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Zensa Valobo

0 · 406 views · located in Throme

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

Groups

Lower Level Itex

Description

Zensa Valobo
Image


Grade
12th

Role
The Tower

If Itex, blurb?
Recently moved into the area, kind and friendly person. Jazzin' it up with some spice.

Which Masks do they possess?
The Tower

Gender
Male

Age
18

Personality
Zensa is very simple. He's not too outgoing, but he doesn't hide in the corner and do nothing. He lives simply and orderly, just the bare essentials. Always trying to be orderly, he keeps things neat and tidy. When interacting with people, he tries to not get into fights of any type, to not have any potentially bad conflicts. Outwardly, he's a "good guy".

However.

He really is quite another person inside his head. The inner Zensa hates many of the people he interacts with in a normal day. He would like nothing more than to gut them like freshly caught fish and string them up like the butcher's special. To burn everything to the ground and watch their owners lives fall to ruin. He wants to watch the world burn. To watch the flames of chaos cleanse the wretches from the soil.

Basically, he's psychotic and hates almost everyone on the inside.


Brief Description
Zensa is above-average in height, averaging about 6'3". His body is slenderly built but still muscular, like a runner. He normally dresses very casually, just a simple tee shirt and jeans. Other than that, he is as he appears in the picture.

Skill(s)/Abilities
Martial Artist: Zensa is an exceptional martial artist, and is a 1st Degree Black Belt in Karate and is learning Ju Jitsu.
Amateur Chef: Zensa is quite good at cooking, and is able to make a wide variety of dishes.
Saxophonist Zensa can play the saxophone quite well, and is involved in a local jazz group. Recently, they have taken a break from performing to pursue their own business.


Likes
Sax, Jazz music, Good cooking, Computers, Martial Arts Competitions (competing in them specifically), and fire.

Dislikes
Bad cooking, Annoying people, Inconsiderate drivers, Cats, Gangsters and Ventriloquist dummies.

Phobia
Automatonophobia (Fear of imitations of sentient beings, like ventriloquist dummies)
Cremnophobia- Fear of precipices (He hates rollercoasters)


History
Zensa grew up in a rough neighborhood far away from Throme. Thankfully, he didn't grow up in the heart, but he grew up on the outskirts. Still, he experienced many hardships as a result of living where he did. It was not an uncommon occurrence to pass by a crime scene with a dead body, or to watch someone get mugged. Often he would get bullied or beat up on his way home from school, sometimes just because the people were looking for someone to hurt. Early on, he found out to mask his pain and emotional turmoil. He found that his assailants would stop if he didn't give them the gratification of seeing him upset or cry. He bottled down his fear, pain, and sadness and would smile all the time. But it was an empty smile. It was during those years that madness began to take root.

He slowly began to hate everything that went on in that place. For years it festered in him like a disease. A burning desire to rid the world of the people of the neighborhood. He began to have blackouts. Lapses in his memories. He would leave school, go home, and then wake up somewhere that wasn't his bed. Many times, he woke up with some bloody object in his hand, and some spatter on his face. Those were the days he hated most. He never told any other soul about what he would find, and his parents were working too hard to notice his disappearances.

One night, when he was sixteen, an unknown fire burned the neighborhood to the ground. Hundreds lost their lives trying to escape, put out the fire or simply burned to death. The fire station was literally blown apart in an unknown explosion. Zensa only heard about it from his parents while on their way to Throme with what possessions they had. They told him that he had passed out before the fire spread to their house. He simply accepted what they said, not knowing what had really happened. But he had theories. He remembered all the times that he had woken up away from his house. But instead of fear, he felt an overwhelming joy. Even if he didn't know what was going on, he finally got back at all of those vermin that he despised.


Crush
Women. (Since there are none, can't really put a name.)

So begins...

Zensa Valobo's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo
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#, as written by ZenMon
Zensa


A light breeze played across Zensa's face as he laid in the green grass. He was on the verge of sleep when a stray leaf decided to blow over him and try to land in his right nostril. With a half-sneeze, half-snort Zensa bolted upright as the leaf shot out of his nose and floated away on the wind once again. He rubbed his nose before rising to his feet. Well that's one way to wake up I suppose. Covering his mouth in a vain attempt to stifle a yawn, Zensa rose to his feet to see if anything had changed in the park. Not surprisingly, nothing had changed. He scratched his head. Kinda dull today. If only there was something to do. And then his eyes locked onto it.

Under the shelter of some overhead trees there was a medium-sized group of people setting up what seemed to be an improvised bandstand. It was just the thing for him, some good music. From the makeup of the various instruments, it appeared to be a small jazz ensemble. Even better. There was one instrument that stood there unattended. It was a baritone saxophone. A few men were crowded around it, arguing heatedly. He couldn't help but move in closer to listen.

"What? Is he really abandoning us here! Today!?!", asked one man incredulously.

"I guess so. He said he couldn't stand us, and that we were holding him back. Smug bastard.", said another man who was holding a trumpet.

"I can't believe it. What an ass.", said the first man.

"Oh man!? Where are we going to get a stand-in right now!? We should just call it off!", said a third man, in a rather exasperated tone.

Zensa took the opportunity to speak up. "Excuse me, but you guys need a stand-in, right? Maybe I could help. What song do you need cover for?"

"Oh yeah? Well what can you do, kid?", asked the first man. "We're going to play some Mingus today. Opening with 'Moanin'. If you can show us something to prove it, we'll let you play for today."

"Alright, well let me get at that bari.", said Zensa with a smirk on his face.

He strode over to the saxophone, and placed the neck strap over his head and tightened it accordingly. He ran his fingers over the keys in a quick test. Nice feel to it. This is pretty high quality. He wet the reed slightly before putting the mouthpiece between his lips. Showtime. Zensa began to play the opening of Moanin'. He was quite ecstatic that they were going to play that, it was one of this favorites. He had committed it to memory a long time ago. His fingers danced across the pearls as he played the sixteenth-note runs with flawless precision. The band quickly formed up and began to follow his lead. A small crowd began to grow around their small ensemble. Zensa continued his performance, much to the delight of the surrounding crowd. At the end of the song, the crowd burst into applause. He bowed his head slightly, catching his breath, smiling the entire time.

The setting changes from Cherry Grove Park to Throme

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo Character Portrait: Sanya Ruse Character Portrait: Aki Evedane Character Portrait: Dante Toseletti
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Sanya Ruse; Cherry Grove Park


Mr.Browning was being an idiot. School was easy for Sanya - there is no doubt about it. Well, at least to her, that is. Her friends, no - her court, giggled at his strangely excitable state, all waving hands and mindless prattle. She whispered to her friend on her left, shooting a glance towards the girl who normally wore skirts, Oskana, close by, “Any new gossip floating around?” Gossip was the lifeblood of Sanya, and the one thing that she was completely interested in. Throme was all fun and games anyways...

The girl gave Sanya a smile, happy at the attention from the Queen of Cenriel Academy. Her eyes shone with mirth as she rattled off the gossip that she had collected. “Of course. Evedane has come to school with an extra injury, and Haden hasn’t been able to make any friends lately - although there seems to be something different in her expression lately…”

Ruse gave a sad smile. “Really? That’s too bad then,” she looked at the girl, Haden, with pitying eyes as her mind turned this over. ‘Evedane was caught up in more Mafia activities, and over-achiever, bossy Haden hasn’t met anyone who would even bear her presence for a few days. Of course. Everything was just as excepted.’ “Maybe, you could be her friend,” she said with a smile, as though the thought had just occurred to her. “I mean, it’s horrible that someone would be excluded from the rest of the school like that. I can’t think of anyone who would deserve from treatment, you know?” She grimaced mentally, when she heard her own sickly-sweet words pour out of her mouth, but playing with her court was fun after all.

The girl grimaced, but the Queen’s word was final . “As you wish, Ruse. And, of course, the Vice President -,”

Ruse cut her off sharply. “Don’t mention that upstart. She thinks of herself as the Queen - and everyone knows just how she’s striving for my position!” This was one of the few things that she would cause her to allow her thorns to show… she was all sheathed claws most of the time… “Anyways, what do you know about the paparazzi over there?”

The girl looked and with a couple of swipes on her phone, she looked at Sanya’s blue eyes. “The mayor is here to give a speech about the new-coming statue. On that note, Damon Ito has a rehearsal tonight - .”

Sanya gave a small smile at this, before looking down at her purse. “Right!” She took out two white tickets, before looking at the girl, with a disarmingly large smile. “My father gave me a few tickets for the rehearsal - they’re opening it up for VIPs… who should I take with me?”

“What about Dave? Weren’t you two together?”

“Nah, we broke up a few days ago… His complete obedience was boring, although I have to admit that he was cute.”

“Then why don’t you get another knight? Someone who’ll shake it up a little?”

Sanya Ruse thought hard about this idea, and brightened up slightly. “Ooooh, I could always have some fun with that?”

The girl smiled slightly, before looking at the new boy. “What about him? He’s one of the few that hasn’t been graced with your attention yet?”

“Dante? The new boy?” With a smile, the self-proclaimed Queen of Cenriel Academy left the class, ignoring the teachers who was muttering something about a scavenger hunt. “He’ll become my knight, no matter what.”

Watching the brown-haired boy sit down and start reading a book, Ruse pat down her blond locks, and motioned towards her court to follow her. But, alas, her plans didn’t yet come to fruit as someone got there before she did. A certain someone - Toland of the Student Council. Ruse gave a sigh of irritation before leaving the scene. Watching others interact was never for her as she was the center after all. It was then that something caught her attention. With a smile, she strode off towards the Jazz Band - the one who was playing the saxophone surely sounded much better than usual.

Upon arriving at the scene, she saw the silver-haired Zensa Valobo in all his saxophone glory. Nudging a random girl of her court, she motioned towards him. “What do you think or him?” The lady of the court’s blue eyes stared innocently into Ruse’s as she nodded towards him again. “He’s hot, isn’t he?” The girl blushed violently, dropping her head. Sanya nudged her, with a knowing smile, “Come on! Get up there and ask him out!”

That slight bit of manipulating done, Sanya returned to see if her soon-to-be knight was ready to be graced with her presence. The pesky president had left to do something - what it was, didn’t matter - but at the very least it left her newest acquisition alone. Approaching the boy, Dante, with a cheerful smile, she gave a friendly greeting. “Hey, you’re Dante, right? I’m Sanya Ruse, Ruse for short. It’s wonderful that you’ve moved to Throme.” She sat down next to the boy, before placing her hand over the words of his book. “That won’t do…” she murmured to herself, before making an attempt to snatch the book from his grasp. “Now that you’re completely focused on me, the true fun will begin now.”

She licked her lips quickly, before turning to Dante with a wide smile. Her blue eyes held a touch of pride and mystery, at least to her, and she, then, tossed her golden locks. “You see… I am the Queen of Cenriel Academy, and all the queens of history have had a knight at their side…” her voice trailed off, as she folded her legs neatly to her left side, “and of course, who better than you to be mine?” She picked up one manicured hand, with pale pink fingernails, and gently stroked his hair. He was cute, after all.

The setting changes from Throme to Cherry Grove Park

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo
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Ambra Riviere ; Cherry Grove Park


As the girl, Ambra, turned to her attention back at the stage, the people about her abruptly burst into applause as the band finished their piece. She dropped her warm brown eyes to the ground, too embarrassed to go and speak with Zensa. Sanya was right after all, Ambra did feel some sort of ‘attachment’ to the senior… but being herself, she couldn’t quite show it. ‘He’ll just laugh at me if I tell him. Anyways, he is a senior and I’m only a freshman. How will I get his attention like that? He’ll ignore me… I shouldn’t have come to school today. Who would have known that I would’ve been pushed towards doing this - it was supposed to be a secret...

But knowing that Sanya would doubtless know what was better, 'she is a lot more skilled that I am in this category’, she decided to face her fear. With a shuddering breath, she pushed to the front of the crowd. Raising her timid eyes towards Zensa Valobo, she meekly called out a greeting, “Uh - h-hello, Zensa…” her voice trailed off at the end, as she decided that her shoes were more interesting than anything else. Addressing Zensa, but facing her worn-out sneakers, she continued,“D-do you know me? I’m A-Ambra Riviere. The f-freshman that always gets in trouble because she loses her homework?”She took another deep breath, before closing her eyes. ‘I hope he doesn’t think I’m a weirdo…’ “Well, it’s not my fault really, but it just gets lost somehow, and I really think that I need to get a new binder, but I don’t have enough money to buy one, and I still don’t have a job, and there aren’t any openings that need my skills, which I am completely lacking anyways, so I can’t get a job.”Blushing slightly at her mindless babbling, she started to back away from the senior, holding her hands up all the while. Backing away from the limelight, she turned her attention towards her hands this time.

Noticing the other band members close by, Ambra covered her face with her hands. 'Shoot! I got in their way again… can’t I do anything properly? It was with the upmost embarrassment that she continued on with her spiel. “Sorry,” she murmured quietly, “I shouldn’t have bothered you about it. Just forget about it. Sorry, “ she murmured again, “you’re still in the middle of a performance anyways.” She blushed again, her cheeks turning a pale pink in color.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo Character Portrait: Aki Evedane Character Portrait: Oskana Sonnen
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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: Zensa Valobo
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Ambra Riviere (Random Student NPC) ; Cherry Grove Park


Take five, guys,” called Zensa quickly to the rest of his band, as Ambra sneaked a peek upwards. Even though the murmuring of the crowd was urging her to run away as fast as she could, she stood her shaky ground - she had already gone quite far. It was then that she saw the older senior putting down his shiny instrument. ‘Uh, is that a saxophone? Or a bass clarinet? I always get mixed up between those two...’ It was then that she got shaken from her thoughts when Zensa spoke, somewhat closer to her than she expected. “Let’s go have a little chat, alright, Ambra?” She froze, before noticing that his taller body was closer to hers than she thought. ‘When did he get off of that stage?

He seemed to be more sure than she was, as he took one her sweating and shaking hands into his own. That done, he led her away from the crowd that surrounded the stage - they seemed a little irate that the music wasn’t quite starting yet. Ambra looked down as she was led into a secluded spot, afraid that he was going to start berating her for disturbing him while he was busy performing. “Well, it’s nice to see you out of the school environment, and all the baggage it brings along.” She looked upwards at this - shocked that Zensa was being so nice to her. She really didn’t deserve such kindness… and saw his warm smile. She blushed again as the smile made her remember just who she was talking to - Zensa Valobo, the senior she was crushing on. “You can relax a little too, I’m not going to do anything drastic or hurt you or anything. So take a breath and enjoy it. You don’t have anyone nagging you for any assignments, or to answer questions. School’s almost out for the weekend anyway, so I think you should enjoy the time you have left. And by the way, if it’s alright with you, I’d like to hang out with you sometime. Now’s not exactly the best of times we could get acquainted, as you can probably tell.” Here, he gave a little chuckle, as Ambra looked upwards and blew the hair out of her face. Her eyes were wide and wondering as she continued to look at his feet. “So here’s my cell phone number, and you can give me a call when you want to do something and I’ll come meet you.” With that, he wrote down something on a piece of paper, handed it to her, and closed her hand around this paper. “Call me later, or something, yeah? I gotta get back to those guys, I’ve got a few more songs left to play. Hope to hear from you soon!” He gave a friendly, cheerful wave before jogging back.

Ambra was left there, before she opened her fist to see a string of ten numbers - his cell phone number? Looking at it, she looked into the sky with large, sparkling eyes and started to twirl around. “Yes! He’s so nice!” With a cheerful skip in her step, she ran around, with her arms wide open. “I have his phone number! He said that he was looking forward to hanging out with me - Ambra!”

After that outburst, she looked around, embarrassed. Hearing the band starting to play again, she skipped over, before standing on the outskirts of the crowd to listen to the jazz music.

The setting changes from Cherry Grove Park to Brio

Setting

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?”

Setting

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 Throme

Setting

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?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo Character Portrait: Sanya Ruse
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Ambra Riviere ; Cherry Grove Park


Fiddling with her cell phone, she typed the certain ten numbers before her finger hovered over the call button, worriedly. ‘Would it be a good idea to call him? What if he’s busy? He’s a senior and everything… and he might not have time to deal with me. I’m just a freshman after all… It’s also really late. Maybe I shouldn’t. Yeah, he might think that I’m really awkward or something...

For the third time in a row, she turned off her cell phone, deciding not to call him. But still, her large brown eyes continued to glance at the ten numbers that Zensa had written on a small slip of paper. His phone number. He did say that he was looking forward to meeting her, right?

Biting her lip nervously, she picked up the cell phone again, this time inputting a different string of ten numbers - the phone number of another person, and the only one that she would trust with a question like this.

“Ruse? Are you preoccupied right now?” she asked, nervously. “I have a question to ask you about Zensa… You know, the… senior who was playing the instrument on the stage… from the park?”

As her voice trailed off, Sanya Ruse spoke into the phone on her end. “Ah, no. I’m unoccupied” Her voice was sharp, as Sanya knew that there would be something interesting that she would find out - almost like a shark. Some juicy information that would bring the young girl even further into her debt. “Ask away. After all, the queen is always looking forward to helping her lovely court.”

“Well-,” her voice broke up as she started to look at her toes. Then, with a deep breath, Ambra started to speak quickly. “He gave me his cell phone number and said that he was looking forward to talking to me, but I don’t really know if this would be a good time to do it? Should I really do it now, or should I wait until later?” The end descended into unintelligible murmuring, while she clutched at the phone with shaking hands.

There was a slight laugh on the other side. “Ambra, go ahead and call him. It won’t hurt anything.” Then there was a slight pause, before the older girl spoke. “Just rehearse what you’re going to say beforehand, and it’ll turn out perfectly. I can tell.”

Ambra smiled to herself, her nerves temporarily calmed by Sanya’s belief. “Ah, t-thanks. I’ll call him immediately then.” She was just about to hang up when the older girl said something.

“Remember to tell me what happens afterward, alright, Ambra? Then I’ll be sure to help you plan the next step. You’ll thank me for telling you to approach him earlier today,” she seemed a little distracted, but her voice was still the same silky smooth and kind one that she normally used.

She nodded, before realizing that she couldn’t be seen. “Ah - yes, yes. I promise. Thank you so much, Ruse! I’m going to follow your instructions exactly and I think that it might end up fine because that’s what you said and you’re always right -” Cutting off mid sentence, Ambra blushed as she realized that she had started rambling again. “Bye, Ruse. Thank you so much for all of your help!” She closed the lid of her slightly clunky phone, before looking at it with a rueful smile. This time, she would be brave and actually speak to him without stuttering or blushing - but even as she thought that, the palm of her hand became sweaty, and she wiped it on her pants nervously.

Dialing the number once again, as she had practically memorized it by now, she waited for him to pick up, mentally rehearsing through what she would say in her mind. First, she would introduce herself - just in case, and ask if it was a good time for them to have a conversation. Then, if he wasn’t busy, she would - calmly - talk to him about the field trip. And then… well, hopefully, he would know what to talk about because she really wasn’t sure. Maybe swimming? No. Most people were bored when she talked about such things… or maybe movies? Movies. Everyone liked to watch movies, right? But what were the new movies that were coming out soon? All she knew was that Skinwalkers was coming out sometime next month… but what if Zensa didn’t like it?

The setting changes from Throme to Liron River Pier

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos
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#, as written by ZenMon
Deus ex Kaos - Liron River Pier


Dek meandered along the pier by the light of the moon. There was a spring to his step of one who was incredibly happy-go-lucky but it seemed disturbing to see a man like Dek walk that way. To any observer who would even think twice about looking at him more than once, he appeared to be a careless man strolling around at night. On a pier. With a massive hammer. And a disturbing mask. You would never have guessed that he had just committed murder in cold blood. Given the opportunity, he would do the same act again and again and again. Luckily for the general populace, no soul was even relatively near Dek at that time.

Dek suddenly froze. He could hear a faint buzzing noise. A light vibration accompanied the buzzing noises which now came in triplets. Reaching into the back pocket of his pants, Dek pulled out a mobile phone. The small screen on the lid displayed a string of numbers that were foreign to him. Behind the mask, an evil gleam shone in his eyes. Another potential victim? Fantastic! And they even came to me instead of me paying them a visit! How delightful! He was about to flip open the phone when something stirred within him. The phone fell to the pier as a pale silvery light shone from behind the mask. ..on't... hurt... -ra... Dek howled in fury as he was being forcibly separated from Zensa's body.

Zensa Valobo - Liron River Pier


It took a prodigious amount of mental focus to take control of his own arms again. The battle of wills between himself and Dek seemed to drag on for an eternity. With a final burst of will, Zensa forced his arms to reach up and take the mask off. The shadowy clothing that had covered Dek disappeared in wisps of blackness, leaving only Zensa's street clothes behind. The hammer itself seemed to melt into the dark spaces between the boards of the pier. He stooped to pick up his phone, wincing slightly as he felt the gash in his chest twinge. In one motion he flipped the phone open and put it to his ear.

"Hello? This is Zensa, how can I help ya on this fine evening?"

The setting changes from Liron River Pier to Throme

Setting

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Character Portrait: Zensa Valobo
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#, as written by ZenMon
Post Co-Written by Nivosity and spudjohnson

Zensa Volobo and Ambra Riviere



The phone continued to ring, and Ambra played with her brown hair before the call finally connected. All the pent-up nervousness and planning that she had gone through finally burst out of her. "Uh... Zensa. This is Ambra, you know from earlier, right? I was, uh, wondering if it might be a good idea to call you right now because you might be busy, but I thought that it might be alright because you gave me your number and I really -." She blushed again, before looking at her bed. "Sorry, I'm rambling. Anyways, um, what I meant to ask you is - are you free? It's alright if you are - I really don't mind, but you know..." Her voice trailed off.

"Ambra! Hey! How's it going?" It took him a moment, but Zensa remembered the girl he met at the park. In a way, he was glad she called him. Introductions weren't his forte; usually he fumbled with these kinds of things so badly it made things rather awkward. He hoped that this time would be different. "Don't worry so much about the rambling, I think it's kind of cute." Zensa mentally berated himself over that last remark. Already calling her cute right out of the gate, that almost never turns out well. Idiot! "But yea, I'm free. What did you want to talk about?"

Ambra blushed again, before continuing to speak in a quiet voice. 'Field trip, field trip, field trip,' she chanted mentally to herself. "Well, uh, what did you think about the field trip? I thought that y-your saxophone playing was really g-good." By the end of her little comment, her voice had already broken twice and was on the edge of inaudibility. She started to bite her lip while waiting for Zensa to continue - this was all so nervewrecking.

Zensa felt his face grow warmer. He was used to compliments, but this time it was different somehow. "T-Thanks!" Pull it together man! Be confident, or change subject! His mind went for the distraction with almost no hesitation. "It wasn't to terribly interesting of a trip, but it beat sitting around in the classroom, right? What did you think of it?" He started pacing back and forth without realizing it. Normally, he only did that when nervous even if he didn't want to admit it.

He sounded to be so sure of himself compared to her, and with a deep breath, Ambra started to attempt to mimic his calm speech. "Well, uh, I managed to not lose anything, so I guess that it was pretty fun..." Then, with a sudden quickness in her speech pattern, she quickly changed the topic. What was she supposed to change it to again - ah, right, movies. "A-anyways, do you like movies?"

The confidence in her voice almost caught Zensa off guard. He couldn't let himself be so timid with something like this, but he couldn't be rash. Another compliment? Or something else.. "Good to hear that you didn't lose anything." His mind once again berated him for yet another dim-witted comment. That's pretty close to insulting! What are you doing? He quickly answered her question so he could avoid his previous statement. "But I love movies, except for romantic comedies or things like that, why do you ask? Do you want to go see one?"

Somehow this cut into her false confidence and when she replied, it was with the faltering stammers that normally characterized her interactions with people - especially him. She was quite lucky that this conversation was going on via the phone, or her face would probably burn up. Ambra could still feel her cheeks burning. "Um... sure? That's if you're free, of course." She winced, before quickly tacking on another sentence. "I-I wouldn't want to be a bother."

Zensa smiled at the idea of going to a movie with Ambra. Inside, his pulse quickened and his heart skipped a beat. "Absolutely! What would you want to see? My treat." The words followed hers so quickly it caught him off guard. He really must've been excited by the notion of a date with Ambra. And it was a date, wasn't it? It was probably going to be. Right?

So what was that one movie called? Skin - Skinwalkers! "Uh, I think that... Skinwalkers? It's coming out ..." In her mind's eye, she tried to remember that movie poster that she had seen on the street before. But to no luck. Even with her eyebrows crinkled up, she couldn't quite remember when it was going to play. "Maybe? I think..." What was it even about? Uh... hopefully he'd know. She winced again - maybe she should have planned the conversation better. "Do you think it'd be a good movie?"

A small surge of relief flooded his mind. "Acctually, I was wanting to see that myself. The plot seems interesting, and the trailer really drew me in." Zensa was excited that she chose a movie that he was also interested in. It would probably give them more to talk about and provide more opportunities for them to connect and get to know each other. Now all that was left to do was figure out when they would go see the movie and if his chest could withstand his heart beating faster and faster as the phone call continued. "When would you want to go?" He tried to ask as calmly as possible and fervently hoped it seemed that way.

With his reply, Ambra's heart beat faster than she had ever believed that it could. Her eyes dilated with surprise - she had never thought that he would accept her request and so quickly too. M-maybe Sanya really was right about them. She could hardly hold back her surprise and excitement. "Really?!" She took a deep breath before responding to his question. "Any time you're free really..."

The excitement in Ambra's voice made his pulse speed up again. "Yea! Any time you want to go, I'm game. When would be the best time for you?" More questions popped up in his head, but he kept them back. One step at a time Zensa, one step at a time. Take it slowly. He attempted to calm himself while he waited for her to reply.

With a worried look around, Ambra tried once again to remember when it was supposed to start. What if she said some sort of date when the movie had already stopped playing or... hadn't started yet? "Maybe the first day?" she finally squeaked. Her other hand covered her eyes nervously.

Zensa smiled when Ambra squeaked. It was just like her, and something he liked about her. "Opening night it is. Do you want me to pick you up or just meet at the theatre?" His brain was attempting to tell him to calm himself, but the message went unheeded for once. It was almost impulsive. He still hoped he wasn't being really forward about this. It might complicate things in the long run.

Relieved that the older senior agreed with her, Ambra dropped her edgy hand from her eyes, and gulped loudly. "Well, uh, I'll - I'll see you there then?" she suddenly said. She took deep large breaths in the attempt to control her heartbeat, but to no avail - she couldn't stop the butterflies in her stomach. Ambra couldn't believe that s-she and Zensa were going to go to the movies - together!

Something he had said had definitely had an effect on Ambra. He could hear her taking deep breaths faintly through the phone, like someone who was so shocked by something they didn't know how to react. The thought of Ambra doing something like that made Zensa smile widely on his own end. "Sure. It's a date then!"

The word 'date' made Ambra's cheeks flush an even brighter red, and she was only able to choke out her reply. "If you say so..." Her eyes were wide with astonishment - she didn't think that this would happen. Her attention was diverted when her mother walked into her room with a jacket over her arm. "Um, my mom wants me to go buy a binder now so... I'll see you at school?" she suddenly mumbled, loudly. "B-bye then?"

"Sounds good. I'll see you at school then. Until then, Ambra." Zensa ended the call and exhaled a breath he didn't know he held. He had a date with someone. The thought was still alien to him, but alluring at the same time. His devotion to his musical career had limited his personal life, but the prospect of starting it was one that excited him in a way he had never felt before. Despite the wound in his chest, he raised his arms over his head triumphantly before heading back to his apartment. Hanging around the docks looking like he did would raise too many questions.

Setting

Characters Present

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

Sincerely,


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.