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Kiriyu Asuki

"Why Hello. I don't think I've met you before." [i]And I wish I didn't again.[/i]

0 · 327 views · located in Throme

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


Lower Level Itex


Kiriyu Asuki


The Chariot

If Itex, blurb?
Don't blink.

Which Masks do they possess?
The Chariot



Brooding and rather unattentive, Asuki is often withdrawn to herself rather than looking out at the world around her, and can easily lose herself in the middle of a conversation, forgetting what it was and who she was talking to.. She occasionally has been known to be called a half-wit due to her constant 'phase-outs' and concentration problems that stem from this, especially when it happens to occur in the middle of a class or project.

But that's only the outside look. Further in you would find a strategic planner, a commander the excels at fighting and manouvering, someone who will think everything she does through. She puts up the 'facade' of slowness and dimwittery for everyone to read and discard her. She gets angry very slowly, usually taking a long time to even get annoyed, but when someone finally manages to put the spark that creates the inferno she can react harshly, angrily lashing out with no holding back..... To put it simply, disciplinary actions for what she did are the least of what she was put under.

She is also usually helpful when in her 'guise', going out of her way to help when she can, and being always accepting. Although in reality she only sees obstacles and allies. Differentiated by whether you were with her, on her side, or against her. She has little understanding of neutrality, therefore, and will press for an actual decision on either side of the fence.

When acting normally, she can be described most easily as 'cold and calculating'. Seemingly having little feeling outside her drive to succeed and her anger when it actually surfaces. She can and will pretend to most people, but she fails to feel anything like respect or love for anyone. She has locked herself up to the largest extent possible, seemingly not wanting to actually reveal how she really is.

She is very organized, and any plan or operation she is in, even when she is supposed to be doing her spacing out act, she tries to organize completely. Making sure everything is on-time and in the right place, unable to stand failing in either regard.

She also has a deep fear of failure. Something that goes into both faces. She can't abide to have failed, or be seen as a failure. Even if she is considered a dimwit, no-one can refute the grades she has received. This she holds onto every time she comes close, that she hasn't failed before.

Oh, and before I forget, doesn't matter which 'mode' she's in. She dislikes 'girly' stuff. Absolutely.

Brief Description
Black hair with a purple tint adorns the pale face of Asuki. Her body a mixture of slim grace and wiry toughness, she is easily the graceful athletic build. The hair frames deep, dark-blue eyes, alternatingly cold or warm, depending on the way she is acting.

She normally wears the school-uniform, the skirt and shirt of Cenriel Academy. Although when in casual mode, usually wears a simple oversized sweater and baggy pants...

She usually is found with a spaced out expression on her face unless something is holding her attention. And will wear a lot of oversized or generally baggy clothes, except to school where she is forced to wear the uniform.

Excellent in most physical pursuits, Asuki is high in all track, gymnastic or other kinds of sports. From raquet sports to dancing and swimming. Despite her facade of non-attention. To most people it seems that she suddenly brightens up, connects to the world when one of the sporting events is on, and it's one of the few times that she doesn't even pretend to be not paying attention.

She especially excels at Martial Arts and Kendo. Being extremely skilled at it.

She is, on the other hand, not great at maths and literature, good enough to pass but not stunningly so. While she is extremely logical and can figure logical puzzles and brain exercises out pretty quickly, she flounders with maths, having decided that it gets 'more illogical' as it goes.

She also doesn't appear to like tackling multiple things at once, and although she is capable doing so, she dislikes it extensively.

Sports - She enjoys the challenge and competitivety and how hard it presses her. Especially the rush of adrenaline when two people are neck and neck, duking it out to decide the final result...

Strategic Games - Anything from Chess through to war simulations. The more logic necessary for the completion, the more she enjoys it. Especially as she's good at it.

Her Mask - Yes, she adores it. No more on that needs to be said.

Winning - You thought otherwise? She'll fight tooth and nail to do so, and it has driven her beyond what she'd otherwise do just to succeed. It almost seems like an obsession with her.

Order - If it's not ordered, it's messy. If you lose the order of your schedule, you're late... So being ordered is the most useful thing, right? Try looking into her room. Everything is catagorized. Completely.

Mathematics - She deems it highly illogical. She also struggles to some extent with the more complicated parts of it, which makes her like it even less.

History - She can't understand the fixation of the human race with the past. It's something that has been done already, and the only reason she can see for wanting to deal with something from the past is... things like her mask.

The way she acts - Yeah. She can't remember why she decided to act like this sometimes. It feels so degrading and downputting. Yeah. That's internal dialogue. No, I don't believe a word of it. ;-)

Horror movies, etc - She just ... doesn't get them. They're half boring and half annoying. Maybe it's because she's usually expecting trouble/monsters before they jump out? Might have something to do with it.

Make Up - It's called ruining your natural beauty, to her. And it feels REALLY yucky. And .... It's girly. Which might have something to do with her not liking it.

Failure - Always a dreaded fear for her, and something she attempts to avoid at all costs. To lost, to fail, is what she fears more than anything else. If it were to happen? Well, we'll just have to find that out, won't we? Being helpless is an additional part of this phobia. The ability to be unable to stop something happening.

Apathy - To have no drive to do anything. The idea of a meaningless life with nothing that is interesting horrifies her. Certainly gets to her more than the normal Horror. ;-)

Heights - Yeah, she don't like the tall towers. Although not as pronounced as the other two phobias, she dislikes the dizzying effect and the involuntary thoughts of what would happen if she slipped....

Undeath(Of a sort) - If she slices a head off, and it keeps coming, she'll freak. Not a phobia she encounters in real life, or even gets bothered with when seeing it in shows, but something she has nightmares about.

Asuki was born in a high class family, her father a rich socialist and her mother a top class sportswoman. Ever since a young age they've been pushing her to be the best she can be, especially in the sports department. Second best was never enough for them. She had to win, had to succeed both in grades and in sports. And everything else she does.

All the pressure caused her to slowly fold 'inwards', becoming cold and ruthless to succeed and fulfill her parents wishes. Not only that, but she would use any and all advantages she could muster to succeed. Thus she made her way through primary school and into High School.

Known at that point as the cold and easily annoyable beauty, or the latest Ice Queen, she ruthlessly achieved major awards in several sports in her first year, still freezing her emotions so that she could succeed.

However, as she moved up through the school ladders, she found that she wasn't quite as unbeatable as she had thought, and struggled. By the second year the pressure was paralysing her, and despite making it to the top three in all sports she participated in, she failed to properly take the awards.

This was followed by some 'disappointment' by her parents, their beautiful unbeatable champion had proven not quite so good. By the time she turned 17 during Year 11, she was struggling to keep her spot as the all round brilliant sportswoman. Every failure was a set back and another bag of pressure sitting fairly on her shoulders. And slowly, she crumpled. Half way through that year, with her scores all over dipping and sagging, she ran away.

For the next few days she lived on the side-streets, miserable and ignored. She hid from all attempts to find her, deciding that a life of beggary was better than failing and falling further and further, bit by bit.

After nearly a month of beggary, depression having long set in, something in her mind seemed to ... break, and she decided it was better if she died. It was thus that she was standing on the top of the highest tower she could climb, getting the courage up to take the one step required to take her over the side.

Then, a hand. A hand that held her back. In that moment she tugged, desperately trying to toss herself over the edge. She didn't want to be saved. But the man was far too strong for her to escape the grip of, and she was pulled back inside.

Once she had been taken from the edge, all the energy that had taken her there slowly drained out. And she allowed herself to be taken care of with a blank eyed stare. She seemed not to really be with reality..

And then. Then he brought out the most beautiful mask she had ever seen. He gave it to her, claiming to have waited for a long time to find someone for this mask. In askance, she wondered why he would need to find 'someone for the mask'. But she found out before too long...

It was that very night when she first wore The Chariot, felt it's power and gave willingly in to the personality that was in the mask. A personality that had the strength to care not what others said about them. The next morning it was that she talked once more with the man who had given her this mask. He explained his quest, him and his colleagues quest to find the Grace Stone.

She chose willingly to help him, as he probably knew she would. And with The Chariot, she returned to her home. But this time. This time there was another mask she wore. A mask of seeming lack of awareness. The Ice Queen had melted, it was said, and she had lost something of the fire she had once had. Except for one place.

In the arena, no matter the sport, she was stronger than ever. Thus it was she entered her final year at Cenriel. An absentminded girl who could have been the Queen, but lost something the days she disappeared. No one knew, at all, that she hadn't just lost something... But gained something as well....

--(Left blank. Likely so for the rest of the game...)


So begins...

Kiriyu Asuki's Story


Characters Present

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

The setting changes from Brio to Liron River Pier

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: En2 Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki
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??? ; 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 Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki
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??? ; 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: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: En2 Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki
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#, 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: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: En2 Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki
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??? ; 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.”

The setting changes from Liron River Pier to Throme


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo Character Portrait: En2 Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki
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#, 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?”

The setting changes from Throme to Liron River Pier

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos Character Portrait: En2 Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki
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??? ; Liron River Pier

She waited in calmness until she realized that there was no quick acceptance of what she had to say. It was a while from the last time that someone had dared to disobey her orders. An almost petulant frown appeared on her face when she realized that she had to do something about it, or the Chariot would think that she could continue to place her own wants before those of Itex.

And that would be something that would bring problems in the future. With almost a weary sigh, she lifted the ribbon in front of her, a three-word phrase dancing at the forefront of her mind. It seemed as though there was nothing else to do but to resort to violence to get what she wanted. She, personally, hated to do this by herself. It was all the more fitting to give her subordinates something to do to cool down their hot heads. Anyways, Death would enjoy it a bit too much.

Her gloved head dropped with the crimson ribbon, falling about a meter and a half, before lifting up into a small, but ornate loop, before her ungloved right hand slipped neatly into the loop. All of this done in a total of a few seconds, as she focused all of her concentration upon a few words. ‘‘Edge…’

It was just then that a series of footsteps appeared on the pier, and she, with a start, lost concentration and the ribbon fell loosely downwards again, without the spell becoming complete. Who could this be? Itex had arranged for the pier to be completely vacant for this period. It couldn’t be some random pedestrian, could it? Her gloved hand once again started to sketch the same design in the air, in preparation for removing any witnesses of this meeting. How annoying.

I was assigned to come here for a package for delivery. I am the Tower. What is the job?” Ah, good, if he was the Tower, then there would be need to do anything to him. But still... he was late, extremely late. Her eyes narrowed under the blindfold as her bearing became more erect, almost regal. It was disappointing that she had missed his approach from before, but if she needed an excuse, she was preoccupied with recent events dealing with the Chariot.

Perhaps it was that that caused her voice to be so much tighter than usual. “You’re late,” she said, sharply. “That task has been given out already.” Once again, the air lacked the tangy scent of blood, so it must not have Judgement keeping him behind. He was supposed to have gone with the Moon to Sagaro Mall, but getting him to catch up to the Moon would end up being a waste of time. But there had to be a task that she could give him… some way that she could use this new student, the Tower, to the greatest of her ability. “But there is something for you to do, of course, Tower.” She didn’t realize that she would be lucky enough to get a subordinate so quickly to do her dirty work. And what fortunate timing too.

“I want Chariot’s mask. And I want it now,” she said quickly. It was up to the Tower how he wanted to deal with the mess, but she hoped that it wouldn’t be too much of a mess to clean up. Itex had already used one of their connections to claim this pitiful amount of time in which she could speak with them without attracting too much attention. Causing the entire pier to blow up would be so much of a bother to work with. “Whatever way that you want, just don’t make too much of a mess in the process.” Pitting Lower Level Itex against Lower Level Itex was something that was distasteful at best, but she would do whatever was needed to deal with this mess.

Then, of course, if there was too much of an emotional connection between the two, it could end up with them allying against her. But that wasn’t too much of a bother, as she completely believed that even if all of the Lower Itex attempted to take her down, they wouldn’t be able to scratch her. “Don’t damage her too greatly, Tower - Itex still has use for her, and we don’t have the time to wait for her to heal.” Without the healing idiot around, Itex could do little but to entrust her to the care of a doctor.

The setting changes from Liron River Pier to Throme


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos Character Portrait: The Chariot Character Portrait: En2 Character Portrait: Magician Character Portrait: Kiriyu Asuki
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??? ; Liron River Pier

She continued floating behind the fight, frowning at the disobedience of the Tower, who continued on his pattern of destruction despite her warnings. Mentally, she pursed her lips in irritation, but continued to stay out of the way of the fight for now. She would trust the Tower to break down the defenses of the Chariot and do what he needed to - unless he failed, and then there would be no more Tower. Failure was not to be accepted. She vaguely noted that the woman from the observatory could be a good candidate for the position. Perhaps, she would even be able to keep stronger control over the demonic personality of the mask. After all, it was not the best idea to have such a mask be put in the hands of someone so young. This Tower - if he would mature a bit, and gain the same control over his mask as she had over hers… maybe he would be a good subordinate.

On the topic of subordinates, another one of their Lower Level pawns would be coming into play soon. ‘Ah, the Magician…’ Yes, there was someone else that she needed to call before the end of the day. He was to report in on his success or failure, as it was scheduled that he would be returning to Throme tonight.

Digging into her pocket a second time, she scrolled down and pushed a few buttons. “Hello, this is Itex. Magician, correct?” She paused a bit for his answer before replying, feeling a sudden wind, probably caused by the Chariot’s fast movement. She ignored that - she was only putting off the inevitable. A small smile lined her face as she realized that perhaps they had accomplished what they had been planning for almost five years - where they would be in possession of a majority of the Grace stone. And the Magician’s wording was exactly what she wanted for in a subordinate - he understood obedience and the importance of Itex’s gifts. “Very well, Magician. I’d like you to report immediately - this important is vital to the Itex cause.”

She ignored the fight going on ahead of her, although it seemed as though the Chariot was pulling her own against her enemy. After all, if the Chariot had fallen, the Tower would have notified her. It was such a noisy fight though… both of the students seemed prone to speak quite a bit. “And I prefer mistress, not master,” she corrected, with the hint of a frown. After the magician’s apology -

There was no success after all. She reigned in her growing annoyance before continuing to listen to the rest of the report. So it seemed that he had removed the loose threads of that as well. Good. Then there would be no reason to send another of their little students there as a follow-up. She should have known beforehand though. The entire situation was far too… perfect. Somewhere inside her heart, she felt slightly amused at the Magician’s wording, as though he wasn’t a human himself. “Very well, the sooner the better. Is there anything else that you may want to report?”

Stop.” So that pesky man had arrived. Late though. If he had shown up a few moments earlier, perhaps they would have less of a mess to clean up. “This unnecessary fight has gone on long enough. En, call off your hound. This can be resolved much more peacefully.”

She almost felt like ignoring him as she was currently involved in dealing with another conversation, but disconnected the call instead. The Magician could wait - while she dealt with this complication. She turned to face the direction that his voice came from, descending slightly as she went, listening as the new arrival was attacked verbally by the disobedient puppy of his. “Why are you disrupting us,” she hissed, like a snake with a voice filled with anger.

Calm yourself, Chariot. The whole battle was a misunderstanding. The Tower is not your enemy.” She probably would have laughed. The fact that even one of his most loved subordinates would end up disobeying him while he remained oblivious made him seem so much more foolish. Not that she would ever think that he wasn’t. He was the master of being clueless.

“Tower, stop. Or I’ll make you,” she ordered, calmly, with a slight tilt of her head to the left. “If you continue on with this fight… Itex has its ways of punishment,” she warned him, quietly. There was no way that she would be humiliated by disobedience in front of this obnoxious man. “With our new guest here, I suppose the Chariot will behave herself.”

I see you’ve learnt little in your attempts to deal with the younger generation,” the new arrival said, mockingly. “So, do let’s get this over with. The police will be here before too long, with this ruckus, and I’d rather NOT make a surprise appearance on TV, if you don’t mind.

He always was oblivious to the faults of the Chariot. It just went to show how he was unable to see that this entire occurrence was the student’s fault, and instead placed all the blame on her. “Well, En,” she drawled, before floating down to land on the ground, “perhaps the younger generation should learn the definition of orders, no? And perhaps due to her previous action, do you really think it’s safe to trust her to this extent?” She wouldn’t hide the fact that she didn’t like the fact that the Chariot was given this task.

She didn’t trust her to finish it.

Being the loose cannon that she was, the Chariot was far more likely to end up destroying Itex allies than capturing the Emperor. And with even more power, well, even she wasn’t sure about what harm she would end up doing. “Perhaps you should keep your puppy on a tighter leash. She would do well to learn who holds the key to her life.”