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    The boy in the beanie said nothing while the others spoke their piece, but the darkening expression on his face said it all. He was annoyed at their disagreement. "Sure, you can't get anymore wet, but you can get sick. And it's not stupid at all!" By the end, his voice rose into a shout. "What's stupid is staying here! Why wait around like this when it's obvious that nobody's coming? That poster was probably just a prank or something! And you!" He whirled on the girl currently trying to break the warehouse door down with her mind. "What are you doing?! What if the cops show up?" His voice rose in dismay. The girl in an orange shirt, who until now had seemed willing enough to stay, looked to have changed her mind as she listened to both him and Dahlia. She leaned away from the latter, as if further distance would prevent her from getting either condition the woman spoke of. "I think…" she started. "I think I'm going to leave now. Even if I can't start my journey now, I'd rather not start off on the wrong trench foot—er, foot. And it's probably best not to begin our journey with breaking and entering either," she drawled out with a look toward Chigusa and Selini. The boy in the headband shook his head. "I doubt anybody will notice right now. Still," he glanced at the sky. "The weather's not getting any better. And I don't know if it's the storm or something else, but I can't get any signal here with my phone." He took out his phone and showed the screen to the gathered people, but especially Shawn. "I tried to call my brother an hour ago, but wasn't able to. Honestly? Kind of spooky." Despite his words, his voice itself came out flat. "I hate to agree with him," he nodded at the beanie boy, "but I think we all might be better off finding some shelter before we get electrocuted. And not in the warehouse," he added. "Yes, there's a low chance anybody notices, but I'm not risking getting my trainer's license revoked over this." "Argh! Why did everything turn to shit?!" the boy in the beanie scrubbed at his hair through his hat. "What if we got the wrong place? Or what if something happened to the assistant? Or maybe it really is a prank? Crap, I don't know, and that makes everything worse!" He shook his head. "It doesn't help that the longer we stay here, the more likely we all are to come down with something later!" The boy seemed to realize he was spiraling. "Listen," he took a deep breath. "I can't stick around any longer or I'll go crazy. You're all free to do what you want. I'm not your boss. Just… be careful. And don't get arrested. I'd hate to hear of anything happening to you all later on. Would make me feel bad." He took another breath. "The name's Isaac, by the way." "I'm Reina," the girl chimed in. She leaned toward Dahlia briefly before darting away. "Good luck with your trench foot. I'm leaving before I catch that." "She was obviously joking," the last boy muttered. Then, even quieter, he said his name. "… Qadir." Isaac adjusted his beanie one last time. "Well, hope I see you all later on our journeys." Then he turned around and walked away from the pier, toward a hazy building in the distance. For those who had already booked a stay, they would recognize it as Hotel Atlantica. Through the rain, they could only make out bright points of golden light and the vague outline of pointed spires. But even that seemed like a beacon of warmth and safety in the storm. "Stay frosty, but not too frosty, you hear?" Reina waved and followed Isaac toward the hotel, Qadir trailing behind with one last nod. And then they were five. Qadir's words proved true. The storm was not getting any better. In fact, it seemed to worsen, as if determined to make the group of five change their mind about staying behind. The clouds had covered the sun and cast the land below into an early night. Soon enough, everybody was treated to the sight of rain falling sideways. In the distance, a small potted plant hurtled through the skies before crashing onto the deck of the cruise ship S.S. Lemu, still docked at the port. The warehouse door was giving way with each psychic shove. Perhaps it was because of the ruckus Selini was making, or the ambience of the storm, but Chigusa was the only person to hear what came next. A low, mournful howl that came not from the land, but from the sea. One could have mistaken it for the wind itself, but for the deeper, almost yawning cries. The sound blended with the crashing of the waves like the notes of a song. Chigusa and the others would get the unmistakable sensation of being watched. It was an eerie feeling, made even more so for the girl by the deep singing that only grew louder as time passed. Try as she might to look out over the sea, though, she would spot nothing capable of making that sound. Though it was difficult to see much of anything. The scenery would go from pitch black to a blinding white whenever the lightning flashed. There was not enough time for one's eyes to adjust to either the light or the darkness. And then suddenly, the singing stopped. Soon after, Chigusa heard the patter of frantic footsteps from the opposite side. A few seconds later, a young woman who looked about the same age as everybody else whipped around the corner, hands clutching at her duffle bag. Though far more bedraggled, her distinct cotton candy locks identified her as the same girl that Nikolaos had traveled with for part of the route to Khalk Harbor. "I'm here! Sorry I'm late! I got lost on the road of life!" she shouted. The girl skidded to a stop, but her feet gave out on the slippery path. For a second she stood there, arms spread wide like a bird's in an attempt to right herself, and then she crashed forward, headbutting Shawn in the stomach. The two fell to the ground, splattering mud and rain everywhere. "Ow…" the girl groaned, rubbing at her skinned knees as she sat up. "That really hurt..." Distracted by her pain, she hadn't yet realized she was half sitting on the boy. At that same moment, Selini finally broke the warehouse door down. It fell to the ground with an even louder crash, revealing the shadowy interior of the warehouse. A few pinpricks of light winked at the group from the darkness. OOC: A lot happened in this post! Feel free to react and respond. You can also post more than once this round if you feel like it, though that's of course, entirely optional.
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    Shawn wasn't a stranger to getting caught in the rain. This didn't mean he enjoyed it in the slightest. He wasn't exactly dressed for it but at least he didn't have much with him to get soaked anyway. Something something clouds something silver lining right? "Whatta stupid saying what does it matter what a cloud is lined with not like you can get to it anyway." Shawn grumbled to himself and flinched as he looked around. He didn't like being in a crowd and the last thing he wanted was to draw attention as the weirdo who was talking to himself. Thankfully most people seemed to be either more concerned about the rain or being distracted by someone who was way too excited in this weather. That guy had come up to him earlier with the biggest smile and the dumbest questions. When Shawn had mentioned he came from Galar, no way he was going to talk about his even more disastrous first home, the guy's immediate response had been, “Galar? Is it true that the Pokemon there are 100 feet tall?” "Yeah sure and our Pokeballs are the size of cars. No of course they ain't that big that's just when they Dynamax." Thankfully the guy went off to talk to someone else not long after that and Shawn was left to his own thoughts. Okay, maybe that wasn't so thankful. It wasn't long before Shawn began to wonder if they were being tricked. Maybe this was some sort of TV show and there were thousands of people right now laughing at the dumb kids who decided to stand around outside a warehouse in the rain because a piece of paper told them to. What even were they there for? Why the heck did Shawn care about some task some professor in some weird region wanted them to do? He had half a mind to just up and leave. "We've been standing around for almost two hours, and the assistant still hasn't arrived. So I vote we just leave and start our journey now." Until someone suggested just that. The moment that the guy voiced the thought that Shawn had only internalized he could only respond in one way. "That's really stupid." It had come out so naturally despite that he himself had the thought seconds ago that Shawn wondered if there was some sort of deep seated psychological issue at play there. ...Yeah maybe the rain was making him even more negative than usual. His casual remark was drowned out by both the rain and by the much more...noticeable woman who had responded to the suggestion. The heck is trench-foot? Sounded like some obscure Poison Pokemon ability or something. Whatever the case the things she was saying was just making him even more paranoid. The more he thought about it the more this seemed like one big prank. Maybe this was some kind of special event that this region held to mess with people for their entertainment. After all this place was locked down most of the time right? The more this thought solidified itself the more on edge Shawn got. Until finally he blurted out, "This professor's gotta have a number right? Or an office or lab with one? Anyone got a phone? If you don't want to call em give it to me and I'll give them an earful for ya."
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    Few things were as bad for magic and sleight of hand, than your props being slick or soaked. Dahlia had learned that back in Kalos, and again in Unova; it was why some of her favorite spots to post-up had been underground, in the relative dryness of the subway, or in any buildings where she could reasonably set up shop. It was also why she was thankful she had had the foresight to leave all of her possessions in the hotel room she had procured for the next two nights, when she arrived by plane the day before. A more impulsive prospective trainer may have only purchased one room, before; in fact, that was what she had been counting on when she made the reservation, and she had lucked out for that very reason. After all, it only made sense, didn’t it? That if you got your Pokémon at 2:00 PM, you’d still have time to travel out of the town to begin your grand journey-- It was also foolish, and meant that if something such as this happened, not only would all your belongings be soaked or ruined by the humidity, no matter how ‘water-proof’ the snake-oil saleswoman had claimed your pack was, but also that you’d be lacking in a place to stay when inevitably you ended up not leaving until well after 7:00 that night. Then again, that was the kind of pessimism that most prospective trainers were young enough not to have yet; and so she found herself pleasantly surrounded by people that didn’t know any better, and likely hadn’t thought that far ahead, in her approximation. But, that wasn’t her problem, she decided; and so she continued to twirl the umbrella she had purchased from Virbank city before leaving Unova-- Simple, and large enough to keep all but her boots, which were rugged enough to weather the storm, mostly dry. Of course, her sleeves and vest had gotten reasonably wet over the hours, but she had kept her hair dry, and that was the part she had been most concerned about on her person. Of course, something larger, a golf umbrella, would have kept her dryer, but that would have been far more expensive; and far heavier, something she was thankful for as she stood motionless near the center of the group that remained. After all, that was another thing she had been rather careful about; her placement, and planning for her time of arrival. She had arrived roughly at six in the morning, early enough to find a prime-spot, and post up for the wait to come. That would mean she had waited for roughly eight hours until they should have started-- And now, she had waited for two more. For anyone else, the thought of staying in one place for so long may have been distressing, or at least taxing, but Dahlia had spent entire days without leaving her space-- So really, the only difference this time was that she had been painfully bored until other prospective trainers had arrived. Something that must have been obvious, as she had talked just about anyone’s ears off as they passed by, or posted up to wait near her. Of course, what was said differed from person to person; a slight comment on their appearance, a question of fashion, maybe a question of their origin. She had always had this way of finding something they were wearing to comment on, asking where it had come from or if it was from [____] brand, that she had had no trouble forcing short conversations with most of the people who arrived early. And then, there were those that arrived late; they too had been easy enough to talk to, or at least easy enough to drop in on the conversations of. For example, there was one boy who had been exchanging small talk with just about anyone who would listen, in much the same way she was. He had been using the same line of dialogue for each person that he came into contact with, so it was that when he reached her, she had barely let him finish his initial response, of--- “Oh that’s awesome! I hear the weather there is a lot different-” Before shaking her head, and shrugging. “Ah? Is that to say that this rain isn’t normal then? During their rainy seasons, Kalos and Unova actually have a lot of rain, especially when you don’t expect it. Ah-- Ah, did you know? Kalos even has it’s own version of ‘Its Raining Meowth and Yamper’, being that it’s Raining Honedge; which is to say that the rain is heavy enough to pierce even a knight’s armor. There’s also a Wind to Dehorn a Tauros-- Which really defines what we’re dealing with here as well, right?” The conversation had extended briefly from there with other bits of shared trivia, small talk, and the like-- But by and large that had been the end of that particular conversation, and they had both moved on to bothering other people, which had worked well for as long as there were other people, which wasn’t all that long in reality. So it was, that by now, she had naturally arrived back at her position near the center of the group; lightly twirling her umbrella whenever the wind would die down, because as much as she didn’t want to break the umbrella, she also needed to do something with her hands to keep herself from going insane from her self-inflicted wait; a prospect which made the exclamation that two hours had been a bit much by one of the boys waiting rather… Amusing in her eyes. It was only when their group extended an invitation to leave, that her smile grew wider, even as the boy who she had shared trivia with earlier gave a reply. “Aha, I’m afraid I’ve waited in places much longer for an opportunity less exciting than this, so I’ve not the sense to give up now,” she explained with a smile, voice light. “But, hey! You might have the right idea, yeah?” she asked, eyes taking an almost piercing quality as she spoke. “I mean, as much as the kid here is right - sorry, never got your name - staying wet can have detrimental effects, hm? I mean, trench-foot-- That’d be an awful way to start off a journey, wouldn’t it? I mean, it is rather wet and cold, the perfect combination for something like that to fester, eh? You’re probably the smart ones, leaving early enough to avoid something like that. I’m sure the Professor just put the wrong date down, anyhow, hm? I’m sure you won’t miss anything,” she gave a slight shrug, smiling as she spoke. “Oh-- Except for Chilblains, if this wind keeps up-- You’ll miss those, but, hey, that’s a good thing right?” she asked, an entirely unserious tone to her voice as she spoke.
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    Jacklyn had a proud smile on her face as Anima went off to learn more about fishing supplies, and even getting them fishing rods. After all, to go wholly into something like this and get that excited about it was too part of an adventure, so she was glad to see that spirit in her companions. And she would do well to match that spirit. As Anima called to them, Jacklyn shouted back, "of course! We'll become fishing legends in no time!" It was then that Jacklyn heard a splash come from the side to her, looking over to see that Anneliese had vanished from where she was previously. Walking over, bending down to look into the water and see Anneliese surfacing there, the girl smiled saying, "I like your enthusiasm Anneliese, but we got fishing rods to fish with! Maybe we can try using our bare hands later though, I haven't tried that before either." Were Anneliese to need help Jacklyn would either help pull her out or simply go into the water herself to help the girl. Finding a spot to go fish, the girl took out her rod and got ready. "Alright, let's see if I got this down. First all you do is take this little thing off and then go," pulling back her rod the girl shouted, "hiyah!" before swinging it as hard as she could, sending the line into the water. Standing there for a few moments the girl said, "alright and now we wait..." Jacklyn continued to stand motionless for a few moments more before saying, "hm...nothing's biting. Maybe if I do a little," the girl started to move her arms about, trying to shift the line's position, which was difficult in of itself due to how far away from her it was, before starting to essentially flail her arms as it trying to find the "perfect position" where fish or pokemon might be. Tiring herself after a bit of movement, the girl stopped for a bit grumbling. Then, after keeping her posture still as she tried to recover her stamina she suddenly felt a tug on her line. Excited for her catch the girl immediately pulled back her rod almost immediately, sending it out of the water to show that nothing was on the end of it. Giving a small glare at the hook before it plunged back into the water the girl sighed. "This is a lot harder than I was expecting."
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    After moving her fishing rod around for a bit more, Jacklyn grew impatient enough that rather than do anymore she started to look around for a distraction. Seeing Anneliese had parked herself in between her and Anima, the girl looked at her and asked, "hey, have you gotten anything yet?" Anneliese, for her part, was chatting with her newly acquired Rookidee, the fishing pole not in her hands at all. "Hm? Oh. No, I do not believe so." She grabbed the pole and gave it a couple shakes as if checking. “Not holding it at all, I didn’t think of that…” The girl thought about the technique for a moment before looking at her Pokémon, an idea becoming an apparent. Bending down she said, “oh yeah, birds like fish right, so do you know what the secret is?” Eleanora stared up at Jacklyn for a few moments before turning around completely and trying to ignore her. “Huh?” With a slightly annoyed and disappointed face the girl sighed, before sitting down and casting her line out again. Then looking to over to Anneliese she asked, “so you’ve never fished before right? So what kind of stuff did you back home?” "Oh many things. My tutors would teach me many things each day. I learned piano. Watched performances and listened to orchestras in our home theatre. Took part in balls on occasion. Though I could not often speak with the guests as I would have liked..." “Whoa, sounds fancy…” the girl paused, actually processing what she just heard. She had known Anneliese to say some pretty strange stuff before but she had just chalked it up to her being a little eccentric and from somewhere else. But all of this together started to paint more of a picture to Jacklyn. “When you say an orchestra or something do you mean like the kind you’d find in some kind of concert hall or something?” "Oh yes, I believe they normally would perform at places like that. I often wondered why they did that when they could just go to people's homes just as easily." Blank faced as she again tried to process all of this the one question Jacklyn ended up asking was, “did you do like…everything in your home?” "Why, yes. After all mama and papa were often away for work so I could not very well leave. That is why the theatre was built in the first place." Becoming more concerned the girl said, "but that's gotta be so - oh!" Her expression shifted to surprised as a tug line appeared on her line, excitement crushing any concern she just had. "Looks like I got something!" As the girl started to pull, a thought crossed her mind as she said, "come on Anneliese, help me pull it up!" From the edges of the dock, a woman with messy black hair in a long gray skirt wearing an equally long sleeved black shirt had her interest caught by the trio. Of course the overexuberant and discordant method of fishing of one of them was noticeable to everyone and was likely distracting and causing issues for other fishers. To her, there was something obvious about them though, something that was only made more apparent by an observation she made. And it made her curious. Slowly she walked forward, every step of the way slow and almost labored as she closed the distance between her and the trainer. And eventually she made it to Anima, and asked, "do you mind if I sit here?" Were Anima to look at her they would notice that the woman's red eyes had bags under them, as if she had gotten barely any sleep. Her breath as well was labored and sweat was evident on her pale skinned face, as if she had just ran a marathon to get here.
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    If the storm rages but nobody is awake for it, is it bad weather? A day much like any other. But, only in the sense that Selini's dreams were where she spent most of her time. Today, extraordinary things were going to happen. Namely, the start of her own pokemon journey. Lini didn't usually concern herself with first impressions too much, but this was an exception. In the time since arriving in her room at the Hotel Atlantica the previous day, she'd - with the guidance of her ever-faithful Munna - precisely shaped out what the room was like in her dream, so she could navigate. And while she'd done that more for the sake of her physical body, there was no rule saying she had to move her real body in order to move her dream body. Which was why she'd been spending the last few hours preparing as best she could. She opened her curtains to let the sunshine in, and had dragged up memories of reference material she'd picked up during the trip to Khalk Harbor, for a quick recap on a few things. Occasionally, she'd get bored and create some sort of toy to play with for a while, but her breaks from a quick study session were generally short. Then her re-reading was interrupted by the deep, stern voice of, believe it or not, a Munna. "Selini, as much as I don't want to interrupt your reading, it's nearly two o'clock. The weather outside is also very serious. The rain is heavy, and the winds are strong." It was a very deep voice. Not because Pinky had a deep voice for a Munna. But because that was always how Lini imagined he must have sounded, were he able to speak like a human. "Really? It was fine just yesterday. No different from how it looks here in the dream. How bad are we talking, exactly?" "See for yourself." It almost looked like a hole in the dream. Really, the way Lini would have probably explained was that it was closer to a 3D screen than anything. Point being, it was a "screen" that reflected the world as it was. The real, waking world, not the version of it Lini was toying around with in her dream. Looking out her room's window, it was, quite frankly, concerning. Rain was one thing; she could handle it better than most, since if it was heavy enough for her to feel it normally in her dream, that was probably a sign of the endtimes anyway. Windy days, however, were a different matter entirely. Her body was lightweight, her physical body's movements were slow and clumsy, her muscles were both weak and generally unable to fully exert themselves, and her ability to perceive the world around her relied entirely on something that weighed fifty pounds. In short, she was the perfect punching bag for strong winds. While asleep, anyway. Lini had considered during her trek to Khalk Harbor, if she wanted to first present herself in her default, sleeping state, or if she wanted to be awake for it. At first, she'd decided to show up in her sleep; it was the honest representation of what to expect of her moving forward. But, if she tried to go out while asleep, in weather conditions like these, she would get herself hurt. So it was that Lini was forced to change her decision, and go with the path she would have preferred not to walk if not for that wind. "I don't like saying this, but I'll need a wake-up. You know what to do, Pinky." "...very well. I apologize in advance." There was a wait after that. In the waking world, he was surely curling up. Bolstering his defenses for an enemy that wouldn't come. Storing power. It wasn't until he released that stored power that Lini knew anything was happening. When it did happen, it was a sensation hard to describe, aside from the obvious sharp pain in her left arm. As if she had been somehow yanked out of reality itself. Ironic, given that she was in fact being yanked into reality, her own pokemon's attack - carefully placed to minimize the consequences - being forceful enough to snap her body awake. Away from her world of green skies and pokemon-like buildings, into the one of currently-a-foreboding-gray/black skies and glorified cubes & rectangles. Yes, it is, so wake up. One small benefit to regularly sleeping for weeks, months, or even years at a time, was that once Lini did wake up, aside from the usual grogginess of waking up, she was anything but tired. While waiting for that to pass, she got herself ready for a day in the waking world. Stretching was an absolute must; it both helped her snap out of it and got her muscles ready to do all the work themselves, instead of being aided by telekinesis. Turn on the lights in her hotel room, since she didn't need those until now. Make a quick cup of coffee; while she usually liked iced coffee and other cold, coffee-adjacent drinks, she preferred a hot mug of the real deal when waking up. And then, anything else that needed doing for the day, depending on the situation. In today's case, it meant going into her bag. Pinky was very good about keeping it organized, even when she had to ask him to rummage through it. The Munna was promptly returned to his poke ball, and from a side pocket, Lini fetched out what would be her savior of the day. A blue rain poncho, fully waterproof, and designed without the need for things like buttons or sleeves, so that she could easily put it on during rainy days if she was asleep. Her shoes were going to get ruined by this awful weather, though. Well, they had a good run. I'll look for something cute to replace them when the weather clears up. Everything on her person and at the ready, Lini took a deep breath, stepped out of her hotel room, and prepared to make a trek she really didn't want to make. Once she stepped from the hotel's front door into the outdoors beyond, the fight was on. Even leaning into the wind to keep her balance, each step felt like it had to be earned, and the rain wasn't doing any favors for visibility either. Her poncho was also in a weird position, where it was heavy enough to not let her clothes get soaked through it, but still light enough that the wind kept trying to take it from her. Keeping her hood down was a full-time job, and keeping the rest of it covering as much of her as possible wasn't that much better. It was, in every conceivable way, the most miserable and frankly difficult walk Lini had ever taken, and she planned to tell the professor as much. Only, he wasn't even there. The flyer said two o'clock. Lini arrived at 2:04, later than she would have liked, but there was no accounting for struggling just to walk in the right direction and multiple instances of almost getting blown off her feet entirely. By 2:10, she had gotten impatient. By three o'clock, it was only out of increasing spite for the incredibly tardy professor that she was staying here at all, seated on the ground with her knees to her chest to be a bit more aerodynamic, and holding her poncho down around her to keep herself covered entirely. She'd at least gotten herself comfortable, or as comfortable as she could be in this storm. By four, the only thing stopping her from going out to find Professor Appel herself was the fact that she wanted to move as little as possible in this storm. The only thing that had served as something of a silver lining was that she wasn't alone. Not in a "they're suffering with me" way, but rather, she could chat to at least do something with her rare time in the waking world instead of just sitting out in the wind and rain. The first conversation of note happened not long after Lini arrived. It was actually quite pleasant! “Where are you from?” "I'm from Borya Town, up in the Oure Mountains. It's pretty out of the way, so getting here took a while." "Borya Town... Borya Town... Oh! Yeah, that's the place beside the volcano, right?" Based on the smile on this guy's face, he was at least a bit familiar with Borya Town, if only in name and reputation. And if that same smile was anything to go by, he must have liked what he heard. "That's awesome! I've never been to the mountains, but my older sister told me about the time she visited there. Nice to meet another local! I'm from Carpho Town. It's just through the forest, but it took me two days to walk here." "Oh, I've heard nice things about Carpho Town! I'll have to give it a visit if I get the chance. The trip here from Borya, though, takes... hmmm... actually, I'm not sure. I was asleep when I left, and I only just woke up a couple hours ago. It's hard keeping track of time like that, probably not to anyone's surprise." "Carpho is cool enough, I guess. Hard to judge since I've lived there my whole life. All the stuff there just seems like everyday stuff. Maybe I can show you around if we're there at the same time!" "That sounds great! Though, let's reschedule if the weather looks like this if and when we get there." From there, it was some loose chit-chat about personal experiences and sights seen at home and on the way from home to Khalk Harbor. Eventually, he went to go talk to others, and that suited Lini just fine as she was starting to run out of things to really contribute to the conversation anyway. The second conversation of note didn't happen until the present. Although she was still enjoying the company of the others who had bravely decided to stick it out, she was notably getting rather irritated with having two whole hours of her time wasted like this with no immediate explanation available. "You got some grit to stick it out this long, but don't you think we should all call it quits for the day? No point in getting sick by staying outside any longer." "If I leave now, sitting here for two hours in this miserable weather will have been for nothing. I'm not going anywhere until I see Professor Appel and can tell him off for wasting everyone's time when the weather is like this." But you're right about one thing. No point waiting out here all day. By this point, Lini had just about had it with sitting outside in this relentless weather. She got up to her feet, and got the others who had opted to stick it out to step away from the door. It was still a bit difficult when her focus had to also be on keeping her balance, but what she did next was a matter of the mind. Telekinesis. She reached out with her mind, and slammed out against the door, in an attempt to force it open. No good. But that didn't mean she was going to stop. Until the door, the weather, or Lini herself gave up the ghost, she'd keep on going, pushing and shaking the door with psychic powers, trying to shove it open so that at least they could wait indoors.
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    Chigusa had stood there in the rain, like every other trainer, for the past two hours. She didn't really have a destination in mind at first when landing here, but she had figured that in order to achieve her dream being a prospective trainer was as good a start as any. And the message itself seemed interesting enough, so without reservations the girl had headed over to the shady warehouse with the hoard of people around it. At first, she had been fine simply standing there and waiting patiently. However as the time continued and the rains and winds continued to pour and howl the girl found herself growing increasingly bored. No, not just bored, annoyed. If it weren't raining then she would have been able to read something or use her phone to browse the internet or play some kind of game. But as it stood all that she was able to do was stand there, motionless. She didn't have the foresight to purchase a rain jacket here, nor bring one from home, so all she had was her regular clothing being soaked. Though, she didn't really have much of a problem with that either even if she did have the sudden shiver every so often. All the same, the wet clothing she was wearing and the wet bag filled with two books were really starting to get to her. But she didn't want to place anything down just yet either, and so she was stuck in this annoying stand still of simply being motionless, bored, watching everyone slowly filter out. There was one boy who seemed to start a conversation, to which her only response to where she was from was a flat, "around." She didn't have time to expand on it as he was talking with the entire crowd, and she was fine with observing and listening instead. Well, as fine as one could be with all the previously stated issues. When the last of them began to discuss leaving and coming back later, the expressionless girl turned her head to face them purposefully now instead of just looking any which way. As the two chattier ones explained their refusal to leave Chigusa - first flexing her toes and fingers at the second one's mentions of health risks to see if they were indeed still working properly - responded to them, her tone without any uncertainty in it. "I can't partir now." The girl then turned her head again to face the boy who was on edge. She tapped her phone in her pocket but felt that the act of trying to get it out would be a problematic one. And so instead she shook her head. "Non. There was no bangou on the ad." Having answered the question the girl turned her head to face the door again before asking, "can we break it?"
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    Nikolaos stared up at the fat rainclouds above him with a smile. His jacket—one of a handful of things he had splurged on with his savings in preparation for his upcoming journey—was one of the expensive brands that marketed to trainers and was water-resistant and insulated. It did an admirable job of fighting off the chill that many of the other trainers were surely feeling, but water-resistant was not waterproof, and the rain had long since soaked through his jacket and into his t-shirt and jeans. He had styled his hair so that he would look cool when he met all the foreign trainers and travelers, but all the hair products had been washed out and now it hung over his bandana like the shaggy coat of a Stoutland. The only things not drenched were the sleek back carrying case that was slung across his back, protecting his beloved bouzouki from the elements, and his army green Pokémon League backpack. Those were the other two things he had splurged on for his journey, and they were waterproof. Still, his spirits were high. He continued to smile defiantly at the sky. Not even the Fates would rob him of his good mood that day. The world itself had been aligned against him starting his journey. His Mom’s car had broken down and forced him to make the two day journey to Khalk Harbor on foot. One of his neighbors had volunteered to escort him, since they had a Pokémon, but when they had been setting up camp at the halfway point between the two settlements they had received an emergency call and been forced to rush off. Nik made the rest of the journey by himself. Some of it was relaxing. He played his bouzouki and sang the first hour or two, which had caught the attention of a pretty girl with two-toned hair and a smile that made his stomach flip. The nervous that came with being around pretty girls died not longer after she started talking, though. They traveled together for an hour or two before they got separated. Not long after that it started raining. He had put away his bouzouki and ran the rest of the way into the city, making it to the meeting point the professor had given breathless with only a few minutes to spare. He had been worried that they would leave him behind. Two hours had passed since that point. His worry had faded. The ache in his side and his legs from his mad dash into town faded. Many people’s interest had faded and they had wandered off. Really, the only thing that hadn’t seemed to lose interest was the rain. Nikolaos had distracted himself by chatting with anyone and everyone that would listen. “Where are you from?” He asked anyone he thought was foreign. “Oh that’s awesome! I hear the weather there is a lot different. Is it true that—” What followed was a toss-up between a real, serious question about the environment, culture, or local Pokémon, or a completely insane question that to anyone local to whatever area they were discussing would sound totally absurd. The most recent person he had been talking with, a boy with dark skin and cropped hair that had been from Unova, had gotten bored and left not long before. Several of the people remaining were discussing doing the same. “I’m gonna stay,” Nik said firmly. His fingers drummed a tune against his thigh, a sign of his own restlessness. Still he smiled at the others. It looked somewhat comical with his wet hair hanging limply in his face and blocking his eyes. “It’s not like we can get anymore wet, right?”
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    new berserk we're only two episodes in and we're on our second arc, by this math we'll have passed the manga by week, uh, seven
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    ←Previous Post Episode Two -- The Band of the Hawk Or: Introducing the Love Interests. Yes, I Said Interests, Plural Content Warning: After the midcard break is a surreal dream sequence where a young boy relives a sexual assault. Just after that, a woman is ordered against her will to lie naked with a man to share body heat. Above the break, I’m going to describe a scene involving encouraging someone to commit suicide. It’s a bit early to be going too deep into the manga when I want to be focusing on the arc laid out before us here, but given we just finished all of what the show is going to give us of the Black Swordsman arc, I thought this would be a good place to talk about this arc in the manga and what you might have missed. For example, Puck! Puck is an elf, of the androgynous, faerie-looking sort, who Guts saves in the tavern instead of that village girl and he continues to follow Guts around as he goes on his one-man campaign against the Apostles. While Guts outwardly rejects Puck’s company, elf pixie dust is a potent cure-all in this universe, so Puck’s presence becomes outright necessary if Guts is to continue moving. Puck is important because his nature contrasts against the rest of the world thus far. Kindness is possible in this world, even if Guts doesn’t want to admit it. It’s Puck who states the thesis of the series instead of Guts, leaving Guts’ belief in the indomitable will of the human spirit to survive mostly to subtext. But what subtext it is! The only other major battle in the Black Swordsman arc is against an apostle only referred to as The Count. Unlike the Snake Baron, where Guts simply walks into town and calls him out of his fortress (or the first apostle fight that’s not canon don’t at me on this), the fight to get to The Count involves asking an important question: What even is an apostle? The big reveal is that an apostle is a human who has made a demonic bargain for power and seeming immortality, but you must sacrifice whatever you most hold dear to do so, dooming the sacrificed to an eternity in Berserk’s version of hell. Behelits act as conduits for this sacrifice, and they only call the necessary powers when you are at your lowest point, so perhaps apostles could be seen as this: In the choice to either die or give up everything that made life worth living, apostles have chosen the latter. When you put it that way, all apostles are, in some twisted way, sympathetic creatures. Nobody wants to die, after all, and one can only imagine the point that many apostles were driven to before taking the bargain. But this is dulled by how terrible the sacrifice is, and the fact that most of them are, to put it lightly, terrible people. The Snake Baron eats children. The Count cares for his daughter and is depicted as truly caring for his wife (again, you can’t sacrifice someone you don’t truly love), but he’s a knight templar for his religion and has used his powers since becoming an apostle to inflict a reign of terror, executing anyone who even dares look at him funny. Remember, Guts got a vision of demonic figures in the anime’s first episode, and he called one of them Griffith. This is our first inkling of what is doomed to happen by the end of the show. But back to Guts and human life for a moment, because this is something I think gives a better introduction to Guts and asks a better “How did it come to this?” than anything that came before. The Count’s daughter Theresia finds out about her father’s demonic nature and is already disillusioned, but The Count’s dying declaration of love for her leaves her truly broken, wholly uncertain if there is anything worth living on for without him. Guts steps in and acts like the sort of edgelord that we have seen for three volumes of manga now, insulting her and going so far as to encourage her to kill herself if she really doesn’t see anything worth living for. Theresia doesn’t kill herself, though. Instead, she proclaims her new purpose in life is to get revenge, to kill Guts in any way she can. Guts says he is glad to hear it, turns his back, and walks away. Puck, horrified by all this, flies after Guts and tries to confront him to his face but he stops when we see Guts finally breaking down himself. In the final panels of the Black Swordsman arc, Guts starts to cry. Remember what Guts said in the anime. Humanity will always find a reason to live. It will make it up if it has to. But that doesn’t mean it will never hurt. This is the episode that introduces Griffith properly into the story, and there are three quotes of his that I want to highlight throughout this episode, each so packed with meaning that we’re going to be spending the next twenty-some episodes unpacking all of them. Here they are in the order that they appear. “Do as you will” These are Griffith’s first words in the manga as he allows Corkus and the members of the Band of the Hawk under his command to attempt to rob Guts of some bounty money. It is a very simple statement that asks an implicit question: What do you even want to do? These days, if you’re a little pretentious, it calls to mind a specific quote by Robert Caro: “When you have enough power to do what you always wanted to do, you see what the guy always wanted to do.” In this instance, Corkus only has power over his men and is portrayed as ambitious to a fault. He says he wanted to challenge the same warrior Guts had and use that to attain his glory. Much of The Golden Age arc is a power struggle, and it’s what that power means and what the principal characters are using to get it or hold onto it that are the driving thrusts of the arc. Then again this paragraph dances around the issue of Griffith being the one to say it. Griffith as a character has been debated over and over since the nineties, and some of the weight of this line is technically spoilers even to people who have read every published volume of Berserk, so I just want to point it out and put a pin in it for later. “I believe you don’t have a purpose in life and put your life on the line as a way to try and find it.” Much of this is covered in the preamble to this post (side note, I think I really like talking about Berserk), but let’s also get into specifics. Guts is a loner mercenary, traveling from battle to battle. His backstory, covered more in the manga but depicted in a dream sequence here, is that he was unwillingly taken in by a mercenary named Gambino who trained him from birth to earn his keep the only way one can in a mercenary camp: by fighting. After years of such abuse, Guts kills Gambino in self-defense and flees the camp. He fights in battles like he has a death wish, but a key character trait of Guts’ is his absolute refusal to die. Even when he has nothing worth living for, it is better than the alternative. This is why Guts is called “The Struggler.” Griffith brings up Guts’ fight at the beginning of the episode with Basuzo, a man who, legend tells, fought off thirty men at once and fights bears on the regular. Guts was very lucky to not die in that fight. Then again, maybe it was fate. “No matter what, I will get what I want.” We ask again, what is it exactly that Griffith wants? In this specific instance, he wants Guts, though it’s not shown exactly what that’s supposed to mean. In the manga, Guts implies that Griffith might be the sort of person who wants to exploit him sexually (and in the Dark Horse translation, uses a homophobic slur I’m not going to repeat here), and there are certainly homoerotic undertones to Guts and Griffith’s relationship -- we haven’t even gotten to the water fight -- so maybe that is part of it, but that’s only one facet of what Griffith wants. It could be that Griffith wants what he currently has -- an adoring mass of people willing to fight and die for him as the Band of the Hawk. But that’s only one facet as well. I’m beating around the bush. We saw Griffith last episode in Guts’ vision. We know how this is going to end. This line here is one of those “when you meet the character who is going to betray you” lines. It’s also important to mention Casca’s introduction here. Although it’s difficult to get into Casca’s whole deal without a few more episodes under our belt, we can get a few inklings here, largely of her absolute loyalty to Griffith. She is the one who follows Guts and Griffith to witness their first duel and calls out out of concern for Griffith’s safety. Of all the members of the Band of the Hawk, her story is the one we’re going to spend the most time on, which is good because you can probably guess what happens to everyone by the time The Black Swordsman arc rolls around. Next time: The story has begun. While they are entwined with strings spun by fate, the boy cries out, and the girl is stirred by emotion -- “It’s you who I want.” He does it to survive… That is why the boy wields his sword. Where will destiny take him? ←Previous Post
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    We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. -Romans 6:4 (NIV)Melissa had indeed heard of both boxing and aquariums, but didn’t immediately say she had for two reasons. The first was that she was worried saying something quickly would create mundanity. It was cute to see Fen wonder at things Melissa had long since taken for granted. In fairness, it was hard not to wonder at Ambrosia’s aquarium, the only place in the entire world to have many types of fish, nothing so marvelous as Prana’s, but a place Melissa always thought fondly of even if she had never really thought to visit. How could anything dampen Fen’s excitement about that? But a proper, thoughtful response was necessary to encourage her exploration further. The second reason, though, was that, while Melissa had heard of boxing, her impression was largely a negative one. Ambrosia already used Duel Monsters as a proxy for most conflicts, and until recently, when she had discovered it was one of the very few things connecting her to home, a distasteful activity involving interacting with other human beings. To disregard that proxy and return to actual -- albeit consensual -- violence was only further down the distasteful scale than that. Melissa really did not understand it. Of course, some consideration was to be had for the fact that violence was her occupation now. And she could explain that away by expressing distaste for the concept, that Mauvache had forced her into this role and she was only trying to help people as best she could, she had just sparred with Rei and would not hesitate if given the opportunity to do so again. Was that just training for the job, or was it evidence that she needed to reexamine her view, and possibly change it? She was staring now. Gone was the possibility of a considered response, now Melissa had accidentally ventured into the realms of pauses, ranging from pregnant to awkward and everything in between. Even as she tried to play it cool, with a smile and a general, “This city is full of wonders, isn’t it, Fen?” Melissa could not help but be aware of that time. “I had quite the adventure traipsing all over the city today,” she continued. “I even ran into Natasha. You remember her, right?” Speaking of distasteful, though, was Trevor as he came stumbling through the doors of their apartment barely sober and with the appearance to show for it. It was the sort of thing that would have had an elder member of the congregation whispering, “Looks like he’s had too much communion wine,” even though that was always a weird phrase to Melissa. Father Gregory was always very exact with the size of the sip you were allowed to take from the chalice. Trevor mentioned mead, so at least he was willing to admit it. Melissa took Trevor’s words under advisement, but also followed the advice of, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”One thing Melissa picked up on was Mauvache’s use of the word “cemetery.” Back home, such a word would imply the burial plots were not connected to a chapel -- those that were were the only ones referred to as “graveyards.” It was an interesting bit of trivia, she thought, but the few times she had mustered the will to share it, everyone invariably expressed disbelief, that she was just making it up, so she just kept it to herself this time. Whether such a designation was true or not on Prana, Melissa still felt weird about such a place used as a combat arena. There were rites involved with burial on Ambrosia, and limited space meant there were also rites for disinterment. There was no way Prana didn’t have similar ceremonies. Plus, if she was going to practice what she had learned with Rei, it meant she was, at various points tonight, going to be skipping through all the gravestones- gravecubes. There was context, obviously, but would an outside observer piece it together, or would they think she was just frolicking, and on the job, no less? Melissa didn’t have too much time to continue pondering optics; the skeleton Mauvache had warned them about made its appearance known right quick. It was bigger than she expected; Melissa instinctively wondered what sort of person would normally have a skeleton that was twice her size, but the sight of its club brought her back down to earth. Enough of the errant thoughts. They had a job to do. She balanced herself next to one of the gravecubes, apologized to its occupants for her indiscretion, and closed her eyes. Her choice to summon the ophan is rooted in the ranged nature of its attack, but the extra light and vision do not escape her notice. The ophan has eyes at every point along its wheels, and while in the past the girl may have focused on the amount she was used to, leaving the rest to a sort of background awareness, now she does her best to open her mind to the possibilities available to her. She is still conscious of the news reports provided to her, warnings of “skeletons,” with an s at the end. A plural. The light, meanwhile, has always been there, though only now does she truly appreciate it. Her vision blurs. It is still a bit too much for the girl -- another thing to practice. But perhaps it is for the best, she thinks. There is still only one that they are at all aware of, her focus would be here on the one monster trudging towards her and her companions anyway. She instructs her ophan accordingly. The ophan’s wheels spin; they align themselves perfectly to fire off an opening salvo of one, a single beam of pure light to ward off the darkness, both the concept and its skeletal, physical manifestation.
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    I'll just settle this with everyone else Fakemon Generally lighter with occasional bouts of gray.
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    you don't even know
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    With Lucas's injuries starting to grow more severe the girl tried to keep herself focused as he howled in defiance of their actions. Ryia honestly didn't know what to make of his words and he didn't think they were meant to confuse or mislead her, but the act of thinking about them would be enough to distract her to a fatal degree in this fight. So instead, she simply pushed them to the side, getting ready to engage her opponent as best she could. The girl furrowed her brow as he started his charge, only to have eyes widen as he swiftly changed directions. No part of her thought he was attempting to flee from the confrontation, and so her eyes darted to the side to see where he was moving towards. With Keres directly in his path, the girl knew that the Water Chosen was likely getting ready for something big and similarly knew that she had no chance against Lucas if he had managed to successfully close the distance. And so she immediately took off running. Of course, there was no way on her own that she would've been able to catch up to him but she knew someone who could help her out. "Pan, help!" The girl called out to the elven mage who conjured a gust to aid her, speeding her up to catch up with Lucas. Unfortunately, even with this her strides were too short and Lucas was already upon the Water Chosen. With his claw ready to strike her, Ryia could do nothing to stop the attack. Thankfully, though, someone else had come back into the fight in the nick of time. A wall of light was erected in front of Keres and while the Lycan was able to destroy it easily enough it did its job in keeping Keres safe. Tackling into the side of Lucas, her blade piercing into abdomen, the werewolf looked back to him and reached out towards her head. Expecting this kind of retaliation, Ryia pulled her blade out and stepped back and away from him. Then with a swift side step the girl moved in front of him, safeguarding Keres more directly now, before taking a swing at his neck. She wasn't expecting for the attack to actually land, and sure enough he stepped back from it, but she needed to keep putting pressure on him and pose enough of a threat that he wouldn't be able to simply ignore her. However, the Lycan outstretched his hand to grab her sword which prompted Ryia to put more force into her swing, hitting air rather than Lucas's hand. With her attack failing, the man then stepped in, striking at her with his claws. Twisting her body to compensate for the opening she had left, Ryia managed to block the attack with her swing, gritting her teeth as she was pushed back once more. "Khh," the girl let out a sharp and pained breath, as once more she could feel the abuse that her body was taking even through all of the attacks. The pain she felt, though, hardly mattered. What mattered was that she was able to stand. She would keep moving and keep taking whatever the lycan could throw at her until she was physically unable to move anymore. As he moved back, getting on all fours, the girl recognized the stance and was proven right as he lunged at her head on. Stomping on the ground, a wall of earth was erected once more, the audible sound of Lucas's large body crashing into it being hard as he slammed into it. However, rather than move from side to side, she heard him scrape against the wall and could tell that he was climbing up it. If he got to the top of the wall, than that would give him the opportunity to bound past her and to Keres immediately, which she simply couldn't allow. Taking a few steps back, the girl shouted out, "Pan, lift me!" And then ran forward, crouching down and feeling the wind underneath her, as she leaped far higher than she should've been able to normally. As Lucas got to the top of the wall, Ryia had met him there letting out a fierce shout as she did. With her body as a projectile, she slammed into him using her full weight and sent them both tumbling back over the wall. Ryia let out a loud grunt as her body landed on the ground, having successfully kept Lucas at bay for the time being.
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    The party had been reunited at last! It wasn't like the separation had been terribly long, but they were at the heart of the enemy's turf. Spending as little time as possible split up like that was probably for the best. And speaking of what was best, Gene & Marshall had plenty to say on ideas of what sort of strategy to employ in the pursuit of the villain in charge. Marshall's explanation made perfect sense. Gene's a bit less so, owing mostly to Abby not being much of a video games girl overall. She understood what he meant, at least, and that was what counted. And then there was the one that she understood the most. "The plan is the same as it ever was. We find the leader and take him down. If anything tries to stop us we take them down too! If you guys got a plan then say it, otherwise I plan to go find my way to the person we're here to fight and fight him. And win!" "We shouldn't do anything reckless, but she's got a point. It's worked out pretty well so far, right?" Conjuring forth the image of her trusty hammer, and taking a mock swing at the air near her, Abby further elaborated. "We've got a lot more going for us than the local baddies do, numbers aside. And no matter how you slice it, we'll have to fight something at some point. Might as well get it over with, yeah? So I say we go in swinging, but be careful not to recklessly endanger ourselves."
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    hi 1. local but am fine with non-local too 2. fakemon 3. darker, but i don't love anything dark just for the sake of it
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    The man didn’t answer the inheritance question, and given the state of his house, he could only conclude that the answer was a resounding “No.” On the plus side, he got the Sherlock Holmes reference, and Brian’s respect grew slightly. In terms of creepy old people he’d had to deal with on this job in the past week, he was better than most. It felt like they understood each other, even if the man clearly didn’t understand what Brian’s job actually entailed. He saw Carmen taking notes, too. Or at least he hoped she was taking notes and not just texting someone while on the clock. Some of the questions she asked were even worth answering whether it was a ghost dog or a real dog, not that the man gave the best answers all told. He seemed confused, and Brian’s respect levels went back down. That didn’t make Carmen exiting the conversation early all that great either, but whatever. She was going in the right direction. He could wrap things up here. Brian sighed. “No, she’s half left,” he said. “Or all left, now.” He thought about making a lefties joke too but somehow had enough restraint to hold back in case he angered the man who almost certainly had a gun somewhere amongst all the other hoardings. “Anyway, you’re right that we’ve got the right magic for the job, we just need to get up close and personal with the ghost first.” The man nodded, oddly willing to accept that explanation. "Well, guess that makes sense… I don't want you poking around too much, though. Never know what can be used against you, especially these days with those idiots in charge and all.” “Classic idiots,” Brian said tactfully. “We will need some way to let you know when the job’s done, though. You at least willing to share a name and/or phone number or do you want us to just knock on your door again? I’d suggest disappearing into the night, too, but I don’t want you to think we’re scamming you out of your hard-earned money.” First came a grunt, either out of annoyance or it was just something the man did. “That weird boss girl didn't give you all that?” he said, so it was probably the former. “Well, you can call me Kevin. As far as giving my number, you can ask your boss for that.” Kevin checked a clock. “I’ll be here all night, though. Not gonna go anywhere with strangers wandering about.” Brian nodded. “Well, I’m Brian, so now we’re not strangers. Anyway, I’m going to go follow after uh, Watson, you called her. Her name is Carmen. Get some rest. We’re going to make sure whatever it is can’t bother you anymore.” His only stop before leaving Kevin’s house entirely was to make sure Carmen had grabbed the seals after bringing them inside. Amazing, Brian thought. She actually remembered something. He wasn’t careless going across the field, but he wasn’t exactly careful, either, especially when he got closer to the treeline and could see Carmen frozen in place looking away from him. Perhaps in retrospect, especially given previous encounters with the supernatural involving Carmen-sized girls, he could have at least put his guard up a little bit. Then again, she was just stuck in a staring contest with a stupid deer, so it would have been for nothing anyway. The deer huffed and ran off as soon as it saw Brian, too. “Were you going to stick a seal on it or were you just going to make kiss faces at each other?”
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    ew who would want to do a pokemon trainer rp Anyway 1. Either is fine if had to choose maybe local 2. Either is fine if had to choose maybe canon 3. Lighter preferred in most cases
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    What the hecc you live, and are makin new RPs at that? I've been trying to RP less but this is something I simply can't afford to miss. Might as well answer those questions three while I'm here. I'd prefer to play one of the locals, if given the choice Canon starter I already owned would be preferable I definitely prefer lighter-toned stories I am extremely flexible when it comes to making characters for stuff, so don't consider these hard preferences so much as a best-case scenario. If someone's gotta change their plans on points 1 or 2, I'm more than willing to step up to the plate.
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    Sounds crazy, I'm in. 1.) Probably somewhere else; I think it'd be fun to play someone who's traveling here. 2.) I'm honestly good with either! I'd prefer Fakemon if you wanna go all in on those, but if there's a limited number, I can definitely figure out a canon Pokemon. 3.) I'd say lighter toned, if you really put a gun to my head and made me choose.
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    ←←Previous Topic (Satoshi Kon) -- Next Post→ Episode One -- The Black Swordsman Or: They Thought They Could Stop A Demon I’m Back In this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or law? Is it like the hand of God hovering above? At least it is true that man has no control, even over his own will. Content Warning: I’m going to put a broad one up at the top of this series and then reiterate parts of it as the episodes require. Berserk is a dark series. It is perhaps “the” dark fantasy manga, for all that that phrasing implies, and occasionally uses elements such as (but not exclusively) gore, sexual violence, and derogatory language as part of its story. I would argue that some of it is necessary for the story being told, which I will get to in a moment, although other parts of it, especially earlier in the series, are wholly extraneous and largely for shock value. Mangaka Kentaro Miura has admitted as such in interviews. There’s a reason Wyald has been adapted out of every adaptation of The Golden Age, for example. This is a link to a Reddit post with a timestamp and description of every sexual assault in Berserk (1997). I will be referencing it for the warnings here. Episode One opens with a young girl harassed by a group of armed men in a bar. It is largely through implication but it does set the tone for the entire series, including what happens when Guts makes his appearance. I know this was a lot of reading already, and I apologize for that. I wouldn’t be talking about this show if it wasn’t worth it. By the time I was into Berserk, Kentaro Miura was already dead. It was actually a pair of eulogies that introduced me. I had known of Berserk before this -- it’s difficult not to with something this influential -- but it was these two that convinced me that firstly, someone like me (an Utena-watcher) could enjoy what I always thought was a gorefest and little else; and second, that it was still worth watching despite knowing it would likely end up incomplete. The second point is something we’ll get back to later. It’s important to note here at the start that these are not unique qualities to Berserk. My introduction to Satoshi Kon was Tony Kon and Taylor Ramos’ eulogy retrospective on his editing style, and a tweet by Kon later directed me to then-free access to Millennium Actress. Kon even has leftover work that will likely never be finished. Nobody is going to direct Dream Machine despite how many people might want Studio Madhouse to work on it. But there is something that does make Berserk special, and I would like to broadly outline my thesis here for the rest of the show. I have made a decent amount of hey regarding shows that depict the will to live and love as the cure-all for the systemic oppression the world inflicts upon us. Berserk is one of those. I will not deny that. But also, most if not all of these shows depict this theme as a revelation, something to work to reveal to its audience. Not so here. It is a stated theme in the opening of the manga and the show. Notice the question at the top of the post. To paraphrase it in a way that makes Void look less pretentious, it’s “What do you do when nothing you can do matters?” Hell, one character exclusively refers to our main character Guts as, “The Struggler.” But even if you don’t get that, Berserk has more to offer. It has to. Each new character introduced asks more questions about both the world they exist in and ours as readers. Both Griffith and Casca have arcs running in parallel to Guts, not to mention Rickert’s development throughout the manga or the members of Guts’ party and their growth. These are questions like, “What does it mean to be trusted wholeheartedly by someone else? Does that make you their friend or their leader?” Void continues to ask questions like this at the end of each of these episodes. Yes, they’re broad and nebulous, but they are touched on. Because of the lens I am using to introduce Berserk as a whole -- I’m not covering the 2016 anime lmao -- these may dip into the background from time to time, but I will bring up the other arcs where I can, and I invite anyone reading this blog, if any of this sounds interesting to you, to follow the manga as well. It’s certainly more available to purchase online than a Blu-ray that only this year got out of rights hell, that’s for sure. I’m sure you can find other ways to watch or read Berserk too, but I won’t say what those are. It’s there if you go looking, though. Again, see those content warnings and there is no judgment if it’s not for you, but I do hope you enjoy. One thing to know about the 1997 adaptation of Berserk is how low-budget it is. I don’t mean this as disparagement, just that it is the reason for much of the show’s aesthetic, especially for an episode that isn’t technically part of the arc of the show. Matte paintings paired with camera pans to simulate frenzy, cheating on even basic framing such as hiding mouth movements, and a transformation that takes place entirely off-screen. On the one hand, I respect it for this episode specifically. The Black Swordsman is already probably the worst arc in the series (mostly by being the first, before Miura had figured out what it was even about yet, and it’s still not bad. We’ll get to this later too), and The Golden Age is where people started paying attention, and is also the arc the rest of the show will be adapting. On the other, it is the first episode of the show. First impressions matter, and they didn’t even adapt the good parts of The Black Swordsman. But speaking of first impressions, what do we have to work with? The Black Swordsman is Guts at his lowest point. He is a lone wanderer, going from town to town and fighting both demonic creatures in human form called Apostles and specters haunting him because of a cursed brand on his neck. He is missing his right eye and his left hand, even if he has a nifty brace that doubles as both a repeating crossbow and a cannon. He has a massive hunk of metal strapped to his back, much too big to be called a sword. If you ask a random person to describe an edgelord, the result would likely not be too far from Guts as described here. But what’s important, then, is even with all of this brooding, there are still moments of benevolence. The very first thing Guts does after walking into town is save a girl from a sexual assault. His big nihilistic speech as he wails on the Snake Baron is still one in defense of humanity. In terms of the world, the world of Midland is in ruins. More importantly, it is in ruins because of the supernatural. I have already mentioned the Apostles, each of whom has a magical artifact called a Behelit, but there is also mention in the opening pub scene of a “Lord Griffith,” a name Guts later associates with one of the five monstrous figures of his hallucination. It’s important to point out the magic, I think, because it’s about to become increasingly hard to find. This is one of the main adaptational changes the show makes from the manga. As much supernatural as possible has been excised from the Golden Age. Magic is a violent and disruptive force here, and its return signals the age’s end. Put a pin in that for later too, though. By revealing itself to be an in-medias res opening episode, The Black Swordsman leaves us with a question: How? How did things get to be this way? What connection does Guts have with Griffith to drive him berserk at the mere hallucination of his presence? And who are those other people in the ending credits? Oh, I suppose I’m jumping ahead of Void here to ask it the episode’s way. See you next week, -r Next time: For what do humans come into being? What goals do they set for themselves in life? And why do they meet those destined to become important to them? Everything may rely solely on fate. ←←Previous Topic (Satoshi Kon) -- Next Post→
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    As Carmen followed Brian into the house, the girl couldn't help but feel a bit cautious walking into a stranger's place. Looking at the interior she was even less certain about being there, worried that one word would end with her getting blasted by some kind of large caliber gun the man might've had. Thankfully, as the man who was leading the charge, Brian had elected to speak up first. Of course she was surprised as he had elected to sign her up for note taking duty, causing her to hastily pull out her phone and open up a note taking app as he asked his questions. "So I guess this makes you Holmes and that girl Watson then?" The man grunted and shrugged. "Out back by the tree line, that way." He pointed towards the window at the opposite end of the room. The girl felt an immediate sense of dread as she was reminded of the last case they had done, though continued jotting down her notes. "D-did it - er, well, what kind of uh...dog was it?" "A ghost one I guess." "Eee- er...right...did it uh, do anything...besides, well, er howl?" "If it did I didn't see anything, I only actually saw it for a bit. What'd you need to know all this for anyway can't you just...cast some spell and make it go away?" The girl froze in place at his comment. She wasn't actually sure how to answer this. The obvious thing to do was say, "no it's more involved then that," but she was certain that he wouldn't take too kindly to that kind of answer and she was already on edge being in this place as it was. As such, she didn't say anything. And she didn't think she would have to. Instead, she decided to leave all of that to her partner as she immediately backed out of the house saying, "I-...I'll go look at the trees..." On her way out the man asked Brian, "Is that girl...all there?" Making her way back down the driveway and hill, the girl walked around to the back of the house seeing a patch of dead grass, where presumably a pool had once been, and trees. Lots of trees. The only thing between her and the trees was the large open space of the yard. Remembering Brian's words though, and unsure if there was any other ghost animals around, the girl slowly walked across treating every step as if it could be one that causes her to plunge down into the earth below. Walking up to trees, finally, though she could tell that they were in fact...trees. However, there was something within the trees that caught her off guard. A beast that stood motionless, staring at her with such intensity as if it were peering into her soul. So, naturally, Carmen froze in place. Staring back, in equal measure of fear to its intensity. Neither her nor the deer that she had come across moving for the time being.
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    ye, I clicked on the thread at midnight that day, saw what the song was and the length and was like "I'll listen to this tomorrow gotta go to bed" and forgot At first I felt it was almost TOO faithful of a cover but then he got a bit soul with it Its not his fault that's the song but a bit too many "yeah" and instrument breaks for my personal taste But overall 8/10 he did a great job
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    gonna bring back the anime blag this week, i think
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    Sabrina was relieved to see that the beast had run off. Perhaps it was a bad idea to let it go and yet she couldn't possibly have brought herself to attack the creature when it had stopped fighting. To Abby she said, "Surely our auras were too great for the beast! Even something like that knows not to, uh, mess with us!" “Glad we found you when we did,” Sabrina turned around to see that the other two had joined them. Marshal said something about their strategy having overcome a fight of their own to which Sabrina responded. "Y-yes we too bested our foes with a sound strategy." The strategy in question being 'hit them hard and fast' which of course was the best strategy of all. When Marshall made mention of patrols it brought to Sabrina's mind what she had seen up on the tower. "Oh, yeah, there's a lot of them in the courtyard too...I think that's where the big bad might be hiding. There was a big building with those...rod things in it. I thought about jumping down to take him on but....er...I thought it would be rude to not let you have the glory too!" "But, what if this stronghold and compound happen to be like...of a higher level than we are? A-Again, in an open world style game, while the player is free to choose wherever they want to go, it's sometimes in the player's best interest to start small and then work up to the big things. They could skip ahead...but sometimes the results are disastrous." Sabrina frowned at that. It felt off to her somehow. It took her a moment of thinking before she realized why. It wasn't the first time that they've decided to avoid a fight because it might be too strong. And if that kept up.... "...I-I know we're already here...a-and probably talking you guys out of this is out the window at the present...but I-I wanted to try and l-let you know this so we can properly figure out a plan of attack. So...that being said...d-do we have a plan of attack available...?" At the gate something similar had happened. Sabrina had wanted to attack but the others seemed to want to try another way. Her fear of annoying them all had kept her from insisting then. And now that they had gone the other way once again this guy was torn about what to do. If things kept up this way they'd never get anything done would they? What was the point of heroes if they hesitated at every challenge? With this thought in mind bolstering her confidence Sabrina spoke up. "The plan is the same as it ever was. We find the leader and take him down. If anything tries to stop us we take them down too!" She looked around at the other three. Inwardly her heart was pounding and she could feel her hands getting sweaty but she knew she had to keep going. If she didn't then her heroic second life would amount to nothing. She couldn't let that happen again. She looked directly at Gene then. "If you guys got a plan then say it, otherwise I plan to go find my way to the person we're here to fight and fight him. And win!"
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    I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor I will satisfy with food. -Psalm 132:15 (NIV)Melissa was incredulous. “Three squads for the whole city? What, did you just split up by city level then?” That wasn’t a question she really expected an answer to, and put a hand up to keep Natasha from spending the time typing out an answer. What had struck Melissa was the loneliness of it -- and this was coming from somebody like her! Mauvache had, at the very least, provided them with teammates in the first place, but the amount of people or things that could possibly ever relate to your own experience with Prana was dwindlingly small. And this was coming from somebody like Melissa! She was somebody who came with two companions bolted into her brain and a side of fries if you asked nicely enough. She was glad to have run into Salvo when she did, and Natasha mere hours later. And Dora, and Rei (who she still needed to text back). Back home, everybody had the base classification of “duelist.” There were subcategories, of course, but everyone had a basic understanding of the mechanics of Duel Monsters. Some were more enthusiastic than others, but you could expect a reasonable answer to a card-related issue if you approached somebody at random. Melissa had heard tales of dogs and cats even being able to provide if you issued them a challenge. Even though the idea always seemed fanciful, she believed it. And hadn’t she been given that Rain Bozu card seemingly at a stranger’s whim, kickstarting this entire thing? She resolved to be extra patient with other Guardians and their struggles with things Melissa still found commonplace. Natasha was still typing away at her phone, as slow as ever, but companionship was a finite resource, and as stingy as Melissa was with it, it would be a shame to lose it, especially if it was her fault. There was hustle and bustle outside of Melissa and Natasha’s booth, but Melissa did not pay it much mind. She thought it was strange how a single person was allowed to eat even after signage and staff attitude had implied easier, but she did not try to trouble the waitstaff for an explanation. It seemed like there was a prior history, and Melissa had bigger things to worry about, especially when her food had finally arrived. She was hungrier than she had expected, but the gumbo was a formidable opponent. Melissa’s strategy for the meal was sound, a practiced set of movements that had served her well at every unwanted youth group outing with too much food. The trick was, she found, to be constantly moving. You did not want to move quickly. That would make you sick, and Melissa had enough experience with nausea that it was a feeling she wanted to avoid. The opposite was also a trap, though. Eating at a glacial pace would only get the digestive system to send signals to the brain to stop well before the meal was completed. But to always be taking small bites, chewing them thoroughly, and accepting them into herself, would take her at least a respectable way into this crock pot of a plate that got dumped on her. This might have been easier with a conversation, but Melissa did not want to interrupt Natasha and her own food. It also might have helped if her drink order hadn’t been so horrid. Whose idea was this, anyway? Melissa had some primal fear that it could have been the Virgin Mary herself, and even though the idea was too far-fetched to adapt into her theology, it still popped back into her head every time she took a look at her glass. Melissa hoped she had proven herself as a serious eater by the time she had conceded defeat, but she also never wanted to eat at Eating For Two again in her life, so the partial accomplishment (if that even meant anything, and Melissa was pretty sure it did not) rang hollow. That did not mean she hadn’t enjoyed herself. The food was delicious despite its portion sizes, and Natasha had been a good sport. Melissa offered to pay for at least half of the bill. It was late when she made it home; it was practically almost time for another meal, but Melissa still wasn’t hungry. Another hope: she hoped she would be hungry in time for breakfast the next day. For now, though, there was not much else to do but check on Bartleby and proceed through the rest of the night. Or so she thought. “Oh, hello, Fen,” Melissa said, rounding the corner through a doorway on the ground floor. “And, um, Kelsey, right? I’m not interrupting anything, am I? How was your day?”
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    "More hands on deck, easier to cover a wider area. The lot of ya likely brought some useful magicks or abilities with you. May as well ask for some help, ya know? Maybe y'all are the type to help people for no reason, maybe ya think it's mutually beneficial, maybe ya feel indebted. I'm not picky." It seemed easy enough for Jet to understand, not much but enough. Perhaps his little summoning ability he had did happen to be one to help others...the question, for now, was how? For the moment, it was time hear the other Sojourners and their takes on things. First was Cade. "Presumably you'll be wanting us to help with your recon work. I can imagine that it would be a lot of work for one individual... But why fresh arrivals who hardly know a thing about this place? Surely there are locals who could be of more help? Knowing the area well enough seems like a boon that we don't have the luxury of, after all." Now this question brought up a new one issue that Jet wasn't expecting and it was somewhat worrying the young man. From what Zeru explained, it was more stranger than it happened to be here on Equinox. And it was expounded upon specifically when the other Sojourner, Sakura, said a few things here and there. "The locals are... not the most willing. Don't get me wrong, they're perfectly kind and helpful, at least in these parts. But have ya talked to them much? Surely ya have in the past week, right, Laurent?" "...The librarian, I suppose. I've been rather distracted, with everything that has happened, you understand. Interacting with the locals hasn't been urgent." “Don’t they seem a bit like… ya know… not all there?” "Never payed enough attention to them to notice." Then it seemed to be the best time to ask Zeru more about this. "I-If they aren't a-a-all there...a-and according to her a-a-a-assessment...w-we need to h-h-help them...and fill the blanks h-h-however we can? O-Or am I misunderstanding...? Help t-them become...t-t-themselves?" “Mmm… not exactly. I’m unsure we can ‘help’ them. The people of Equinox are a mix of those who are fully there, those who are going through the motions, and Sojourners. The former category is sparse. We can help the Sojourners, help those who are still there, and just… don’t treat the rest badly.” "...t-then I guess I'm n-not understanding. Are t-those on E-Equinox are...f-for lack of a better t-term, complacent, i-in their motions...? The g-goal is the Sojourners, t-though...t-that part I get...b-but i-if the locals aren't w-w-willing to help...how do we g-go about this?" This was getting a bit confusing in the grand scheme of things, unfortunately. But Jet was determined to get some sort of answer for this. “Think of them like… characters in a game. I’m not sure if y’all would remember video games, so I’ll also say like… extras in a movie. Side characters in a book. The locals who are stuck in their flow aren’t going to hinder us. The inn y’all stayed at was run by them. They’ll be helpful, but they won’t go out of their way, just follow their invisible script.” Background characters in a sense...extras...that didn't sound particularly good to Jet. But, perhaps that was just how this world worked. "S-So...treat them normally...b-but let them r-run in the background? Hmm...t-that sounds simple enough...a b-bit harsh to think that...b-but simple. A-Ask the right questions, potentially g-get answers...otherwise b-b-business as usual for them..." “Aye, yer getting it. We can help any people along the way that we can, but there are some we can’t. I even know some locals across the cities who are willing to help, they’re just busy with their own ruts.” "I-I see...i-is there specifically a way t-to separate or d-d-differentiate who's a b-background extra...and w-who's a Sojourner?" "Can ya tell the difference with me?" "...I suppose n-n-not..." "Well there ya go." So they had their work cut out for them, not sure who'd be the regulars and the Sojourners, but Jet had a feeling...wait...this was a different feeling. It was a flicker almost, Figures in his vision...he counted...eleven...no, about ten of them. No facial features, no recognizable things in vision with these individuals. No, it was more of just faint echoes...VERY faint echoes. And it seemed...familiar to him. And he had this feeling that...in any situation, they'd be able to find each other and even recognize one another. It was a fleeting feeling, but it was also one he really didn't understand in this moment, but he figured he would one day. "...w-well...in any case...I-I-I'll do my best to help." Jet simply said, though he felt a bit of deja vu in this moment by saying this.
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    With every passing day, or night, or whatever, she came to tolerate this place less and less. Her first impression had been bad enough, and nothing really had happened to improve on the tone and image that set for her. It all started with simply appearing in the middle of nowhere. She couldn't remember how or when, but she knew she wasn't from here at least. And that was just another layer to the absolute shit cake that had been her time in Equinox. She knew she wasn't from this world, but she couldn't remember where she was actually from. In fact, she couldn't remember much of anything! Just that she had healing powers. Other than that? Total blank! Her past experiences, the places and things she'd seen, friends, family, all of it gone. She couldn't even remember her own name. Zeru had been on the receiving end of one extremely girl's frustrations when they asked her for her name, and she realized she had no idea what it was. So, she had to come up with one on the spot. She'd settled on Sakura. The only thing on her that stood out was her hairpin, and it reminded her of a sakura tree. Which meant that her best clue to her identity was "a world where sakura trees exist." Not the best start. As a general rule, Sakura only went back to the hotel Zeru had generously paid for her to stay in for very brief periods. Go there, sleep, leave. Her every waking hour - or whatever resembled an hour here - was spent doing whatever trivial task she could get her hands on, in search of anything that would spark something in her memories. To no success, of course. Sometimes she was rewarded in some way which was nice, but if she had to hear one more "thank you for your help," Sakura would start considering using the gun on her for its intended purpose. Oh, right, she had that. Sakura's decision to open-carry an entire pistol was probably one of the first two things people tended to notice about her. On this particular day/night/whatever, Sakura elected to check in with Zeru. If, by check in, one really meant go to Zeru's abode and idle away the hours in case something came up that could give her a potential lead on who she was. Call it a hunch, but she had a feeling that would be the play today. And, after some time, something interesting at least came up. Two somethings, in fact! Other Sojourners. Neither of which made a particularly astounding first impression to her. "How bout the rest of ya? Care to weigh in and answer Mr. Laurent's question?" "They don't have any special reason to go out into the barren nothing out there, if I had to guess" Sakura answered, tracing out the shape of something person-like on the wall with her finger. "If I didn't potentially have something to gain by going out there, you can rest assured I wouldn't bother helping, either." "Well, yer... not entirely wrong. But that's not quite it, either." "Then by all means, enlighten us." “Don’t they seem a bit like… ya know… not all there?” "Never payed enough attention to them to notice." Some pointy thing on the head of whatever person-like entity she was "drawing" on the wall to finish it up, before finally looking directly at the other two Sojourners. "Which means it's up to your other guests to fill that blank in themselves, if they noticed something like that."
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    TIL T-Pain covered war pigs and ozzy said it was his new favorite version
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