sized bumblebee and festival goers were pollen-filled blossoms, Theo followed her without question. He definitely wasn't going to pause to read the title of the place they wandered into because, well, he couldn't read. Even if he could, his brain was currently more gelatinous than his magical element.

    And here is where a good trip would turn into a bad one.

    The tunnel leading in was cramped and dark, and even when his neurons were blended into a foam, his fears persisted. Theo didn't like the dark. His steps paused enough for a distance to yawn between them. Swallowing hard, he forced his feet to move, though his smile was now upside-down. "Aspen," he whispered into the haze, taking a few quickened steps to catch up with a shadowy figure he thought was her. The size and build were about just right. He reached out to touch her, only for his hand to pass right through. As he stumbled through the ghostly form, he could've sworn it looked like...

    Theo gusped and audible gasp, followed by a surprise but miserable choking sound.

    It was a good thing Aspen hadn't fired that gun. Theo ran into the line of fire at least six times, but at least they were still close to the hospital. He was holding his chest, searching the close space in a panic for the figure he'd thought he saw. "No, no, nononono itcan'tbehershe'sdead," he muttered to himself, and though his brain knew this, the scraps of his poor heart flapped like a tattered flag in a hurricane.

    Right. Tomoe and Rin were dead.

    Abruptly turning to where Aspen was, he made a beeline for her and even touched her gun as he crowded close to her in the narrow hallway. He just deftly moved it away from himself, while also urging her onward. The door had closed behind them and though it probably would've made more sense to feel their way back the shorter distance to escape than press forward, again, he wasn't the smartest even when he wasn't riding the mystical punch dragon. "I think we should leave," he said, his tone about as even as his ragged breaths. It was dark and he thought he'd seen his dead lovers. Theo was ready to literally do anything but this.

    Scooching past her in all of his fleshy glory, he took the lead and ran as fast as he could down the tunnel.

    "ACK!"

    Seemed he'd found a bobbing seat of some sort. Theo had blindly run into the side of it, tripped, and unceremoniously flopped right into the attraction's actual mode of transportation. A little boat on a river. Surely this would take them out. Scrambling around to plant his bare cheeks on the bench, he reached out for Aspen as the boat started to move forward on its own.

    "Hurry! C'mon!"

    [wc: 617 || total: 3561/4000 || 3/3 tokens - Witch's Brew x 2, Tunnel of Terror x1]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited 60709_s
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 26th November 2022, 7:34 am

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited XVyz5kK


    Aspen would've deeply worried about Theo had she caught the apparent misery the man found himself in. Too busy was she, however, dealing with her own trauma made manifest. Figures danced in and out of sight, moving through the darkness at the very edge of her vision. The mist was given form, the grinning faces and threatening movements of unmistakably Pergranti warriors dispersing the cold air around their form before vanishing into the shadows again. Her hands, grasping the weapon before her as the only thing that stood between herself and the source of her gradually growing distress, trembled, moved frantically from side to side as she tried to follow the shapes and movement in the ominous fog.

    She was glad that she'd kept at least some control of her mind. The gun was swung around and aimed directly at the Treasure Hunter when she'd heard the approaching footsteps. She inhaled sharply, pulling her finger off the trigger and lowering the weapon. She looked at Theo's face, the rather scandalous outfit being tuned out for the time being. Never mind that right now. The man looked like he'd seen a ghost himself. She stood there, frozen in space as he pushed closer, moved the weapon out of the way. His voice reached her, freed her from her momentary stupor. She nodded. "Yeah. Couldn't agree more". Outwardly, she seemed to keep some semblance of composure, but the state she was in, coupled with the phantoms that seemed to haunt her everywhere she looked, she was more than freaking out internally. An emotion that had accompanied her for a long time was amplified hundredfold, and no matter how stoic Aspen made herself appear, she couldn't stop the trembling. Her hands shook. She switched the safety on and deposited the weapon back in the pocket of her jacket. It wasn't like she would be able to use it shivering like this. Fucking useless.

    She turned to follow the Treasure Hunter deeper into the tunnel, similarly disturbed by the events that unfurled here...

    ...only for her body to freeze in absolute fear.

    She noticed a presence next to her, though at that point, it had already been too late to do anything about it. Her senses were far duller than they had been a long time ago. She felt the light touch of a hand on her shoulder, turned to look, seeing a man stand beside her. A shock surged through her body when she saw the face, that unmistakably cruel grin.


    "Здравствуй маленькая Ирина"


    She ran. With all her might, all the strength she could muster, she would run. Her conscious thought was consumed by terror. She didn't look back, she didn't know where she going. It didn't matter. If she didn't move right this instant she would die. It took only a few seconds for her to catch up to Theo, to practically jump into the boat next to him with his help, drawing her pistol again and aiming it into the darkness behind the pair, her face twisted into pure horror. Her hands quivered, even moreso than before. It was doubtful that she'd hit anything like this, but there was comfort in the fact that she'd still had that gun. If Theo hadn't been here, she'd make sure to save a bullet for herself. It wasn't just her life on the line though. Not this time. This was the exact scenario that she'd been trying to avoid. How had they found her? Had she been too careless? She didn't think about it. She didn't speak. She didn't move. Didn't react to anything. Her trembling hands firmly clasped the weapon outstretched into the mist as she leaned over the edge of their little vessel, teeth grit and eyes tunnel-visioned onto the ethereal mist until it was finally broken by light after a time that felt like an eternity. A small dock area had been set up near the exit to the tunnel, festival-goers excitedly chatting away, laughing, and smiling as they left the mysteriously autolocomotive boats. A fact that was extremely confusing to say the least, if not entirely incongruent with the girl's current reality. She let her eyes wander until she finally saw the sign, read what it said. "The Tunnel of Terror!". All color drained from her face. "Make it through this magical ride manifesting your fears and win a Skull Token!".

    Wordlessly, she lowered herself down into the boat, utterly defeated, until it was time to get off the ride.

    Wow. Just... wow. She'd needed a second to process that, and when Aspen had done exactly that, with a characteristically stoic expression, she spoke again, not really addressing Theo but more talking to herself, but he would certainly catch what she said.

    "Please just kill me now".



    Post Word Count: 359 (Leftover WC after the Event WC has been deducted)
    Personal Word Count Total: 4,768
    Thread Word Count Total: 7,876

    Halloween Event WC: 4,000 / 4,000 (3x Skull Tokens gathered. Event WC fulfilled)

    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 72
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Theo 27th November 2022, 6:15 am

    Even though he was vaguely aware that Aspen didn't like being touched (he just forgot a lot), he wasn't thinking about being considerate in that way at the moment. It was selfishness when he pulled her into the boat and kept his hand on her shoulder even as she moved around, trembling for the whole ride. He hoped it would comfort her, but also maybe ground himself, as well. Theo was desperately trying to seem like he was okay, but he very much wasn't.

    "They'renotreal, they'renotreal, they'renotreal," he whispered under his breath, angling his body inward to face her. Perhaps the words were for them both. Showing that he could be incredibly perceptive under pressure, he reasoned that it was literally impossible for Tomoe and Rin to be here since they were very much dead, so it was some sort of magic or trick. Or ghosts, but if Theo truly considered spirits, he'd start screaming and likely tear the place down trying to get out. If only he'd said it a little louder.

    His back shielded his vision from the fog over his side of the boat, and he basically ignored the two girls floating behind him. Both were short and flat chested, though one had her pink hair half tied into a big bow and the other had long brown hair and wore rags in the style of ancient Desierto raiders. He definitely had a type. Man, as much as he didn't want to see them, the treasure hunter didn't want Aspen to see them more. He assumed Aspen could if she looked, since he could see her phantoms appearing with guns aimed before melding back into the wisps. He much preferred watching her fears to his own. Was Tomoe's chest still gaping from his demonic fist? And though he had no idea how Rin died, Theo wanted to remember her how she was and was afraid he'd see something gruesome. More than just the girls appeared for him in the fog, representing every regretfully fallen comrade that he had loved and lost over his complicated lifetime thus far.

    Theo rarely went silent, but at some point, he'd done just that. The boat stopped. Once more, he took her hand and attempted to tug her out of the little river and also out of the ride entirely. Back to the streets that were lit up, back to the laughing and dancing and away from memories that made his chest ache so badly that he thought he might need to revisit the hospital. Once he was at the edge of the crowd, the scantily clad man doubled over, his hands on his knees as he fought for breath. The man was definitely a few shades lighter than before they went in there, and still woefully without a coat to keep him from catching a cold.

    "So, haha, that fog was weird!" he said to Aspen, his throat tight and throwing off his attempt to be lighthearted and funny. He wasn't really scared, but he was definitely in some emotional distress. "It wasn't real, though, so don't worry," he added, straightening and lifting his head to the sky for some deep breaths. He didn't wanna talk about his dead lovers or friends, so he'd pretend it didn't happen. "Were those... *huff*... guys with the guns... *wheeze*... the guys you've been running from...?" The wanted to know, that pang of guilt bothering him again. No wonder she was so scared. If she'd been that scared for the entirety of the last two years...

    Finally, his eyes dropped to focus on her face, his own brimming with concern. "Are you okay?"

    [wc: 608]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited 60709_s
    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 158
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Magic: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Magic: Sanguine Avenger

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited Empty Re: Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited

    Post by Aspen Azarov 29th November 2022, 4:49 pm

    Spring, Sprung, and Spreunited XVyz5kK


    She readily took the hand that the other extended and let herself be pulled along. She didn't care if it was him, gave herself to the gesture of comfort and security that came with that act of his. She needed it. She felt utterly defeated. Her head was spinning and she felt dizzy, the surge of adrenaline that had kept her heart beating like a war drum slowly but steadily fading away. It still didn't take her a lot of imagination to deduce that she wouldn't sleep much tonight. Images danced before her inner eye, momentarily flickering frames taken from a sequence of events playing in her mind like a movie. Almost mindlessly, the girl let the Treasure Hunter lead her away, away from all of that. Even if she would've wanted to resist, she figured that it would be no use, anyway. Simply processing these events and how swiftly it all had caught up with her kept her occupied.

    It seemed that she wasn't the only one who needed a moment to process what she had seen, though. The ex-Paladin had been so occupied with herself and her own issues that she had more or less tuned out the man next to her and his own phantoms, for better or for worse. Once she saw him gasp for air, however, she snapped out of her dissociation. His words and affirmations, which otherwise would've soothed her troubled mind, seemed all the more incongruent with reality, considering that this condition of his was certainly anything but physiological. More than anything, she wanted to make sure that the man was okay. It was a curious feeling. When compared to this man's condition, it seemed that her own problems were that much smaller in comparison. Whether this was actually the case or simply an imagined circumstance wasn't clear to her, and she didn't care. She opened the zipper on her black hoodie jacket, revealing the simplistic white t-shirt underneath. One could say what they wanted, but Aspen certainly had a certain aesthetic about her. Without a word, she extended her hand towards the man, the article of clothing in her grasp. A particularly observant person would also notice the slight blush of those normally pale cheeks as she did so. Theo was pretty much the same height as her, and though it would prove perhaps just a bit tight and a little... revealing, she figured it would suffice for the time being. She wasn't about to give him her skirt, too. She doubted that it would improve upon his current situation anyway.

    Theo straightened, and Aspen did the opposite. Averting her gaze, she simply sat down on the pavement next to where he was standing. She didn't want to stand up anymore. She didn't have the energy. She just needed to rest for a moment. The girl sighed. Her voice came forth anew, though this time it was little more than a weary whisper. "Yeah...". She didn't really know what to tell him. This event had concentrated and released emotions that had built up over the course of years, if not decades. The fright she had felt not long ago had been real, the wounds that trauma had left on a scarred soul becoming all the more obvious now that they laid bare for all to see.

    "It's... it's a long story, as I said. You know I'm from Pergrande, right? They aren't too big on the idea of magic. Given that I was born a mage in that nation... well, let's put it this way: my parting with Pergrande and its ideals wasn't the most... peaceful one". A gross understatement, that was. Not to mention what had happened with her family. She could never return, and even here she wasn't safe. Nowhere in the world would be safe for her, she knew that now. If only she'd been more careful from the start. Maybe she wouldn't have gotten all of them into this mess. Of course, this was already more than she really wanted to share with Theo, the girl still clinging to the delusion that she was protecting him from something by keeping this under lock and key, that the less he knew the better off he was. There was still the matter of these girls she had seen, however, now that she thought about it. It hadn't been phantoms that she had known, which must've meant that these painful memories were something that burdened her friend.

    She took in a deep breath. It would be hard to answer honestly, but the time for lies and the time for hiding, had ended here today. There was no going back anyway if she really wanted to pull through with this.

    "No. I'm not. What about you, Treasure Hunter? Are you ok?".



    Post Word Count: 799
    Personal Word Count Total: 4,768
    Thread Word Count Total: 9,283


      Current date/time is 1st February 2023, 2:04 am