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I should not be posting at 5am.
Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:40am

NRP: Fifty bucks says I'll regret something about this post in the morning. Cheers.

Kaze was normally a foreboding sort. Tall, dark, magically gifted. People didn't usually try to interact with him unless they had to. Ever since Shinsei had turned up missing, however, people had avoided him altogether. Of his many particularities, none had so firmly suffused his psyche than the absolute need to protect anyone he'd formed an emotional bond with, and none so strongly as his flesh and blood. It was no longer about the Freelancers, or a downed comrade; in one split second he decided the command structure could hang itself. So when Maq had put together a team to raid the forest, Kaze had forgone the formality and simply started ahead, evaporating swaths of plant life as he passed through. The ignorant would have called the aura, physical and metaphorical, around him a cousin to what they felt in Zeo when he berzerked. But Kaze felt no malice. Only absolute need to satisfy his compulsion, and neither man nor god could stand in his way. Or at least that's what he believed. So he slid through the trees, bobbing and weaving around their trunks in a full run, azure whisps trailing and eating everything behind him.

Occasional sentries roamed the forest, none of which he bothered with for more than a second. The few he had to deal with personally were undone with startlingly abrupt and vicious attacks, the rest were simply outrun and eventually dealt with by the following mercenaries. The rescue itself had gone off about as smoothly as anyone could have hoped for too, which did little to alleviate his nearly inhuman mindset. Shinsei had come to on that pole above the fire, and though she would not admit to the other mercenaries that she had done anything but fight normally on the beach, she knew she would have been unable to withhold her emotions for the second time that day if the rescue party had not arrived in such a timely manner. As it stood, the skeletons were destroyed and the girls were free, so a little bit of edge seemed to come off of everyone. Once the mix of terror and excitement had left her, the exhaustion took its turn with Shinsei, and she found herself struggling for coherency in speech and even steady footholds in walking through the dense undergrowth.

The siblings traced a slow and more jagged path after Dan, stopping to take the long way around fallen logs and tangles where the abnormally spry for his age man lept over. The going was slow for her sake, so they had only just rounded the trunk of a massive something or other and got them back in sight when a torrent of light washed over them. In her stupor, Shinsei looked up to see what Dan was yelling about before it hit. Normally she would have grit her teeth and weathered the spell with little fanfare or aftereffects, but caught drained and surprised, she hadn't even been aware a spell was being cast. Kaze on the other hand had tried to fight the spell, but by the time he realized it wasn't one of Dan's games it was too late to accumulate any foothold against it. A sharp pain shot through his eyes as his mind was overwhelmed, and his surrogate will cursed its host as he reached his breaking point and toppled headfirst into a thicket.


The world was a milky white miasma, traces of faint shadow building latticeworks like giant snowflakes behind a cotton sheet. They weaved together into a awkwardly swaying strand of darkness that lashed about in the air, splitting and streaming. Some minutes passed as Shinsei's eyes focused and refocused on the lazily hypnotic illusion before she realized she was in fact in control of her body. One hand gripped shut, and the fine grit of sand crunched between her tiny fingers. Sand. Blinking, she sat up slowly and realized the roar in her ears was the coming and going of meager waves. She had made it back to the beach somehow, though she didn't remember anything since being pulled down from the pole. Something wasn't right, the most obvious of which was that she didn't have tiny hands. She brought them up and was astonished to see that they were in fact the hands of a child. And wrapped in cloth from wrist to elbow. Mind racing, she looked and pat herself down. Her clothing was different, and this was a beach she only vaguely remembered.

"Shinsei." Her attention snapped up to meet a face uncanny in familiarity, yet utterly bizarre. "You should eat." Lavender eyes, short reddish hair, olive skin, and a countenance that made Shinsei seem bold. A longtime friend, and yet she couldn't grasp her name. She tried to speak, but her mouth made no sound. Incredible waves of De ja Vu mired her thoughts as she realized where she was. A quick glance at a nearby billboard confirmed she was sitting on a beach in Germany, and all the senses that had been muted came back in an overwhelming flash of what seemed like reality. The weaving snake of black above became smoke rising from a bonfire. Summer foods, ocean, and sweet sweat carried on fresh winds, and sun glazed over the ocean like the horizon was aflame. Her efforts to convey her confusion went unheeded; she could make no alerting gesture, and her voice would not work. It was true; she hadn't spoken as a child much, but then it was because of lack of want, not true inability. But the sun was just right, and the hot dogs smelled so good. And she could not for the life of her seem to work up any more than a passing wonderment that everything might not be what it seemed.

Hours passed as she relived a day that was excellent to think about for some reason, trapped in a seductive oasis of paradise. After some time, she found herself able to ask if they were supposed to be doing anything.

"We're going to cross the ocean today, remember?" The girl's voice came across as terribly condescending, sounding like she was speaking to a toddler. But it said what Shinsei needed to know, so she got up and started walking towards what looked like a dock in the distance. Noticing for the first time that Kaze was also asleep on the beach, she turned to the other girl but was sent off with the reassurance that she'd "take care of him." and a sweet smile.

And outside of the illusion, Shinsei began to follow the path blasted by Demios. Behind her followed Kaze, animated by some unseen force to follow in sleep.

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