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  #1  
Old January 12, 2013, 08:59:34 PM
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Quadcentruo Quadcentruo is offline
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Default Secrets of Swordplay

The sound of my sword clashing with my foe's could be heard for miles, like the bell in the quiet town. The strike of his blade just as forceful as my own strikes. He was dead-set on defeating me and I was set on proving I can't be beat.

He stepped back, preparing a powerful strike with his rapier. His blade started glowing and he thrust his blade straight towards my heart, but I was quicker than him. I struck his blade, knocking it upwards leaving him defenseless. He couldn't recover in time and I stabbed him straight through his neck. He fell flat on his back. I sheathed my sword on my back and turned around.

"I'm never gonna beat you, am I, Tael?"

I turned around and looked at the man on the ground and smiled, "Hey, you were pretty close to getting me. You're getting pretty quick with your rapier," I offered my hand to him.

He grabbed it and got up, "Not nearly as quick as your broadsword, though. I don't know how you do it."

"Just keep training, Paul, and one day," I pulled out my sword and pointed it towards the blue skies, "people will know the name Paul, master of the rapier!"

Paul stared out to the skies, "Yeah... one day.... I'm going to keep training and one day," He stepped back, slashed the air twice then thrust towards me, the tip right in front of my face, "I'm going to beat you!"

I smiled, "I look forward to it, Paul," I sheathed my sword and held up my arm. Paul sheathed his rapier and held up his arm against mine, making an X.

I grabbed my SDD, said farewell to Paul, then started heading off towards class. At Harbinger Academy of Arts, the "arts" in question is "sword-art," better known as "swordplay." While Harbinger Academy does teach the same material as other academies, the main focus here is swordplay, so as a result, everyone at Harbinger was a swordsman in training. The class I was headed to was a general class on sword techniques. This is one of the few classes where someone like my would be in the same classroom as someone who is learning how to use a rapier, for example.

When I got to class, Ariana was already sitting in her seat in the front row, right next to me. She saw me and smiled, "Good morning, Tael," Ariana and I have been friends for some time now. Probably since the start of the year, which was about six months ago. We've known each other since high school, but it wasn't until this year that we got to know each other and got close to one another, probably because we sit right next to each in class everyday, "How was your duel with Paul?"

I sat down and leaned back, "It went well. He's getting pretty good. Nearly got me today, but I was still too fast for him."

In Harbinger Academy, everyone fits into a certain category - broadsword, short sword, longsword, dagger, rapier, two-handed sword, katana - but the thing is, everyone, with the exception of rapier, katana, and two-handed swordsmen, have shields. It's a policy of the academy's. I am an exception to that rule - I use a one-handed broadsword with no shield. The headmaster is not very pleased with my choice, but he trusts my swordsmanship enough to allow it.

Ariana uses a long-dagger and a buckler. She uses that buckler more for pushing foes to make them unbalanced then strikes with quick stabs. Her long, black hair flows as freely as her movements and her hair is just as shiny as her blade when in the sunlight. Her brown eyes reflect the world, as if she's watching every action of the world from wherever she is.

The bell rung and the class started. The master walked in and got right to business, "Today is a duel day. I hope you all have been dueling others that aren't using the same blade-style as yourself. It'll become apparent today if you have or haven't," The master flipped a switch at his desk and the wall behind him moved to the side to reveal an dueling area with a built-in SDD, or Safe Duel Device, a device that emits energy in a sphere around itself, causing anyone inside to not take any physical injury. You could slice through the neck of someone in an SDD's energy field and their head would never budge in the slightest.

The master activated the SDD, "Let's start of the duels with two of our more skilled swordsmen," He looked around the class, "Tael, you'll be first, along with... him," He pointed at the man with the grey hair, but don't let that fool you. Besides his grey hair, he looked to be around the same age as me or Ariana.

We both got up and walked towards the duel area. Nobody knows the real name of this guy. All anyone really knows about him is that he is the other exception at Harbinger Academy because he wields two blades at once, which would be a popular choice had the headmaster not placed heavy restrictions on that choice of blades. It's more restricted than what I wield. I'm not sure what the story behind this man being allowed to wield two blades is.

I unsheathed my blade and got into my stance - right arm and leg back with the sword ready to strike, left arm and leg closer to the enemy for a quicker reaction to attacks. The other man unsheathed his blades, one was a pure white color and the other was a pure black color and they both shined magnificently. He held his swords at his sides with his right foot back, ready to move.

The master counted us down, "Three... two... one... duel!"

I made the first move, sprinting straight towards the other man. He didn't move a muscle. I swung out, aiming for his side, but he was expecting that. He knocked my sword right out of my hand, throwing me off-balance and he stabbed me right in the center of my chest before I had time to realize my sword was gone. It was over in less than 10 seconds. Nobody said anything, not even the grey-haired man. He just sheathed his swords and went back to his seat. I was a bit angry at myself.

Later in the day, after dinner time when the sun was starting to set and the blue sky became a red-orange color, Ariana and I were sitting on a bench in the central courtyard. Ariana was still obsessing over the grey-haired man.

"I've never seen anyone move that fast... and with two swords!"

"Yeah..." I tried changing the topic, "I heard tomorrow my broadsword class is getting a new student. Apparently she used longswords before the class, but switched for broadswords."

"That's cool," Ariana looked up at the orange sky and stood up, "I better start heading to my room. I'll see you tomorrow, Tael!"

"Good night, Ray," I stood up and went off to my room.

Once I got to my room, I changed into something more suitable for sleeping and lied in my bed, thinking about the day's events. I was wondering just who this grey-hair man was. He's so mysterious that not even the masters here know his real name, some of them don't even know the name he goes by, yet he's skilled enough where he can knock my sword out of my hand and defeat me in less than 10 seconds. Maybe I just had an off-day. Some sleep should do the trick.
  #2  
Old January 13, 2013, 12:13:11 PM
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Quadcentruo Quadcentruo is offline
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Default The Switch Over

The bell rung for the start of class and I was still trying to find the classroom. I didn't know my way around this building yet and I was panicking. I probably should've asked for a look around yesterday when I had time, but I was too busy picking out a broadsword. I finally found the class. I entered the room then shut the door behind me. Everyone was in their seats looking at me, I was getting a bit embarrassed.

The master looked at me, "Ah, you must be the new student. I'll excuse you today because this is your first day in this building, but please ask someone to show you around later. Why don't you introduce yourself to class?"

I walked to the front of the class and took a breath, "My name is Serenade... but everyone just calls me Sera," I could feel my face turning red.

"Very good. We're glad to have you join us, Sera. Why don't you have a seat right next to Tael? He's the one a few rows back with the black hair."

I went up the stairs to get to the row where Tael was and I took my seat. I hid my face for a bit out of embarrassment, but Tael leaned in and patted my back.

"Hey, it's alright, Sera. Look around, nobody's laughing at you," I looked around to see the other students. They were all focused on the master who was demonstrating proper grip of a sword. I sighed quietly, Tael smiled, "You see? Nothing to worry about."

"Yeah... thanks," It was uncomfortable sitting with my shield on my back, so I took it off and placed on the floor next to my feet. I looked at Tael and noticed he didn't have a shield. I was going to ask him about it, but I figured he forgot it in his room. Instead, I asked, "Hey Tael, do you mind showing me around the building after class?"

He smiled, "No problem!"

After class, I met up with Tael outside of the room. I showed him what room number my classes were in and he took me to see where the classrooms were, along with introducing me to the masters in those rooms.

He also showed me to the training room, "This is a room that you'll want to familiarize yourself with. It has a virtual monster spawner, a practice dummy that you can practice your blocks and parries with, and even a virtual swordsmen duel machine, along with some duel areas, but I'd rather just use an SDD in the park area. Helps out with adapting to unfamiliar environments."

We headed for the mess hall for dinner. Along the way, there was a group of guys from my old longsword class. I tapped Tael's shoulder, "Can we go a different way? Those guys make me uncomfortable..."

"I'm sure you'll be fine," We kept walking. When we passed them, the leader of the group had to say something.

"Hey, look! It's the girl with the shield that's twice her size! Fights are a lot easier when you hide behind your shield, aren't they?"

I tried hiding my face and keep walking. Tael stopped, "You know, Shane, I don't think that's the case. If she were a coward, she would've kept a longsword so she wouldn't have to get close to monsters."

Shane was getting angry, "Are you saying I'm a coward?!"

"That, and Sera is more willing to fight than you are." This really ticked off Shane.

"Oh yeah?! I'm willing to fight you 100 times and beat you 100 times!"

"Then prove it," Tael turned on his SDD and threw it off to the side then stepped in the sphere it emitted. Shane pulled out his longsword and grabbed his shield then stepped in the sphere as well.

Tael pulled out his broadsword and got into his stance. By the looks of his stance, it didn't seem like a shield would fit well with him. The two were ready to fight, staring each other down. Shane made the first move and charged at Tael. Tael held his ground, his sword started glowing with energy, then he thrust his sword right at Shane's shield with so much force, Shane stumbled backwards. Tael charged and thrust his sword again, making Shane stumble backwards yet again, making him step out of the sphere for a second.

Shane charged forward, but Tael jumped backwards. Tael definitely had the upper hand in the battle and even Shane knew that. It looked like Shane was trying to think of a strategy to beat Tael. Tael just stood in his stance, waiting for Shane to make a move. Shane looked to his side to see the SDD emitting energy; he had an evil smile, Tael knew what Shane was going to do and sprinted towards him, getting ready to slash, but wasn't fast enough. Shane stabbed the SDD, breaking it instantly.

Shane swiped at Tael with his sword, but Tael ducked. He charged his sword while crouching then sprung up, slicing through Shane's shield and sword in one swift motion. Both became useless and in two pieces each. Shane fell to the ground, scared for his life while Tael pointed his sword right at Shane.

"Not even I would be willing to stain my hands with blood," He was scowling at Shane. He wasn't going to kill him, he just simply sheathed his sword and walked over to me. We started heading towards the mess hall again.

While we were eating, I asked Tael, "Did you really mean what you said to Shane? About me being more willing to fight than him?"

He paused to finish chewing, "It doesn't matter if I meant it or not. It only matters if you think it's true or not."

I thought for a moment, "I don't think it's true... he's right, I'm just a coward who hides behind my shield... I don't like fighting at all," I was looking at the floor and started tearing up a bit.

"Nobody likes fighting," I looked at him, "Sure, having duels with your friends in an SDD energy field is fun, but in a real life-or-death situation, nobody wants to fight, but we do for one reason or another. You wouldn't be at Harbinger Academy if you weren't fighting for something, right?" I thought for a quick moment and nodded, "And your shield... you're not hiding behind it. You're protecting yourself, and to a larger extent, protecting something or someone close to you. That's the point of having a bigger shield, but some people, like Shane, just don't understand it."

"But wait..." He paused to look at me, "What about you? You don't use a shield, so... do you have nothing to protect?"

"I don't use a shield because it slows me down. Sure, with a shield I can protect those around me, but what good what it do if I couldn't reach the person I'm trying to protect? If it came down to it, I would use my own body as a shield to protect someone, that way if someone wasn't close enough, but needed help, I could be right there to take a blow for them and save their life."

After dinner, Tael walked me to my dorm, "Thanks... for everything today, Tael. It was nice meeting you and... I hope we become good friends someday," I looked at the ground and I started tearing up.

"Me too... what's wrong, Sera?"

"It's just... the entire time I've been here, I've felt like I'm out-of-place and nobody likes me. It's like I've been alone for the past six months... but then you showed me there are people who care for me..." I started crying a bit more heavily. Tael started patting my back. I hugged him and he hugged back, "I'm sorry," I wiped away a tear, "You're right. I came here for a very special person who was taken away from me... I'll tell you tomorrow."

Tael was comforting me, "It's alright, Sera. You can't be alone anymore, not while I'm here. I'll be here for you as long as we still breath and our hearts still beat. After all... everyone needs someone to look out for their back. If you need someone to lean on... just tell me and I'll be there before you even start to fall."

Another tear dropped, but it was out of happiness, "Thanks, Tael...."
  #3  
Old January 16, 2013, 06:41:22 PM
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Quadcentruo Quadcentruo is offline
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Default Mysteries Under the Skin

I never knew my past. I had no idea where I came from or why. I don't even know my own real name. With no identity of my past, why should I carry forward? Someone has to know the story of my past and it's for that reason why I push forward... in silence.

I went to the general swordsmanship class and sat in my usual seat. I got there before everyone else, as usual. I started reviewing my notes on some information regarding something I started investigating at Harbinger. There was something going on involving some students and the faculty that's being hidden under everyone's noses.

Tael, Sera, and Ariana were the first to show up, followed by a majority of the other students. All of them sitting in their normal seats. I put my notes away as to avoid any snoopers peaking at my notes.

The master entered the class and addressed everyone, "Today is a field exhibition day. You'll be placed in groups of two, with the exception of one group of three. While out in the field, you and your partner are to hunt out monsters you see in the forest. As long as you stay within the academy's forest boundary, you should have no issues fending off anything you see in the wild."

Unfortunately for me, I was part of the group of three, along with Paul the rapier user and Sera the broadsword convert. Paul seemed more than eager to get out into the forest while Sera seemed a bit hesitant on the idea. I just kept quiet and didn't care either way.

Sera took down a monster, Paul cheered, "Good job, Sera! Let's go find another!"

"Why can't we just slow down a bit?"

"Where's the fun in that? Come on!" Paul moved closer towards the academy's forest boundary, where stronger monsters would most likely appear.

We got to the boundary rather quickly. It was easy to tell due to the markers that were placed on the boundary every few feet. Paul was as confidant as ever, "You see? Nothing to worry about!"

I was looking back towards the academy for no real reason. Guess I just was tired of being with people. Sera let out a shriek, "Look out, Paul!"

I looked over at Paul while Paul turned around to see an armored demon wielding a mace and shield. The demon's face was covered by the helmet and only its glowing red eyes could be seen. Paul was immobilized by fear and couldn't do anything when the demon swung its mace and threw Paul over to the side. The demon swung at Sera, but she blocked the mace with her shield, falling over from the force.

The demon tried swinging again, but I stepped in and countered it with the swings of my own swords. Sera couldn't get up, but she was crawling over to Paul, who wasn't showing signs of life. I kept the demon from getting anywhere, slicing off bits of armor with every attack. Sera called out for Tael after examining Paul.

I could hear someone running towards us in the forest - it was Tael and Ariana. I was getting fed up with the demon. I stepped back and focused energy in my swords, then in one fluid motion, I sliced off the demon's legs, the arm holding the mace, then its head as it was falling. The demon faded away, meaning it was a summoned demon. It was rather obvious to see that it was summoned even without seeing it fading away.

Tael and Ariana were comforting Sera, who was still on the ground, crying over the loss of Paul.
Tael looked over at me, "Thanks for saving Sera... it's just too bad Paul couldn't be saved...." Tael looked at the ground, mourning the loss of his friend.

I looked on the ground around me and saw some tracks that didn't appear to be a person's tracks. I started following the tracks, which lead past the boundary.
Tael stopped me, "Hey!" I looked back, "Do you have a name?"

I thought for a moment. I didn't want to say nothing, but I had nothing to say. The only name I could think of was the name I was given back in high school, "Just call me Mopey," I started following the tracks again.

The tracks led to a beat-up looking shack in the forest. I entered the shack and nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. However, there was no light, so it was a bit hard to see. I stepped towards the back of the shack and the floor under my foot collapsed. I looked to see what was under the floor and saw a ladder that seemed to lead to nowhere. I did the only thing I could do and went down the ladder.

The ladder led to a tunnel that was rather well lit. There was only one way to go, so I followed the tunnel to where it led. I could see an opening a little ways down the way, but it seemed a bit dimmer than the tunnel. I could hear voices in unison - a chant, maybe? It was hard to understand from where I was.

I got past the opening in the tunnel, which led to a large open area with pillars all around the outside. There was a large group of people dressed in dark robes chanting in a mysterious language. I hid behind one of the pillars and observed what was going on. One of the men in robes stepped up to where the leader was. The leader was easily identifiable with his elegantly designed robes. The man who stepped up knelt in front of the leader and he put some sort of necklace around the knelt man.

The leader stopped the chanting of the others, "Brothers! Today, we gain a new member of our a family who is just as willing to summon Magnus the Mighty as the rest of you!" The voice was incredibly familiar. So much to the point where I was getting scared, "This man has proven himself worthy by summoning an armored minion in the wild without the aide of an elder," I knew that voice. It was the voice of the Headmaster of Harbinger Academy - Zane.

My knees trembled in fear. The group started chanting again as the man walked back into the group. I ran back into the tunnel and went for the ladder as fast as I could. I wasn't sure if Zane saw me or not.

Once I got up the ladder, I ran towards the academy as fast as I could. I knew something was wrong with the academy, but I didn't expect this.
  #4  
Old January 22, 2013, 06:20:17 PM
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Quadcentruo Quadcentruo is offline
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Default Worries for the Future and Past

"Are you sure about that?"

"Yes. I couldn't see him, but I heard his voice clear enough to tell it was Headmaster Zane."

Mopey rushed back from the forest and told me what he saw. Considering the fact that Mopey never speaks to anyone, this had to be pretty serious, but I wasn't convinced he was telling the truth. I don't expect him to be much of a liar, but I don't know what to expect with Mopey.

"Look, Tael. I know I don't talk much, so I understand if you don't trust me, but just keep in mind that there's something strange going on here at Harbinger. Just get ready for what might happen," Mopey started heading towards the dorms. I thought about what he said and still wasn't sure if I should believe him or not.

I figured I should do an investigation of the shack he talked about. I was going to need help, so I went to Ariana's room and knocked on the door.

Ariana answered, "Hey, Tael! What's up?"

"I was just about to go looking for something in the woods and I thought maybe you could help. What do you say?"

She smiled, "Sure, no problem! Let me just grab my stuff."

We went out into the forest area. I was looking out far while Ariana constantly looked around, "What exactly are we looking for anyway?"

"We're looking for a run-down shack somewhere past the boundaries."

Ariana looked scared and confused all at once, "Why...?"

"Well, according to Mopey, this shack has a hidden ladder that leads to some sort of chamber room where a cult supposedly meets up. Mopey said this cult is planning on summoning a demon known as Magnus the Mighty and the cult is led by Headmaster Zane," We past the boundaries.

"That can't be right... Headmaster Zane would never be part of such a thing... would he?"

I thought for a moment, "I don't know. Why he'd want to isn't exactly clear, but if Mopey is right, we need to stop Zane as soon as possible," The shack came into sight past a clearing, "I sure hope Mopey is wrong on this though."

We entered the shack. It was rather dark, so looking around wasn't the easiest. Just as Mopey said, there was a hidden ladder under the floor that goes down to a tunnel. We started walking through the tunnel and we saw the opening in the path, just as Mopey said.

The chamber room was vast, but rather empty. It had pillars around the outside with bookshelves hugging the wall. Near the back there was a stage-like platform. The floor was littered with drawings for summoning circles. There was also blood stains scattered about on the floor. I continued to inspect the floor and stage. Ariana went to the bookshelf nearest the back of the stage.

"I don't like the look of this place," Ariana didn't hear me; she was too engrossed in one of the books, "Ariana?"

She called me over, "Look at this. Mopey might've been right after all..." The book contained stories of mythological demons. The page Ariana was on was Magnus the Mighty. It was a towering brute that was disfigured in nearly every way. From the looks of the picture given, it had chains wrapped around its wrists, ankles, and neck, as if it was bound by some force in another dimension. It held a war-hammer that was large enough to crush a car with relative ease, from the looks of it.

I stood in awe, gazing at the book, "But... why would they summon it? Do they think they could actually control such a monster?"

Ariana didn't say anything for awhile, just staring into the depths of the book, lost in thought. Her words were shaky, "Maybe... maybe this is why Zane disapproves of shield-less one-handed sword and duel-sword users."

I was interested, but a little lost, "What do you mean?"

"Well... if he really is the leader of this cult that's trying to summon this demon, do you honestly think a shield would help you at all if you fought this thing? If you tried blocking any of this thing's attacks, you'd just get crushed," It was starting to make more sense, "You'd have to beat this demon with speed. Someone who doesn't use a shield is much faster than someone who does. You and Mopey are the fastest swordsmen I've ever seen and neither of you use a shield."

I was starting to get it, "So you're saying Zane doesn't want people using one-handed swords without a shield so he can slow everyone down, making it harder to fight Magnus?" Ariana nodded. I thought for a moment, "That just makes me wonder why Zane would allow me and Mopey to continue to use shield-less sword styles. He must have something planned... but what?"

Ariana took the book on demons and we left the cult's gathering place. We didn't want to be there if they showed up randomly, especially if Zane is the one leading the cult.

Back on campus grounds, Ariana was heading towards the campus exit. I was heading for the dorms. Ariana looked back towards me, "Hey! You're not going to get something to eat?"

I shook my head, "Not now. I need to talk to Sera first."

Ariana looked down for a moment, "I understand," then left the campus grounds.

I was standing right in front of Sera's door, ready to knock and ask if she wanted to talk, but my thoughts were holding me back. I kept thinking about what she might've seen; it was a horrifying thought to me, so I can't even imagine what she actually saw.

I knocked regardless, "Sera, are you in there?"

There was silence for a moment. I was about to turn around and leave, but Sera called back, "What is it?" She still sounded pretty upset.

"I just wanted to talk for a moment. I can come back another time, if you want."

I could hear sniffling, "No, now's fine. Just... *sniff* just give me a moment," I could hear her getting up from her bed and walking over to the door to unlock it. She greeted me with a red face and puffy eyes from all the crying she was doing. Her eyes started watering up again; she ran over and gave me a hug, burying her face in my shoulder. I could hear her muffled cries. I was doing my best to comfort her.

We sat on her bed and she rested her head on my shoulder, looking at the wall. I said the first words, "I know how you feel, Sera. Paul was a good friend of mi-"

She interrupted, "It's not just Paul... he's part of the reason, but not the main reason."

"Well, what's the matter then?"

Sera grabbed a tissue and wiped away her tears, "It's my brother," I remember Sera saying she came to the Academy because of someone close to her that was taken away.

"What's the story behind your brother?" She was getting a little upset again. I wrapped my arm around her and started rubbing her shoulder to try to relax her.

She took a deep breath to calm down a bit, "It was about a year ago... I was getting close to finishing high school. My brother was a swordsmen here at Harbinger, he was in his last year. We were walking home after grabbing dinner when two strangers came up from behind and knocked us out. When I came to, we were tied up in a warehouse."

Sera was getting worked up again, but took a few deep breaths, "The two guys who took us were in my brother's class. They were jealous of how far my brother got in the class and he knew it. My brother called out 'Don't you think this has gone too far?' He got hit for that. I told him to stop, but I got hit too. I was on the floor, blacking out. Last thing I remember was hearing my brother say 'Do whatever you want to me, just let her go!'"

Sera took a few more deep breaths, "When I woke up, I was on the ground outside. I ran home to tell my parents what happened and they informed the police..." her breaths were staggering, "A week after... the police found my brother... they found him dead on a river bank, covered in cuts and bruises..." Sera started sobbing uncontrollably. She grabbed me and buried her face in my shoulder again.

I was starting to tear up, "I'm sorry, Sera... I wish I could do something...."

Sera was having a hard time getting words out, "That's why I... why I enrolled at Harbinger... I want to protect... to protect the ones I care about but... I can't even protect the people I just met!" She buried her face deep, sobbing harder and more uncontrollably.

I was starting to cry a bit. The thought of losing Sera to emotional turmoil was nearly unbearable, "I promise... I promise, Sera... I'll do whatever it takes to protect everyone around you... this will never happen again so long as I live," I held her close. I could feel the pain she was feeling and I didn't want to let go until the pain was gone. She could feel the comfort I was giving and she was gradually being put at ease.

She quieted down, "Thanks, Tael... I think I'm fine now," I looked at her and she smiled, even with sorrow-filled tears in her eyes. I got up and was heading out the door, but she stopped me, "Umm... would you mind..." her face was becoming more red, but not because she was crying, "would you mind sleeping in my bed tonight?"

I was shocked and a little embarrassed. My face turned red and I didn't know what to say. She knew what I thought she meant, "Ah! No, no! Not like that! I just... I just don't want to be alone tonight... it's been a long day for me. I just want someone close if I have bad dreams."

Her face was bright red and I'm pretty sure mine was too, "Umm... I don't see anything wrong with that, but..." I couldn't think of one good thing to say after that. I sighed, "Okay. That's fine."

She fell asleep pretty easily, but I could tell she was pretty upset still. I lied in her bed just thinking about the day's events. Thinking about how the Headmaster was the leader of a cult made me worry. Then I thought about how Sera was feeling... it made me sad, to say the least.

Right before I fell asleep, I could tell Sera was having a nightmare. She was stirring in her sleep. I remember my dream vividly that night - I dreamed that I saved Sera from a horde of monsters.
  #5  
Old February 3, 2013, 05:21:45 PM
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Quadcentruo Quadcentruo is offline
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Default A Sorrow Filled Anniversary

When I woke up, I saw Tael sleeping right next to me. His sleeping face looking right at me. I was getting closer to him and I didn't even notice. At the moment, I wanted to just kiss him in his sleep... and I almost did, but I saw his eyes twitch and moved back.

He woke up and yawned, "Morning, Sera... did something happen?"

I felt a little embarrassed, "N-no, why?"

He got up and stretched, "You look a little surprised... and your face is all red."

I covered my face, "Oh! I-I just had a really weird dream, that's all."

"What happened in it?"

I was getting angry for no reason, "That's none of your business!" He started laughing, "What's so funny?!"

"You look really funny right now," I looked at the mirror on the wall near my desk. My short blonde hair was a mess from sleeping and my face was bright red.

"Grr... will you just go get ready for class already?"

"Why would I do that? Do you not know what day it is?"

"No... what day is it?"

"March 26th. First day of Spring Break!"

I paused for a moment, "March 26th...?"

"Yep!" I was looking down, lost in thought, "Sera? Is something wrong?"

I thought back one year ago until Tael put his hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him and gave him a fake smile, "Nope! Nothing's wrong!"

He shrugged, "Alright then," He opened my window and started climbing out, but stopped, "Oh, Ariana and I are going to the fair later today. Do you want to come with us?"

"But I thought you two were a couple. Wouldn't I just be getting in the way?"

"We're just really close friends. Although, I want to be closer to Ariana and I was thinking about asking her out soon," There was a small moment of silence, "But you should definitely come with us! It'll be fun!"

I thought about my brother for a moment. I brushed those thoughts aside, "Sure. I'll go."

"Alright! Meet us at the front gate at noon," I looked at the clock - 9 A.M. I looked back at Tael, who was halfway out the window, "Before you ask, do you think I'd really go out in the hall of the girl's dorm this early?" It made sense. He jumped out and went for his dorm room. I looked over at a picture on my desk - it was of me and my brother. I started tearing up, but I took a deep breath and shook my head.

It was getting close to noon and I was heading over to the front gates. While I was walking, I heard Mopey call to me. I stopped and he ran over to me.

"Sorry to bother you, Sera, but have you seen my notebook? It has a white cover with a sketch of a Ying-Yang on one of the corners."

I was a bit confused as to why he'd ask me when he's never really spoken to me before, "No, I haven't seen it."

"Strange... it went missing yesterday after the field day. If it's not with me, I keep it in my room."

"You think maybe someone stole it from your room?"

"I don't think so. I had my room locked. Do you know how hard it is to break those doors? Just think about it - the students here are carrying deadly weapons with them everywhere. If one student was set on killing another student, they could break into their room at night, kill them, and no one would know anything about it. The doors are reinforced for safety reasons."

"It's not like it could just vanish though. You sure you didn't just misplace it?"

"I wouldn't misplace something as important as that," He looked over towards the headmaster's office, "Well, sorry to bother you," He walked away. I continued walking towards the front gate.

Ariana and Tael were waiting for me at the gate. Tael saw me and smiled, "Glad you made it. Are you ready to go?" I nodded, "All right. Let's go!"

We headed for the fair which was held every year. It's known as the Spring Festival around the area. There's plenty of rides and games to keep everyone happy, along with a place for trying out food from local chefs and lots of other stands you'd expect to see at a fair.

The first game stand Ariana saw had a giant stuffed teddy bear for one of its prizes, "Tael! Can you win one of those teddy bears for me? Pleeeease?" She looked up at him with shiny eyes. He sighed and promised to do so. It was a ring toss stand. The man who was in front of us was trying his best to get a ring around one of the bottles, but couldn't manage to get one to stay on.

Tael paid the $5 for three rings. He looked at the rings then the bottles, "You know, these rings are pretty small for those bottles," The stall manager just looked and smiled. Tael sighed and was getting ready to toss the first ring. He threw it like a disc, putting a lot of spin on it. It bounced on one bottle and landed right on top of another, but didn't go down - the ring was too small to fit around the bottle. The stall manager looked a little surprised, then Tael did the same thing with the next two rings, "I'll take one of those giant teddy bears, if you'd be so kind."

We spent the day going on rides and trying out all sorts of different food. Every time Ariana looked at the teddy bear, should would let out a giggle and Tael would look at Ariana and smile. I was happy for them, but I wasn't exactly enjoying myself. Ariana would look over every now and again to ask if something was wrong, but I would always tell her nothing's wrong. I felt like the third-wheel of the group.

A little bit of time passed and Ariana saw a game stand she liked, "Tael, hold this for a moment," She gave Tael the teddy bear, "I'm going to win one of those prizes," She took off to some sort of dart game.

I looked at Tael, "Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom."

I went away from the fair. I didn't go too far from it, I left it and found a tree to hide under. I buried my face in my knees. Thoughts from one year ago kept flooding my head, "You left me all alone, brother... who else is supposed to make the pain go away?" I started crying.

"Sera?" I looked behind me and saw Tael looking down at me.

I buried my face again, "You should go back to the fair and have fun with Ariana. You're just wasting your time being around me."

Tael sat right next to me, "I can't have fun when I know that one of my friends is feeling this way. I don't understand why you're so down on yourself like this, Sera."

I wiped away some tears, "Why would you want to spend time with such a lonely person like me?"

"Well, you can't be lonely if you're with your friends, right?" There was silence, "Care to tell me what's upsetting you so much? It can't be because you're lonely."

"Well... in a way, it is. It was one year ago today that my brother left me all alone in this world... it was one year ago today that my brother was killed and he didn't do anything to stop the people from killing him."

Tael was a bit lost for words, "I'm sorry to hear that... but even so, I don't think your brother would be happy to see you like this. He would want you to fight on to avenge him and he'd want you to make all sorts of friends... wouldn't he?"

"I don't know...."

Ariana ran over to the tree, "Sera?" I looked at her, but buried my face again, "Tael told me about your brother this morning. I actually knew your brother awhile back. He was a very friendly guy and very caring too. He talked about you a lot, too," I looked at her again with interest, "He cared for you a lot. He always said that he wished you would just open up a bit and stopped being so down for not being more like him all the time. I always wondered where he disappeared to, but what happened to him is terrible."

"Yeah... I always wanted to be more like Brendan. He was strong, and caring, and just the best brother I could want. I had trouble making friends in school, but if I needed someone to talk to, he would always stop what he was doing to listen to me. He made me feel like I belonged in the world.... When he died, I lost that feeling and had nobody to talk to... that still feels true today."

Ariana shook her head, "That's not true. You have me and Tael to talk to. We're here and we'll be here for you whenever. It could be four in the morning, but we'd wake up just to talk to you if you need someone," Ariana wrapped her arms around me, as did Tael. I started sobbing right into their arms.

"*sniff* You two are the best friends I've ever had."

"Oh, before I forget," Ariana pulled something out of her bag. It was a knight doll, "I won that for you. I know it's not much, but I thought you would like it."

It was a ragdoll of a knight, but he wasn't wearing armor. Just a red shirt and blue pants. He held a big shield in his left hand and a long sword in his other hand. It reminded me a lot of Brendan. I even thought I heard Brendan's voice.

"Don't give up, Sera. You have two friends who love you and you can lean on if you ever need help. I know you're stronger than this and you know you are too."

I smiled at the doll. A tear rolled down my face, "Okay, brother... I'll give it my best shot!"
  #6  
Old March 5, 2013, 06:51:07 PM
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Quadcentruo Quadcentruo is offline
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Default Defeated Eyes

I wasn't sure where my notebook went. After finding out about the cult in the underground chamber, I went straight for my notebook. In that notebook, I wrote down the names of people possibly involved in something very secretive hiding in this school, along with their possible motives, methods of carrying out those motives, and locations where they might be located or where they might strike. I've been writing down these bits of information for well over half a year, so there was quite a bit of information in that notebook. It was in my room before we left for the field and nobody knew what was in it, so it wouldn't make sense as to why someone would steal it or how they managed to do it without getting caught or leaving any traces of evidence.

I was lying on my bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking about where I might have left it or how a thief would've managed to get it without being detected or leaving behind a clean trail. It frustrated me to think about how much info was lost. I was ready to pound the wall, but someone knocked on the door and took my mind off things for a moment.

There was two men in dress robes outside the door, meaning they were Academy officials, working alongside Headmaster Zane. If they were looking for me, it probably meant Zane wanted to see me.

I opened the door, the man on the left spoke, "Are you the one they call 'Mopey'?"

"Yes, I am. What do you want?"

The man on the right spoke, "The Headmaster wishes to speak with you in his office. If you would just follow us, we'll escort you there."

I was a bit hesitant at going. I was starting to wonder if he actually saw me in the chamber. I thought it might've been a trap, so I grabbed my swords and strapped on the sheathes. I wouldn't have done so if I didn't think something was wrong. To my surprise, the two men didn't care that I grabbed my swords before leaving.

While being escorted through the grounds, I looked up at Zane's office. His office was in the top floor of the largest building in the center of the campus grounds. It's possible to see his office windows from any angle of the campus, meaning he could probably see all parts of the campus from his office.

In the building, the elevator only went up to the second highest floor. When the elevator doors opened, the hallway was very elegant. Antique-looking, almost. The double doors to his office were polished-wood doors with a plaque on one of them that read - "Headmaster Zane Tartarus." Oddly fitting for his office and Zane himself.

One of the men unlocked the doors, "Right this way, if you please," He opened the doors to unveil a staircase that led to Zane's office. I walked through the doors and the men closed the doors behind me. I heard it lock, too. I was beginning to suspect a trap more and more.

At the top of the stairs was a circular office with windows all around the sides, allowing Zane to see all of Harbinger Academy. He was staring towards the forested area of the Academy. His stare was that of a wolf staring out from a cliff during a cloudless night with a full moon shining down, as if he was ready to howl out, but to whom? His robes drooped down like the others, but they were more elegant than the robes of the two men. I could see the sword handle sticking out from the robe near his right shoulder - it looked like the handle to a broadsword. His face looked worn, like he had fought in a war; there was even a scar across his left cheek, so he might've been in a war. His hair was pitch-black and short, but it looked like it wanted to grey.

He briefly diverted his attention towards me and spoke, "Where should I start?" He went over to his desk and sat in his chair, "How should I address you?"

I thought it was a trick question, "What do you mean?"

"What do you think I mean? What should I call you?"

I was a bit confused, "You can call me Mopey, like everyo-"

"Bah!" He spun around, the back of his chair facing me, "What a crude name. Don't you have a real name?"

"Not that I know of. If I had one, I don't remember it."

He spun back around slowly, his face showed signs of intrigue, "You mean you don't remember your own name?" I shook my head. He stood up and grabbed his chest as if in pain, "Why, Sven, that really hurts me, you know."

"What did you just call me?" I was confused and irritated at the same time.

Zane walked out from behind his desk, "The incident was so long ago, I'm surprised you still haven't remember, Sven," He looked out away from the forest area, towards the suburbs of the area outside of Harbinger.

"Why do you keep calling me that?!"

He smirked, "That's not important right now. What is important is why I requested your presence," He walked back behind his desk and pulled out a notebook. It had a white cover with a Ying-Yang sketched on the corner. My mind processed what I just saw, but I couldn't comprehend it.

He laughed, "You looked surprised, is something wrong?"

I was gritting my teeth, "How..." I stopped. I already figured out how he got my notebook, "Why do you have that?"

He leaned back in his chair, flipping through some of the pages, "I was informed that you had a notebook in your possession for quite some time and not a single person had any idea as to what was inside. I thought maybe you were keeping a secret, or maybe you were writing a brilliant story. I just had to see what was inside, but my goodness was I surprised to find out what was inside these pages," He pulled out a box of matches from his desk. I reacted, but the two men were in the room somehow and held me back. I didn't hear the door open at all.

Zane took out one match and ignited it on the side of the box. He held the flame up to one of the corners of the notebook and it started burning. I tried getting free from the two men, but their grip was too strong.

"You think that's going to stop me from revealing your cult? I'll tell everyone I can and they'll fight back!"

Zane let the notebook burn. I could see the pages burn and disappear. The info I had collected was disappearing right before my eyes. All that was left of it was ash. Zane let out an evil chuckle, "Go ahead. You won't get very far," Dark portals showed up, circling the office. All the people that came from the portals had black robes on with their hoods up, making it impossible to see their faces, "We are always watching you, Sven. If you tell anyone, they'll just end up... missing," He laughed at that word.

I resisted the two men, trying to break free, "You'll pay for this, Zane! I promise it!"

He thought for a moment, "Who were those two I saw you talking with the other day? They seemed deeply engaged in what you had to say. As a matter of fact, I'd say those two would be the only two friends I've seen you make during your time at the Academy. Wouldn't it be a shame if they were to... disappear?"

My resistance died. I was in shock and my thoughts left me and crowded me all at once, "Don't you dare... don't you... dare..." I fell to my knees, the two men still had a hold of my arms. I felt hopeless. I lost all the info I had collected over the past half year, I was silenced, and now I've put Tael in danger. I looked at the floor in defeat.

Zane walked in front of me, I looked up at him with defeated eyes, "Because I'm a fair sport, I'll give you three options. The first option is you don't tell anyone what you know and you continue to live your life in fear, constantly looking over your shoulder," I looked back down, "The second option is you can tell everyone you can about this secret and you can end up like the ones you tell - missing," He laughed again.

"What's the third option?" I said under my breath.

He looked down at me, "What's that? Your third option? Well, that one is simple - you join us and you can be the strongest swordsman the world has ever seen."

I was lost. I wanted to fight, but I couldn't reach my swords and there were too many cult members in the room. I wanted to quit, but I heard a voice, a woman's voice, that told me to keep moving and don't quit. The voice was distant, but it was a voice I've heard before from somewhere. It was a soothing voice and I felt at peace at the sound of the voice.

Then there was another voice, a sinister voice, that was telling me to join the cult. This voice was also familiar, but it didn't put me at peace like the other voice. This voice put me in a state of confusion and it made me want to cry.

The more I thought of my options, the more lost I became.

"Wallace, Ivan," Zane addressed the two men who had a hold of my arms. They let go and the surrounding cult members disappeared.

I looked up at Zane and asked again, "Why did you call me that? Why did you call me Sven?"

He grabbed a slip of paper and a pen, "I'll give you time to make a decision. Choose wisely. If you honestly want to know more," He dropped the slip of paper on the floor in front of me, "Locate that address," The paper read "2217 Wilburt Road." Something about that address seemed familiar.

I looked at him again, but said nothing, "Sven, you look defeated. I'm sure that, in time, you'll realize what the right decision is and you'll join the winning side. Until then..." A portal opened up behind me. He pushed me inside and I landed in my room.

I lied on my floor, staring at the ceiling, thinking about the events that just passed. It frightened me to think about what Zane told me and what my options were. I felt ready to die, but felt weak and passed out instead. The options rung through my head, even after I had passed out. My dreams were filled with madness, uncertainty, fear, and defeat.

I had lost.
  #7  
Old March 19, 2013, 06:23:51 PM
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Quadcentruo Quadcentruo is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
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Default Crumbling Floor - Part I

It was nighttime. After Sera's breakdown and recovery, the rest of the day went just fine. She did fall asleep once on the way back to Harbinger, however. Not sure how people can just fall asleep while walking down the street like she did. I carried her all the way to her room and laid her on her bed. Ariana and I watched Sera for a moment; she was still holding the rag-doll Ariana gave her at the fair.

"Do you think," Ariana said, "She's going to be okay?"

I paused for a moment, "I hope so. The past year has been rough for her, after all. Her brother was killed last year and she's been alone at Harbinger for the past six months, can't be easy going on like the way she has."

Sera was sound asleep. Ariana smiled, "Let her get some rest. We'll see how she feels in the morning."

"Good idea," we left the dorms and went to the courtyard.

It was still early nighttime. The sun had just set, but the moon was only just starting to show itself in the sky. There were no clouds, so the sky was clearly visible and stars started to pop out in the night. The courtyard lamps were dim enough to still be able to see the stars, but were bright enough to see the lamps' reflections on the fountain's water. It was truly a beautiful scene.

We were sitting on a bench together and I figured now was the best time to ask Ariana, "So, umm... Ariana?"

She looked away from the fountain to look at me, "Yeah, what is it?"

My heart started racing and my knees were shaking, despite the fact that I was sitting down, "Do you think..." I took a deep breath, "Do you think you would want to... huh?" I saw a dark figure somewhere behind Ariana, "What was that?" I stood up to go investigate the figure. It didn't seem like it was a person spying on us and it didn't look like any creature from the forested area.

Ariana was concerned, "What did you see?"

I was heading towards the area I saw the figure, "I'm not sure, but I saw something moving back here," Ariana got up and followed me towards where the figure was. It was in the dark somewhere, moving around. Was it watching us?

"There!" I pointed at a patch of darkness. Ariana got close to see what I was seeing. We both saw something moving in the dark. It stopped in front of us. I couldn't see its eyes, so I couldn't tell if it was staring at us. I squinted at where I thought it was and I could barely see it; it stayed motionless, but it was staring at us.

Ariana was scared, "What is it?" She held my arm and peered over my shoulder into the dark.

I was still squinting at it, "It's... crouching? What's it... doing?" It was crouching, but it wasn't moving. I stared at it; it stared at me.

It flinched, I reacted. I pushed Ariana to the side as the thing tried pouncing on us, but missed. It fell into the light to reveal itself - it was hideous. Its teeth looked like razors and were as black as the creature's skin. Its eyes were an off-black color with no signs of pupils. It stood on two feet and appeared to have claws on its fingers.

I reached for my sword, but grabbed nothing, "Our swords... we left them in our rooms!"

The monster growled and was preparing to pounce again. Ariana shouted out, "Run for it!"

And so we did. We ran for the dorms. Didn't matter who got their sword, we just needed a way to defend ourselves. The closest dorm was the girl's dorm. We ran inside and slammed the door shut, not caring about who might've been sleeping.

Everything was quiet and we thought we were safe at that moment. Both of us were panting heavily and leaning on the door to catch our breaths, but a spear shot through the door, right between me and Ariana. We heard the screams of the monster from outside of the door as it attacked the door, cracking it by batting at it. Was it changing shape?

The door broke open, showing the monster behind it whose hand was in the shape of a wrecking ball then morphed back into its claw shape. It hissed at us and we ran up the stairs of the dorm, heading for Ariana's room.

As soon as we were in Ariana's room, Ariana locked her door and grabbed her sword and shield while I grabbed a knife Ariana kept hidden in her desk. We looked at the door, waiting for it to attack. There was no silence, or maybe there was lots of noise and I couldn't hear it over my own heartbeat.

Sounds of the window shattering behind us caught us both off guard. The creature swung its way through the window and launched itself towards me with its mouth wide open ready to bite me, but Ariana knocked it off course with her shield and stabbed it against the wall. The creature faded away in death.

We both sat up against her bed, panting even heavier than when we were at the entrance of the dorms. She fell into my arms. Her expression told me she was trying to comprehend what just happened. I was trying to do the same thing.

"What do we do now?" She asked.

"You know," I said, "I really don't know."

I'm not sure how we slept that night. We were both afraid of another monster attacking us in our sleep. I guess the adrenaline wore us out after it stopped flowing.

I didn't dream that night. All I remember was waking up the next morning to see an Academy official looking down at me and Ariana with his sword drawn pointed towards us.
 
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