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The Multiverse

Setting

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Yan'Xin Village Square is a part of Yan'Xin Village.

6 Characters Here

Nariko [11] All in the name of a good time.
Kinaro [8] An enigmatic wanderer only known by his first name. No one has ever seen his face.
Seiji Watanabe [8] ...
Tora Xi [1] ...
Corvus Solomon [0] Corvus is a powerful Earth Manipulator who gained the favor of the spirits of earth, being the guardian of a large plot of land and a member of donovans team.

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2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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#, as written by Teo
It was approaching evening in Yan'Xin village, and the festival was starting to pick up in pace. The smell of fresh food filled the air as the various stalls offered their wares to the attendees, and music was picking up from a spread of performers. The village square had been set up in preparation for the more formal events of the evening, and a large square stage had been set up on one side, with access from the village hall. Only the edge of the square had stalls set up on it, with the centre reserved for dancing later on.

Masked people flocked through the streets, some sitting at the tables of a corner-cafe, others playing carnival games at various stalls, others still just enjoying the sights and the companionship.

As Junwei was perusing the festival's sights - or more precisely, its ladies - he drew the attention of one person in particular. As the giggles of a particularly mature looking fifteen-year-old left the man behind, the girl in question thoroughly amused by his antics, a woman in a white fox mask made her way over to him.

"Hello there, stranger," she said, her voice sweet and gentle beneath the mask. Long brown hair fell out from behind it, over a semi-traditional outfit... one with a notably shortened skirt. A katana was conspicuously sheathed at her hip. "You don't seem to be having much luck." she remarked with a laugh.

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Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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Junwei leaned an arm up against a stall, smirking lazily. "And would you be the one to change my luck?" he asked, giving her a once-over. Though she seemed fairly young, Junwei had a hope that she was at least more than a particularly mature fifteen year old. It would be just his luck if she turned out to be younger.

"That's quite a nice mask you have there. Foxes seem to be a bit popular."

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Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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#, as written by Teo
Nariko chuckled coyly, "You'll need more than luck." she replied, folding her arms. "But you never know... And yes, well. Foxes have a lot going for them, after all. Beauty, cunning, wit. The full package."

The woman trailed around Junwei and brought a hand up to brush his mask. "I've not seen another mask like yours around. It's ... fierce." she murmured, "It suits you, though. Very well."

Beneath the mask, she was smirking.

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Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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More than luck? Well, Junwei certainly had the charm. Or so he believed.

The man smirk, bringing the mask across his face. "So I've been told," he chuckled. "There's much more to the dragon that that, however. As I'm sure there's more to the fox. I'm curious enough to want to learn."

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Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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#, as written by Teo
Another chuckle. "A lot more." she replied, "Tell me, traveller. What brings you to the festival here tonight?"

Nariko drifted back a few steps to place a more respectable distance between them. "Just the reputation of the village? Or something more... unlikely?" She placed a thoughtful finger to her chin, "You strike me as someone with a story behind them, but one that pales in comparison to the story left to tell..."

She tilted her head. "What thread of your story led you here, now of all times, I wonder?"

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Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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"A chance meeting with a small boy. He was being robbed, so I thought I should be the good guy and come to his rescue," Junwei hummed. He took just one step toward her. He smirked. "A story? Now, aren't I the one who should be coaxing more out of you?" The man purred. "I don't think my story will be a riveting..."

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Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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#, as written by Teo
"How noble of you," Nariko remarked, leaning back on one leg with a small chuckle. "That would be the child you arrived with, I suppose? A strange one, that. There's more to him than meets the eye, I think. Much as there is with you. It's so often the chance, coincidental meetings that become the most important."

She drifted away a few steps again flightily before going on. "Perhaps your story isn't yet. But I have a feeling it'll have many twists and turns before it's through." Finally, she paused and turned to offer him a bow. "The name's Nariko. I'm a traveller, much like yourself."

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Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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"Yes, that little one," replied Junwei. He stared at Nariko, stepping toward her as she stepped away once more. Though she was backing up, she didn't seem to be pushing him away.

"Junwei," he said, deeply bowing at the waist. "I don't suppose you're here with anyone?"

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Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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#, as written by Teo
"No..." Nariko replied, though she paused as though thinking it over, "Not as such. I think an old friend is in town... but we don't really talk any more."

She stepped closer to him, brushing past - it was almost like a dance they wove around each other, with both their movements and their words. As she passed him, she paused again, "The boy... keep an eye on him. Have an eye for the unexpected." she murmured quietly, before she moved on another few steps.

"Will I see you at the dancing later?" she inquired after she had stopped.

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Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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"That was already on my agenda. Perhaps it is more important than I fist suspected," he grinned, peering at Nariko through the corner of his eye as she passed by him. Oh, she did like to tease.

He lifted his head and turned half around to raise a brow. He scratched his chin, musing at the sky before grinning again, sharp canines baring.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world."

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Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Nariko
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#, as written by Teo
"Good." Nariko grinned beneath her mask, letting out another chuckle. "Because I have a feeling that's when things are going to get really interesting."

She turned back to face him for a moment, "I'll see you there, then... Wildfire."

And then she stepped into the crowd. For a brief moment, she was obscured as a small group walked between her and Junwei. When they had passed, she was gone. Nowhere to be seen.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seiji Watanabe Character Portrait: Kinaro
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#, as written by Script
Activity began to build in the village square as the time of the dance approached. The crowds filled out with men and women dressed in extravagant traditional outfits, all wearing masks. The music being played on the stage nearby switched from the ambient calm it had been previously to a more energetic beat, and people took to the centre of the square to dance.

The majority of people still hung back around the edges of the square, where food and drink stalls were scattered around in significant numbers. They were waiting for the village elder to take the stage and make his speech, which would announce the formal beginning of the dancing.

Seiji smiled brightly at Kinaro, taking a hearty bite of the rice ball. "Mmf, thanks!" he said, muffled through the mouthful. He listened to the other man as they ate, before swallowing his last mouthful with a gulp.

"Don't be so silly!" The boy exclaimed, "I've been friends with all sorts of people before, from oni to dragon-kin. I don't care what you look like!" Seiji beamed at Kinaro and threw his arms around the taller man for a hug. "You're my friend, silly!"

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Character Portrait: Seiji Watanabe Character Portrait: Kinaro Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei
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Looking down at Seiji as he hugged him, he couldn't help but feel blessed that he has such a friend. He's done nothing but act mysterious and distant aside from a few random acts of kindness, but he's still valued so. "Thank you, Seiji." he says sincerely. Looking to the stage, he sees the elder prepare his speech while others are already dancing. He also noticed Junwei within the crowd of people. "There have been many...strange people around as of late, and not because of the festival. Something's happening, Seiji. And soon." he says in a tone that indicates a warning. To lighten the mood, he says "Come on, let's go talk to Junwei." before walking up to him, giving a slight wave

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Character Portrait: Seiji Watanabe Character Portrait: Kinaro Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei
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Junwei approached them both with a lazy smirk on his face. He certainly seemed pleased with himself. After all the earlier effort, he'd finally caught one. Hook, line and... well, not much more just yet.

He pushed his mask to the side and folded his arms, nodding to Seiji and Kinaro. "Hello," he greeted them. "What have you all been up to?"

As much as he would have loved to tell them all about the attractive fox lady he'd encountered, he was keeping to himself. Not that it didn't show. Keeping the attention of them, however. That was the goal.

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Character Portrait: Seiji Watanabe Character Portrait: Kinaro Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei
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#, as written by Script
"I think you're right." Seiji replied absently as Kinaro mentioned strange happenings. "The spirits are gathering in anticipation of something big."

Then he smiled, and followed after Kinaro to go to Junwei. "Hi Junwei! You should have come with us! We met a cool fox-mask guy, then Kinaro won the heck out of Dragon's Breath and got a massive," here the boy stretched his arms out as wide as they'd go to indicate the size "toy dragon as a prize! But he gave it to a little kid 'cause he's nice like that! Then we got our fortunes read, and the fortune teller told me that things are going well for me, and there's going to be a lot of happiness in my future! But then I got hungry, so I said we should come here, and then we ate food and then we saw you! And now we're here, and you're up to date!"

Seiji took a breath. "What have you been up to, Junwei?" he asked with a grin.

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Character Portrait: Seiji Watanabe Character Portrait: Kinaro Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei
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Kinaro simply smiled as Seiji excitedly told Junwei about the day, scratching the back of his head when he mentioned him giving the dragon plush as a gift. "Oh, that was nothing, really." he said, chuckling. He was probably blushing. He turns away to finish his food before readjusting his mask and turning back to them. "The fortune teller told me to count my blessings and rid myself of self-limiting behaviors, so my fortune wasn't so positive." he sighs. He decides not to dwell on it for too long "Anyway, I'm sure whatever she meant will come to pass. I hope your day was just as eventful." he said, smiling at Junwei.

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Character Portrait: Seiji Watanabe Character Portrait: Kinaro Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei
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The man tried to suppress a chuckle, though his shoulders did bob in his effort. "That is rather eventful," he hummed. He eyed Kinaro after hearing what the fortune teller said to him. "Curious fortune. Not as much a fortune as advice, hmm?"

"As for myself... well. I could count myself as especially fortunate," he bragged, arms folded across his chest. "But that is between the lovely lady that I met earlier, and myself."

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seiji Watanabe Character Portrait: Kinaro Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei Character Portrait: Tora Xi
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#, as written by Script
Seiji giggled, "Oooh, Junwei found a lady-friend!" he exclaimed, "How exciting! Where is she? Did she go to get something to eat? Is it her?" he pointed across at a random female passer-by, "Was she pretty? What did she look like?"

The flood of questions seemed wont to continue unabated, before a hush fell over the crowd. Seiji picked up on it, and perked up to glance towards the stage next to the village hall. A figure in long white robes was descending the steps of the hall, short but with her head held high. She was an elderly woman, with grey hair that was cut in a messy looking bob. She arrived on the stage, and approached the podium where a microphone had been set up.

She stopped at the microphone, and glanced up at it, frowning when she noticed it was too high. One of the younger festival organisers moved towards the stage to lower it, but the woman simply lifted her hand and bopped the microphone firmly, sending a boom of noise echoing through the square, and knocking it down the stand to come to rest at just the right height. She nodded with satisfaction, as a laugh rippled through the crowd.

"People of Yan'Xin, and tourists from afar come to leech off of our festivities," she began, her voice rough but laced with humour. Again, the crowd laughed, though some of those from farther afield exchanged confused glances. "Welcome to the official beginning of the Spirit Festival. The shops started selling crappy merchandise months ago, and you've all been hanging over-the-top decorations from our wonderful traditional architecture for weeks, but it's today that the actual traditional part begins!"

She cleared her throat. "Those of you who don't know, my name is Xi Tora, and I'm the elder of this village. That means I'm in charge, so when I cut in front of you in line for snacks, you don't complain!

Now, I wasn't born in Yan'Xin, or even this forest. I'm from an Island off the coast of Losenji, but I've been living here for more years than I can remember. And I mean that literally! My memory isn't what it used to be, after all. But no matter where I've lived, the spirit festival has always been important. We don't see it all the time, but the spirits are involved in everything. They're in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the stars in the sky and the stone we stand on. We couldn't live as we do without them."

She took a long breath, reaching into a pouch at her hip and pulling out a pipe, that she proceeded to light and take a few puffs from before continuing. "Ah. Better. Where was I? Right, spirits or something. Yes! We couldn't live without the spirits, not as easily as we do now, anyway! But that pales in comparison to what it'd be like if we pissed 'em off! That's what this festival's about, when it comes down to it. Not the masks, or the food, or the fun. It's about taking precautions to avoid ticking off the powerful beings upon which our way of life depends! Hah! Not so jolly now, are you?"

More outsiders exchanged confused glances, whilst locals and those visitors who'd been to the festival before laughed. Seiji was giggling.

"Pah, fine, stay jolly. Shows what you know." the elder's face was lit up with a lively grin, despite her words. "Now, I know everyone's aching to get to the dancing and drinking part of the night, so I'll skip the rest of the speech and get to the ritual."

Without a word, she stuck her hand out expectantly, as one of the organisers ran forwards with a wooden goblet, wrapped in vines and leaves. She took it, and held it aloft. "In this goblet I carry the lifeblood of the forest, the sap that flows through the trees as blood flows through us!" she called out, before she set it down upon the podium. "Now, I offer the forest my own blood, representing the life of our people!"

She stepped back from the goblet, and spread her arms out in a sweeping gesture, twisting her palms as though coaxing the goblet. Responding to her movements, the vines unwound from the goblet, stretching outwards like tendrils. Some of the crowd gasped, as the vines hung in the air for a moment, before diving towards her. They struck her wrists, sinking into her skin and merging with her. Though she winced in pain, she did not flinch. After a moment, the vines pulled back, glistening red. No obvious wounds had been left on Tora's arms. The vines retracted to the goblet and dipped themselves in the sap contained within, the blood they had drawn from her merging with it as she stepped forwards once more.

"Humanity and nature mix together in this goblet, as we mix with the spirits of the world, the forest and the land. We are not two entities, but one, joined together. We depend on it, and in turn, we protect it. With the blessing of the spirits, the coming summer will grant us prosperity and happiness! For this we thank the spirits, and dedicate this night to them."

Throughout the ceremony, festival volunteers had been clearing people away from the ground immediately before the stage, and now there was a sizable area of clear space directly in front of where Tora was stood. The elderly woman gestured forwards, and a rumbling followed.

"Watch this!" Seiji whispered eagerly, "This is the best part!"

Not a moment after he had spoken, the ground split asunder. Branches and leaves poured forth from the earth in a tide of green and brown, shooting upwards like a blossoming flower. "Spirits!" Tora yelled over the creaking and rustling of the great plant being, "Take this gesture of our reverence, and be appeased!"

She spread her arms, and the goblet sailed from her hands towards the mass of foliage, and was swallowed within. The response was immediate. The thrashing vines ceased to thrash, much to the relief of the panicking visitors who were nearby, only stopped from fleeing by the lack of fear the locals near them displayed. After a moment, the great plant began to retract into the ground as quickly as it had burst forth, and in a few seconds, it was gone, leaving the earth unscarred.

Silence hung over the square for several long moments, before Tora cleared her throat.

"Right then." she said, taking a puff of her pipe. "I hereby declare the festival officially in full swing!" she called, to a chorus of cheers. The elderly woman leaped forwards off the stage, grinning. "Whoever's the first to hand me a bottle of Sake gets a tax rebate!" she exclaimed, cackling.

Around Seiji, Junwei and Kinaro, the crowd began to dissolve away back to the festival happenings, though a greater number moved towards the center of the square as a group of musicians took to the stage where Tora had been and began to play, fast-paced traditional music that was loud enough to make holding a conversation require shouting.

Seiji giggled, "How about that then?!" he exclaimed, "Bet you weren't expecting that!"

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Character Portrait: Seiji Watanabe Character Portrait: Kinaro Character Portrait: Wildfire Junwei
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Awed by the speech and the event that unfolded before him, Kinaro bowed his head respectfully. The unity between the living world and the spirit world...it was a sight to behold and he felt his previous tensions ease away. There is peace in unity, and he valued peace above all else. As the festivities continued with even more energy than before, he allowed himself to laugh happily "This truly is a great festival! The elder seems like a great woman. Humorous, accepting of new traditions as long as the old goes untarnished...the community here is just amazing." he says.

After he noticed how accepting the villagers were of the ceremony despite how frightening it would be to the average person, Kinaro seemed to gain a new confidence. Finally he lowers his hood, revealing white hair and small, black horns. Next he removed his mask, showing his face for the first time. He was young, and his dark blue eyes were draconic in appearance. The pupils give an intimidating gaze regardless of his expression, but it was luckily balanced by the confident smile he carried now. Staring at the mask, he sighs "I've been...scared for far too long. I have to stop hiding myself."