Cenriel AcademyKaden Jannsen

"Oh, sorry, you were there? I hadn't realized. I was too busy writing. What do you want?"

a character in “Masks of the Soul”, as played by Witless

Factions, Families, Clans, and Empires

Lower Level Itex


Kaden Jannsen

11th Grade

The Moon

If Itex, blurb?
The real world? Mine? Of course mine is better.

Which Masks do they possess?
The Moon



Kaden is a relatively quiet young man, but he does show signs of rebellion. While he normally sits in a corner or in his seat daydreaming away, he will not hesitate to speak his mind. Even if others dislike what he talks about. He can sometimes get on rants but catches himself midway most of the time.

One thing that he will easily get onto a rant about is religion. He doesn't understand how people can think that one being is responsible for creating and taking care of the entire universe. And even if that were true, why would that being care about the thoughts of insignificant beings such as humans? It makes so much more sense that every little part of the world is handled by a different being.

Kaden can almost always be found reading or writing and generally loses track of time while doing so. He gets irritated when interrupted, but he calms down very quickly. There's normally a gap of an hour or two before he looks at his cell phone when he gets entranced by writing or drawing, and he ends up habitually late to everything because of this. He even draws through alarms and loud noises most of the time.

He often dozes off mid-class daydreaming about his most recent story or a drawing he just did. When he's in this state, he loses all track of his surroundings and seems an almost different person with clouded eyes and a cold demeanor. When suddenly jolted out of this stupor, he sometimes unconsciously attacks the waker before he wakes. Of course, no one has gotten hurt from this. It's only a second or so before he realizes what's happening and takes control.

Despite his rebellion, he cares a lot about his family and others. He can't stand to see others get hurt and will do whatever he can to help unless he really has no other choice. He's a kind person, though he normally poses as an aloof, serious person who's always focused on his work, though only his most recent essay and related drawings.

Brief Description
Kaden is an average-sized teenager. He has hair dyed red with streaks of white throughout as an act of rebellion. Similarly, his ears are pierced, and he wears a necklace of some sort everyday. He is never in his school uniform although his parents make sure that he leaves the house with it on. He simply changes as soon as he reaches the school grounds. His eyes are a pale blue and sometimes take on a cloudy glaze to them, particularly when he's daydreaming.

He is a talented artist and writer.
He's somehow able to avoid getting in trouble for minor things like not wearing the school uniform.
He likes swordfighting and is proficient with one.
He can normally assimilate into a conversation easily.

Doing what he pleases
Chocolate. He loves anything even remotely chocolate-based. Unless it has nuts.

The real world
Being left out
Religion, particularly monotheism. He likes pantheons much better.
Coffee. For some reason, he can't stand the taste at all. He doesn't know how people can stand it.
Nuts. They just taste weird.

The sight of blood, although he can draw it without worry
Being abandoned. While he suppresses this fear normally, it comes out in his characters and writing.

Kaden has always been pushed around by his over-protective parents and rebelled against their rule. He slacks off at school, knowing that it will upset them, but they can't see any wrong in him and keep moving him from school to school in hopes that a change of scenery is all that it will take to give him motivation. Of course, this just widens the gap between them and causes him to retreat into his own world and to reject the real world.

Because of this, he rarely listens to his parents unless he knows it comes with a grave consequence. He bears with their care at home but scoffs it elsewhere. However, this just makes them want to take care of and protect him even more, so the cycle continues. It doesn't help that Kaden's an only child.

While moving to this new city, Kaden found a strange mask in the attic that he had never seen before. It was inside of a sleek, black box and seemed like it would fit him perfectly. He's kept care of it like an heirloom, but he's also curious because the appearance coincided with the beginning of his newest novel, The Sightless. It just so happened to have a magical mask that crossed the boundaries of parallel worlds to allow the user to switch places with a counterpart for some time. Of course, Kaden hasn't yet checked to see if the magic words in his story will actually work in real life. There's no way they would, right?

Speaking of The Sightless, Kaden feels good things about this book. It follows the journeys of some blind magicians and their friends. The main characters Caine, Dalin, Parse, and Lia seem to just develop on the page, and he barely needs to think about them while he's writing. It almost seems as if the story is writing itself.

Kaden arrived in Throme just in time for the new school year, so he's still getting used to his surroundings and the people at Cenriel Academy. However, things are moving pretty quickly as Itex has already approached and recruited him as the Moon. Judgement simply turned up in his room one day and confronted him about his mask, pressuring Kaden to join or else... Since he's very new to both Itex and using the mask, he's generally clueless and doesn't know how to react to most situations. He's genuinely scared of Itex's threats and tries not to get on their bad side.

Lia Maris, a character from one of his books.

He is currently writing and editing a book called The Sightless.

His mask, The Moon, also appears in this book in the hands of Caine Strauss, the main character. When Kaden dons the mask and transforms, he switches places with his character, monumentally messing up his novel.

So begins...

Kaden Jannsen's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aki Evedane Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo Character Portrait: Oskana Sonnen Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Cherry Grove Park2011-11-03 01:08:55, as written by Nivosity
Kaden Jannsen; Cherry Grove Park

When Kaden woke up, everyone was gone. He was sure he hadn't been dreaming for that long, but the Scavenger Hunt must have started already. Oh well, it's not like he was missing anything. From what he'd heard from other students, this was nothing to worry about. It was just a day to hang out with friends at the park.

There was some music in the background, probably Zensa and his band. They were actually pretty good, now that he paid attention. It seemed like they were somewhere in the park, but he didn't feel like searching for them. By the sound of the applause, there was a large enough crowd there anyway.

Well, for now at least he'd find a quiet tree to sit at and draw. Hopefully, no one would disturb him, but it was always good to learn what he'd missed. Anyway, there was always some new gossip going around. If no one felt like talking, he could always blend in with Sanya's group and learn what was happening.

Right now was a perfect time to work out his story. There was this new protagonist that he was going to introduce. He had no name for him yet, but for now he'd call him Alpha. Everything would need to be edited anyway, so why stress over a name right now? The problem was the role that he was supposed to fill. He was an enemy who changed sides later on in the book. There needed to be a turning point, an outlook change that sparked his sudden betrayal. But what could it be?

Oh well, he figured drawing might help him figure out what to do. Caine started with his sword out, determination as he fought the undrawn enemy. Next came the opposing weapon clashed against Caine's sword. Was it a mace, an axe, or another sword? He finally decided on a broadsword with an ornate handle and a large central jewel. It would play in somehow. Somehow. Finally, the actual character design. Hair color a light brown, slightly taller and a few years older than Caine, wearing a flowing red cape that frayed near the bottom, dark brown eyes that almost appeared black, pale skin similar to Caine's. The background became a bright forest before it died and became skeletal, befitting a clash of evil souls. Caine's mouth was open in a chant as he prepared to cast a powerful spell. The magic seemed to form around him as his spell neared completion.

He was so absorbed in his drawing that he hadn't noticed that his tree was only a few meters away from where Aki and Oskana had been talking. He hadn't even noticed that Zensa's music had gotten louder as he approached. Admittedly, his band had stopped playing for a little while, but it was back again with all it's intensity and distracting noise.

Oh well, he was going to just keep writing and drawing until someone approached him. It's not like there was anything else for him to do. Now for the other characters...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Aki Evedane Character Portrait: Misaki Bijou Roux Character Portrait: Coraline Starling Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Cherry Grove Park2011-11-07 04:25:43, as written by Nivosity
Kaden Jannsen; Cherry Grove Park

A scream jolted Kaden out of his trance, moving his pen slightly, messing up the picture that was appearing on the paper line by line, color by color. It was yet another new character, one without a name. A young girl with onyx hair and almost translucent skin. She was frozen in the light of the sun, shock and fear fixed on her face. But that one line made a difference. That line changed her background, the houses now uneven, crooked. And that was not what he wanted. Now it had changed, become something different. So he would have to draw it again later.

What really concerned him right now was the scream. It wasn’t far away, so he should be able to see who caused it. Looking around, he saw Misaki, Lucas and Aki in a group. Obviously not them. There were a few other people around that he didn’t recognize, and they all seemed to be going along their merry way, some glancing around in confusion before resuming their stride.

But over there, against the tree, was there someone on the ground? Yes, that Coraline girl, the one always coughing up blood. And who was that old man in front of her? She looked extremely panicked, scared of whoever this man was. There was definitely something wrong there. And Kaden wanted to know what.

Quickly packing up, Kaden started walking quickly over to her, painting in hand. She was coughing uncontrollably. And then she mouthed one word. One word that was unmistakable in its urgency. “Help.” Knowing for sure that something was wrong, he burst into a run and quickly reached her, kneeling down to the ground immediately.

“Are you okay? What’s wrong? Can I do anything to help?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Aki Evedane Character Portrait: Misaki Bijou Roux Character Portrait: Coraline Starling Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Throme2011-11-09 13:48:58, as written by Nivosity
Aki Evedane; Cherry Grove Park

While he was waiting for Lucas to leave him alone, he spotted that girl - also a member of the student council getting closer to where they were. They were surely ganging up on him, what a bother this was. But strangely enough, instead of stopping and then talking like any normal person, she proceeded to bump into Lucas, knocking him hard on his side. “Ow…” he muttered, shooting upright, holding his elbow gingerly.

“Lucas?” asked the strange girl. Her hair was blond - ah, that girl, what was her name? Mis? Whatever it was, she wasn’t a very necessary interruption. He had already been bothered enough for his patience.

“Misaki, I was just looking for you, Lie -,” Here his voice cut off as he glanced at Aki. “Leader duties. We have a Student Council meeting, and we’re late.” So that’s why he was asking about Queenie before - those maskies needed to meet up. Here, Aki sobered quickly, although no trace of it appeared on his countenance. What if the meeting dealt with him - it would be horrible for him to be found out after months of hiding.

His phone rang then, just as Aki was going to remark about the strange pause. The Maskies couldn't be doing something about - him, were they? He quickly obtained it from his pocket, before continuing to talk to Misaki. “Yeah, so we really ought to hurry. Do you see Coraline anywhere? I already talked to Gage.”

It was then that he pressed a button on his phone and a loud voice - well, noise, he couldn’t really hear what it was - started to emit from the technological device. Luckily, there was no keychain, if such a disturbing object could possess such a small and useless name. With a sheepish smile, the Kingpin left, clutching his phone.

Taking that to be his cue to leave, Aki turned away from the scene, hoping that he would be able to simply sneak back home.

A scream suddenly caught his ear, and he twirled around to see Queenie coughing on the ground. Looking in shock, he saw that Writer-Want-To-Be, Kaden, by her side, attempting to help her. Ah, so the problem could be counted solved. Not to mention, Lucas and Misaki were here after all. They had to do something to earn their student council position anyways. And thus, Aki walked away from the girl who was coughing up blood. It didn’t concern him in any way, anyways. There were people who could deal with the issue there anyways.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aki Evedane Character Portrait: The Wheel of Fortune Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Brio2011-11-11 15:25:26, as written by Nivosity
Aki Evedane/Wheel of Fortune; Brio

He was lucky he lived so close to Cherry Grove Park. The walk back to his home passed uneventfully, with many of the people giving him a wide berth. A police car trailed him for three blocks, trying to find any clues for suspicious behavior. Aki paid it no heed - why would he if the police were too stupid to realize the truth after months of this useless stalking? They hadn't figured anything out lately about what he really did to get his injuries, and he intended to keep it away.

“Welcome home,” called his father, holding a spear loosely in his hand. “How was school?” His last lesson with a spoiled five-year-old had just ended, and as usual, his father had a smile on his face. Also, his mother was nowhere to be found - probably dealing with stuff down at the embassy. She rarely had the time to even have dinner with them anymore.

“Same old, same old,” Aki replied, before heading into the kitchen, and coming out with a handful of cherries. His father must have stopped by the supermarket to pick up this goody. That done, Aki started to head up the stairs into his room. “I’ll just get to doing my homework then, Dad.” His room was, as always, neat. On the right side, there was a desk covered in neat stacks of paper, various colored pens, and a small basket half emptied of cherries. Dropping his handful there, he turned his attention to the far side of his room where there was a large window. Walking directly to said window, he threw it open.

Aki stuck his head outside, before sighing in relief as a breeze mussed up his normally neat hair. Looking back into the room, he placed his silver box on the desk, before falling onto his bed, messing up the neat blankets. With a sudden grunt, he sat up and got up from the bed, opening up the box for the first time in a week. There, his silver mask glinted up at him as if teasing him - and knowing the personality that it imposed over his own, it probably was. He picked it up, turning it over on his hands, before placing it over his face. “Gamble on my luck,” he murmured quietly, before that aloof smile on his face turned into one of mirth.

He, The Wheel of Fortune, grabbed a handful of cherries, before stuffing them into his mouth - causing them to be covered in a reddish stain. He closed his eyes slightly, relishing the taste, before running his tongue across his lips. Ignoring the visible stain on his fingers, he immediately rushed out of the window, before spitting out a stream of cherry seeds which fell onto the street below. He was left hanging there with one hand, his feet hanging meters above the ground. With a smile, he flipped through the hair, to grab onto the roof of his house.

Pulling himself up, he glanced around at the neighboring buildings, before leaping through the air onto the neighbor’s roof, laughing as he went. He looked towards the horizon, where the sparkling lights of the shopping district caught his eyes. Perfect. Just what he wanted. That little café with the NameChanging Owner would definitely have some cherry-flavored dessert that he just had to taste. After all, the absolute world of cherries, of heaven, really, belonged to him. But - what if someone saw him?

The Wheel of Fortune pursed his lips before cheering up - it was no fun without taking risks after all. His conscience sated for the time being, he made his way to Brio, leaping from building to building in his haste. A small brown-haired boy stared at him, tugging at his mom’s sleeve, and Aki had no choice but to duck out of sight. His eyes narrowed as he spat one word towards the pair, “Useless.” They were just putting a show on for his behalf. They shouldn’t even dare to look at him - he was just there to watch and be amused, after all. From a long ways away, he saw the crowds converging on Brio’s - sheep. Useless. Boring.

But there was someone that stood out to his eyes - a certain boy that he remembered. Why would he be going to Brio’s already? Maybe something interesting was going to happen - hopefully when he had cherries on hand, of course. Aki started to mumble under his breath, “You’re boring me… see you later then!” There was a black streak across the sky, as he hid into the boy’s shadow. The boy, with his unknown friend, then entered the room, but instead of sitting down at one of the tables like Aki thought, he went straight to the RedEyedTalkativeOne. When the boy asked him a question, said red-eyed worker pointed him towards the NameChangingOwner as Aki attempted to snatch a cherry milkshake off of a customer’s table. His snatching arm was blocked when a blond-haired, blue-eyed waitress, Rie, started to talk to the customer, blocking his reach. Aki glared at her back, before mumbling under his breath again. “Useless. Simply boring.” But instead of jumping out of the shadow to teach her a lesson as he wanted to, the boy moved away, and Aki had no choice but to move with him. He grit his teeth, before the NameChange Owner was seen in front of him.

Aki could barely even try to mess with the NameChange Owner before the boy dragged him towards a room. Inside was someone whom the Wheel of Fortune had never seen before… and thus, his curiosity was piqued for the time being. 'He looks completely ridiculous,’ was his only thought about the masked figure. How long this attention was captured depending on the next events...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo Character Portrait: The Wheel of Fortune Character Portrait: Oskana Sonnen Character Portrait: Blithe Verday Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Brio2011-11-20 15:06:32, as written by Nivosity
Wheel of Fortune; Brio

Aki felt his attention start to escape from the situation when the stranger did nothing but place spoonfuls of whatever it was into his mouth. It didn’t make things better that he ate in such an attention-grabbing way, with the spoon flipped upside-down with every bite. His eyes looked at it, as he hopped on one foot closer to the dessert. ‘Darn it, this darn little kid. What is he doing staying so far away from that interesting dessert?’ But strain as he might, Aki could get no closer to the dessert. Reaching out one hand forlornly in that direction, he was busy stretching towards the dessert. He got a whiff of it too - it seemed like something fruity. Maybe cherries? He took another deep breath, and nearly sighed with annoyance. ‘Nuts. Nuts and cherries don’t go very well together.

Late. But fortunately for you, I’m in a good mood - this Amerstall is delicious,” the stranger chimed, before continuing to eat the NutandFruitDessert as though taunting him. With a glower in his direction, not as though he could see it, Aki wet his lips in preparation for making a grand entrance. ‘Wait… was it - Cherry Time? No, that wasn’t it. Maybe, Stop Eating that Dessert In Front of Me While I Can See?’ He bit his lip, while sitting on the ground with a pout on his face as he ran through various combinations of possible phrases. ‘Be Quiet and Let Me Talk… uh…

Getting that dessert was more important. He vaguely noted that some other people had walked into the meeting, maybe they were having some meeting for boring people, or something. There were so many things that they could be doing other than watching a stranger eat something in front of him. The stranger stopped eating, but Aki could still smell the sweet, slightly honey-like smell that pervaded throughout the air. He must not be done and saving it for me.’ Quickly, a smile made its way on Aki’s face and his thinking became more frenzied. ‘I’m not bored anymore… You should go put on a show… for my entertainment.’ But at this point, none of the phrases he could think of seemed to work.

He watched with slightly detached eyes as the stranger pulled out a scythe and used it to threaten the fellow students. ‘This is the weirdest excuse of a club that I’ve ever seen. What do they do? Get threatened by Mister Scythey here after being teased with food?’ It was then that something finally clicked inside his mind. “Ah, now you’re being interesting!” He stated with a triumphant smirk, before his form flickered into view. “Hey, Scythey-boy, are you going to finish that NutandFruitDessert or not? I can still smell it quite well, or are you going to share and be useful for once?” He stood up, before stepping closer to the stranger, carefully ignoring the sharp edge of the scythe as he did so.

“It’s bad manners to hog all of it for yourself,” he stated to the strange mask-wearing person. “Ah, don’t say that you want to be known as a jerk - that’s just stupid and boring.” He stepped closer to the dessert, before picking up the spoon to place some of the cold stuff inside his mouth. He promptly spat it out. “What is this? Apricot?” He turned to glare at the stranger, with a frown on his face. “Come on, you didn’t have the common sense to pick something better than apricot? You’re about as useless as a cherry tree that just grows flowers and no cherries. Apricots are too close to the taste of honey, and therefore, it’s too sweet. No - you would be better off with cherries, of course. Cherries.”

He threw the spoon behind his shoulder, before turning his attention to the metal package with the clear lock. His eyes brightened, and he threw the white scarf over his shoulder, before stretching one arm towards it. “Lemme have that,” he ordered with a grin. “Is it a present?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo Character Portrait: The Wheel of Fortune Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Brio2011-11-24 04:30:47, as written by Nivosity
Kaden Jannsen; Brio

You, Moon. Tower. Chariot. There should be a package waiting down by Liron Pier which Itex needs retrieved. However, since you’re all late, you have just about... nine minutes before the appointed time.”

Kaden and the others had absolutely no time to waste at all. They needed to get to Liron Pier right away and could not stay any longer. Kaden doubted he could even run at top speed to make it there in nine minutes, but he had to try. He immediately turned and rushed out the door, not worrying about anything else happening in the room behind him. However, he did hear a voice say something about something “interesting” and something about fruit, “apricots” and “cherries” was it?

Oh well, he couldn’t listen in on the conversation right now. He’d have to ask someone later what had happened. Kaden ran out from the back room into Brio. It was then that he realized that he should try not to stand out and slowed down, entering a fast, purposeful stride as he walked out of the cafe. When he finally exited, he began his mad dash, the lengthy sprint to Liron Pier. Hopefully he wouldn’t be too late, and the package would still be there. Or maybe the deliverer would wait for a little while to make sure that the correct person picked up the package? It was worth hoping because that’s all Kaden could think of to do right now.

The only other question in his mind right now was what the Tower and Chariot were doing. Why hadn’t they left right away? Did they have some way to get there faster than Kaden did? He could only hope so. Otherwise, they would all be punished. Probably severely.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: En2
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OOC Notes

Setting: Liron River Pier2011-12-07 05:16:22, as written by Witless
Kaden Jannsen; Liron River Pier

Kaden arrived at the pier, mask on face, panting slightly from the effort of running here. He had made a slight commotion early on but remembered to put on the mask soon enough. Few people would likely even remember that there was something wrong, that there had been someone dashing madly through the streets only moments before. It was one of the benefits that seemed to come with this strange mask.

Where was the person he was supposed to meet? Was there anyone else here yet? Kaden couldn’t see anyone else with a mask, in fact, there didn’t seem to be anyone around at all. Where were the Chariot and the Tower? Would they arrive soon, or would he have to search for the person he was to meet by himself?

Kaden began walking around the pier, noting that it was completely empty, a rare sight and likely Itex’s work. There was a smell of blood and brine, a fishy smell that seemed dead, over near a pier further down. And sure enough, there were a few fish lying scattered on the pier, pierced through the center by some object, leaving a hole. And at the end of the pier was a girl. Well, a girl with wings and a red blindfold.

It wasn’t too late, right? He was only a few minutes late, anyway. It wasn’t like he hadn’t rushed out as soon as he found out about this appointment. Oh well, it was worth a try, and she did have a black box in her hand, those boxes that Itex seemed to love so much.

“Hello, I’m here to retrieve something. Judgement sent me.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: En2
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OOC Notes

Setting: Liron River Pier2011-12-15 16:14:41, as written by Nivosity
??? ; Liron Pier

A minute ticked away. And still, she could not sense the thudding beat of a hurrying little students that should have been here. Neither could she sense that distinctive irony smell of blood. How interesting. Did Judgement lose it again and end up murdering the whole lot? Or maybe, just maybe, those children had gotten caught up in other affairs. It was just to be expected, but sparing them just because of their age was biased - and couldn’t do. She felt her side, before taking the slender box back in her grasp; it wouldn’t be any good for her if it got lost anyhow.

She sighed wearily, before getting on her feet. Her previous mirth at the idea of being able to remove a few of the complications in her way had darkened upon remembering the mountains of paperwork that she would need to remove. To make matters worse, there were a few True Masks in the mix - how annoying. She would have to regain ownership of those True Masks before the death of its owner, and dealing with the coercion would be such a bother. So was obtaining a few of the unMasked to take their places… logistics were always annoying.

Anyways, all of her underlings were too far away to aid in helping her - and she didn’t want to ruin the perfect silkiness of her one glove. The blindfolded woman frowned, and glanced downwards, annoyed at the feeling of cold, wet flesh touching the rough wood of the pier.

She glanced back upwards, her gaze snapping to the horizon. She could hear someone coming in her direction - a loud someone who must have been in a hurry. “Hello, I’m here to retrieve something. Judgement sent me.

The voice was young and male. ‘So those Lower Level Itex have finally deigned to show up.’ She narrowed her eyes under her blindfold, deeply irritated, while the veins in her right hand became slightly more noticeable as she made a fist. The winged woman flapped her white feathery wings, churning up the air around her, and rose up a few feet into the air. She always liked to be taller than anyone that she had to deal with - especially when they were little better than the unMasked members of the Itex.

“I was under the impression that there would be more of you arriving here. I vaguely remember Judgement saying there would be three,” she said melodiously. “Was there some kind of trouble perhaps? Did that dear Judgement of mine decide that some of you weren’t worthy to live?” Underneath that voice of silk was a steel - there was a reason why she had risen so high up in the hierarchy. Her nostrils flared when the only thing she could smell was fish, and just the slightest hint of blood. From the fish, of course, not the new little arrival. Which means Judgement might have actually held on to his scythe without painting it? She would have to congratulate him on his growth in self control.

“Please do explain,” she stated again. “I have to know whether or not I have to punish you, of course. As you’re quite a number of minutes late. Exactly three minutes, six seconds, if you were counting.” She always loved being able to tell the time no matter what - it was almost like a gift for her. “As I’m feeling particularly kind at the moment, you have thirteen seconds to get your excuse blurted.” Exactly enough time to blurt out a couple of sentences, especially from those loose lips of students, was it not?

“Please do hurry,” she reminded, allowing these few words to ride on the wind she was beating up. Maybe she had overestimated his speaking capabilities. Maybe instead of thirteen seconds, they would need twenty-three… No. There was no changing the verdict after all. She opened her lips again, hoping the child would realize what was going to happen to him if he didn’t hurry up. “The sweepers have already left for the week - it would be horrible to see that there is a new crimson stain.”

“Nineteen,” she started to count down. “Eighteen…”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: En2
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OOC Notes

Setting: Liron River Pier2011-12-17 03:15:58, as written by Witless
Kaden Jannsen; Liron River Pier

The woman turned at Kaden’s voice, and she was flying, wasn’t she? Those were wings on her backs, weren’t they? And they worked? How was that possible? Was it special effects? Wires? Or were they actually real? Kaden still wasn’t used to this new reality that he had been introduced to by this Itex group, but it seemed like these wings were truly what they seemed: wings. Did that mean that these masks really did transform the wearer into someone, something better?

But this woman, still unnamed, was saying something. Kaden figured he should be listening to her; she seemed used to holding a lot of power, and he heard Judgement’s name. He caught the end of the sentence: “...that some of you weren’t worthy to live?”

Was she talking about the Tower and Chariot? So Judgement really was inclined to kill people... maybe it wasn’t a bad idea to be wary of Itex? They seemed to love blood and killing; there were fish on the dock here, presumably killed by this woman. And punctuality seemed to be their trigger. Sadly, that was not Kaden’s strong point.

“Please do explain. I have to know whether or not I have to punish you, of course. As you’re quite a number of minutes late. Exactly three minutes, six seconds, if you were counting. As I’m feeling particularly kind at the moment, you have thirteen seconds to get your excuse blurted.”

Thirteen seconds? Thirteen seconds??? Did she really think that was enough time to explain that everyone else was late and Judgement had only told them moments ago? It was going to be a challenge to say enough fast enough.

“... it would be horrible to see that there is a new crimson stain,” she was finishing as she began counting. “Nineteen, eighteen...” Wait, nineteen? Didn’t she say that Kaden only had thirteen seconds to speak? Oh well, it was time to make use of this extra time.

“Sixteen...” And Kaden began, as fast as possible. “Everyone was late to Brio, including me, though I was the first.” “Thirteen...” “Judgement waited for others to arrive, eating some fruity dessert, and he told us you were here expecting Tower, Chariot, and myself.” “Nine...” “I left upon hearing this and ran here as quickly as possible.” “Seven...” “It was only twelve minutes ago, and I got here as quickly as possible.” “Five...” “I have no idea what happened to the others, but they might arrive soon.” “Three...” “I’m only here as instructed by my superiors.” “One...”

It would be useless to cringe in fear, to show weakness, so Kaden simply stood there, looking straight at this strange woman and waiting for her verdict. There was little else to do except keep those words in his mind. Those ones from his book. Mens amens coepit. The insane mind begins.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: En2
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OOC Notes

Setting: Liron River Pier2012-01-07 09:46:31, as written by Nivosity
??? ; Liron River Pier

What a pity. She had changed the verdict after all - even with the blindfold, she was unable to maintain her perfect balance and justice. How upsetting. But more importantly, the witness was continuing, and she, as the judge of the entire world, had to pay attention in order to make a verdict.

But still, her attention wavered. Listening to those few sentences spill out of the student’s mouth, she had caught a slight pattering of footsteps from another arrival - these soft steps could only belong to the owner of the Chariot. Judgement had said something about the Chariot.. but she couldn’t quite remember what. Once again, there was no more blood to be smelt, but there was still one member missing. But, that didn’t matter, of course.

So, in the end, this pause had been their fault. Not Judgement taking his sweet time in ordering them - as he was quite prone to… not paying attention to his duties as usual. She felt a smirk curl its way across her features, and she folded her white wings with a snap. She remained in the air for a split second, before the lack of support caused her to plummet through the air at a speed that would have injured her, if not broken something, had she hit the ground. Instead of fear, all she could feel was the exhilarating rush of adrenaline. She snapped both feathery wings open at the last second, and felt a burning pain in the small of her back. Her speed decreased, and as she snapped to a halt nearly a few millimeters from impact, landed on the pier lightly.

“Dessert, you say?” she murmured, mostly to herself. “He always did like apricots.” Raising her voice slightly - it was widely known in headquarters that the younger their subordinates were, the louder you had to talk, she continued. “Very well. Then, Itex Members. I fear that I have to fix Judgement’s overlooking of your… guilt.” One gloved hand lifted into the air, and the other tugged at the red ribbon there. “In that case, it has been decided that blame for this lack of punctuality lies solely in yourself.” The ribbon came free from the glove, and she entwined it on her two wrists, before continuing.

“As this is your first offense, and you are still unused to your duties and how you may do them, I see no point in spilling blood through this type of minor offense - for the first time only, of course. There will be no punishment, for the time being.” It was then that she remembered the little box that she was holding in her hand. “You…,” here she paused as she tried to guess who exactly the student in front of her was. He had earlier said something about the ‘Tower, Chariot, and myself.” That meant that he was the..

“Moon, you will be keeping this box for the time being.” It was always safer to put it in the hands of a male. In the case of them opening the box, it would be impossible for someone of that gender to stumble upon the surprise that Itex had spent so much time crafting. “Judgement will tell you when it will be needed. As you very well know, do not open or cause any damage to this package of ours. Bring it to the basement floor of Sagaro Mall this evening, before ten. There will be a car there, which you’ll know by the license plate number - JS-878. The trunk will be unlocked, so place the box inside. The car will be driving off exactly at ten, so please do hurry.”

“You, Chariot, have a different task. You will be searching for a certain mask. A golden half mask with a pattern of alternating black and golden diamonds on one half. Chariot, you will oversee the capture of both the mask and the owner - upon success, you will inform Judgement immediately. To contact him, inform the owner of Brio that you need a reservation for one of the back rooms, and Judgement will find you shortly. I’d suggest that you get all of your masked group of Itex to work towards this goal - it is of supreme importance to the Itex cause.”

She smiled again, before nodding her head slightly. “I do apologize for the amount of work you have to do. Although -,” she stopped talking with a start, before smiling once again. “Any inquiries?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: En2
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OOC Notes

Setting: Liron River Pier2012-01-10 22:46:20, as written by Witless
Kaden Jannsen; Liron River Pier

Kaden just stood there, waiting for the verdict. He hadn’t even noticed Asuki stroll up beside him. Admittedly, she was a quiet person, but Kaden was also focused on saving himself from this woman if need be. She could very well get mad at him, and rightly so.

“Very well. Then, Itex Members. I fear that I have to fix Judgement’s overlooking of your… guilt.” Once again, the words rose to the surface of Kaden’s mind, and he almost spoke them, ready to speak them at even the slightest movement on this strange woman’s part. “In that case, it has been decided that blame for this lack of punctuality lies solely in yourself.” She began untying a ribbon, fumbling with it for some strange reason, and Kaden began to whisper under his breath. “Mens amens...”

And then she said something so surprising that he forgot what he was doing and stopped talking. Not that it mattered anymore. There was no need to figure out what those words would do. If they did anything at all. “There will be no punishment, for the time being.” Why in the world had she suddenly changed her mind again? Was this a habit of hers? It was helping him out now, but it could very well be harmful in the future...

“You, Moon, you will be keeping this box for the time being.” The box? Really? Shouldn’t someone else be keeping it? It wouldn’t be good to be once again blamed for messing up, and Kaden had almost lost this job because of a mistake. They all had almost lost the job. Wouldn’t it be better to have someone more responsible take care of this box, someone who had been with Itex for more than, say, a few weeks? This was only his first mission...

“Judgement will tell you when it will be needed.” Okay, so Kaden would be going back to Brio to await further orders? “As you very well know, do not open or cause any damage to this package of ours.” Of course. He wasn’t stupid... “Bring it to the basement floor of Sagaro Mall this evening, before ten.” Wait, wasn’t Judgement supposed to tell the time? Why did she always change her mind? This could get very confusing very quickly. Hopefully the annoyance wasn’t showing on Kaden’s face. “There will be a car there, which you’ll know by the license plate number - JS-878.” Duly noted. The number was now written in his sketchpad, later to be encoded in a drawing. “The trunk will be unlocked, so place the box inside. The car will be driving off exactly at ten, so please do hurry.” Okay, yet another time, yet again soon. Oh well, he would carry out the task and do it within the time limit. He didn’t want to find out the consequences of not doing so.

The Chariot (he had just noticed she was there) had a different task, and it didn’t seem simple either. Maybe Kaden truly had been given an easier mission? All he needed to do was deliver a box, right? There would be no fights, no difficulties, just time. And it wasn’t like he needed to open the box. In fact, he was directly ordered not to open the box. What could go wrong? It was a perfectly simple mission, and there was almost no way Kaden could mess this up. And in no way did he want to find out how punishments worked in Itex. He figured he wouldn’t be subject to too many of them, one way or another...

“Although-” She stopped and smiled. “Any inquiries?”

Okay, maybe Itex didn’t like question-asking, but how was he to know? It would be better to take the risk than to not know something important. “How long does it take to get to Sagaro Mall, and what’s the shortest route?” If nothing else, he was not going to risk getting there late. And there would likely be no time to waste getting lost. With these people, it was better to be early. “Also, which floor parking will the car be on?” Three floors were a lot to look through, and time was not there to be wasted.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: En2
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OOC Notes

Setting: Liron River Pier2012-01-19 04:17:41, as written by Nivosity
??? ; Liron River Pier

She didn’t think that they would have so many questions - but in a way, she was glad that they did. The active search for information showed that they were committed to the Itex cause… a good sign in all ways. “How long does it take to get to Sagaro Mall, and what’s the shortest route? Also, which floor parking will the car be on?” asked the Moon. This one - Judgement was the one who found him, and he was quite new to everything, and unfortunately, that seemed to extent to matters dealing with Throme as well.

One. What information does Itex have on the half gold mask. Where has this mask been seen prior to this moment. Has anyone caught a glimpse of the wearer. What abilities it is known to have. How dangerous is it. How fast and strong is it. What’s it’s observance like,” quickly asked the Chariot, rattling off questions as though there was no tomorrow. She nodded slightly, the corners of her mouth twisting upwards. How quaint - how completely focused on physical battle.

“Moon,” she stated suddenly, “do you have any friends or acquaintances?” Untangling the ribbon from her ungloved hand, she allowed the end to trail on the ground, before continuing. “It’s across the river to the left. After you cross the river, it’s about thirty minutes to the left. You’ll be sure to recognize it by the loud noises coming from the crowds of students. That’s where most people - most sane people of your age group - spend their free time after all.” She paused, before continuing with her directions. “To cross the river, take Goatstone Bridge. It’s about ten minutes down the river, and be sure to bring something to pay the toll.” Her voice was wry as she remembered the strange thing that existed on the bridge…

As she was enjoying the mental image, her blindfold slipped a few millimeters down from exactly over her eyes - and she caught a glimpse of two high school-aged children, a boy with rebelliously colored hair and a girl with long black hair. She coughed in annoyance, before one hand reached up to place the blindfold back where it should have been. Her voice slightly tighter than usual, as it wouldn’t do in any way to become more lenient due to a glimpse of the party before her, she continued. “The car will be on the first basement level, Moon. Now, go, and do not tarry.”

Turning her memory towards the Chariot’s questions, she remembered the person that had the Emperor mask, in the past. That man. Of course, it would end up being that man who would end up causing so much trouble for Itex - and in extension of that, herself. When she spoke, her voice was calm, cold, and emotionless - well, as much so as she could make it. “Cenriel Academy - the owner will have some connection with your school. He - it’ll be a he - will turn your attacks against you. High in stamina, agility, and speed. A major tactician.” Despite her best intentions, there were images of that man running through her mind while smirking, frowning, and doing various different activities. But still, she tried to objectify him as much as possible. After all, he was now just a body, wasn’t he? “It’ll be dangerous.” she stated finally. “It has escaped Itex for far too long. Remedy that error, Chariot.”

Chariot. There was something that she had forgotten to do with the Chariot. Something vital… She, then, remembered the little tool that she had hidden somewhere. “Give me your mask,” she ordered. Her expression returning to a frown as she realized that the child may not be so quick to give her mask away - she, herself, didn’t enjoy doing it either. But this child possessed a False mask - a little mask churned out and given to a tool. But still, most were possessive of their masks, no matter how they obtained it. This kid would be much the same. Underneath the blindfold, her eyes narrowed, before she placed one hand in front of her, waiting for the mask. Her voice came out clipped, cold, and annoyed. “Now, Chariot. A gift given by Itex is a gift that Itex can take away. It is not yours, but ours, and it would do for you to remember that. This time - there will be no lasting harm to either you or your precious mask, if you do as I say.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: En2
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OOC Notes

Setting: Throme2012-01-20 01:05:24, as written by Witless
*This takes place after Zensa’s post in Liron*

Kaden Jannsen; Liron->Goatstone->Sagaro

“Moon, do you have any friends or acquaintances?” Well that was rude of her... It’s not like Kaden had had much time to explore the town, and he wasn’t the most sociable of people. It had been, what, a month or two since he had moved to Throme? Of course he didn’t know the layout of the city yet.

“It’s across the river to the left. After you cross the river, it’s about thirty minutes to the left. You’ll be sure to recognize it by the loud noises coming from the crowds of students. That’s where most people - most sane people of your age group - spend their free time after all.” More jabs at his lack of a social life... but at least Sagaro was only a half hour away? That was manageable. He wouldn’t be late again at this rate.

“To cross the river, take Goatstone Bridge. It’s about ten minutes down the river, and be sure to bring something to pay the toll.” Goatstone Bridge? Well, it was time to start searching. It sounded simple enough; just keep walking until you reach a bridge. And the entire trip would take, what, forty-five minutes? Kaden would even have an hour or so to hang out in Sagaro, maybe even get some of that social life this woman thought he was lacking...

“The car will be on the first basement level, Moon. Now, go, and do not tarry.” Okay, first basement level. Noted. Now to walk all the way to Sagaro... the full forty-five minutes... He checked to make sure he had a few argen, probably more than enough for the toll, but he was going to a mall. There was surely something to buy there. As he turned to walk away, he noticed another masked individual walking toward them, the Tower. Finally.

“I was assigned to come here for a package for delivery. I am the Tower. What is the job?” He was late, but he would receive whatever punishment was due. There was no need to tell him that the job had already been given; he’d find out soon enough. Kaden walked past, on the way to Goatstone, and gave a nod of acknowledgement. He continued down the length of the river as Liron faded into the distance.

What did Itex have with boxes? Everything they did seemed to revolve around boxes and these masks they wore, both things that cover what’s inside: treasure, weapons, personality, emotions, emptiness. What did Itex do that needed this secrecy? It mattered little though; at least it was interesting. It provided inspiration for his novel, a magic system that seemed to create itself. And his drawings even seemed to have a life of their own, the characters drawn with a life that hadn’t been present before. Was this the magic of the masks, Throme, or simply Kaden’s improvement?

As Kaden began walking across the bridge, he was jolted from his musings by the sight of the strange statue. Had he heard wrong? He was sure the flying Itex woman had mentioned something about a toll, but the only thing in sight was this troll. Why did he have to give money to a troll? And a statue, no less? Oh well, those Itex were strange but controlling, and he did have some money to spare. He placed 1 argen, 51 cents in its hand and proceeded to walk past, glancing over his shoulder, curious about the significance of the huge statue on the “troll” bridge. Oh well, it was still a while until Sagaro; he had only just stepped off the walkway leading off the bridge.

It was a long walk, and it was boring to simply walk alone. There was too much time to think, to talk to himself. He needed conversation, new information to spur his story along, to get it to flow and come alive, to give it relevance. And there was no time to simply sit down and write, to sit and draw, to let the story develop itself. And even if there were, he knew that he would simply lose track of time like earlier and miss yet another deadline... So Kaden was forced to walk in silence, listening to the static around him, the conversations that didn’t concern him at all. Maybe there would be someone of interest at Sagaro? It was possible, actually pretty likely. As the Liron Pier woman had said, it was pretty popular among his classmates. He would likely see a few of them milling through stores, hanging out in the arcade, visiting the cinema, talking in the food court, walking around on the roof, skating on floor 6... He was bound to see someone he recognized.

The entrance to Sagaro Mall was now in front of him, the majestic archways reminding him of ruins, of some tourist site, maybe a museum? But it was gigantic and in pristine condition, nothing out of place, the architecture absolutely stunning in its opulence. And the extent of stores inside... there was nothing that could not be bought here, or at least nothing that most people wished for. Inside, it was even more magnificent – the contents of each floor visible thanks to the open central atrium, the escalators on each side stretching back and forth to the heavens, the giant clock placed perfectly so it could display the time to everyone in the Mall (it was now 7:53, so he had an hour or so to spend before he needed to find the car).

Kaden walked over to the directory, and something caught his eye: the Arcade. There were bound to be some interesting people there, and if not, games often had things to offer to a story, whether it’s characters, names, places, tasks, powers, weapons, really anything at all. And if well-known, the allusions made the work so much better, more relevant to the reader. He walked toward the escalators to make his way up to the 5th floor, but something caught his eye. There was a clown selling balloons at the foot of the first floor escalator. A memory stirred in the depths of Kaden’s mind, and he felt an obligation to buy one, the silver and black one that seemed to stand out. He walked up and addressed Easter.

“Excuse me, how much is a balloon?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Floor 12012-02-03 16:27:27, as written by Nivosity
Easter ; Sagaro Mall - Floor 1

He had many balloons, Easter did. Red balloons, green balloons, pink balloons, balloons with different designs, balloons in the shape of cups, dragons, and horses. If you could think of a balloon, he would have it. In a way, he was proud of his balloons - no one else in Throme had the amount of balloons that he had. True his fortune was prone to popping, but there was something important about each one. He hated selling them, he really did. Especially the ones that he had found himself running around Maybelle Avenue in his spare time. Maybe the peddler would arrive soon with some new designs soon - Easter could only hope.

But he was here to sell them after all. Says his boss. But he didn’t like his boss. No. His boss could go and jump into a puddle for as long as he wanted as long as Easter could keep his balloons. Balloons. It was shocking how something made with just a little plastic could be so enjoyable. He turned to look at his stash, looking at it with a critical eye. The green one had become a little deflated, he would have to sell that one soon. He still had a bag of those left in his house, maybe. So that one could go to someone else, he didn’t care. It was sub-par quality anyhow.

Just then he saw a high-schooler out of the corner of his eye. Easter didn’t pay him that much attention as there were many people of his age group running around. After all, they wouldn’t buy his balloons. No, it was the little kids with their poking, prying fingers that wanted to take some of his precious hoard to their house. He hated little kids. Almost as much as he hated his boss. Maybe he also hated his job. Maybe not. He didn’t mind the clown getup, it made him so much closer to his balloons. Yes, balloons and clowns went well together.

“Excuse me, how much is a balloon?”

He turned towards him with a sign of anger in his eyes. “Balloons?” he asked himself, before giving a wide, nearly inhuman smile. He would love to see this thief of balloons roasted like a pig, but he couldn’t. Maybe his dragon balloon would do the honors. “How much is it worth? A price for happiness?” Easter turned towards the boy, and stared unblinkingly. “The price of plastic and air. The price for a balloon.” Wait. No. That’s not what he was supposed to say. His boss had said something about how he wasn’t supposed to ask questions when asked one. He was supposed to give answers. Answers…

But what was the price for a balloon? It was priceless. Priceless like happiness because balloons were happiness. Sheer bliss. His eye looked around to see the price of one of the shirts that they were selling at one of the stores nearby. His balloons would be worth more than that, but since the student didn’t know the value of balloons, Easter guessed that it would do. “Twenty argen for the ones with dual-colors or designs, and ten argen for the really simple ones.” His gaze turned on the green balloon - the one that he didn’t like any more. “This one’s 69 cents,” he said flatly. “You should buy that one. It’s green.” And I don’t want it anymore. “It would be good for you.”

Wait. He was a clown. Clowns were supposed to be funny. He plucked one of his balloons from the rack, untwisted the bottom, and inhaled the helium from it. “Ahahaha,” he said in a high voice. That would do if the boy wanted funny. Looking at the balloon in his hand, he realized that it was the black and silver one. “Ahahaha. I’m a clown… and clowns like balloons” Taking the balloon that was now flat, he placed it softly, almost gingerly back on the rack. He would bring it home and administer more air to it. It was the only black and silver balloon he had. It was his favorite. It liked him as well - Easter could tell because he was a clown.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Floor 12012-02-06 12:13:57, as written by Witless
Kaden Jannsen; Sagaro Mall 1st Floor

The clown was strange, apparently extremely possessive of his balloons. He glared at Kaden, a large amount of anger bottled up about to explode, until it simply disappeared into a large (too large), mocking smile, the malice changing smoothly into falsity. But instead of an immediate answer, he began asking questions... A simple price would have been sufficient, right?

“Balloons? How much is it worth? A price for happiness? The price of plastic and air. The price for a balloon.” Being abstract of course. Joking and playing around with a customer, one who had already specified what he wanted: a balloon, or more specifically to buy a balloon. Did it matter about the material costs? Or even about the happiness gained from it? He wanted a balloon, the black and silver one, and he wanted to know the cost. Stop clowning around, and get to the point already...

“Twenty argen for the ones with dual-colors or designs, and ten argen for the really simple ones.” Twenty argen? Twenty argen? Had he heard right? That was way too much for a balloon. Who in their right minds would charge two, three, maybe four times the price of a normal balloon? Was it simply because this was a classy place? Was everyone expected to have a lot of money and pay the inflated prices without a care? Sure he wanted a balloon, but this was too much. He was getting fed up with this clown, not even bothering to hide his annoyance, about to leave as soon as this Easter finished talking. A mental note not to bother buying from this clown again.

“This one’s 69 cents. You should buy that one. It’s green. It would be good for you.” Yet again making absolutely no sense. This one was now less than a single argen? Just because it was green? No, on closer inspection, there were a few more green balloons. It was just this balloon. But it was slightly more deflated; it didn’t quite reach the height of the others. Whatever, he wasn’t buying it anyway. And anyway, the inhuman smile was getting on his nerves.

Kaden turned and walked away, headed toward the escalator and muttered, “Keep your balloons. Maybe some other time...” As he stepped onto the escalator, about to head up the Arcade, he heard an unnatural, high-pitched laugh from behind him, mocking, triumphant, and just plain annoying. He turned to glower at Easter, knowing it was he who had to be making the sound. In that single glance, one intended to be filled with anger and annoyance, he saw the balloon deflated to raise Easter’s voice: the black and silver one. The angry look fled from the shock and pain, and he gasped slightly, a hurt, almost helpless look in his eyes as they focused not on the offending clown but the deflated balloon. The balloon he wanted. Now placed, deflated and dead, on a rack to be carried home, a trophy of a turned-away customer.

The clock tolled eight o’clock as he continued his ride up a floor, each strike wrenching something inside of him, the loud sound strangely jarring. And mixed with the unexpected pain of his recent experience, he didn’t know how to react. The ride up to the fifth floor was finished in a minute or so. But he could only tell by the time passed on the clock. It seemed like it took much longer...

Arriving on the fifth floor, he headed toward the arcade, attachment to the balloon once again receding to the back of his mind. He was as he had been before catching sight of the black and silver one. It was just a balloon; he could get another one. Now it was time to play, to relax for an hour until he needed to place the box in the car, to fulfill the job for Itex ahead of time. Just to be sure, he fingered the box in his pocket, reassuring himself. And he entered the chaotic arcade, intent on finding someone he knew or maybe just play alone. Time to enjoy himself, have fun for a change!

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Floor 52012-02-15 12:56:35, as written by Witless
Aven Lengell, Kaden Jannsen; Sagaro Mall 5th Floor

Things were not starting out well. Sure, he had double ships. Sure, he had five hundred thousand points already. Sure, this could be considered a good game. By some people. But Aven was on his last ship. Where had his touch gone? By now he would have at least five ships though normally more. Something was bothering him... He let the ship die and turned around, ready to take a break, calm down, get back into the rhythm of the game. But he was stopped by a remark.

“Wow, you’re awesome! I’ve never seen anyone play like this before!” There was a kid (his student?) in front of him, a red-haired boy with sketchpad in hand who seemed entranced by the game he had just finished playing. That horrible game... How could he think it was actually any good? Oh well, he could humor him for a while, maybe get his touch back. In response, “Thanks... Kaden!” (The name had finally come to him after a brief pause. This was the new transfer student at Cenriel.) “If you’d like, you could play with me? Two-player has its charms. And it does look like you want to play, correct? Come, sit down for a while and play against me!”

Kaden looked startled, surprised, and then worried. He glanced behind him at something outside the Arcade. However, he looked back almost immediately and responded, “Sure, I have a little time, why not? You’re definitely skilled; there’s a lot I could learn. I just hope I don’t lose too horribly...”

Aven laughed in response, “Don’t worry, there’s nothing competitive about this game. You win some, you lose some, the world goes on anyway. Just have fun in the meantime, enjoy yourself, lose yourself in the game! Here, I’ll even pay for you!” He slid two argen into the machine and pressed 2-player. His hand on the joystick, a finger on the button, he entered the game and started the lesson. “You’ll be second player, so watch me for now. One trick is to get a second ship early on. There will be a Boss that tries to get your ship...” He continued to explain a few of the tricks he’d learned, eager to teach his new pupil. Maybe this would be a better game after all...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Sagaro Mall2012-03-11 05:09:26, as written by Witless
Kaden Jannsen, Aven Lengell; Sagaro Mall Floor 5 -> Basement

*tap* *tap* *tap* Rhythmically pressing the button, Aven shot his missiles toward the enemy aliens. This was a much better game, and having an audience somehow helped. It calmed him down, pushed him to show off and do more than he ever could have expected. He was already past his previous score, and he had more lives than would be shown on screen. Sure, it was mean to not die, to not let his student have a chance, but there was no way he was giving up his streak simply to be nice to someone. Anyway, he had been nice; he had shown the student (he couldn't waste the energy searching for a name) some tricks: the timing of the waves, the different types of enemies and how points worked for them, the usage of the tractor beam to get a double ship. Wasn't it worth it simply to sit there and watch a master at work? He'd get his chance, and until then, he'd be entranced by Aven's prowess at the game. Sure, Aven couldn't look over now, but he was sure that student was already sitting mesmerized. It made perfect sense. He was already nearing a million, and there was no sign of him faltering any time soon. This would be the day he beat the high score, even if ACE had beaten him by over two million... He'd show him not to mess with AWL anymore... *tap* *tap* *tap*

Kaden watched as Aven flew through the game, killing enemy after enemy, missing few if any of his shots, each attack going where it was supposed to, each enemy dying soon after arriving on screen, the timing perfected to make getting maximum points easy. This was truly a master at work. Kaden was getting drawn into the game just by watching, and ideas kept flowing into his head. Why not make a character so entranced by a game that he was eventually absorbed into it, became a part of the world, began to live in the world he was so enamored of? Why not make a futuristic world where gaming was just a part of everyday life, maybe where everyday life took place, a virtual reality world that had replaced the Earth when it had gone to ruin? Why not make a book about space battles, about a man saving his planet, the galaxy even, from hostile alien invasion? Or even just document the travels of a character traveling through space? And with space comes the connected idea of time. So time travel? That could be very fun to write, and would it be backward or forward? Where would the character be going and why? How would changes in the normal order of things affect the "present day" time? Would things be automatically corrected? Would it just be impossible? Would it be as if in the history that we know it, the time-travel person was already there, even if he himself didn't know it? Or would the changes actually affect things? And how greatly? Would there be some measures to stop people from changing the future, or some way the fix the changes? Hmm... that could be an interesting thing to do, making it so- Suddenly, he was drawn from his reverie by a loud noise, a bell tolling repeatedly, sounding throughout the entire mall. He glanced at the game, surprised that it was already over a million, but it made sense, since he hadn't been bothered by Aven to go and take his turn. He felt bad about missing out on finishing the game, but he had a job to do, and he wasn't going to be late to this one.

Glancing at the clock to make sure it truly read 9:00 pm, Kaden got up from his seat. "I'm truly sorry, but I have to go now. There's something that I need to buy, and then I need to go home. Maybe we can do this game another day? Good luck!" Aven didn't so much as glance at him, but it seemed like he gave a slight nod. At any rate, Kaden simply walked quickly out of the arcade and walked toward the escalator. Remembering a few hours ago, he changed his mind and took the long way to the basement: the elevator. He pressed the button and waited, watching as the number slid down to the basement (down? Yes, it truly was going down...) and then paused before going up, stopping at 3 and then stopping again at 5. There was another person on the elevator, and he was still going up, it seemed. The elevator went up two floors and stopped at the seventh, letting the man off. In the meantime, Kaden continued sketching in his sketchpad and waited for the elevator to begin its plunge to the bottom. There seemed to be stops on every floor now, but Kaden stepped out finally into the basement along with a few others, checking the number he was searching for once more before closing his pad: JS-878.

As he was about to go searching the cars, he noticed a boy standing in the lot on his phone, looking confused and for some reason slightly out of place. It was Lucas, the student council president, and luckily he hadn't seen him yet. How would Kaden explain what he was doing here? What could he use as a cover before the car left? As he searched around for a suitable hiding place, he noticed a familiar-sounding license plate: JS-878, between 8ST-3N0 and Y6-84Z. Luckily, it was behind Lucas, so he wouldn't see him if he went there, but it was safest to wait until he was gone. An idea popped into his head, and he moved to 8ST-3N0 and sat down in front of the dark green convertible, leaning back against it as he opened his sketchpad and began drawing while paying close attention to the movements of Lucas. And from here, he could hear the last few words said over the phone. "...in the parking lot." So he was here for a reason? Kaden continued to listen to the conversation as he drew absentmindedly, building his alibi for being here and keeping watch on his target at the same time. He would find a time to slip in the package if at all possible, but he would not fail this mission, no matter what. Now he just had to wait for Lucas to go away and do whatever he needed to do...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Basement2012-03-16 06:17:45, as written by Cienpher
Lucas Toland; Sagaro Mall, Basement Floor

“I’m not trying to frustrate you ,” Lucas sighed into the receiver. Really now, Liesel didn’t have to react so severely to everything. It wouldn’t take more than five minutes to get to the roof could catch an elevator. Besides, the others were already there – it wasn’t as if his presence was completely necessary.

“Alright… Okay… I’ll go back right – ”

“Excuse me, coming through,” a man called from behind Lucas, catching the boy off guard. It seemed that while Liesel was ranting, the elevator had made a second trip up and back down again. The sole passenger was a man in blue uniform with his rather large cart of boxes – probably some kind of shipment for the department store.

“Sorry,” Lucas said, quickly stepping aside and out the elevator lobby to let the worker through. He vaguely wondered what could be in those boxes, but was interrupted by Liesel promptly trying to rush him to the roof. “I’m going right now,” he said before ending the call. Well, maybe hanging up like that was kind of rude, but it felt as if all he had been hearing that night were complaints or some semblance of scolding.

Slipping his phone into his pocket, he took one last look around the parking lot – pretty crammed with cars but surprisingly few people – but just as he turned to leave, someone caught his eye. Yet another familiar face, fortunately not bleeding this time. Suddenly alert, he grabbed the bloodstains across the front of his shirt. ‘Right… I hope Aki’s alright,’ Lucas thought as he tried to match a name with the figure. Of course – it was Kaden. Lucas wasn’t about to forget him after what he did to help just earlier that day.

‘Coraline wanted me to thank him…’ so perhaps it was a fortunate coincidence, but was it alright to approach? It seemed that he was preoccupied, sketching the scene of the basement. In the end, Lucas decided that a quick word of thanks wouldn’t hurt… although the bloodstains were a bit of a problem. Well, Lucas didn’t know when he’d see Kaden again – it was so hard to find people at school – so he tried his best to hide it with his hand. He would just have to hope that Kaden didn’t notice, or at least, didn’t bring it up.

“Kaden,” he called walking over, smiling as he would at school. “I didn’t expect to see you here as well. It looks like Sagaro is more popular with our school than I thought.” He’d have to make this brief if he didn’t want Liesel killing the rest of his mobile battery. “I just wanted to say thanks for earlier, you know, with Coraline. She wanted me to tell you she’s really grateful too,” Lucas said.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Basement2012-03-19 15:50:09, as written by Witless
Kaden Jannsen; Sagaro Basement

Who in the world was Lucas on the phone with? He or she was obviously easily angered, and Lucas was in Sagaro Mall to do something for him or her. But it didn't sound like Lucas was supposed to be in the Basement. He was saying something about how he would "go back" and that he was "going right now." Obviously, there was no need for him to stay in the Basement, and that was good. Kaden had to deliver the package surreptitiously, and having someone he knew find out about his Itex jobs would be horrible. Itex could end up considering him disposable, or worse, that he had to eliminate everyone who knew: Lucas. It was for Lucas's best interest that he left now. Just walk past and go up the elevator while Kaden drew in the corner...

Speaking of drawing, this was a strange picture he chose. The berserk scene, with blood matting Caine's features, the hands covered by a layer of blood, dead people all around, specks of red frozen in place, in time. While lightning and fire battled for kills all around, Caine drew his hand from a body as the corpse fell to the floor. The castle background seemed pale, almost fake, like the main focus was the blood, and the place had no meaning. His comrades were not seen, but a shadow fell across the bottom of the picture, the shadow, presumably, of one of them. But who was it? Ah well, the story was still in development, and this was helpful, even if it was gruesome. Caine was such a strange main character, but for some reason he seemed completely real, completely understandable, like Kaden had actually met him before.

He was interrupted from his thoughts by a voice, the end of a sentence. "... really grateful too." Jolting in surprise, Kaden looked up from his drawing. Lucas had taken the time to address him, even though Kaden was obviously lost in thought... Now they had to have a conversation, and time was of the essence. Lucas needed to leave, and he needed to leave fast.

"Huh? Grateful?" Kaden's mind turned back a few hours. "OH! You mean Coraline, yes. No problem, I just did what I could to help. I was nearby anyway, drawing. Speaking of drawing, where'd you get that red paint? It's the perfect shade for my picture!" He stared slightly more intently at the red stains on Lucas's shirt, knowing he'd seen the shade somewhere. "Oh no, that's actual... Who's-? Uggh... Sorry, I just can't..." Kaden put his head in his hands and started muttering quietly to himself, trying to calm down, the bile rising in his throat. "It's just paint, red paint. Only paint. Don't worry, it's only paint, like in your drawing. Caine's not as scary, right? And he's covered in the same type of paint! Just calm down, calm down, calm down. Just paint, red paint, just paint. Paint... Ugghh..."

Finally composed, he drew deep breaths, closed his sketchpad and looked at Lucas, pointedly at his face, not at all at his shirt, where... no. Just looking at his face. Smiling weakly, he spoke with a slight quiver. "I'm okay, really. Just... could you please go? Drawing soothes me, and, well, I hope whoever it is is alright. I'm just not sure that I'd be able to do anything to help. Please, we can talk later. Goodbye."

Kaden put his head back down and began breathing slowly, in and out, in and out. Lucas would leave soon, and the feeling would pass. And then he could finish his job and get out of here. He could explain himself some other time if need be. Right now, the job was of utmost importance. He would not be failing it this time.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Basement2012-03-21 16:49:07, as written by Cienpher
Lucas Toland; Sagaro Mall, Basement Floor

Lucas was completely taken aback, and he could only stand stricken at Kaden’s strange reaction. Well, of course it was a stretch to hope that the bloodstains weren’t that noticeable – it was blood after all, and the dark liquid showed a little too well on his paler shirt … but even then, he hadn’t expected such a bewildered response. Yes, Lucas had been cringed a bit when Kaden mistook the stains for paint, but perhaps it would have been better to affirm it instead of remaining silent.

When the boy started to mutter to himself in a panic, more words uttered about paint and drawings, Lucas didn’t know what to do. Even now, although Kaden seemed a little more composed, he was breathing heavily. ‘Just like with Coraline this morning,’ he realized.

“Please, we can talk later. Goodbye.”

Lucas hesitated, staring at the other boy in concern. It was obvious that he wasn’t welcome there. Kaden wanted him to leave… but really, ‘I can’t just leave him like this.’ He had helped Coraline earlier that day, and Lucas felt it wouldn’t be right to leave the boy in a state as shaken as he was. Liesel would understand, hopefully.

“You don’t look so well,” Lucas said, concern weighing down his words. Really, it was not a good day for Itex to make their move. First Coraline, then Aki, and now Kaden? It seemed everyone had their problems, and Lucas was faced with each of them. “If you feel sick or something, there’s this place on the first floor…” he trailed off, but his offer still stood. Although Lucas wasn’t exactly sure how secure a place that pharmacy or whatever was, it was closer than the hospital, and there might have been something there that could help Kaden.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Basement2012-03-23 14:13:03, as written by Witless
Kaden Jannsen; Sagaro Basement

No, this wasn't good. Lucas wasn't going away. And he could hear the faint sound of the clock in the background, likely tolling the half hour already. Or was that just the ringing in his ears? It was hard to tell... Either way, he needed Lucas to go and bring the not-paint with him. He needed to know when he wasn't needed... Was there any way to get rid of this boy? It was for his own good! For both of their own good! Couldn't he see that? Couldn't he see that he was only aggravating the situation? All he needed was to go away and do what the phone-person asked him to. Just... go. Please.

"You don’t look so well." That was Lucas now. Couldn't he just leave? He had asked, pleaded even, using the word! Unless... he couldn't remember, was that out loud? Probably not, he felt disoriented. Lucas again: "If you feel sick or something, there’s this place on the first floor..." NO! That wasn't the problem! It was Lucas himself, and he needed to stay here! Kaden could not go back to the first floor, with the, that, clown... and leave his mission? Well, sure, Lucas had no idea that he was down here for a reason, but this was absurd. He needed to tell him straight out. Steeling himself, he looked up at Lucas again.

"No, that's not the problem. I'm not sick, no injuries, nothing that you could help. It's the... the b-... the not-paint. Take yourself and your paint-that's-not-paint, and go away. Then I'll be fine, or at least better... Just go away... GO AWAY!!!" He shouted the last, putting his head back between his legs, the edge of his sketchpad slightly visible through his legs, the pad lying on the ground next to him, the berserk page moved slightly, showing the license drawing below. Luckily, the numbers were hidden, and a simple glance wouldn't give it away. There was no need to do anything about it, but it did remind him of what he was here for, and he needed it done quickly. Just so long as Lucas got the hint, he could smooth it over later. He didn't like having to yell, but there was little other choice... Lucas was not realizing the problem here.

Ugghh... but the smell... it was starting to become a problem, the iron, that revolting smell. He needed to get Lucas away as quickly as possible. Fighting back the bile, he looked up at Lucas and practically screamed, "Go on! Get out of here! Bring your bloody not-paint and that bloody smell with you, and bloody leave me alone!" He spit it out, voice dripping with venom, filled with anger. He felt bad, but it was needed. Lucas had to go, he had to! If this didn't work, he had no idea what to do next. This was the best he could handle without vomiti- No, don't even think that, or it will happen... It was his best, and he didn't want to have to resort to… to that whatever-it-was, the mask, the soul-within-the-mask that would take over, according to... according to... to someone. He couldn't think, couldn't concentrate, and it was becoming too much of a problem. Soon, it would have to be taken care of, one way or another. He just hoped he didn't have to resort to anything drastic already...

He put his head down again and began breathing in and out, through the mouth, not the nose. In and out, in and out. And wait for Lucas to walk away, finally. Hopefully...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Basement2012-03-25 17:35:03, as written by Cienpher
Lucas Toland; Sagaro Mall, Basement Floor - The Roof

So that was it.

Lucas at least vaguely understood what the problem was here, and he drew back. His concern unable to hide his startled expression. “Ah, I… Sorry. I’ll just, um… I’ll be going then.” Again, he’d overstepped a boundary of sorts. Again he had misunderstood both the situation and the other party involved. “Sorry, Kaden.” Uncertainly, he turned away from the other boy and quickened his pace. He didn’t bother waiting for the elevator – instead, he stepped onto the escalator, weaving through the sparse people and walking his way up.

Once off the basement floors and back on the full and bustling first floor, Lucas took a moment to stop and sigh. That went badly. “I must’ve been so irritating to him,” he muttered, casting his gaze upwards. Right. The roof. He could already hear Liesel threatening to turn him inside out… Was there even anything waiting for the Masked on the roof? There never, ever was – Lucas was starting to lose faith in this whole conflict between some shadowy organization he hadn’t seen twice more after Torrings’ death. Even still, he had to be there, so the boy ran towards one of the two glass elevators he saw down the other side of the floor.

The first thing he did this time was make sure the lift was going up. Strangely enough, but welcome on Lucas’ account, the elevator was empty when he stepped into it. He took another moment here to heave another sigh, thinking back on that day’s events. “I never seem to get the point,” he mumbled. Habitually, his fingers found the cord around his neck, gently tugging at it until the pendent emerged from the neck of his shirt. Gripping the rough stone fragment in his hand, he looked through the window. The elevator was designed into the wall of the building, so he could see the sidewalk and the headlights of cars getting smaller and smaller as the lift climbed the floors. The streets were growing darker.

If only understanding people was as simple as seeing what was there.

The elevator dinged to a stop, and the same electronic voice proclaimed his arrival at the roof. Stepping off, he looked about – he never expected the roof of the mall to be so popular. Well, he’d have to find the others now, and with a little bit of luck, maybe they would find that rumored package of Liesel’s. Whether that would be good luck or bad, Lucas wasn’t sure… but first things were first. “Coraline? Gage?” he called before stepping into the crowd.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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OOC Notes

Setting: Basement2012-03-27 05:17:55, as written by Witless
Kaden Jannsen; Sagaro Basement

"Ah, I... Sorry. I'll just, um... I'll be going then." Ah, Lucas sounded so concerned, startled, confused... This seemed like a blow to him, something that he had no idea to handle. It left a bad feeling in Kaden's heart, in his chest. But he had had to do it; there was no other choice. The bl- not-paint was disorienting, making him want to flee in terror. But he couldn't, at least not physically. And if it had lasted much longer, he surely would have fled behind the mask, no matter the consequences. So he had saved Lucas, right? It was better in the long run, and his task could be completed, finally. He could smooth things over, explain himself to Lucas, later, much later. Once Lucas had a clean shirt and Kaden had calmed down...

The pounding in his head, the ringing in his ears, they were slowing down, calming. He just sat there, sure that Lucas was gone, but still unable to lift his head to check, to guarantee. A draft in the parking garage flipped his sketchpad to the next page, fully revealing the license drawing, visible even between Kaden's legs. It was confusing, straight black and white, lines drawn onto a page, patterns going every which way. The letters J and S were visible, along with F, i, h, v, y, U, f, A, P, g, t, E, W, R, m, I, and maybe even a few more. And numbers were visible too, 8 and 7 of course, but the other digits existed as well. Lines, patterns, shapes, numbers, letters, words, punctuation, symbols, ordered, randomly placed, grouped, scattered, empty spaces, places filled with so many things they turn black and unreadable. It was chaotic and jumbled, but the only thing out of place was the hyphen, hidden in the black lines. The only hyphen in the picture, marking the license plate as the real hidden message in an otherwise abstract, intricate, intriguing piece of art. But only he would recognize it, at least without spending too much time studying the drawing. It was well done if he said so himself.

Above Kaden, the clock tolled again, this time at the forty-five. 9:45, only a quarter hour until the deadline. He reached into his bag and pulled out the box, finally standing and walking over to the car next to him, the destination, the final stop of his job. Opening the trunk, he deposited the sleek, black box, wanting nothing to do with it anymore this night. Slamming the trunk, he turned around and walked to the escalator, going up and striding out the door, headed home.

It was a long walk home, but that was okay. He had a lot to think about. The Itex job, the flying woman and Judgement, the other people in Itex and whatever their jobs had been. Had the Chariot gone and given her mask away? What was the Tower's job? How did the Star and Hermit fare? And what was with Coraline? She had freaked out and needed his help, and Lucas'. And why did Lucas have so much... well, blood, on his shirt? Someone had to have been hurt in order for that to happen, but who? And by whom? What would his next task be? Did the mask really do as they said, as he believed? He hoped he didn't have to find out, and if he did, he hoped it wouldn't be soon...

He snuck into his room, climbing through the window into his room. Whether his parents cared or not didn't bother him, but he wasn't going to enter the front entrance and listen to their admonishing. He just wanted peace and quiet, sleep, hopefully restless today? Though likely not... He figured he'd see dreams about today's happenings, about the events in his book, but they were simply dreams, and they would be gone by the next morning. He lay down, closed his eyes, and waited to drift off to sleep, happy to sleep in, if he could, on the next day, the weekend.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos Character Portrait: Oskana Sonnen Character Portrait: Gage Vandergear Character Portrait: The Star Character Portrait: The Hermit Character Portrait: Coraline Starling Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: Amara "Amy" Calen Character Portrait: Treia Rawler Character Portrait: Vera Chung
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OOC Notes

Setting: Throme2012-05-01 16:27:38, as written by Cienpher
Throme - Friday, September 27 (4:30 PM)

How fast the clock does turn when there’s nothing important to do.

That is if one was normal. Just a few Fridays in the past, Masked and Itex met each other in a dramatic showdown, not unlike a fight between rival gangs. The thing at stake this time was not territory, but a small nondescript package. What exactly was inside that thin box? No one really knew for sure. Only that it was important.

It would take eight minutes for those on Earth to notice if the sun went out. It would still be warm; it would still be bright. It took longer than eight minutes for the conclusion of this fight to be seen.

Was the package worth it? The Masked were the ones who walked away with the package, and Itex was left there empty-handed, but no one side came out of the proceedings unscathed. A game with a wounded victor. This was the breaking point for the poor stability of a certain Miss Coraline Starlings. A few days after, the harried looking maiden turned in her resignation from the Student Council. This was almost like bowling; the first pin to fall. Liesel Moringmer was murderous.

The Vandergear family was next in line. Chasing some illusory job in nearby Lore, the family burned its own roots in Throme and moved for the sake of greed. It was fortunate for Liesel that her heart possessed a remarkable capacity for wrath. The delicate tea cups were not so lucky. Neither were the flowers.

But this strand of bad luck did not allow Itex to leave without its punishment for failure. A certain female who went by the name of 'En' claimed Oskana Sonnen's blood, time, and responsibility. While she did not disappear per se, Cenriel Academy was without a student when she was transferred to rival Thromain Institute of Fine Arts. But her partner was not spared either. Treia Rawler, with her lucky stars shining from the heavens, remained relatively untouched, with only a warning to show for her troubles. Itex, like Liesel, was not a believer of keeping their murderous intent bottled inside.

The beautiful observatory was without its owner for a week, before she reappeared, looking none the worse for her time. Perhaps there was something hidden under that smile of hers, but nothing was visible to the average eye. The clear nights kept the popularity of that rooftop attraction high.

Friday, August 16th. A day that would mark the transfer of humans from the thrifty Maybelle Avenue to more reputable Sagaro Mall. Many wallets became far lighter due to the ever-growing paranoia. Hector Mason, a man with two daughters who worked nights as a security guard, was seen in a puddle of his own blood. Was there a serial killer hidden in the depths of that brilliant district? The police found no leads or evidence. Despite attempts from shop owners to catch more customers, those that dare enter that shining crime scene were few and far in between.

Judgement did not have anything interesting for the Itex for the longest of time.
Liesel had no leads.

Perhaps they were waiting for today. The day that the package pointed to as important. So what exactly was in that package of Itex? It was with hoping expressions that the Masked had opened the case, to fall downtrodden.

A letter.

To whom it may concern:
After months of research, we may have stumbled upon something of great importance. The previous sample that we have received is an enigma, to say in the slightest. Despite weighing like an average granite shock of the same size, its chemical bonds are completely nonsensical. Instead of forming bonds in order to gain eight valence electrons, many of the carbon atoms possess nine or even one with six. Perhaps you were right in saying that this was a strange rock.

When attempting to find the volume of the sample, we were astonished to find the rock glowing upon contact of water. We were unable to find the source of this energy, but it is believed it is some sort of chemical reaction. Other than the output of light, we have discovered no other abnormalities. Our sample glowed red, bright red, but we shall be asking for further samples to support this hypothesis. It would not surprise me if it was a fluke. If it wouldn't be an issue for your organization, if you'd send us another shard, we would be much obliged. The things we do for science. Until then, we'll be sending back the sample on 9.27. Please do send a messenger to pick it up. This cannot fall into unaligned hands.


The letter was signed, but illegible and smudged, seemingly on purpose. It appeared as though the writer was unwilling to give up his or her name. The letter continued with an address.

Nivcien Science Institute, Throme
Research Division

It is now September 27. Yet another Friday afternoon. The weather had mellowed in the months, with the leaves already in the process of dying. They were dull brown, many of them withering in the streets and on the trees. A steady wind made its way through Throme. Life is unfair, but yet it brings hope and excitement. Perhaps their adventure will beat reality television's entertainment value on this blustering November afternoon.

Those whose souls belonged to Itex ought to be making their steady way to the back rooms at Brio, where that violent angel of doom, Judgement, was doubtless waiting for them. The Masked had likewise, been summoned by Liesel to deal with their recently collected information. How will both sides dance this afternoon? That is a story to hear.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Oskana Sonnen Character Portrait: Gage Vandergear Character Portrait: Coraline Starling Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: Treia Rawler
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OOC Notes

Setting: Floor 62012-05-06 07:21:13, as written by Witless
Kaden Jannsen; Sagaro Mall Floor 6 - Nebula Ice Rink (??? - 3:55 pm)

It was a warm day outside, fitting for the shorts and t-shirt that Kaden wore. A calm breeze struck up every now and then, a reminder that summer had ended to bring in the beginning of fall, only to die down quickly. The latter half of classes had been skipped over, forsaken in order to spend time writing, doing something relatively important to real life. And so Kaden had somehow ended up at Sagaro after wandering the town on this gorgeous day. And from there, the next seemingly logical place to go was the Ice Rink, on the sixth floor.

Kaden had started a new book, or at least had a few ideas for it. There was no name yet, and the main character was simply a young woman, with some power yet-to-be-determined. It took place in a strange world, on a southern continent, filled with ice and snow. It had previously stayed separate from the rest of its world, with the natives calmly going about their lives, doing what they always did. Until recently, when explorers happened across it and reported the strange powers they witnessed there. Thus started the main storyline, the interactions between the outside and inside world, between this young woman and an interested adventurer.

So the Ice Rink was of course where he needed to go, in summer clothes, no less. Not for skating, no. He'd surely fail at that. He'd tried a few times before, somehow always ending up ble- staining the ice. It was unlikely he would try again in the near future. He was still not quite over what had happened with Lucas. It's not like Kaden was avoiding him or anything, but they just happened to never meet, not since the last time Judgement had given them a mission... It was just coincidence, them never being at the same place at the same time. And he wasn't the reason Kaden had taken to skipping the latter parts of school, no. He simply saw no use for the classes. The fact that Lucas was in one of those classes hadn't even begun to register in his mind.

But yes, back on the topic of missions, Oskana and Treia had failed. Treia was punished somehow, and Oskana was taken for someone's servant, taken away from school and every aspect of her previous life. Little was accurately revealed about what had happened to her; a cover story made that said little. And they weren't the only people who had disappeared from the school recently. Coraline had been showing up less and less as her condition, whatever it was, worsened. Victor Grayson had also been sick recently, or so it was reported. At any rate, he had been absent from school for a few weeks now, and no one had heard anything from him. Gage Vandergear had moved away, to another town, leaving his friends and school behind. Many people gone in a short time, and only the beginning of school.

Oh, yes. The Ice Rink. It made sense: getting a feel of the cold, of how a newcomer would feel when experiencing this environment which he'd never before known (did I mention the newcomer came from a continent near the equator of the world? an extremely hot, desert- and volcano-filled place?). From hot to cold, suddenly in the unknown, completely unprepared for what he'd experience. And contrast that to those people who had lived there for eternities, believing it to be normal, the complete opposite of the abnormality that this explorer believed it to be. It was hard to get the full experience, but this was the closest he could think of wi-

BEEP! BEEeeEEeeEEP! Beepbeep! Beepbeep! BEEEEEEEE- *click*

It was time. He'd bought a watch, an ornate one from a strange peddler on Maybelle Avenue. It had many knobs, some which didn't seem to do anything, and it was extremely hard to read. But the alarm worked very well, and it never seemed to run slow (or fast for that matter). The key selling point had actually been the obnoxious alarm... It could actually break him out of his reveries, if at the cost of angry glances from onlookers (in this case, the ice skating class). He generally just ignored them, rushing away on to his destination, to wherever he needed to be reminded to go. Sure, the watch cost him an arm and a leg, but it was definitely worth it to not anger Itex any more than necessary (read: at all). He could always get the money back somehow.

3:55, time to start heading to Brio. Judgement would be waiting, as usual. There may be a job, there may not, but it was always best to be on the safe side and not be late. Not like the first time... He had somehow come out of that with little repercussions... Somehow... But he knew better now, for sure. Kaden Jannsen packed his bags and began the long trek to Brio and Judgement.