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Masks of the Soul

Brio

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a part of Masks of the Soul, by Cienpher.

Brio - the best café of the era

RolePlayGateway holds sovereignty over Brio, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

291 readers have been here.

Setting

Brio, though expensive, has a reputation as the best café of the era. It has impeccable service, delicious drinks and snacks, a beautiful mood... and just a touch of everyday-Throme excitement. Rumor has it that Damon Ito and Noel Delari have been seen stopping by at this popular site.

Brio's success might stem from the fact that any drink or snack you can think of will readily be available, no matter how absurd.

Regular Employees:
Rie (waitress)
Gwen (waiter)
Ren (counter-worker)

As for the owner of Brio... everyone knows him.... no one knows his name. Or maybe they do, but they aren't sure... after all, he gives a different one every time he's asked.
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Brio

Brio - the best café of the era

Minimap

Brio is a part of Maybelle Avenue.

1 Places in Brio:


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Brio


As always, the café was brimming with life, filled with guests as the soothing aroma of coffee and chocolate spread through the air. The chatter of the people wasn’t overwhelmingly loud, as the sweet and subtle music in the background kept the customers from talking too loud – they realized it would destroy the ambiance of the café. Such was this magnificent city hotspot known as Brio.

Here, one waiter balanced two trays on one arm as he tried to loosen his uniform tie. He was of a taller stature and had striking features – green eyes, yes, but he also possessed long silver hair, tied back with a black ribbon that suited the rest of his waiter’s attire. Such a thing wasn’t all that uncommon in Throme. The silver nametag at the collar of his vest read ‘Gwen’, and he seemed aggravated by something. “Rie,” he called, passing his trays to the waitress as she walked by. “The guest at table seven’s being a pain. Deal with it.” He pointedly ignored the annoyed glance the girl gave him – he wasn’t very amiable at rush hour… and at Brio, it was always rush hour.

With both hands now free, he successfully undid and retied his necktie, exhaling sharply as he did so. Another long day at work… they never did get a break at Brio. And then there was the owner of the whole joint, whom Gwen still didn’t know the name of. “Ren, what’s he calling himself today?” he asked the slightly shorter figure standing behind the counter. The pleasant whirring of a coffee machine started up as the red-haired boy turned to regard the silver-haired waiter.

“This morning he said it was Cromwell, and just moments ago he responded with Alberon,” the counter-worker chimed, a little too jovial in contrast with the waiter. “Oh, and deliver these to the back room for me, eh?” he added, sliding something that resembled a cross between parfait and a milkshake onto the polished counter.

“Since when did we serve something like this?” Gwen asked, staring accusingly at the dessert but picking up the tray anyway.

“Since when did we not serve anything, Gwen?”

“Whatever,” the waiter scoffed, before regarding Ren one last time. “I thought we weren’t allowed in the back room?”

Ren shrugged, glancing at the waiter with crimson eyes – such a thing wasn’t all that uncommon in Throme either, possibly contact lenses or the like. “Don’t ask me. Alberon’s orders.”

With a sigh, Gwen murmured a thanks to the counter-worker before taking the parfait-esque dessert and beginning to delve deeper into the café. Although the café might not look all that large from the outside image of the shop in the city, it was actually far wider inside than one would expect. There was the front rooms, where average and glamorous customers alike enjoyed a drink or meal… and then there were the backrooms. Gwen didn’t know what went on back there, nor anyone else for that matter – it was off limits to all but the owner… so why all of a sudden, would the owner let Gwen back there? It didn’t make sense… but orders were orders… and the pay was good.

The backrooms were inaccessible through the normal corridors – he had to leave through the employee-only side doors and walk to the end of the alley it led entrance to. There, it was well camouflaged, but there was a door in the darkness there, hidden in the shadows. – a rather low-tech door, which was unusual for Throme. It didn’t have the keypad or card system that most modern locks used. Gwen wasn’t at all sure how it worked, but he knew if he knocked, the door would open on its own – he had once seen the owner test it out while he threw away the trash. Gwen hesitated at the door, just barely noticeable, and tried to recall what the owner had done. His hand hovered upon the grey wood for a moment… before he tried. Two quick raps in succession, followed by a pause and one more. He heard the scraping of metal as it seemed that something akin to a latch was undone. Upon trying the handle, Gwen was just a little surprised to find it unlocked.

Inside was simply more corridors, which was unthinkable – no matter how big the café was, surely Brio couldn’t be this large when it seemed so small from the outside. He was only more confused by the unfamiliarity of these corridors – they were so completely different in style from the warm, ambient main hall. These hallways were made of concrete, and they seemed cold… nearly prison-like. It was just then that Gwen noticed a slab of chocolate sticking out of the dessert in his hands… and it read in white chocolate icing, ‘Fifth Room’.

Disturbed but curious, Gwen decided to comply. The fifth room was easy to find, much to his dismay… there was a sign on the outside of it that declared, ‘Reserved’. Once again, the waiter hesitated before briskly knocking on the metal door. The resulting clang echoed through the empty hallways.

… And then an unfamiliar voice responded, “Come in.”

So Gwen did, and he didn’t expect the luxurious décor of the room inside. For several moments, he stood there, dumbfounded, green eyes wide as he stared in confusion at the red velvet draperies, gold tasseled rug, the mahogany furniture… and then his eyes fell upon the individual. The upper half of his face was obscured by a hood, so that only the smirk upon pale lips could be seen. “Ah, there’s my Amerstall!” the figure exclaimed, extending his arms in a flamboyant gesture. The dark violet sleeves trailed off his arms – he wore a robe. It was obviously a male from the voice. “Well? Set it down, set it down!”

A little taken aback, Gwen complied, placing the tray upon the polished wooden table before setting the silverware for this strange man. The hooded figure then picked up the spoon, dipped it into the icy red substance, and took a bite. Gwen shuddered – something didn’t feel right. There was something incessantly eerie about the whole situation, and there was some kind of sickly sweet smell in the room. Incense? Whatever it was, the waiter didn’t like it. It made him uneasy and just a little dazed.

“Hey.” The hooded figure’s sudden voice startled Gwen from his stupor. Although the waiter couldn’t see this customer’s eyes, the strange figure stared up at Gwen, and although the eyes were hidden from the hood, Gwen could feel them boring into him. There was something incredibly… off about this customer. “What time is it?”

And if there was something Gwen had thought this stranger would say, this certainly wasn’t it. Glancing at his wristwatch, the waiter replied, “It’s about 5:43 PM… why?”

The ominous sensation only grew worse when the pale-skinned figure’s lips curled upwards into an unnaturally wide grin. “No reason.”

It was then that Gwen noticed by the stranger’s feet, a peculiar item. Although it was obscured by the tablecloth, he thought that he could make out an edge of metal, and a sense of dread overwhelmed him. “Excuse me sir, but I’ll have to take a look at that,” Gwen said, crouching down to reach for the possible weapon.

“I think not.” And Gwen was kept back by something pushing back on him. Startled, Gwen looked to see that the hooded figure had seen it fit to place his foot upon the waiter’s shoulder. As he stared, the stranger ground the heel of his shoe into it, nearly making the waiter wince. Gwen held it back.

Greatly aggravated, Gwen glowered up at the figure, enraged by the sure ridiculousness of this customer’s actions. His anger quickly dissipated, and the feeling of dread returned when he locked gazes with luminous violet eyes. They glowed from beneath the hood, with a near sinister quality to them. They looked upon him with malice. “How rude,” the stranger mused. “Poor judgement won’t get you very far in life.”

Something wasn’t right about all this. There was something strange about it all… and that sickly sweet smell was still fogging his thoughts. Gwen didn’t like it at all. Despite the foreboding feeling, he pressed on, glaring with dulled green eyes, “I insist, sir, that I take this into c – ”

“There’s no need for that, Gwen,” a rather familiar voice chimed from the entryway. Gwen immediately stood up, swiftly knocking the hooded figure’s foot from his shoulder as he turned to face the new arrival. “Owner,” he mumbled. “But that could be a – ”

“I assure you, everything is fine,” the owner said with a smile, his face silhouetted by the dim light from the door. “Just get back to the main hall.”

Confused, and not at all satisfied with this conclusion, Gwen stood his ground for a moment longer before quickly brushing past his owner.

“Oh, and Gwen?”

The waiter froze for a moment, waiting to hear what else the owner had to say.

“Forget everything you’ve witnessed here.”

He planned to. As Gwen briskly left, he heard a brief exchange between the two.

“So, what’s your name today?”

“Whatever could you mean? I’ve always been Mao.”

As soon as the metal door shut behind him, Gwen ran. He sprinted out of the corridors that were the ‘backrooms’, and he burst into the alleyway, breathing deeply. The air tasted so fresh, so clean… it cleared his head, and the reality of all that happened sank into him… yet at the same time, it confused him. It was as if all that had transgressed moments ago had been nothing but a dream – it was fading from his memory. Aggravated, the waiter slammed his hand into the wall beside him, scraping the skin along the brick. He didn’t care about the wound. He stayed there like that for a while longer, pulling himself together. “Ugh,” he groaned, before shaking his hand to wring the pain from it. A short while later, he was in the kitchen of the café, rinsing his wound.

A curious Ren peered in and whistled, “Ouch.” Gwen ignored the counter-worker, drying his now clean hands with a towel. “You know, you took quite a while back there. So, what’s it like? Is it awesome?” Ren grinned, eager to hear details. “Was there an exotic princess from a different country or something?”

“Nothing happened!” Gwen snapped, to an extent that was even harsher than his usual irritable demeanor. Both Ren and he recognized this. “Sorry,” he muttered. “Let’s just forget about it.”

It would be best if Gwen could forget, because the owner’s words echoed in his head. ”Forget everything you’ve witnessed here.” If only he could… if only he could.

“Ren! A café macchiato for table three!” Rie’s voice called from outside.

“I’ve got it,” Gwen mumbled, brushing past Ren and reaching for a tray. Hopefully he would be able to forget. If not… the upcoming days seemed grim.

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Kaden Jannsen; Brio


It was Kaden’s second time at Brio. Everything seemed very out of place, too hectic for his tastes. He didn’t like being here longer than he had to. And he was terrified of Judgement’s wrath... Fifty-seven minutes was a long time... Too long...

He tried to remember who he was supposed to ask for. It wasn’t Judgement... Someone from school? No, it was someone here, a waiter perhaps? Aha! It was the manager! Kaden walked up to bar, and asked the person behind the counter (Ren, the name tag said) if he could see the manager. Ren grinned and gestured toward a room in the back, “Ah – the owner’s over there.”

Kaden walked over to the manager, whoever he was, and asked for the back room as directed. The man just pointed him to yet another doorway with a smile. Kaden walked over to it, looking over his shoulder in confusion and opened the door, proceeding to the room where Judgement waited, alone.

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Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: Aki Evedane Character Portrait: The Wheel of Fortune
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Aki Evedane/Wheel of Fortune; Brio



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#, as written by Alasund
Kiriyu Asuki, Brio's


Some people might have taken at least two looks at Asuki arriving in Brio. The cafe wasn't the odd part, as schoolkids were quite numerous at Brio's, especially in this section of the afternoon, school being out and all. No, why others might've watched her, is that from the moment she stepped in the door, she seemed out of place. The bustling crowds of people around her, the noise...

She winced once. Her quiet, helpful, persona wasn't particularly happy with the situation either, since she also was... quiet. If there was one thing that she disliked, no matter the way she was acting, it was sound, sound and continuous chatter. Being surrounded by other people.

It reminded her of parties, something else she stayed as far away from as possible. At least no one was trying to make sure she was having a good time at Brio's. The slim, wiry figure slipped through the crowds, searching for the face of the contact she knew.

Where was that odd man who changed his name so often? She couldn't see him. A frown settled over her features as she pushed her way towards the door, slipping past the obstructions when it was possible. Obstructions that ranged from people moving about, to tables and chairs in her road. In the back of her mind, she itched to take out the Chariot and clear a path, but, restraining herself, she headed over to the counter.

There she considered asking the waiter, but he'd just pointed someone else in another direction. Her eyes narrowed as she noticed the other schoolboy now heading off in a different direction...

Did she know him? She couldn't remember. Certainly not one of those memorable types. Perhaps another Itex? Well, she couldn't bet on it. Following him couldn't hurt at any rate.

A moment as the crowd swirled past, she lost track of him. Glancing quickly around, searching thoroughly, and almost desperately. She didn't know why, but she'd hoped he was Itex... Maybe because then just following him would take her out of this crowd, so she could actually think.... And it would save time. If it wasn't for the fact that she couldn't have arrived any time sooner, she'd have been berating herself over her tardiness.

Finally noticing the owner in the backroom, she siddled once more through the crowds towards him. Upon reaching him, and therefore escape from the crowd, she bows quickly, once, and asks directions. Upon receiving them, the Itex lower steps through the door, walking inwards to meet with Judgement. As she disappears from public sight, the simpering and helpful mask fades away. Her eyes take that cold, calculating aspect, and her pose hardens.

It was time to see what Itex wanted from her now......

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#, as written by Alasund
(Triple Post, apologies)

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#, as written by Alasund
(Triple post, apologies.)

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Nope…No….Not them… Over there?..Nope…. Light blue eyes darted from one individual to another, searching for a familiar face and possible fellow victim to lateness. Yet luck was being very cruel at the moment and not a single face was the right kind of familiar. Fellow students, yes; useful, no. Head almost turning to a sound behind her, Blithe berated herself for being desperate enough to mistake her own name; but it wasn’t until whoever it was said it differently, the blond turned around and hid the smile that was wanting to bust through at how ridiculously relieved she was.

Nodding her head in confirmation to her name, and the correct though strained way the younger woman pronounced it, Blithe continued walking as Oskana joined in the trudge to Brio. “No, you’re not disturbing me. It’ll make walking there go by faster.”

There was no need to say where ‘there’ was. It was simply an accepted fact for the given day. But most importantly at the moment; if she was going to waltz in late, she refused to go down alone.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

School was definitely out from the looks of the packed café. Café, mini restaurant, secret organization meeting place; Brio never did have just a normal reputation as long as she had been in Throme, and by the time you threw in the place’s owner, you just learn to nod your head, appreciate the food, and don’t ask questions.

The walk from the park didn’t seem as long as she had anticipated, but it was still nerve wracking every minute that passed without their destination in sight. It was also pretty quiet, or at least for Blithe it was. Checking her phone every street corner and adding up the total time, anything she may have been asked probably received a yes or no answer…. Hopefully any words passed between the two was questions… if not she probably made a very distracted accompaniment.

Weaving through the crowd and toward the register, Blithe dug into her back pocket and pulled out the bit of cash already counted and folded with the exact change inside. It had been another long night of reading with just a few hours spent sleeping; and she had been craving caffeine for the past six hours. Grabbing her favorite choice of a death-by-sugar chocolate bar, the total didn’t even have time to ring up before she placed the cash in hand on the counter and pointed towards the back; receiving a nod and a potential wave to go on ahead.

The backrooms of Brio were nothing new. About like repeating junior year, only so many things could change; and the strange establishment and atmosphere emanating from what she knew was a few feet away wasn’t one of them. Casting a look and nod toward Oskana, Blithe stepped aside to allow the girl to either walk in first or walk in with her; either way she wasn’t going to be the first to catch attention from Judgment. Though after stepping through the doorway, it didn’t seem like the precaution was necessary. Already a few recognizable Itex were inside the room or appearing to have just arrived there themselves. So with that note, Blithe kept to the back and walked toward the side of the room and out of the door’s path. She caught herself looking toward the man inside the room, hoping to gage his current mood; but she knew before even trying that it was a lost cause. The only thing that could be done was stand and wait to see what Itex wanted from them; and when.

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#, as written by ZenMon
Zensa Valobo


The last note resonated from the last song, resulting in a wave of applause from the audience. Zensa smiled, acknowledging the crowd's enjoyment of the show. Returning the saxophone to it's stand and taking his own reed, he bid the rest of the band farewell before slipping away. The wind picked up again, whipping his silver hair around his head. Retrieving his school bag from it's hiding spot, he checked his phone. A reminder notification blinked on the display. He flipped the slim phone open, wondering what kind of appointment he had. He nearly choked on the reed when he sucked in his breath. The meeting! Damn! I've gotta run! Hastily pocketing the phone in mid-stride, Zensa ran from the park and headed towards Brio.

Much to the dismay of several people that were in his way, Zensa tore down the street. One unfortunate soul was knocked to the ground, sending contents of their shopping bags flying across the pavement. With a hasty apology, he continued his mad dash to the cafe. When the cafe was in sight, Zensa slowed down so he could catch his breath and so he would hopefully look more presentable. He opened the door and strode in, not really taking in any of the sights that the cafe offered. At the counter, he pointed towards the rear where the backrooms were and got a slight nod in his direction. Taking his queue, he walked towards the back. He didn't really take into account the occupants of the room, and elected to sit in the back corner, facing the door.

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Judgement; Brio


Waiting was always such a tedious process, but not this time. No – today, this Amerstall was absolutely delicious. He would have to give his compliments to the creator of this delightful treat… and the late arrivals would too. Such as this boy, who just walked in, quite close to an hour past the appointed time. Typical. However, such typical poor judgement wasn’t something that Itex took very lightly.

When the first one, the Moon, quietly slunk in, Judgement didn’t even glance up, instead choosing to continue with his dessert, his elbow propped upon the table, lazily supporting his jaw. The masked man with violet eyes took the small dessert spoon – round bowl, straight stem – and scooped up a mound of apricots and ice. Peculiarly, he put the spoon in his mouth upside down, so that the cold, sweet flavor made direct contact with his tongue. It was a harmless habit, a unique one – one he didn’t see reason to fix.

Eventually, after savoring the taste of it, he swallowed that last spoonful of ice and smiled as he regarded the new arrival. “Late,” he chimed, pointing the silver spoon at the boy. Then, dipping in for another spoonful of the treat he said, “But fortunately for you, I’m in a good mood – this Amerstall is delicious.” Meaning that no one would die… for now. Really, deaths were so inconvenient, but rules were rules and everything had its consequence. He couldn’t understand how some of Itex’s previous agents failed to see that… or perhaps they just had little common sense. It was probably the latter.

Shortly, several more late arrivals entered the room – the girls… and then finally, the musician boy. All was well, since he was nearly done with his dessert anyway, and then he really would have gotten a fair bit more impatient. Setting spoon into the large glass bowl with pleasant clink of noise, he straightened to regard each of them with the same strange smile. Some of the faces, relatively recent, Judgement had yet to commit to memory… They were all children really, several years younger than him – not that he was very old himself, but that was a small matter. What mattered was that they were even younger. Something at the back of his mind told him that he should care about this detail, that it was something that, had he been in his normal state of mind, he would have minded… but in all honesty, he didn’t really care. As far as he was concerned, they were like any other member of Itex now, children or not… but that voice beneath this layer of insouciance was really beginning to get irritating.

“Well then, since you’ve all finally arrived,” Judgement began, taking care to emphasize the second to last word, “I suppose we have no time to waste. The higher ups won’t be very pleased, you know.” Then with a clever flick of his foot, he kicked the long item upon the ground into the air and grasped it, pointing the scythe towards the group. “You, Moon,” he stated before flicking the weapon towards two others. “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…” he seemed thoughtful for a moment before chiming, “nine minutes before the appointed time.” Unfortunately for them, Liron Pier was fifteen minutes away, and that was only if they ran. Then again, it wasn’t his problem.

“As for you two,” the masked man added, regarding the remaining two – the Star and the Hermit, “There’s this.” He pulled from the inside of his cloak with his free hand, a small box – rectangular, and just thin enough to hold in one hand. It was made of metal and had a clear lock on it. “It needs to be delivered to the roof of Sagaro Mall. There’ll be someone waiting for you – I assure you, you’ll know her when you see her.” At this, a serious light came to his violet eyes, and he smiled menacingly as he added, “Oh, and I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that neither of the packages are to be opened, damaged, or lost.”

As soon as he said this, Judgement’s gaze flickered to the doorway, the dim light of the hallway filtering into the room. “And someone do close the door…” Eyes narrowed, and smile suddenly gone, Judgement’s expression hardened as he muttered coldly, “It’ll let all sorts of vermin in.”

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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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Oskana Sonnen Character Portrait: The Wheel of Fortune Character Portrait: Blithe Verday
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Wheel of Fortune ; Brio


Aki stayed there, one hand reaching imperiously for the box as he barely noticed that two of the StupidClubMembers had ended up leaving. No, it didn’t concern himself. The clear lock seemed to be taunting him when it didn’t make its way into his hands, ready to give up all of its secrets. Then, a hand appeared out of nowhere and snatched the package away from Mister Scythey.

Idiot SnatchingHand.’ His golden eyes narrowed as he twirled around on the ball of his foot - to see the owner of this hand. It was a shorter girl with the annoyingest brown hair. “No, presents aren’t made for people that rudely interrupt someone else. Hasn’t your mother taught you any manners?” AppearingHandGirlie said as though attempting to explain her own actions. How annoying - it seemed as though all of these people decided that they no longer wanted to listen to the only important person in the entire city - no, world. Himself. He continued to hold one hand out, waiting for her to get through with her little rebellion and finally hand him the package. That’s all she existed for anyways.

But no~ She wanted to become the hub of the wheel as well. She, even more stupidly, tucked the interesting present into her pocket - and he stepped forward, threatening. He stood there for a second, barely registering the fact that she was getting smaller and smaller.

“Come on, girlie, gimme that already. There’s no point in having a box - it only exists to be opened by me,” he ordered again, before realizing that the AppearingHandGirlie was trying to leave, without even attempting to tell him what the present was - or even better, simply handing the present over to him. He leapt into the air, before curling into a ball, and bounded over the head of the girl. Landing on the ground in a crouch, he stood up, before opening his palm upwards, in preparation for summoning his spear. “Unless you want to see just what color your insides are - you know, they’re probably not the perfect shade of cherries. Probably… crimson?”

“What did I say about pests?” said a familiar voice coldly. “Divine Retribution.”

Aki looked upwards, to see Scythey-boy pointing his scythe at him with cold violet eyes. “Wait. What?” he exclaimed, before a black mass of something shot towards him. With a muffled curse, his hand glowed slightly, and after a few seconds, there was an ornate spear in his hand. But - that was a few seconds too late.

The black projectile flew straight to its mark and hit the bone of his shoulder. His hand flew up to the wound, and his hands felt a liquid oozing out from there. “Hey, Scythey-boy, what was that for?” he asked, as something red gleamed between his fingers, before a few drops of blood hit the ground. He gave it a glance, before a petulant frown made its way over his expression.

“No, no, this -.”

“Divine.”

“won’t -.”

“Retribution.”

“Wait for me to finish, Scythey.” He murmured in annoyance, before pointing the tip of his spear towards the black mass that was shooting towards him again. Both hands were placed about a shoulder’s width apart, and his right foot inched forward slightly. The point of the spear jerked upwards, as he pushed forward at the incoming projectile. The black mass divided itself around his spear, and continued to come speeding in his direction. “Shoot,” he said, before rushing out the door.

But even as fast as he pumped his arms and legs, he couldn’t outrun the black mass. It slammed into his back, and he stumbled forwards, out of the room. He looked around, before sprinting forward, towards the alleyway in the back. The breath was knocked out of him, when he crashed into the rough brick walls, leaving a smear of red blood. He slowly turned around, making sure to keep the wound on his back from touching the grimy surface behind him. After all, he didn’t care what happened, as long as it didn’t hurt.

Aki stood there in wait, waiting for someone to appear there for him to take refuge in their shadow. His golden eyes narrowed with annoyance, and he frowned, sulkily. His breath came in short, shallow breaths, and he let the tip of his spear to drag on the ground. Really, he really hated to be hurt. One hand dug through his pockets, looking for a painkiller or something of the like. A look of mirth crossed his face, as his hand retreated out of his pocket - a smashed cherry in his hand. Aki then popped the red fruit in his mouth, and closed his eyes in enjoyment of the taste.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Oskana Sonnen
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Oskana Sonnen ~ Brio Cafe



Threats were of no use on Oskana, the boy's attempts were sad and uninspiring. That is what she told herself but her mind held no authority on her sympathetic body. Small and but a week little girl, Oskana looked but a deer caught in the headlights, her entire frame going ridged and stiff as the mysterious guest raised his hand directed at her.

Insides? Crimson wouldn't exactly be correct but Oskana had no intention proving him wrong. From the corner of her eyes she saw the flickering movement of Judgement swinging back his scythe. A motion which she was witness to once and only once before, the memory so suppressed regenerated to the grotesque image of past experience did her girlish fear abate. His mouth twitched, images passing through space faster then sound. All it took as a moment for sense to return to her limbs and before Judgement had finished his warning, Oskana had one foot out the door in a desperate sprint, spending her last moments in the room to glance at Blithe.

Turning the corner, Oskana exited the alley way and continued at her desperate pace until reaching nearest the street corner in the direction of the mall. Casually looking around she wondered if Blithe followed the same route as she had taken. No more worrying about the intruder; Judgement was never one to let a criminal escape without punishment. It would be surprising if that guy managed to go unscathed. One her tippy-toes, Oskana peered around for a platinum blond all the while continuing towards the shopping hub. Regular crowds grew as she neared the destination and her hand slipped instinctively into the pocket in which the package sat.

A part of her wanted very much so to peer inside, against her better judgement. What was it that sat in this little silver box? Money? Jems? Or perhaps something much more sinister. Oskana shook off the feeling. It wouldn't do her any good, only harm. Anyways, assignments from Itex were usually of this nature, deliver but never ask. An over played movie in the theater, or perhaps a movie with to many sequels would be a better comparison. She was directly in front of Sagaro Mall now, shifting herself over to the side so not to be in the middle of foot traffic. Craning her neck up, Oskana squinted into the skyline. There was no one close enough to the edge on the roof to be seen from the ground. If Blithe had said anything, whether they had found each other or not, Oskana would've only replied in monotonous syllable.

Finished with whatever it was that had crossed her mind, Oskana continued with the task in quiet.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Aki Evedane
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Aki Evedane; Cenriel Academy


Aki sighed heavily to himself. While his previous injury on his arm had healed enough for him to remove the bandage, his more recent - and far larger - injuries still ached with every passing step. The weather, being the disagreeable soul that it was, wasn’t helping any with its gusting winds and falling temperature. That wind cut through his clothing and caused a rising complaint from all over his body with every step.

Seemingly attracted to his pain, one of the counselors had spent the last week dogging his steps... and she was still there. The mousy-brown haired lady hobbled after him - she said she had arthritis - brandishing promises of a nice, friendly tête-à-tête. As if he was interested in the state of her children and god forbid, grandchildren. Still, he had to hand it to her that she was persistent at the very least. If only he could hand this interest in some other direction - maybe she could distract Vault from his also frequent dogging of Aki’s step.

Apparently, Vault wanted some payback for losing his zombie.

Aki sighed again, it seemed as though he was surrounded by those that loved to make his life a living disaster. With that mousy lady, his father’s current silence - probably upset that he wasn’t allowed to know why his son was walking around as though he had been in a traffic accident - and Vault’s frequent losses of sanity, Aki was extremely lucky to have not gone mad from all this. So, when was the lady going to gain a new brain and find someone else to bother. Someone who was actually happy to see her.

“AKKKKIIII~” came a loud shout from that said lady, brandishing one of her fuchsia-painted hands in his direction. He turned with an energy-conserving manner, before he gave her a admonishing frown. Really, was that proper behavior for an adult of her age and stature?

“Yes, Mrs.Haverland?” he asked, backing away from her excitement. The searching eyes of the students shot in his direction - really, it was obvious. However, as though they were embarrassed by their interest in him, a few of the less confident of the bunch glanced away when Aki’s blue eyes glanced in their direction.

“I was wondering if you had some free time. I heard that Brio’s having a special today - in order to get ready for the upcoming weekend. You’re not in any of the clubs, so I thought that maybe you could go with me.” Her voice was, while high in a ear-shattering manner, firm and self-assured. Almost as though she believed that he would agree to such a time-wasting thing. “Of course, it’s nothing really that important - just thought that maybe we could have a little heart to heart while we still have time.”

“No, really, there’s no need,” came the cold reply. “I have other commitments, Mrs.Haverland. I’m afraid that you’ll have to take one of the other students along with you.” Aki drew one hand over at the students that surrounded the pair. “I’m sure that Haden would be delighted to accompany you. Or the young boy genius. There’s nothing really that important or interesting about me for your attention.”

“You’re so harsh on yourself - I think that you’re very interesting~ But think at it this way, Aki. You have a little something called a college recommendation, is that not correct? Aren’t you going to be very upset if you’re given a bad recommendation by your counselor? It’s just a little something that you can do for me if you come to Brio with me.”

Old Miss Twinkletoe’s not going to shut up until I agree now, is she?’ “Is that blackmail I hear, Mrs.Haverland?” Aki stopped his backwards motion, before planting the soles of his black shoes firmly down on the ground, before drawing himself up to his full height. He towered over the shorter, and slightly pudgy adult, who didn’t seem to mind.

“Oho, Aki, I always knew that you were a smart one,” she twittered, before grabbing the junior firmly by the arm and leading him away. Aki, torn by his desire to stay out of the octopus-like grasp of the woman and his wish to not have to cause such a large commotion in a public area, allowed himself to be pulled away. “Now, this isn’t so bad after all, is it? It’s not as though you have anything else to do.”



He had a lot to do. His homework, for one.

And that was how the strange pair made their way to the crowded café. The faint aromatic smell of coffee pervaded the air, while waiters bustled here and there carrying drinks more fanciful than the last. The silver-haired one, Gwen, in particular, was looking extremely harassed… but then, of course, he always did. Ren was once again manning the counter, and his cheery smile seemed a little misplaced in the crowd. Rie, the blond female, was nowhere to be seen today - strange because she was usually here on Fridays. “SO, AKIIII~ Where will we be sitting?” asked the counselor again, pulling him through the hectic café. “Why don’t we get a nice comfy booth, huh?”

“Whatever you want, Mrs.Haverland.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: Aki Evedane
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#, as written by Witless
Kaden Jannsen; Brio


A long walk later, Kaden stepped into the hustle and bustle of Brio. Despite the dying down of tourists and natives populating the shops of Maybelle Avenue, Brio had managed to retain most of its members, with the few gone likely replaced by others. Surely a testament to Brio's management, marketing, and food, it allowed the cover that Brio provided to continue. And sure enough, like normal, Brio was crowded, filled with a variety of people. For whatever reason, Rie was gone, so Gwen was rushing to and fro, overworked as usual but even more so. Ren was at the counter, smiling his usual smile and making concoctions. As Kaden walked through to the back, he passed by a booth where a familiar face sat: Aki Evedane. Why was he here? Oh well, he looked busy with the person... wait, that was a counselor, wasn't it? That explained some things...

Putting that out of his mind for now, Kaden moved to the back, caught Ren's eye, and gestured to the door, continuing at Ren's nod of affirmation. Pulling open the door, he went where they always met, every Friday since that first meeting. Judgement was going to be there, or so he assumed, and maybe some other people had decided to arrive early as well. He'd see when he arrived. In the meantime, he brought out a notepad and began sketching while walking. The varied drinks and snacks carried around by waiters made him feel in the mood to create one of his own. Maybe he'd see if they could replicate his drawings?

He only got finished with the beginnings of the first drawing during his walk. It was chocolate. Pure, utter chocolate. Well, a mix of many different types, but it was all there. A small, cubic section of cake, cut to show the many different layers, each one different from the rest - the standard milk, dark, white, along with mint, peanut butter, hazelnut, cherry, strawberry, blueberry, lemon, cream, vanilla, ground nuts, assorted candies, and probably more left unnamed or to be added, each swirled within its own grade of chocolate to create a rainbow of colors rooted in the foundation of rich brown chocolate. It would be interesting to see what they made of it, even if he wouldn't eat it. Oh, but he had arrived now. Opening the door and walking in, Kaden went to the nearest available seat to await orders. And continued drawing...