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 Paper Cranes

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Corbael
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PostSubject: Paper Cranes   Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:10 pm

The violent shaking around you has stopped. Now there is a quiet shuffling of pages turning, the heady smell of smoke and dried flowers, and the warm glow of a single candle to your left. You find yourself in a rather large, ornate chair - and you could swear that it was built just for you. On the desk before you is an open book, massive and bound in something that feels a whole lot like human skin. A single sentence - a familiar one for you - is scrawled on the first page. The rest is seemingly blank.

The candle light reveals a startled-looking woman, staring up at you with wide eyes from her position on the floor. Your arrival seems to have knocked her over.
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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:17 pm

Cain looked up from the page, his concentration was shot. What a shame. He rested his hand on the page, watching the letters of his story skitter away across the page like ants. A dream, he wondered? It seemed a bit vivid for that. He examined the ornate scroll-work on the chair's arm, tracing it with his fingers. It was a fine piece of furniture to be sure. Of course, that begged the question, where had his office chair gone? He looked around himself in earnest for the first time since the shaking and explosions had began.

The grand scale of the room in which he had arrived struck him as something that was somehow just how it should be. It was then that he noticed the woman sprawled on the ground beside him.

"Ah." He said, a mild note of concern in his voice. "Are you alright?"

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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:25 pm

The woman, shaking, raises a hand and with a snap of her fingers the whole place is filled with light. Flickering orange flames, some contained in lamps, some in candle holders, and others just free floating. Some even drift about as if browsing the titles of the books lining the walls. The room stretches far above and the stairs across from you indicate that it goes down as well.

You can now see the woman clearly as she stands and smoothes out her robes, which are covered in arcane runes. She taps her lips and makes a horizontal waving motion with her hand. The woman takes a cautious step forwards and peers down at the book in front of you.
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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:36 pm

Cain blinked. Ah, she couldn't talk, that made things a bit more complex. Well, dream or not it wasn't like he was against writing, quite the opposite really. Oh... no pen. Well that was irritating.

Cain considered for a moment the errant 'A' that was skittering off the desk. Letters were not supposed to do that, but... as long as they did, he figured he could work with it.

Cain picked up a nearby book. A copy of a self-help book apparently. No great sacrifice, he decided.

Opening up to the middle of the book, Cain ran his fingers across the words, and where his fingers touched, the letters began to roil and writhe, fading slowly into the page.

On the great book on the table, a sentence appeared. "I am unsure where I am, would you be so kind as to clarify this for me, in addition to who you are?

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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:47 pm

The woman glances from you to the book in wonder. The look on her face tells quite a story - relief, excitement, and pure terror. She scrambles to pick up a nearby notebook, a well-used one that you suspect is actually hers rather than a feature of the place you're in. She opens to the first page, blank save for ink smudges and small creases on the edges.

"Short answer? Home. Long answer? The place where every single word that has ever been written rests until it's inevitable erasure." The words glow bright orange and deep black on the page, burning and glowing like embers. "I'm just a book keeper. And that's just a very stubborn book."

When she's satisfied that you've had time to read the words, she set the notebook down and in one fluid motion, plucks several books from the shelves and sets them in front of you. Five books, all fairly thick, and all bearing your name. And below your name, in smaller gold script: "prologue 1-5". She taps the last volume excitedly.

"See, you left off on quite the cliffhanger. Now your real story can begin."
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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:00 am

Cain smiled. Well that was interesting. His stories. He liked that.

He held the self-help book above the large tome, and it quickly drained of color. Within moments, the large tome took on an elaborate spiraling border, and a number of new sentences appeared on it.

"It is quite a book. It looks fit to hold a great many secrets." Appeared in fiery red, that slowly faded to a smoldering orange toward the last word.

Cain looked around at the countless shelves. He began to feel the familiar hint of a coming challenge. There was so much to learn here, so much material to work with. He looked at the spent book in his hands, its cover a pristine white now. It seemed almost a shame. Perhaps...

Cain stored that thought for later.

"In any case, while the short answer is intriguing, the long answer would no doubt allow for a more complete view of my current situation. For instance, I am currently causing words to appear on a page without touching said page, which has not up to this point been a normal occurrence."

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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:25 am

The woman smiles wide, childish wonder flaring up in her eyes. Her fingertips hover over the words, feeling their warmth. She looks up at you with an energy she hasn't felt in years. The words on the page flare up and rearrange, albeit shakily and sluggishly, to say:

"This is the part where you either burst into flames or learn how to read languages you didn't know existed. Your call, Sir."

You thought the shaking was done? No, not even close. You feel the pressure similar to an elevator rocketing upwards at impossible speeds. Books shake as if they're going to fall, but right themselves almost....grumpily. Candleflames extinguish and relight as if irritated by the commotion.

And all at once, it stops, and you find yourself faced with a massive piece of parchment, stretched across the wall. It appears to be a map. The woman sweeps over to the paper and taps on what looks like an island. The outline of the island burns bright red as she does so.

In the tome, words appear once again: "Where to, Sir?"
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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:50 am

Cain pored over the map, It was essentially incomprehensible. He could understand the words, but with no context, he could do little else. He closed his eyes for a moment, and then, exasperated, he looked at the map and said a word that lingered in the air like the echo of a thunderclap. He had meant to say he was going to need Comet to clarify, but somehow, the word clarify had become something else entirely. Instantly, Cain could understand what he was looking at. The map blurred and warped, its shapes slowly spiraling around each-other in a fractal pattern before settling back into their positions.

Words appeared on the great tome. "So, this isn't one place." They said, almost vibrating, as though alert and interested. "This is a corridor." And that word... He tasted it still on his tongue, like fine wine.

Cain looked down at the five volumes in front of him. His name stared back at him. He could feel it's power as he had the new word he had spoken. As he looked at it, he could feel that it defined him. He needed a new one...a symbol rather than a binding. He placed his hand on the first book, and with a sharp motion, he tore himself from it. It was a lot more painful than he had anticipated. After he had finished his wince, he looked down at what lay in his hand It was like looking into the sun, or rather, being looked into by the sun. This, he decided, would have to be put somewhere safe. He blinked. Hmm, that would do.

When he next looked up, his amber eye was swimming with what looked like liquid flame. He drew his hand across the bottom of the volumes before him, and now their topic was simply "Vigil". He suddenly felt much safer.

He looked up at Comet with a smile, and words seemed to burn themselves onto the grand tome. "Allow me to introduce myself." They said "I am Vigil, and I will trust your astute judgement as to our next location."

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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Fri Aug 21, 2015 10:30 pm

Comet gave Vigil a short nod before turning to the map once more. She pressed two fingers against what looked like a small cluster of islands. A smoldering glow radiated out from beneath her fingers, quickly consuming the entire map to reveal, on the wall behind it, a large wooden door. She pushed it open with some difficulty, and the library flooded with moonlight.

It was immediately apparent that they were very, very high up. A stone patio with faded wooden benches and tables faded into a wide sweep of grassland which ultimately fell off the edge of the sky island rather abruptly. Low trees and fragrant flowers occupied beautifully sculpted garden areas to either side.

And out in the distance, stretching on to a twilight-dimmed horizon, was a land of dark tangles of forest and hilly moorelands. Three moons crept at a visible pace across the sky, a trio of rotating giants in the sky.

Comet bowed her head, motioning to Vigil that this was his now.
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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Fri Aug 21, 2015 10:44 pm

Vigil stood, and slowly strode out of the door. A small smile tugged at his lips. This was going to be a very interesting night. He looked out at the moons, creeping along the sky, a vast azure triumvirate, and wondered briefly how they managed to stay in orbit.

"This is quite a view." Vigil observed softly.

He turned back towards Comet, his amber eye casting a flickering glow over the ground between them. "I very much approve of your choice." He said. "But there are some things I need to know before I can let myself fully enjoy the view. The first is where we are, from a broader perspective. The second is what threats I should be wary of during my stay."

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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:01 pm

Comet gave another brief nod. She had expected these questions.

"This land is called Betwixt. It's where all Gods are born into power. This citadel is widely known as The Balcony. The best vantage point in Betwixt if you ask me." Torches around the patio sparked to life with a wave of her hand. "As for dangers? You're not the only God here, and Gods are not the only things fighting for power here. But for you I doubt there will be many obstacles."

Come motioned for Vigil to follow her down a side path that wound around the Library tower behind them. Here the terrain was littered with impossibly large men made of metal, flesh, and Gods know what else. Chains and faintly glowing runes held them in place as they clutched the chunks of Earth above them. Around their feet were churning lakes of murky water, presumably filling the gaps the land left behind.

"And of course there are the inherent dangers of massive sentient pillars holding up islands in the sky." She shrugged.
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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:22 pm

"Ah." said Vigil as he turned the corner. "Well that certainly is new." He let out a breath that he realized he had been holding. He seemed to take a moment to really look at what was beyond the edge of the balcony.

"So, a god after all huh..." he mused, words and symbols, slowly winding their way around his head, as though composed of sparks.

He nodded, seemingly having made up his mind about something. "Alright." he said, his voice quiet and almost contemplative. "Then each of these towers, these islands, holds an opponent." He let out a laugh, looking out at the boundless expanse before him. "Good." He said, seeming to relish the view all the more now that he understood it. "This should keep me busy for a while."

He glanced over at Comet. "I'll meet you back at well... my, desk I suppose?" He asked almost playfully.

And then, he was gone, dissolved into a wire-frame of words, before vanishing completely.

---

Back at his desk, Vigil looked around at the vast trove of knowledge around him. Searching wasted time, knowing was the operative need. then again, godhood was sure to have its perks.

He needed names, he needed stories. Names, for power, stories, to use that power wisely. Perhaps a quick review of the classics of strategy, abstract philosophy as well...

As he considered his options, hundreds of volumes whirled around him, carefully plucking themselves from the shelves, their words passing through Vigils mind. Yes, knowing was the goal, and what better place to find answers than the place with all the questions ever written?




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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Sat Oct 24, 2015 8:21 am

As questions and answers and information you didn't know you wanted to know until just now flood your mind, you feel the intense pressure of a migraine building at the base of your skull. The Archive seems eager to pass on all that it knows, regardless of whether or not you can handle it.

Some of the floating candles gather together to form a tight circle in front of your desk. They flare up to impossible heights before extinguishing themselves. Comet stands in the center of this circle, waving the candles out of her way as she strides forward. You can tell that this is not the first time she's had to put the Archive in its place. She takes the books out of the air gingerly, snapping them shut with an almost scolding glare when they resist her touch.

"You should pace yourself, Sir. I don't doubt that one day you will be strong enough to embody the whole Archive, but your flesh is still fairly weak."

A thick tome bound in what feels suspiciously like human skin drops onto the desk in front of you with a loud thud. Stitched onto the cover are the words "The Lord of Rot". As Comet places the other books back on the shelves, her words form before you.

"This man was almost strong enough to be you. He came here as a Seeker a long time ago. I hate that I had to help him - he was quite wasteful and rude. He stole quite a bit of knowledge, taking it for himself before rotting the books that held it beforehand."

She turns back to you, a grin playing on her pale lips.

"Many have done similar things, and I'm sure you'll want to take back all that they stole. I will dutifully transcribe all the knowledge you recover. Truthfully the only reason I suggest you start with Rot is because I despise him with a passion. If you'd rather go for someone else, I will be happy to fetch their tomes for you."

A list of titles runs through your mind, presumably plucked from knowledge that either Comet herself has passed on or from the books you tried to cram into your skull mere minutes ago. Many titles are in languages that you don't recognize, but the ones that you can read include:

The Dragonrider
The Hollow King
The Bloodthirster
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PostSubject: Re: Paper Cranes   Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:13 pm

Vigil nodded slowly. Limits it seemed, still existed here, which made sense. As the low throb in the back of his head faded, he wondered idly what the current limit to his knowledge was. He would have to do experiments later. For now... it seemed he had to deal with an incomplete archive. Deeply unacceptable. It seemed that he had a quite immediate goal.

"They took knowledge and then fled?" He asked quietly "That is rather a bold move. One that I rather resent."

Vigil looked over at Comet, and smiled. "I see no reason to make you wait." he said "I don't plan on allowing my collection to be tainted without consequence."

With this, he opened the book before him...

----

Several minutes later Vigil looked up and sighed. He glanced at Comet. "This one irritates me." he said. "His view is shortsighted, and his methodology is sloppy. Where does he live?"

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