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Old September 6th, 2016 (2:58 PM).
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Strange Strange is offline
 
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HISTORY



The Kingdom of Fiore is a land filled with magic. It is used by a large portion of the population and has become part of daily life. It's used for everything from changing the color of your clothes to destroying buildings, and absolutely anything else you can think of. Magic sits unused dispersed throughout the world, and people with the power to draw it into their body and use that magic are called wizards. Those born without a magic reservoir inside them instead use devices called lacrima to store magic and power magical devices. One hundred years ago a dispute about the legality and morality of certain types of summoning magic resulted in a series of laws banning the use of specific spells and styles of magic. Wizards practicing the magic were arrested, tried, and executed, all records of their magic purged from all libraries. To this day, few know what types of magic were banned, but rumors circulate about gods, demons, and many other kinds of dark magic.

Roleplayers will be signing up as characters who wield either a type of summoning magic listed below, or a character who can utilize both summoning magic and another type of magic. The characters will be joining the Phantom Melody guild, which is located in the city of Aria. Guilds are groups of wizards that gather together in a central place to take on jobs that the citizens of Fiore request when they are in need of a wizard's assistance. Most guilds have jobs ranked by skill level with a letter rating, continuing up until S-rank missions, which only S-rank wizards may embark on. Guilds are an extremely important part of a wizard's life, and guildmates are oftentimes very close, sometimes even seeming like one big extended family. Guilds are extremely competitive and members are almost always very proud to be a part of their guild. Guild-members showcase what guild they are a part of with a guild mark, which is a magical stamp on their skin that showcases the guild's logo.

While the most common guilds are legal guilds, there are two other types. Firstly, a legal guild is a guild that is approved by the Magic Council, which is similar to a parliament and carries out all major decisions in the kingdom. Legal guilds are bound by the rules of the Council, and risk being disbanded or even arrested if they do not follow the rules. The second type of guild is a dark guild. These guilds are illegal, and are usually criminal organizations. They typically carry out illegal jobs that most self-respecting guilds would find unsavory, such as assassinations, thefts, or kidnappings. A third and often forgotten type of guild are independent guilds. These guilds, while technically illegal, and not approved by the council, do not pose any ill intent. Typically these guilds are made to combat the law that prevents legal guilds from attacking dark guilds.



RULES



1] Sephy and I are both Co-GMs; what we say, goes
2] This roleplay is rated M, please abide by that
3] Follow all pc and rpt rules
4] This roleplay takes place in an alternate universe to the Fairy Tail universe. Although the world itself is the same, the people, history, and events that take place during the anime and manga are not canon to this roleplay.



MAGIC



If you sign up with a character who practices summoning magic only, you may choose to start with two keys or objects. If your character practices summoning magic and another type of magic, you may choose only one. If signing up with a type of caster magic, please keep in mind that any form of slayer magic, be it dragon slayer or otherwise, will not be accepted.

Celestial Spirit Magic:
Summons a Zodiac spirit from another world by opening a gate with their key. Must create a contract detailing when the spirit is allowed to be summoned and other clauses depending on the spirit. If the wizard breaks this contract the spirit's key will vanish. Celestial Spirit Keys are tiered based on the power of the spirit, with minor spirits being linked to silver keys and major spirits to gold.

Western-
Aquarius
Aries
Cancer
Capricorn
Gemini - Clay Pots: Ethereal Wizard
Leo - Patileer Hoskel: Sephy
Libra
Pisces
Sagittarius
Scorpio
Taurus
Virgo - Vira Zimputt: Nuclear Chicken

Eastern-
Dog
Dragon - Senju Milos: Godzil
Horse
Monkey
Ox
Pig
Rabbit
Rat
Rooster - Lina Burgess: Geras
Goat
Snake
Tiger


Angel Magic:
Summons an angel. This magic is cast with a Celestial Talisman unique to each angel. Angels are notoriously picky about who they make contracts with. Only those pure enough may even be allowed possession of their Celestial Talisman.

Michael: golden palm branch

Gabriel: small golden lantern

Raphael: golden-capped jar of heavenly cloud

Uriel: golden sword - Alan Tempest: Ewery1

Jegudiel: silver wreath

Barachiel: silver rose

Jerahmeel: bag of silver dust




ROLEPLAYERS




Ethereal Wizard as Clay Potts
Sephy as Patileer Hoskel
Geras as Lina Burgess
Godzil as Senju Milos
Ewery1 as Alan Tempest
Nuclear Chicken as Vira Zimputt




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Old September 12th, 2016 (1:04 PM). Edited September 12th, 2016 by Sephear.
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Sephear Sephear is offline
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Phantom Melody's grand...tour?


Various wizards wandered about what looked like the interior of a big tavern, drinking, speaking to one another, laughing and sharing stories. They were a rather unique bunch of all shapes and sizes, the one thing they shared was a mark that appeared somewhere on each of their bodies.
The revelry was momentarily broken when the doors to the hall burst open and three more people entered, all bearing the same mark somewhere on them. The contrast between the new trio was shocking, to say the least. On the left was a gorilla of a man; nearly seven feet tall and seemingly made of pure muscle, and showing it off in a black tank top and fairly tight white pants. His tanned skin made his bright blond hair stand out well, and his steely gray eyes practically twinkled as he surveyed the assembled people. "Hey there Phantom Melody! Your number one team is back!" Some of the wizards in the room broke into cheers at his announcement, others laughed, and others still shook their heads.

On the right of the trio was a young woman who was also impressively tall at 6'2, but without nearly so much muscle mass as her compatriot. Even just the light filtering in through the building's windows was enough to light up her brilliant sunset-orange hair, dazzling everyone around as it cascaded down to the small of her back in wavy rivulets. The beautiful hair framed an equally beautiful face with full lips, a dainty nose, and emerald eyes...or at least half of her lips were clearly full, and half of her nose was delicate and beautiful. Unfortunately, the left side of the woman's otherwise entrancing face was covered by an emotionless mask, not unlike what one might see at an opera house. With such a face and the tall, lithe, curvaceous body that supported it, wearing a glittery violet dress tapered down to a short fur-lined train at the end, she'd be the picture of beauty were it not for that mask. She scowled at her gargantuan partner and gently pulled his arm down from its cheering position, taking the mug he'd swiped and returning it to its proper table. "Hush Bralor, you don't need to make a scene everywhere you go and with everything you do.

Bralor simply smirked at her and shook his head. "Yeah, yeah, I get it. Just let a guy have a little fun sometimes, huh Starling? Don't think you can sweet-talk me so easily when I wanna party. I'm S-class just like you."

The woman clicked her tongue in annoyance and gestured to the boy between them, who was practically invisible next to the grandiose wizards at a measly five feet even. "Yes, but Pat's here with us, you could at least try to be a bit of a better influence on him."

The boy opened his mouth to speak but was quickly silenced by the behemoth hand of Bralor landing on his shoulder and nearly knocking him down with a simple pat before the brutish wizard leaned down and smiled at him. "Sorry there Patty. Do as I say, not as I do and all that, okay? Starling's right, there are more ways to unwind than just partying."

At that, the boy finally found his voice and wasted no time snapping at Bralor. "It's Patileer! Or Pat! Never Patty, that's a girl's name!" Bralor took a step back with a smile and a wave of submission from his hands, then Patileer turned to Starling, his azure hair swishing as his head swiveled. "Really, it's okay sis! I'm not worried about it at all, big bro always told me not to pay too much attention to anything Bralor does, cuz he's a meathead." At that statement, and the look of pure anguish on Bralor's face at the lack of respect from a child, Starling broke out in a fit of giggles and had to cover her mouth with her hand to stymie them.

"Oh fine then! If it's like that, see if I take you on any more jobs! Do you know how lucky a runt like you is to get teamed up with two S-class wizards? You aren't even in our league yet brat, it's like free money!" Bralor blurted out, leaning close to the boy's face to make his point.

His rage was halted dead in its tracks at the innocent smile on Patileer's face, however. The boy held up a decent sum of money to the other wizards. "About that, why don't you guys take this, I only need a little bit of the pay since Granny doesn't charge me rent. And you guys did all the work, I don't deserve a whole third of the job's pay."

Bralor rubbed the back of his head and seemed a bit ashamed of himself as he considered the money in front of him. "Geeze kid... I didn't mean it like that, you know you're my little buddy..."

The trio's exchange was interrupted by the hall doors bursting open yet again, having been kicked open by someone unfamiliar to the guild's many members. The one responsible, a small red-haired girl in expensive-looking clothes, stood in front of the open doors with a wide grin. However, the grin suddenly faded and she looked at the doors, then at the guild members within with an almost worried expression. It wasn't long before she found her courage again and marched inside.

She looked around at everything in the hall with wonder in her eyes, the smile from before wider than ever. Now that she'd stepped inside, the guild members could see that she had a creature clinging to her back. No further inspection than the "Pu-puun~" sound it made was needed to identify the celestial spirit Nikora, raising some eyebrows. Sure enough, on her wrist was a bracelet with three keys; two silver and one gold.

The girl took a deep breath and looked as if she was about to shout something, but instead only frowned and crossed her arms. She seemed to be thinking about something before she went ahead and shouted anyway. "I'm here to join the guild!"

There was a moment of silence as many of the heads in the room turned to regard the girl before most quickly returned to what they were doing. Patileer, however, ran up to the girl immediately and danced around her in a tight circle, assessing her from every possible angle before returning to her front and standing on his tiptoes to stare into her eyes as evenly as possible. "Wow! A new member! That's great! And you're really pretty too!" He reached up to poke her hat, eyes so wide they could almost split, then he even reached out to touch her hair, before his senses hit him and he pulled his hand back. "You're dressed so nice! And your hair is beautiful! It reminds me of big sis' when it was shorter!"

The girl was unable to keep up with the younger boy's pace. First, her eyes widened at his sudden proximity, then her face reddened at his compliments before she lost herself in a string of incoherent babbles as she struggled to find the words to reply. She stepped back, trying to create a bit of distance between herself and the boy to recollect her thoughts, only to trip over herself and onto her back.

Lying on the ground, she finally had a second to breathe and calm herself a bit. That calmness was short-lived, however, as she remembered her spirit. She quickly got up and turned around to see that it had somehow flattened. In a moment, though, it popped back to its original, round self and sat up, making noises and wearing the goofy smile it always had. The girl breathed a sigh of relief.

"Yeah, you're definitely a tough little guy, Spots," she told it, patting it on the head. "Good thing you were looking up. Landing on that nose would have really sucked." She giggled and helped her spirit retake its place on her back. Having calmed herself a little, she faced the boy again. "So, uh..." She suddenly burst into another grin and finished with, "I'm Lina, what's your name?" There was a momentary delay before she held out her hand.

With no warning, the boy suddenly seemed to compose himself, as if he took a handshake more seriously than his previous acts. He gently grasped her hand with his own, and gave it a firm, but careful shake. "My name is Patileer! But most people in Phantom Melody just call me Pat, it's so great to meet you, Lina! I'm sure Granny will like you too! I'm so excited to have a new guildmate!"

Lina eyed Patileer warily, still not quite sure what to make of him. She still did her best to smile, even through the silence that followed until she finally managed to ask, "Soooo... Where's your master, then?" Without even realizing it herself, Lina began to fiddle with the hem of her skirt while she awaited an answer.

"Oh! Right!" Patileer blurted out when his train of rambling was interrupted. "Uh, Granny is-"

"The guild master is currently in her chambers." The most lyrical, beautiful voice Lina had ever heard seemed to ring directly in her ears as if whispered from less than an inch away despite the owner only just drawing near to the young wizards. It was that tall woman Patileer had been by when Lina first entered the Guild Hall. She leaned down to the younger girl's eye-level and daintily shook her hand with a gentle smile. "Hi there Lina. Sorry, I couldn't help overhearing your little chat with Pat. I'm Starling, it's a pleasure to meet you. We'll take you to the Guild Master's room, and then Pat can keep you company while I go in and let her know she has a visitor, does that sound okay?"

It took Lina a bit to finally stop staring at the woman and answer her with, "Huh? Oh, yeah, sure! Guildmaster, Pat, Lina, er, me, sounds great!" She began laughing and quickly silenced herself when nobody joined her, though her smile remained.

Starling kept her warm smile beaming as she nodded and straightened up to lead the way. Pat bounced along happily beside Lina as the S-Class wizard guided them to the back of the hall, and up the stairs to the living quarter's second floor. Pat seemed to be talking the entire way there. "I'm so glad you got to meet big sis already! She's the best wizard in the whole guild~ Everyone calls her the 'Songbird of Phantom Melody'. She's so nice, and she has the prettiest voice in the whole world. Nothing could stop her back when she was teamed up with Ja-"

Patileer's blathering was muffled by Starling pushing down gently on his head and shushing him. "That's enough now sweetie, give the poor girl some time to breathe. And stop telling every new person you meet about me, people will start to think I'm some unbeatable master wizard or something." The boy was left with nothing to do for the moment but grunt and mumble in disappointment as Starling gave both of the younger wizards a friendly wink with her unmasked eye and slipped in through the large red velvet door they had stopped in front of.

With an angelic ballad, the doors slowly swung open, magic circles turning on the surface of each door. A frail looking woman dressed in multiple layers of various cloths and cloaks, ranging from tattered rags to soft velvet, emerged from the dark chamber behind her and announced her presence. "Hello! Hello! Hello! Welcome back Starling!" she quickly blurted, tossing her stark white hair over her shoulder before noticing Lina in front of her. "Ooooh, who've we here? Patty, are you going to introduce me to your girlfriend?" she teased, winking at him.

Lina was caught off guard by the guild master's words, having been distracted by the showy doors and the master's outfit. "Wha- girlfriend?" She questioned, brow furrowing in confusion. Her eyes darted between Pat and the guild master. "He's uh... I'm not... We're not... Are you...?" Her voice trailed off, and a light blush made its way onto her face as it shifted back and forth between a frown and a nervous smile.

"Aw c'mon Granny!" Patileer whined. "We just met! And besides, you know I only propose to full-grown women, she's too young." He explained, rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment.

Lina turned to Patileer in shock. "What? But you... but I... then who... huh?" She looked at the guild master, then at Starling, as if hoping one of them could answer her incomprehensible questions.

Starling looked at the Guild Master and smirked, then looked back to Lina. "This is the Guild Master of Phantom Melody, Amalthea Psychoudi! Mom, this is Lina, and she'd like to join us. I think we're lucky, Pat's got good eyes."

"That's right, he does!" The older woman said, suddenly next to Lina and resting a hand on her shoulder. "Watch out for that one, girl. He's declared his love to almost every woman in the guild. He could be real trouble when you grow up." She said, cackling at the red that filled Pat's cheeks as he stared at the floor and muttered. After a nice good cackle, the old crone looked at Lina much more seriously, staring right into her eyes. "So, you want to join Phantom Melody, do you?"

After taking a deep breath to calm herself again and gripping her gold key tightly, Lina looked back at the guild master with a determined look. "Yes, I... want to join Phantom Melody!"

The old woman stared deep into Lina's eyes, and held the pose, humming softly to herself. All was dead silent for a full thirty seconds, then - "Okay, you're in!" like ripping off a bandage.

The apparent new member of Phantom Melody stared back at the guild master in confusion, trying to figure out if she had missed something. Before the silence could go on too long she asked, "What?"

"You're in." The master continued. "...The guild?" She tilted her head as if wondering what there could possibly be to not understand. "I know who I like and who I want in my guild. I think you'll do just fine in Phantom Melody." She straightened her back - at least as much as she could at her age - with a self-satisfied smirk. Starling and Patileer seemed to accept what happened completely and joined the master in grinning at Lina. But even the two long-time guild members were startled when the master clapped her hands together loudly and shouted. "Alright then! Off with you darlings! Today's a very busy day, I've got to get back to business! Patty, be a dear and show Lina around, would you? And no proposing!"

Pat straightened up at the order and saluted like a soldier before he even realized what he was doing. "Y-yes ma'am! But when will she-"

"I said scoot!"

"O-okay!" With the order reaffirmed, Pat frantically grabbed Lina's hand and pulled her towards the stairs to head back down into the main hall. "C'mon, let's go! I don't want to make Granny mad. She's real nice, but she can be impatient!"

"B-but what about my-" Lina began to ask, but with the hurried Pat pulling her down the stairs she lost her footing, tumbling down the flight and taking Pat down with her. The boy lost his grip on Lina's hand in the fall and found himself flat on his back at the bottom of the stairs, groaning in pain. Lina landed with a less-than-graceful faceplant, where she whined for a bit before scurrying to her feet and announcing "I'm okay!" despite the stream of blood coming from her nose. She gave a thumbs-up to be more convincing, an action mimicked by Spots who had managed to hold on through it all.

"I am too!" Patileer declared, shooting upright, then promptly wobbling from severe vertigo and having to catch himself on a table. "I'm so sorry Lina, it's all my fault you fell!" Before the girl had a chance to answer properly, Pat pulled a handkerchief with Phantom Melody's crest from under his cloak and dabbed at her face, wiping it free of blood and stowing the cloth back in a free pocket. "I'll be more careful from now on, promise. Wanna take a better look at the hall? It might even be your new home! I mean...I don't know if you have somewhere to stay already, but Granny's always willing to make room for kids like us to stay at the hall. She only worries about grown-ups being freeloaders."

"I uh..." Lina began with a frown, before snapping back to a brighter expression. "Am a traveler! Thaaat is what I am!" She forced a grin and watched his expression before calming a bit and adding, "So where do I stay?"

"That area we went to in the back." He answered cheerfully. Around where Granny's room is, and on the first floor too. You can tell when you're around the quarters because of all the doors, the rest of the hall is pretty open, even the kitchen. Oh yeah, the kitchen!" Patileer grabbed Lina's hand and pulled her along - this time at a steady pace - towards the big counter at one wall of the hall, upon which various drinks and a few small plates sat. "This is the bar! But it's really only like a half-bar-half-restaurant. The kitchen is back there through that doorway behind the bar! This is where everybody gets food and drinks. You and I are too young for any of the alcohol, though... but who cares? It all smells nasty anyways, except for the apple cider."

Lina leaned in closer to the bar and took in the scents, only to cough them back out a moment later. A tear welled in the corner of her eye. "You're right... why would anyone- Wait!" She interrupted herself. "My guild mark! Isn't that a thing? That I should have? I think?"

Pat laughed a bit at Lina's reaction to the smell of alcohol and waved off her concerns about her Guild Mark. "I think that'll be later. Granny's a bit of a grandstander, she'll probably want to present you to the guild and do it in front of everyone. I think that's part of why she wants me to show you around first."

"Pat!" A deep voice boomed behind them and they were approached by the gargantuan man that had been with Pat and Starling earlier. He had to lean over a fair bit, but he managed to smile at eye-level with Lina like Starling had. "Hi there! Name's Bralor, Phantom Melody's number one wizard!"

There was a slight cough from Pat, but only Lina could hear him muttering "Number two..."

"What's your name girlie? Bralor continued unabated.

"L-lina," she managed. She held out her hand for a handshake, though it didn't go very far with her elbow still pressed to her side almost defensively.

Bralor shook Lina's hand even from the awkward position with surprising grace and gentleness. "Glad ta meet'cha! Just thought I'd say hi before I roll back out, gotta keep pumping money into this place. Can't keep standing around like half of these other bozos. Make sure to take care of little Pat, he's a troublemaker." And just like that, he tramped back out the door.

"Why does everyone keep saying that!?" Pat blurted out in frustration, then slumped down into a nearby chair with a sigh. "Anyway, is there anything else you'd like to see? I was going to introduce you to people, but it looks like a lot of people are out right now."

Lina looked at the hand Bralor had shaken and gave her own sigh. "I... think I just need to rest a bit."

Pat looked up at Lina, his eyes shimmering with disappointment for a moment before he blinked the moisture away. "Alright... Welcome to the guild, I'll see you again later!"

"Hold on!" She called before Pat could leave. "How do I know which room is mine?"

"Uhh... I didn't think about that, I guess you don't have one yet... But I'm sure Granny will give you one later if you ask! If you need somewhere to rest or put your stuff you can use my room. It's the one to the left of Granny's. There's already a second bed in there where my brother used to sleep." The boy paused briefly, a supremely wistful look on his face, then continued. "It may look untouched, but the sheets and comforter are fresh, I change them every day. If you get sleepy that is."

There was another silence from Lina, this one longer than usual. Her eyes wandered around the hall, and she tapped her fingers against her leg while she futilely tried to think of something to say. In the end, she just rushed off, shouting, "Just uh, let me know when the thing happens!" as she left.

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"Ever looking forward, ever thinking back. Everywhere you've been, everyone you've met was another step on your path, shaping your future even as they become part of your past. One must never discount the pieces that have made up your journey until now but to lose yourself in them would be equally great folly, instead let them hoist you up, carry you on until you find the strength to walk for yourself. So it is that I continue towards that endless horizon. Ever thinking back, ever marching forward, inexorable as the history that brought me down this road. This Lonesome Road."
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  #3    
Old September 12th, 2016 (5:22 PM).
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Geras Geras is offline
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    Lina Burgess
    That Went Well...


    Lina reached Pat’s room without issue thanks to his directions and stepped inside. Now that her initiation was complete, she figured it was time for a well-deserved breather. For the first time since arriving at the guild she was alone with her spirits, so she closed Spots’ gate and promptly opened another one; the gate of the rooster.

    In the middle of the room emerged the gate’s owner, a lanky, pale skinned man with a tall red mohawk and small white wings on his back, dressed only in flame-patterned pants. He turned to Lina with a soft smile and asked, “So how’d it go, kiddo?” His expression changed when he actually saw the girl, now curled up on the floor with a gloomy air about her.

    “Kill me now... ” was all she said, voice quiet and monotone.

    Huozai sighed. “That bad, huh?” Lina whimpered and nodded. Huozai knelt down and patted Lina on the back. “There there, you’re fine. I can tell you’re exaggerating.”

    Lina was silent for a second before she rolled over onto her back. “It was actually pretty bad, but…” She took a good look at the room around her. This was her new home. Or at least, a room she assumed resembled it would be. A smile found its way to her face, and she sat up. “It definitely could have gone worse.”

    “That’s my girl!” Huozai cheered, giving Lina a playful shove. “You’ve come a long way since back then. I still remember when we first met. You couldn’t even look at someone without bursting into tears!” He laughed, though Lina looked horrified at the memory.

    “S-shut up, that never happened! Now you’re the one exaggerating!” Lina shoved Huozai back a bit more forcefully, but he didn’t seem to mind. “Keep that up and I might just stop summoning you.” She made sure to hold his key up for emphasis.

    Now it was Huozai’s turn to worry. “A-alright, calm down! No need to get hasty,” he pleaded, holding his hands up.

    Lina chuckled. “You should remember that I’m your master.” The two shared a laugh before allowing the mood of the room to calm down. “But yeah, I have gotten a lot better,” she continued, grinning at Huozai. “And it’s all thanks to you!”

    “No, that was all you,” Huozai humbly waved her words away. “I just pointed you in the right direction, that’s all.” Lina didn’t argue, though her opinion wouldn’t be changing any time soon. “So tell me about this ‘Phantom Melody’ guild,” he asked, changing the subject.

    Lina put her hand to her chin pensively as she reflected over recent events. “Well, there was this Pat kid. Patileer, I think was his actual name. He was kind of weird, and he thought I was a kid so he might be kinda slow, too, but he was nice and friendly. He was the one who showed me around.”

    “Well, you are still a kid.” Huozai commented matter-of-factly.

    “I am a mature, strong, 17-year-old woman.” She countered with her hands on her hips, to which her spirit chuckled.

    “Of course. So did you tell him that?”

    “No…”

    “Just keep it in mind for next time, then.”

    “Alright, moving on. Then there was Starling,” she continued. “Who was absolutely gorgeous. She had a cool mask and a great body. Her hair was really nice, too. Pat says she’s really strong. There was Bralor, who was kinda scary at first but he’s not a bad guy, and there was the guildmaster who wore like fifty cloaks. Pat called her granny, but Starling’s her daughter so I’m not sure if they’re actually related. I didn’t really pay attention to anyone else since I was too busy trying not to wet myself because of how nervous I was.”

    Huozai listened and nodded as she spoke. “Sounds like a good enough bunch. They’d better be if they’re going to be taking care of you from now on. Though if anything happens, you know who to call!” He pointed at himself and added, “By which I mean me, not Caelum.”

    “Speaking of which,” he continued, walking up to Lina to pat her head. “You should go ahead and close my gate. You don’t know what the rest of the day’ll be like in this new place, so you shouldn’t waste your magic on me.”

    Lina pouted. “Come on, I’ve had your gate open way longer than this.” But Huozai wouldn’t budge, and eventually Lina gave in. She had to admit that he had a point. Waving goodbye to her dear spirit, she reluctantly closed his gate, though not one to be alone for long she quickly re-summoned Spots in his place.

    Now that Lina’d had a chance to decompress, she decided it was time to go explore the guild some more. She looked down at her golden key and brushed it lightly with her finger before facing her room door with a determined look. She wasn’t that frightened little girl anymore, nor was she the troubled runaway. Right now she was a Phantom Melody wizard, and she would have to do her best to become a great one!
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      #4    
    Old September 17th, 2016 (4:43 PM).
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    Ewery1 Ewery1 is offline
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      "We’re all a little bit crazy.”

      Name: Alan Tempest
      Location: Phantom Melody Guild Hall
      Status: Nervous
      Arc: Prologue
      CSS-Credit: Infinite



      Enter: Alan

      A brown haired boy stood, unmoving in front of a pair of large doors attached to the Phantom Melody guild, an imposing guildhall with fairly unremarkable architecture. His legs shook a little as he stood, and thoughts rapidly raced through his head. He was frozen still. The boy’s hazel eyes searched the wood for some kind of meaning. He clutched at a black necklace, pointed by a nicely cut gem of sapphire. A miniature plastic red fire dragon clambered up onto his left shoulder and perched there. He had black and maroon spikes, scales, and horns. The dragon’s steely yellow eyes seared lasers through the door. The dragon perched itself on the boy’s shoulder, arching his back up and snorting. He was no more than five inches long. He said, in a deep, weighted voice, “Hey kid, you gonna do it or not?”

      On the boy’s other shoulder, a miniature plastic white ice dragon heaved itself up, scrambling to navigate over his collarbone, “Yeah Alan, for once I agree with Ember, you’re making me really nervous here!” She spoke in a high-pitched, dramatic voice. She had icy blue spikes, scales, and a frill adorning the back of her head where Ember’s horns were. She rested with her chest protruding upwards like a proud dog or a cobra. She looked warmly up to Alan with caring, green eyes.

      “My god, Frost, even the sound of your voice makes me want to jump off of Alan right now!!” The red dragon taunted.

      Frost retorted with vigor, “Can you just be on task for once in your life? You need to care about the situation at hand. I don’t understand how you could be so callous as t-”

      “Yeah yeah yeah whatever, you need to stop overacting so much, jeez it’s like every time I say something you find some problem with it,” Ember snapped back.

      “That’s because everything you say is inherently problematic…” Frost rolled her eyes.

      Ember huffed in response, “Yeah? You seriously need to reexamine your life Frost. Also Alan, just open the door already.” The little dragon slinked forward, glaring up at Alan’s face.

      Alan was incredibly nervous. He had never done anything like this before in his life. His magic tutor went to this guild and recommended that he joined so that he could gain more experience and have a network of connections, but Alan was unaccustomed to meeting so many new people at once. What if they thought he was weird? It certainly would not be the first time. He figured that he should probably hide Ember and Frost, the two dragons normally turned people away from him, even if he did not know why. He said, “Uh, guys, it’s time for the bag. Sorry.”

      “Aw come on, for real?” Ember lay down, “But it was just getting fun.”

      Frost looked at Ember with total disgust and rolled her eyes, “Fine. I’ll do it. You better too Ember.” She gutted her head toward him, “That is, if you’re man enough.”

      The red dragon averted his eyes and muttered, “Fine.”

      Alan pulled a miniature purple pouch with intricate black rune designs scattered all over it out of his pocket. He briefly massaged the velvety lip of the bag, relishing in its softness. He held it in the air open beneath his neck and the two dragons both leapt in, less than happy. They vanished into its infinite depths and Alan pulled the drawstring tight, pursing the bag closed and shutting them inside. The door winked at him and swung open rapidly, a cavern opening up to swallow him whole.

      A man stood in front of him, holding the door open. He had a chiseled, older face with light stubble snuggling his chin and mouth. His short black hair was gelled upward into a perfect, slicked pompadour. His brown, warm eyes looked down at Alan, filling the boy with confidence. The man wore a taut, navy t-shirt and tight black pants, bulging muscles exuding from all of his clothing. He smiled warmly and his eyes crinkled, crow’s feet extending out from both sides of his face.

      Alan immediately recognized him. The man was Skylar Stoneward, his magic teacher. Alan joined the guild at Skylar’s suggestion, for money, and to continue his studies. The void inside of the guildhall faded and Alan saw a quaint looking building, full of chatting people. He looked up to Skylar. “Hey! Alan, you made it!! I was thinking you weren’t going to,” The large man chuckled.

      “Uh, yeah, here I am,” Alan clutched at his sapphire necklace, massaging it calmed him. He smiled.

      “Great! I was going to leave for a job, but I can wait a little bit for you,” Skylar grinned walked inside. The hall was about fifty feet long, a wooden building with many tables and chairs set up for a community space. People milled about, some looking at a board with many fliers pinned against it. Skylar made a grandiose gesture and said in a deep, booming voice, “This is the guild hall.”

      Alan was… underwhelmed. He was expecting the inside of the building to be full of fearsome, powerful wizards whose very look could kill you. But, most of them just seemed like normal people. Which was good, he supposed, although, he could not help but feel the tiniest bit slighted. Glances were cast his way and whispered exchanges shuddered through the air, Alan tried to smile, but he just succeeded in looking like he was in pain. Skylar heftily slapped Alan on the back, causing him to jolt forward a step or two, and called out, “Hey everyone! Second new recruit of the day. This is Alan, he’s my student.”

      People waved and smiled at Alan, various professions of welcome accompanied his introduction. Skylar looked down at Alan and said, “You can meet all of them later. For now, let’s get you all sorted out.” The man ambled loosely across the room and Alan followed him, obedient. As they crossed, a short, stout man sitting on a stool at a table said, “Hey, I thought you were headed out Sky.”

      Skylar waved his hand dismissively, “I was, but that was before Alan here showed up, I wasn’t ‘boutta leave him alone in this place.” He winked at Alan, “Who knows what could happen.”

      The man snorted, “Whatever Sky.” He shifted to face Alan, “I’m John, but you can call me Sinkhole huh.”

      Alan smiled, “Hi, I’m Alan.”

      “Welcome to Phantom Melody, I’m sure you’ll have a great time here! If you ever need an ally, hit me up!” He grinned and turned back to the table, resuming conversation with someone across from him.

      Skylar ushered Alan away and lead him toward the back of the room, “That’s John, he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.” A door in the back of the room swung open and an old woman stood framed against it. At first her expression was neutral, but when she caught everyone looking her way - as they always did when she burst through a doorway in her grandiose manner - her face took on a smug smile, widening as she descended the steps to the first floor. It took only a moment for her to lock eyes with Alan, and once she had, she deftly navigated between all the tables with shocking speed and stood before him, her smile feeling almost malicious as the many layers of cloth covering her body settled.

      "Ah, so this is the boy you were talking about, Skylar? It's nice that he's finally here, but couldn't you have told him to come a bit earlier? Bralor just left, and he loves meeting new members, even if his friend pats on the back tend to leave bruises."

      Skylar smiled sheepishly, "Yeah, sorry master, he was supposed to be here earlier. Is Starling still 'round?"

      "Yes, she is. But she's gone to her room for the moment. When we finished talking business in my room, she heaved a big sigh and put her hand to her forehead like some woeful actress and said that dealing with Bralor and trying to keep little Pat from listening to him had tired her out, so she's taking a nap. I swear that girl will look for any excuse lately..." The master explained. She seemed to have lost track of her point, but before anyone could comment on it, she reaffixed her gaze to Alan and leaned uncomfortably close, staring into the boy’s eyes. "What about you then, boy? Tell me why you want to join Phantom Melody?"

      Alan shifted back slightly; he clutched at his right elbow and stared at the floor past the woman's left shoulder, hoping to find something on the floor to attach his gaze to, but it all swum around him sickeningly. "Uh," He stuttered. Alan glanced back at Skylar, pleading; he did not know what to do. A deep, wizened voice echoed from within his jacket, "My boy, you must tell her that you love being a wizard. You cannot freeze like this at moments of great import, you will never achieve what you really want to in life if you continue this way." Alan furrowed his eyebrows and clutched at the grip of the sword hanging from his hip. The sword, Luster, glowed with warmth, comforting him. He closed his eyes briefly.

      Skylar interjected, "Uh, sorry Amalthea, Alan's not great at advocating for himself. I recommended he come he so he could teach himself. His magic has grown beyond the point where I, a single teacher, could help 'im. He needs to break out of his comfort zone and realize his full potential. The guild'll great for him, and I trust him very deeply."

      "I know all that." She answered with a hint of annoyance, turning to raise an eyebrow at Skylar. "Do you think I'm so old that I forgot when we last spoke about it?" She looked back to Alan and cradled his chin so impossibly gently with a hand that he felt some of his nervousness melt away, then that same hand forced him to look at her. "I'm going to ask you again, and this time don't look away. It's rude to disobey your elders. Alan, why do you want to join Phantom Melody?"

      Skylar bowed his hand in respect, but glanced off to the side. Alan looked her in the eyes and was taken by surprise. He saw neither judgment nor welcome in her gaze, he saw simply intense concentration, as if at that moment her entire world was the task of evaluating Alan's answer. Luster murmured disapprovingly from Alan's leg and instantly his eyes steeled over, suddenly filled with temporary confidence. "I want to join the guild so that I can get better and meet new people and I love using magic so I just really want to pursue it and be able to do stuff that I can't right now and I want to be independent so that nobody has to take care of me because I can," He said in one long winded sentence, before instantly retreating back into his head. The glow from Alan's sword intensified lightly, but Alan was shaking. He muttered, "Sorry." He regretted hiding Ember and Frost.

      Amalthea stared into Alan's eyes for a short while longer, then suddenly stood all the way up and cracked her back. "I guess that's that then! Welcome to Phantom Melody, Alan! You can get your mark later today. You aren't the first recruit of the day, so I think we'll make a ceremony of it, give both of you your marks at once."

      Alan's face broke out in a grin and he sighed in relief. Skylar came out of his bow and nudged Alan playfully, throwing him off. Skylar's brows immediately furrowed, "What should we do about his living situation? Alan is seventeen, he's still technically a kid."

      "Then of course he can have a room!" Amalthea answered. "For a year that is...but we're getting a bit full, and the boy does seem a bit nervous. Are you sure he'll be comfortable in a room alone? Perhaps he should stay with you, Skylar?"

      "Hm..." He pondered the subject, "What if we stick him with Gideon? I don't want him to be only talking to me, plus I'm not going to be around too often, and I think the two of them would get along great."

      The Guild Master smiled and patted Alan on the shoulder. "Sounds good to me! Young boys should socialize! Why don't you introduce them?"

      Alan twitched slightly at the touch, still apprehensive of the old woman, but smiled back. Skylar grinned and said, "Yeah sure, I'm just going to finish up this tour then, see ya Amalthea." He waved and led the teenager back down the stairs.

      The two came upon a large corkboard, littered with various fliers pinned onto it. The sheets of paper had a header that seemed to specify an amount of money, and then a lot of writing beneath, although other than the money there did not seem to be any unified format. Skylar tapped the board lightly and clarified, “This is the job board. You’ll get jobs here,” He paused. “Yeah, not a ton to it. I’ll find someone for you to do your first job with, the job I’m ‘boutta to go on is way t’ dangerous for you.” Alan nodded. Skylar motioned across the room to a bar, “The kitchen is through there, where you can get some food if you need it. Alright, I’ll take you to your room now.”

      Alan followed Skylar, the two headed into a corridor at the back of the guildhall. Skylar walked to the third room on the right and stopped short. He knocked on the door loudly with his thick fist and said, “Can we come in?”

      There was a brief pause before a cheerful voice called out, “One second!”

      After another pause, the door swung wide open, bouncing against Skylar’s body, who winced and rubbed his elbow, where the doorknob struck, “Gideon, you gotta be more careful!”

      “Sorry Sky!” A man just about the size of Alan stood in the doorway with an aloof grin on his face. He had a large head of hair upon his head, something that looked like an explosion of vibrant orange curls. Gideon’s skin was very white, punctured by freckles that congregated primarily around his nose. His ice-blue eyes were filled with warmth, slight wrinkles around them that suggested a long history of smiles. His entire face was rounded; his body had a slight chub as well. He wore a white robe with lined grey seems, a hood hung down in the back. Gideon looked to Alan and grinned, “And who might you be?”

      “Um, hi, I’m Alan,” Alan smiled back.

      “Yup, this is Alan, he’s my student and has decided to join the guild. I know you’d been without a roommate for a while and we’re running low on rooms, would you mind takin’ him in?” Skylar inquired, his brows knitting themselves together.

      “Yeah sure!! No problem.” Gideon stuck out his hand, “Hi! I’m Gideon Elezar.” Alan took his hand; Gideon had a tight grip and stared him directly in the eyes with welcoming warmth. The guy immediately seemed like he would make a great roommate, and Alan’s nervousness was all but gone.

      “I’ll leave you two to get to know each other,” He winked at Alan, “See yah later kid, I’ll be back from my job in a few days.” Skylar disappeared down the hallway, a swagger in his step. Alan creased his eyebrows, the hallway extended on forever to the guildhall; the entrance back out quickly seemed to vanish into infinity. Dread immediately washed over him.

      “Come in!” Gideon swept the door open. A quaint little room awaited inside. It was barely decorated, with two beds on each wall. The room had plain wooden walls, and a wood floor, with a window overlooking the taken bed. The bed had a nice floral bed sheet and a fluffy white blanket, the same bed sheet on the not taken bed that Alan guessed he would be sleeping on. Sure enough, Gideon motioned to it, “You can sleep here! I don’t really any rules, just try to clean up after yourself.” He pointed to the other door, “And this is the bathroom. Well, I’ve got to go for a bit; you caught me on my way out, so have fun! Feel free to customize it however you want!!”

      The man began to walk away and turned, shaking his head, “Whoops! Forgot, here’s your key!” He thrust the cold metal object into Alan’s hand, and walked down the hallway, quickly disappearing from view.

      Alan stepped into the room and quickly shut the down, looking it behind him. He plopped down on the bed, and started to feel a little more secure. He thought of summoning Ember and Frost back, but thought better of it, wanting some peace and silence.

      Alan pulled his golden sword out of his pocket. As he hand connected, he felt the light, familiar warm again. The sword lightly flashed, echoing in its deep, wizened voice again, “See, you survived.”

      “Barely,” Alan snorted, “Luster, why did I do this?”

      “You well know well why, my child,” The light faded for an instant before starting up again, “Besides, nothing could be wrong with money.”

      Alan glanced off to the side, “Yeah I guess… I was expecting Skylar to be around here for longer though.”

      “You will do fine. Take a nap. You’re just overwhelmed,” The light softened as it began talking again, “Alan, go to sleep.”

      “Okay,” Alan sighed, and set the sword down on the floor beside him. He laid backwards and drifted off.


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        #5    
      Old October 5th, 2016 (6:53 PM).
      Godzil's Avatar
      Godzil Godzil is offline
      Dapper bowler hat
         
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        Senju Milos




        While most of the other guild members were up in the tavern, enjoying a meal or planning for a job, Senju had other plans. He had only been in Phantom Melody for a year, but he had pulled a lot of strings and promised a lot of favors in order to secure private quarters above the most sacred and beautiful room in the entire guild hall: the library. A massive square room lined with rows upon rows of books and scrolls, perfectly organized and catalogued for maximum efficiency, the library was a temple of knowledge and repository of wealth and power.

        So, Senju had set aside today for a ritual he performed every three months: Reshelving Day. A day to return every text to its proper place, to undo the damage caused by careless patrons or his bumbling assistant who refused, either through ignorance or malice, to put things back where they belonged. Also, it gave him a chance to look over the books and decide which one he wanted to read next.

        In all fairness, he was severely overhyping the whole thing. His quarters weren't really private, as he shared them with another mage, who wasn't his assistant, but his overseer. Terra Moonglow had been running the place for five years before Senju had arrived, but she was more than willing to share responsibility with the young mage, as it would allow them both to go on jobs without leaving someone to tend to the books. Her laid-back demeanor rubbed Senju the wrong way, though, and he saw himself as more of a caretaker than she was.

        Regardless, Senju had spent the entire day in the library, surrounded by a dozen spectral hands as he painstakingly went over the entire room, putting the books back in their proper place. It was a job he could be proud of, and being in the cavernous room kept him far away from all the noise coming from the tavern upstairs. As he sat down with a book, he was surprised by a sudden noise behind him.

        "I thought I might find you here!" Terra's chipper voice sounded from behind him, making him jump to his feet and drop his book. He reached for it as it fell, wrapping it in a silvery aura before it could hit the floor. "Tell me you haven't been in here all day."

        Senju lifted the book back onto the desk with his Telekinesis, raising a skeptical eyebrow at his fellow mage. "I would, but it's not nice to tell lies." Terra was a little shorter than Senju, with her black hair pulled into a proper bun and her blue eyes hidden behind thick glasses. Her guild mark was right in the middle of her forehead, which never failed to draw Senju's attention. His own mark was on the back of his neck, and usually hidden by the hood of his jacket.

        Terra rolled her eyes, walking around Senju and heading for the stairs leading to their quarters. "Then I take it you haven't heard the news yet. We're inducting some new members today!" Which explained why she had popped up behind him. Terra was a practitioner of Spatial Magic, specializing in portals and teleportation. She would naturally want to look her best for the new members, but rather than just portal into her room, she had to bother Senju with such trivial matters.

        "Terra, why do you keep dragging me along to these things? I just finished reshelving everything, and I'd like to take a break." That was, of course, an excuse. He just didn't want to meet new people. He was perfectly content with the people he already knew.

        Terra shouted down the stairs at him. "Oh, come on! They're practically family! Why don't you like spending time with family?" Senju scowled at that, looking over at a "Quiet in the Library" sign.

        "Because family does everything they can to annoy me..." He muttered under his breath. "Family always wants my help when I'm busy with my own things. Family tells me to get out of the basement and see the world! I can see the world in my books!"

        Terra reappeared with a flash and a bang, giving Senju a pleading look. "At least come meet them. Make a good impression, make some friends? Maybe wear something besides that ratty old hat?" She was dressed in what she considered her best clothes: a white shirt, purple skirt, and red bow tie. Senju couldn't help but tease her. "It's not old, it's a classic. And I'll stop wearing it when you stop wearing a bow tie."

        Terra laughed, knowing he was bluffing. They were both far too fond of their respective accessories to ever stop wearing them. Despite his gruff demeanor, Terra was one of the few guild mates Senju got along with, let alone considered a friend. But she was nearly twice his age, and wished he'd go and make some more, maybe some closer to his own age. "Regardless, we shouldn't keep everyone waiting. I'll meet you upstairs!" She vanished in a flash of light, leaving Senju alone in the library.

        "Waiting... yeah, right. I wouldn't be surprised if they were already done." Despite his pessimism, he grabbed his hat and headed upstairs.
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          #6    
        Old October 8th, 2016 (8:27 AM).
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        Strange Strange is offline
         
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        Clay


        Clay dabbed his paintbrush into a small glob of paint on his palette, smearing it across a canvas in elaborate strokes. Having paint-based magic has caused him to become quite good at painting portraits fast, although he preferred his painting staff over the traditional tiny brushes.

        Clay was a bit of a loner, sitting in the corner painting the new recruits. He always observed the newbies for a while before attempting conversation, as he seems to always mess up conversation unless he knows more about the other person than he does about himself. He only caught a glimpse of each one walking by earlier, but his semi-photographic memory helped him to remember almost exactly what they looked like.

        For now he covered up his canvas with a large white cloth, remembering that he forgot to pay his rent and that his landlord was probably throwing all his stuff out the window, again. He really should find a better place to stay, but the rent was cheap, and for good reason.

        He barged through the front door of the apartment building, hurtling up the stairs at record speed. "Stop! I have the money!" he yelled, after seeing his underwear floating down the road in the wind he was sure that his fragile things were next.

        "About time!" the grumpy old geezer replied, setting down the glass vase his mother had given him.

        "You know I always have it. I just need a little reminder, before you start invading my privacy and destroying my property."

        The man chuckled. "Well, learn to use that photographic memory to remember things you hear, instead of things you see, and we'll be all set." the man replied, snatching the wad of cash from Clay's hand and exiting the room. That old man was unique, and not in the good way. Clay laughed, then proceeded to pick up anything that the man had moved, then looked out the window and sighed. Cleaning this up was going to take a while.






        Paint and Rent

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          #7    
        Old November 10th, 2016 (4:49 PM). Edited November 15th, 2016 by Sephear.
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        Sephear Sephear is offline
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        The Inauguration Ceremony



        Lina stared at the man she’d gotten into a conversation with, Egan, he was called, as he continued lifting his absurdly oversized weights, not even bothering to look at her. She thought things started off well enough, but now there was only awkward silence. She had hoped that coming into the conversation with a plan would make everything go smoothly, but it was clear that she didn’t plan far enough ahead. Her eyes darted around for something new to talk about, and the moment something caught her eye she opened her mouth, not thinking about what she was saying.

        “W-what, uh, happened? For those burns? That.. you have… to happen?” Right as the words came out of her mouth she realized she had messed up. In her desperation to break the silence she had said something that most sane people would know was probably incredibly offensive. The man was covered in old burns, and there was surely a bad memory or two associated with them. Lina smiled nervously, hoping it would somehow mitigate her offense.

        Egan turned to Lina for the first time since the conversation started. He raised an eyebrow at her and opened his mouth to say something, but fearing what was going to happen next, Lina opted to flee. She ran through the guild hall blindly as she shouted apology after apology, tripping over herself every few meters of the way.

        Lina fled to her room, or rather Pat’s room, where she washed her face of dirt and blood and took a few moments to sulk before popping back out into the hall to try again. While she looked around for someone else to talk to, she spotted the guildmaster, who she approached eagerly with a careful speedwalk.

        “Master!” she called out. Immediately after, she stopped and looked down pensively. “Er, Guildmaster? Master. Mistress? Whatever.” She looked back up at the guildmaster with an excited grin. “When do I get my guild mark?”

        The elderly wizard put her hand reassuringly on Lina's head and smiled at her. "Master is fine, dear. I also accept 'hergreatandwonderfulbeautifulness' but 'Master' is fine. I think you've waited long enough, don't you? Why don't go go ahead to the living quarters and fetch our other new recruit of the day, Alan? His room is just to the left of little Patty's, bring him on down with you and we'll get you both marked up like a tattoo artist!"

        Lina nodded and obediently made her way to her fellow newbie’s door. The door itself was completely ordinary, but as she stood there it felt huge and foreboding. But she wouldn’t let her nerves get the better of her this time. She was just meeting another new person after all, something she’d already done plenty of times today. Of course, each and every one of those meetings made her want to die from shame, but she decided to pretend that wasn’t the case. After mentally preparing herself, she took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

        Alan laid on top of his sheets, completely unconscious. The room was silent for a moment after the brief volley of knocks. Alan stirred and the knocks redoubled in effort. He jolted up and looked around, panicked. The door shook at its hinges, attacked by some ridiculous force of power. The boy grasped the sword that was lying on the bed with his left hand and held it up in the air in front of him. Luster turned itself around and stared him in the eyes, ordering him with a booming voice, "Alan, you need to relax. Going in to a fight like this is sure to doom you." Alan knitted his eyebrows together and scrambled for his bottomless bag. He reached into it with his right hand and clumsily pulled out a perfectly square sheet of white origami paper. While still holding his sword, Alan used his pinkie and thumb fingers to clumsily fold the paper into the shape of a paper pegasus.

        He threw the paper into the air with his right hand and gripped Luster again, full force. The origami pegasus expanded in the air and gracefully landed on the ground, fully grown to the size of an ordinary horse. It extended its wings fully and whinnied, covering most of the room. The creature brayed and stomped its front two feet angrily, the white paper had gained a significant amount of detail, each individual paper feather defined from the snowy wing. The horse stared at the door with steely eyes, waiting for it to open as it was practically ripped out of the wall.

        Suddenly, the knocking stopped. Alan heard the kerchak of the doorknob turning, as well as a girl’s voice. “Oh hey, I guess it was open,” he heard her say as the door quickly opened. "Hey!" she yelled as she looked around. Her eyes didn't wander long, as they immediately settled on the tall white equine in the middle of the room.

        Upon seeing the girl, the pegasus immediately rushed forward at full charge, swishing its wings in one uniform motion to propel it forward. The paper creature collided with Lina full force, knocking her backward into the hallway. She fell to the ground and the horse poised its hoof above her face, ready to crush the girl's skull if given the command. Alan rushed to the doorframe and peered out, cautiously holding Luster in front of him.

        Lina struggled to make sense of the situation at first, but once the pain set in she knew all she needed to know. She grinned, her mind casting aside the her previous anxiety and becoming clear. One of the keys on her bracelet began to glow, but before the creature overhead could do anything in retaliation she rolled aside, pushing off the ground to get back on her feet. “Caelum!” The key flashed a bright light that faded to reveal a massive grey chisel that was even bigger than Lina. She grabbed it by a handle at the bottom and held it out like a sword. She stood tall and proud, a fire in her eyes as she stared down her foe. “You wanna fight, then? I don’t understand people, but fighting is another story!”

        The horse leaned backward onto its haunches, ready to pounce like a spring-loaded grenade. The creature spread out its wings, almost as if displaying them to her foe. Alan finally got a good look at the girl, and relief washed over him. She looked completely unassuming, and not even remotely dangerous. "Uh, who are you?" He asked, lowering his sword.

        Lina had already started charging towards the pegasus when Alan asked his question. It caught her off guard, and caused her to trip, landing flat on her face. With a groan, she got up and looked over at the boy. She watched him for a bit, looking him up and down while at the same time trying to figure out how to introduce herself. A wave of panic pulled her out of her pause and her eyes shot back to the pegasus she’d been fighting, but it didn’t seem to be coming after her.

        With a sigh of relief, she finally addressed Alan. “I’m a Phantom Melody wizard!” She announced proudly. “Now, at least. Well, later. Soon. Hopefully.” Her confidence was quickly fading, so she tried to change the subject. “Uh… Granny! Er, master, I mean. She needs us. She wanted me to come fetch you for the guild thing.”

        Alan stared at her blankly, "I meant what's your name?" He glanced at the pegasus, "Stallion, it's okay." The horse snorted and turned around in the hallway, bumping against the walls on both sides. It was ill-fitted to house a creature of Stallion's size. Alan walked forward a few steps, staring at the gigantic chisel that the girl held.

        “Oh, uh, Lina,” she answered, glad to have a simple question, though she was admittedly a little disappointed her first fight since joining the guild had ended so soon. She let go of her chisel, but instead of dropping to the ground it just floated in front of her. It began to glow, then it transformed into a sphere with a halo overhead and a green circle in the center that made it resemble a robotic eye. Lina patted the top of its cold surface. “Sorry bud, maybe next time.” It made beeping noises in response before vanishing in a burst of sparkles.

        Lina reached up high, grunting with effort as she stretched any damage from her encounter away (the worst of it being self-inflicted). She looked over at Alan and his familiar curiously, staring just a bit too long before abruptly averting her gaze. “Well uh… Let’s get going!” She didn’t even wait for a response before marching off.

        "I'm Ala-" Alan stopped, "Uh, okay." He followed the girl, not sure what they were doing yet. The two headed back into the main room, right up to the guild master.

        "Hello there dearies! Sounded like you had a bit of fun up there! Lina, is that a bruise? Oh sweetie you poor thing..." She looked saddened for a moment, then looked right into Alan's eyes, both her gaze and her voice suddenly incredibly sharp. "I understand accidents happen, but it would be best if you don't jump to anymore silly conclusions and attack anyone in the guild hall, okay? It's lucky for you you didn't really hit her. I think our resident pint-sized wizardling's taken a shine to her, and he doesn't like people who hit girls, and you really don't want to see him at his angriest if his brother was any indication.

        Lina chuckled nervously, not willing to tell her that the bruise was more her own clumsiness at work than anything Alan had done.

        Alan shifted his eyes to the side, guiltily. He thought of telling her the incredible force that the girl had attacked his door with, but he decided against it. The guild master scared him a lot, but Skylar trusted her, so Alan supposed he should too. Something about her told him that excuses were not tolerated. So he nodded and said, "Sorry, I shouldn't've summoned Stallion in this building, it won't happen again." He paused for an instant, "Now what?"

        Amalthea nodded in understanding. "Don't you worry too much about it, just remember this is a safe place. You're one of us now Alan, and that means anything or anyone who'd want to hurt you, would have to get through the rest of us first. Now!" She clapped her hands together. "I think it's about time you two got your Phantom Melody marks, what do you say to that?"

        "Woo!" Lina shouted in excitement, throwing her fist in the air. However, she shrunk away immediately after, adding a bit more quietly, "I mean, um... it's about time! Which you already said..."

        "Okay, sounds good!" Alan smiled awkwardly. He shifted his weight onto one foot, completely unsure of what that entailed, though he hoped it was nothing too extravagant.

        "That settles it then! Phantom Melody, gather round!" The guild master stood up with her back suddenly completely straight and announced herself with a booming voice that turned every head within earshot straight towards her. When some of the further listeners were too stunned by the sudden interruption to move immediately, she stamped her foot on the ground once and shouted "Yes, all of you louts! Come hither and lets welcome our newest members." Both of the new guild members were staring in awe at everyone around them assembling neatly, and after even that short pause, they looked back to Amalthea to see she was standing on a small stage attached to the bar, one they didn't remember seeing earlier. Just as quickly, they looked back to the other wizards to see chairs lined up neatly in front of the stage like at a theater, with every member of Phantom Melody not currently out of the area sitting down patiently. Patileer was in the front row along with Starling, and he waved warmly at both Lina and Alan as a few spare wizards shoved them up on stage while shouting encouragement.

        Alan tumbled onto the stage awkwardly, trying to regain his footing at he stared at the congealing crowd below. He clutched at his necklace and massaged it. The guild had many more people in it than had appeared to him when he first walked in. Luster glowed vaguely in his holster, the warmth calmed Alan down a little, but he was not any more confident. After a moment Alan could feel his sword's slight disapproval, but chose to ignore it and avert his eyes from the gathering crowd. They fixed themselves on a random spot of black paint halfway in between himself and the edge of the stage. Luster harrumphed, the sword rotating in Alan's scabbard to turn away from the boy. The warmth faded.

        Lina wasn't faring much better, her eyes darting around as she struggled to make sense of the situation. Her body trembled in a mix of nervousness and excitement. Eventually her gaze settled on Patileer and Starling, looking up at her cheerfully. Though she'd only known them for a few hours, seeing familiar faces put her at ease just enough for her to find her bearings. She quickly realized that this would be her best chance to make an impression on the guild. Unfortunately, she had no ideas for accomplishing that, so she resorted to an awkward wave while she thought of something more impressive.

        It didn't take long for the cheers to fade into awkward asynchronous clapping and confused muttering. "These two young wizards are looking to make their mark on the world!" The Guild Master announced. "And what better way for them to do it than while wearing our mark! So show your support one more time!" Her announcement was followed by a resurgence in the cheering.

        Alan smiled awkwardly, unsure of what to do. His right arm spasmed by his side, unsure of what to do. His left hand was keeping itself preoccupied with the boy's necklace, so the auxiliary appendage compulsively reached into Alan's pocket to pull out his pouch. The crowd began to wait, and the silence was deafening.

        Clearly the crowd - and Amalthea - were expecting a bit more of a show, but before the assembled wizards could sink back into disappointed murttering, the Guildmaster smiled encouragingly and stood between Lina and Alan. She tapped each young wizard, Alan under his left wrist, and Lina on the outer side of her left thigh, then made sure to display the spots for the crowd, bringing the cheering back at sight of the Phantom Note on each wizard. "Welcome to Phantom Melody, Lina and Alan!"

        By this time, Lina had finally come up with an idea for making an impression, her resolve tempered by the mark now adorning her body. She fiddled with her keys before grabbing hold of one and holding it high, spawning a magic circle overhead whose light was already familiar to Alan. "Gate of the Chisel, Caelum!" A handle made its way through the gate which she pulled out to reveal Caelum in its sword form to the guild. Adopting a pose made familiar to her by a certain someone, she rested the massive chisel on her shoulder and put her free hand proudly on her hip.

        "I..." She began, going over the little speech she'd hurriedly planned. An image of Huozai surfaced in her mind. She thought about his words, about how much she had grown. He always encouraged her to move forward, and now was the time for her to take the next step. She took a deep breath and continued, louder than ever. The uncontrolled shouting indicated her nervousness, but she didn't let it stop her. "I am Lina Burgess, aspiring swordsman, er, woman, and proud celestial wizard! And now, I am a member of Phantom Melody! I hope to bring glory to my guild, and in turn... maybe you all can help me out if I ever need it. So... let's, uh, get along!" Her speech quickly lost power toward the end, but it still had heart. She hoped.

        The audience applauded and hollered loudly, Alan stood, shifting a little. He palmed at the mark newly planted on his skin, it wriggled around under his sharp gaze. Taking a note from Lina, Alan yanked Luster from his scabbard and lifted him into the air. The sword glowed brightly, mostly eclipsed by the ambient light from the guild hall. Alan paused briefly with his arm outstretched, unsure of what to say. He hadn't thought this far ahead. "Uh, hi. I'm Alan," He ventured. The sword swung to his side and the boy stared blankly at his audience. In a moment of spontaneity, Alan unzipped his bottomless bag and flicked his hand through the air. A ribbon of paper curled out of the bag and twisted through the air, winding like a snake, before disappearing back into the pouch's depths. Alan glanced in between the guildmaster and Lina briefly, unsure what they were supposed to do now. Lina shrugged at him, not very sure herself.

        The clammer of praise and cheering from the audience evolved into a standing ovation at Lina and Alan's showmanship. Anybody who expected a group of wizards famous for their scholarly pursuits to be reserved, with a hint of quiet dignity really needed to visit Phantom Melody some time. The loudest fan of all was a certain young boy, trying - and failing - to keep a good view of the stage among the older wizards by standing on the tips of his toes on top of his chair, clapping so furiously that the palms of his hands turned completely red. Suddenly there was a strange disturbance in the crowd, one of the pairs of clapping hands suddenly fell silent, and a few nearby eyes turned to focus on Patileer as he stared up at the stage.

        "Whoah, another Celestial Wizard?!" Some of the wizards continued to cheer, but Lina and Alan found themselves watching Patileer with intense curiosity as he reached down to his hip. Both of Phantom Melody's new members felt their eyes widen when Pat pulled a large gold key off a ring at his belt, the whole thing was very ornate, but what stood out the most about it was the handle shaped like a lion's head. Pat thrust the key in front of him and a light glowed brightly at the end of it, brighter than Lina was used to seeing from her own keys. "You've got to see this! Open, gate of the Celestial Lion: Leo!" The light grew even brighter, until it was almost blinding, and the DING-DONG! of an old-fashioned doorbell rang out.

        The light at the end of the key burst out from it and quickly coalesced just in front of the stage, taking shape into a figure that easily towered over all the wizards in the hall, defying common human anatomy with his stature. The shape finally began to dim and gain detail, revealing a man clad completely in ornate plate armor with an overt star motif, missing only a helmet. His golden hair covered every part of his head except for his upper face, and lips, spreading freely in every direction on top, sinking down the sides into a full beard in the front, and hanging down between his shoulder blades in the back. He raised an eyebrow at the two wizards before him on the stage, and when he spoke his voice made one think of the deep, rumbling growl of a predatory beast somehow forming words. "Oh, what have we here? Yet more humans who'd call upon the power of the stars?"

        “Ah!” Lina shouted, pointing Caelum at the new arrival. Being caught up in the moment, she didn’t quite realize that some might not like having dangerous weapons pointed at them. “You have one too!” She looked at the tall spirit, unsure of what she should do now. Honestly, she found him a bit intimidating. After wondering if there was some sort of etiquette that needed to be followed between celestial wizards, she eventually decided to close Caelum’s gate. Grabbing another of the keys hanging from her bracelet, she held it forward and mimicked Pat’s actions of just moments ago. She called, “Gate of the Rooster, Huozai!”

        A magic circle appeared like the one that brought forth Caelum, but this one was different. It was brighter, though not quite like Leo’s, and seemed to radiate heat. A swirl of flame appeared that was promptly dispersed by a pair of brilliant, burning wings spreading wide. In the fire’s wake was Huozai, tall, lanky, and confident as ever. Although…

        Despite the flashy entrance, Huozai’s expression soured instantly. He crouched down and began drawing imaginary circles on the floor with his finger. An aura of gloominess surrounded the spirit. “I see how it is… Summon Caelum twice before summoning me when I explicitly told you to summon me instead...” He gave a deep sigh, not even looking at his master.

        “Huozai, I need you,” she informed him. He glanced at her over his shoulder, almost pouting. She pointed ahead, and his eyes followed until they met with Leo’s. Almost instantly he seemed to get over his troubles and stand tall in front of his fellow spirit.

        “Hey, big guy,” he greeted, accentuating it with a knock on Leo’s breastplate. “Long time no see! You’re not scaring my girl too badly, are you?”

        "I just got here, actually." Leo explained warmly, nodding to Huozai and crossing his arms as he surveyed the rest of the hall. "It looks like your partner is joining the same guild milord is in. Welcome to Phantom Melody, Rooster. How have you been?"

        “You know my name isn’t Rooster,” Huozai asserted with a frown. “I don’t call you ‘Celestial Lion’, so I’d appreciate the same respect in return. It’s a misnomer anyway, considering that I’m more phoenix than anything. But to answer your question, it’s been good. Lina here’s a good kid and I’m more than happy to help her sort her life out.” He patted her on the head, to which she playfully pushed his hand away.

        Leo shook his head in mock disappointment. "I prefer to keep up a certain amount of formality in front of-" He was interrupted by his leg being shoved aside, shortly before Rooster felt first an arm, then a leg be patted several times. Pat looked up at him in awe, reveling in getting to meet another Celestial Spirit.

        "Wow, you're so cool! I didn't know there was a phoenix spirit! That's way cooler than just being a rooster, I wish everybody knew what you really were! Can you actually fly with those wings? How did you and Lina meet? Canyouteachmetomakefirelikethatandthen-"

        A gauntleted hand covered Patileer's mouth before he could fire off anymore questions at Huozai, and Leo let out a sight worthy of his namesake. "- in front of the boy, he'd go on like that all day if you let him. As long as he gets enough food, he never seems to run out of energy..."

        Alan watched the scene unfold for a minute, until he decided his spirit should weigh in. He lifted Luster into the air and exclaimed, "I call thee forth, Uriel, Angel of Light!" The sword glowed brilliantly and what sounded like a symphony of heavenly voices echoed through the chamber. The light from Luster melded into a figure standing a few feet in front of Alan. After a brilliant flash, the glow faded, revealing a tall man dressed entirely in a pitch black trench coat that extended halfway down the legs, clad with similar pitch black pants. The pants were finished with a pair of jet black shoes. Uriel's face was chiseled with remarkably high cheekbones and a sharp jaw. His lips pouted slightly and his eyes pierced, they were brilliant golden ochre, matching the color of his tousled hair.

        Uriel glanced at the crowd beneath him, glancing about. He was about to turn to Alan, when he noticed the presence of the two celestial spirits. Uriel raised his left eyebrow and spoke in a gravelly voice, "Well what have we here? The Rooster and the Lion."

        “As I just told Leo, I’d prefer it if you’d call me by name, ‘Angel of Light’,” Huozai addressed the newcomer. He turned to Lina and explained, “This guy is one of the angels. All you need to know about that is that they’re basically the same as us spirits, despite what they might tell you.”

        "They hail from a different part of the Celestial plane, and form contracts with humans much like we spirits, though they don't always mix well with us of the Zodiac." Leo continued the explanation for Huozai.

        "Hmpf. If you say so, bird," Uriel glanced back at Alan, "What did you need me for, bud?"

        "Uh, they were summoning things, so I thought I should summon you too."

        Uriel smiled softly and patted Alan on the shoulder, "Next time, you should summon someone like Rags or Blake if you're not in danger. Okay?" Alan nodded sheepishly. Uriel shifted his gaze towards the two celestial beings and his face immediately hardened again. He glanced at the surrounding crowd and snorted, "Should we give them a show?"

        Leo's eyes sharpened, but they only stayed on Uriel for a moment before looking back over the various wizards in the hall. "No, they've already had a show, this event is meant to welcome in new wizards. Not for the likes of us to peacock about like brutes."

        Uther snorted and turned away, muttering something under his breath. He stuffed his hands into his trench coat pockets and stared at the audience, searching through the mass of people. One in particular approached him before he could decide on his next course of action. The blue-haired boy poked at his trench coat, and then at the sword Alan wielded before turning back to Uriel and staring excitedly up at him.

        "Oh my gosh, you too, Alan?! We got two new Celestial Wizards in one day? This is amazing! What's your name, mister angel? And what's your magic like? How did you and Alan meet?"

        Uriel stared haughtily at Patileer, "Please don't touch me." He removed his hands from his pockets and curtly dusted off his jacket.

        Alan couldn't help but smile a little at the whirl of energy and he answered, "He's Uriel, the Angel of Light. He basically does really powerful light magic."

        Pat's brow furrowed at Uriel's response and he started to pout, but when Alan answered him he whipped around and looked even more excited than before, if that is indeed possible. "Really?! Leo uses light magic too! He's crazy strong, it's always so fun watching him fight!"

        Alan laughed, "I doubt he's stronger than Uriel!" With this statement, Uriel gave a pointed look to the hairy celestial spirit. Alan motioned to his sword, "Luster is technically his, but it's what I use to summon Uriel, and he protects me."

        Patileer looked up at the ceiling as if trying to imagine Uriel and Leo fighting. "Uhhhh...I dunno, Leo's really strong, but I've never seen him fight another spirit before. I just know he gets scary when he's mad." The feline spirit narrowed his eyes, but stayed silent, refusing to be goaded. The only sign of his irritation was a slight twitch of the cat ears his hair formed at the top of his head.

        “We’ll have to face off some other time,” Huozai interrupted as he turned away from the group. “The little lady’s got the whole day ahead of her in a new place, and I wouldn’t want her wasting her magic on something stupid.” He put a hand on Lina’s shoulder and looked her in the eye. “Remember to summon me if there’s an emergency. Me. Me. Not Caelum.”

        Lina grinned sheepishly. “Ehehe, I’ll, uh, I’ll try.” She swiped Huozai’s key in the air, closing his gate. He disappeared in a shimmer of light and embers, leaving the hall just a bit more vacant. “I’m gonna explore the guild hall some more,” she announced to Pat, Alan, and their summons. She seemed much more comfortable than before, perhaps put at ease by Huozai’s presence. “It was nice meeting you!” With those parting words, she dashed off.

        "Ok, bye!" Pat waved happily at Lina, then put a finger to his chin. "I didn't notice earlier how pretty Lina is...I should see how many boxes she checks on big bro's list of how to find-"

        "No, no, absolutely not!" Leo interrupted. "You just leave that girl alone for now, and be good, young master. I should be going now, I don't want to waste your energy."

        Pat went full pout this time, but Leo had none of it, and disappeared shortly in a burst of golden light. "Ok fine, who needs you then..."

        Uriel grunted and turned back to Alan, "Well I guess I'll be leaving then. Have fun here Alan." Another bright flash of pure golden light filled the room, this time leaving the ghost of a pair of angelic wings behind. They quickly faded away and Alan turned to look at Patileer and Amalthea, but decided to find Lina.

        "Me too, I guess, yeah. Bye," Alan disappeared backwards in the direction that Lina went.

        Pat's pout grew even more intense at Alan's exit, and he found himself falling back against his chair. The boy continued to stew, brood, and otherwise silently grump up the place for the next while - that is to say about five seconds - before a wrinkled hand set itself on his shoulder. Patileer flinched and began to gasp, then he breathed in a smell like rosemary and strawberries mixed together, a strange scent he knew he was only likely to find in one place.

        "Don't get so down, you moody little rascal." Amalthea gently comforted her adopted 'grandson' rubbing his shoulder. "You know, you've really been leaning too much on Starling and Bralor lately. I know you get nervous at going on missions with so little experience, but you'll never grow if you keep yourself rooted in the shadows of s-class wizards. You need to stretch free and bask in the sun, and if you ever really get scared you've always got Leo, right?"

        He placed his hand on top of the guildmaster's and leaned his head into the side of her arm, enjoying the comfort she brought. "Yeah, I guess so...But where should I go, Granny? I can't just do missions by myself, can I? I'm barely old enough to legally be in the guild."

        Amalthea smirked and looked up at the ceiling in feigned ignorance. "Oh, I couldn't possibly guess... Buuuuuuut if I had to, I'd say it's a pretty good coincidence that we just inaugerated two other young, inexperienced wizards, and fellow Celestial Wizards at that. Seems to me you'd make a pretty good team."

        Her words sucked into Patileer's brain like a vortex, and in an instant he leapt out of the chair and straightened up completely. "You're right! It's like destiny or something! I'm gonna grab a nice, safe job off of the board right now and go find Alan and Lina!" He practically sprang over the nearest table and sprinted right for the job board, in less than a minute, the boy ripped a paper right off and charged after the new members.

        "Oh, Patty dear?" Pat stiffened so suddenly that he could only skid clumsily to a halt, nearly faceplanting in the process. "No confessing your eternal devotion to Lina and asking for her hand, alright?" Pat turned his head towards Amalthea so stiffly one could almost hear his neck creak, and he already had a few drops of sweat on his forehead when he saw the foreboding, demonic smile on his 'granny's face. He blanched at how easily she saw right through him, nodded vigorously and ran off now gaining his speed as much from fear as excitement.



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        "Ever looking forward, ever thinking back. Everywhere you've been, everyone you've met was another step on your path, shaping your future even as they become part of your past. One must never discount the pieces that have made up your journey until now but to lose yourself in them would be equally great folly, instead let them hoist you up, carry you on until you find the strength to walk for yourself. So it is that I continue towards that endless horizon. Ever thinking back, ever marching forward, inexorable as the history that brought me down this road. This Lonesome Road."
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        Old November 16th, 2016 (6:18 PM).
        Ewery1's Avatar
        Ewery1 Ewery1 is offline
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          "We’re all a little bit crazy.”

          Name: Alan Tempest
          Location: Phantom Melody Guild Hall
          Status: Excited
          Arc: Prologue
          CSS-Credit: Infinite



          The Job Board

          Alan stumbled down from the stage and scoured through the dissolving crowd for Lina. After a few seconds of searching, he noticed her black and white cabbie hat vanishing into the crowd a little ways away and hurried after it. Some people tried to stop him and congratulate him, but Alan shouldered through the crowd. After breaking through a particularly tight group of people, Alan came upon Lina. She had walked to the job board and was perusing the various fliers aimlessly tacked on. Alan stood awkwardly for a moment off of her shoulder, before saying, "What are you up to?"

          Lina was surprised to see Alan appear next to her, though she probably shouldn’t have been considering their similar situations. “Oh, uh, well, I kinda talked big at the ceremony but I’m, uh, not too sure how I’m going to live up to that. Haha…” The thought brought a shadow of doubt with it, but fortunately, the cheerful atmosphere made shaking it off a simple matter. “Anyway, I figured I’d pick up a job or two to get started. But I’m not really sure where I should start...”

          Her finger passed over the various jobs posted on the board. The first thing to catch her eye was one with a rather generous reward of 1,000,000 Jewel. Her eyes lit up and she took a closer look, only to freeze at the provided image of the escaped convict that the job would require her to capture and his weapon that looked like something straight out of a torture chamber. The man himself looked more like a demon than anything. She silently put the flier back on the board and continued searching.

          Alan corroborated, "Yeah, me neither..." He trailed off. After staring at her for an instant, Alan turned his gaze to the board, searching it for anything that looked like something he'd be good at. The papers were cluttered and arranged with no visible organization, vibrant colors popped off of the sheets everywhere Alan looked. The board swum before the boy's eyes and he struggled to focus on any particular place image. He could feel a migraine begin the crop up in the back of his skull. Alan paused briefly and closed his eyes, shaking his head to dispel the feeling. It faded.

          Refocusing his attention on the board, Alan decided to isolate one sheet at a time, getting close to the board and lifting the paper off of the vertical surface, as much as the pin attaching it would allow. There were jobs of all different types, slaying a beast, helping someone farm, locating an ancient artifact, taking down a dark guild, the likes. All of them seemed exciting, but most of them did not offer particularly generous pay.

          While examining the board, Alan and Lina slowly became aware of various gasps and discontented mutterings throughout the throng of people around them. It grew closer and closer until a very excited voice reached their ears to drown the rest out. "Guys! Hey, guys! Alan, Lina, I've got a surprise for you!" It took them less than an instant to recognize the high-pitched, boyish voice, which was about an instant less than it took for them to spot the long blue hair in front of them once they turned. Patileer was waving a paper in his hands, a paper which he had already signed in his haste. "The three of us are going to be a team! Err...at least for today...if that's okay? If you guys wouldn't want me along, I'd understand. A lot of the other Phantom Melody wizards wave me off and tell me they'll be alright, but they're just trying not to hurt my feelings, they think I'd get in the way." He stared down at the floor as if already anticipating rejection, but after a moment he perked back up and thrust the paper between Lina and Alan. "But either way, I think it'd be the perfect first job for you two! Because of our history, and scholarly accomplishments, Phantom Melody gets picked for jobs like this a lot!"

          Lina frowned. “Well, uh…hmm…” She paused, looking up while she tried to figure out the best answer to give the troubled boy. “Do they… er, why do you… I mean... sure?” She shrugged, hoping that body language would somehow help her say whatever it was she was trying to say. “Yeah, that. Your spirit looked strong, so why not?” She looked to Alan for some sort of confirmation.

          Alan glanced at Lina and shrugged in agreement, "That sounds good." Alan grabbed the sheet of paper from Patileer's hand and read it.

          150,000 Jewel

          A rare artifact discovered on a recent archaeological dig is to be transported to Aria's museum, and we can think of none other than the esteemed Phantom Melody guild to assist in such an enlightening endeavor.

          The dig site was a healthy distance from the city, out in the countryside and much closer to farmland than one would expect. It wasn't exactly going through the most dangerous territory, but it was open, cut off from local law enforcement, and what bandit doesn't love a nice, juicy museum piece?

          Alan looked back at Patileer and spoke, "Uh, sounds easy enough."

          “Hmm…” Lina mulled, as she looked back over to the board to get a sense of how difficult a 150k jewel job was expected to be. Despite her love of fighting, she didn’t actually have much experience with it. She didn’t spend very much time analyzing the board before she made her decision. “Whatever. There’s three of us, and we’ve all got spirits so that makes six of us, right? Right. We can take some chump bandits!”

          "Seven, if you count your sword!" Pat agreed enthusiastically.

          "Uh, I have a lot of friends that can help too," Alan mumbled quietly. He drew his sword and pointed it outward in a dramatic gesture, "Let's go move some artifacts!" Several guild members stared at him strangely. Alan lowered Luster, and there was silence. "Erm, what now?" He posited. Lina shrugged, this time looking to Pat for direction.

          Pat looked back and forth between Lina and Alan for a moment, visibly losing some of his steam when it became obvious they were waiting for him to make a decision. "Uhh....Yeah, I guess we should go. I uh - I've passed by that spot a few times! I haven't been there while they were actually digging, but I think I know the way there, a lot of jobs happen in and around that farming region, people out there need help plenty often, being by themselves most of the time and all! Let's go!" Patileer turned on his heel and darted back through the crowd and towards the entrance to the guild hall, glad to finally have a goal in mind, and clearly forgetting he was supposed to be leading. Lina was close behind, excitement welling up inside her.

          Alan shrugged and chased after the headstrong boy, exiting the guild hall, and entering the real world for the first time as a Phantom Melody Wizard, a giddy smile plastered upon his face.


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