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No title.
(2013-07-03 - 2013-08-04)
No description.
Stormfall Sleep takes a long time coming, but eventually it seeps in. Pieces of dream and memory weave together to form landscapes to be visited in the small hours of night. Sometimes this can be a good thing, a flight of fancy. And others.. well.. they are constrained by no rules of reality to be nice, and nightmares are banished only with the coming of a new day.. or by facing their origins.

This dream however..

This is not a place you have been before. Except.. perhaps you have? There is a distant familiarity to the stained glass underfoot but it is tarnished and shrouded by silt and ocean water, partially obscuring the picture. The stained glass serves as a floor with a column of darkness as the walls and a ceiling of rolling storm clouds.

This place is completely empty save for a single trailing staircase. It has the look of a covered walkway of a familiar design. The metal and architecture somewhat modern with a stripe of spraypaint making a long mural that circles alongside the metal stairway up the side of the column.

Someone is speaking. Her own voice? Reize? but they are so far away.. as if heard from a distance underwater. There is a feeling of the voice but too distant to make out. They seem as vaguely familiar as the stained glass.

"..such a far way... the road.."

There is a crack in the side of the world. A ragged slash somewhere above where the stairs join up to and run alongside it before continuing their ascent upwards into the stormclouds. There is the sound of music, and street noise drifting vaguely from above.
Stormfall Its the end of any given night for Shiki Misaki. Following her busy adventures, shes been settling into a relatively quiet time, training her staff skills and working as a seamstress in Fluorgis. Thus the days of June have gone by in peace and quiet, and her dreams are no different.

Except, it seems, for tonight.

This dream is different, and yet familiar. She remembers this place... in a manner of speaking, because she isnt conscious yet, and she doesnt have the awareness straight away to realise where she is. But theres a feeling of dread, of wrongness, here.

Shiki finds herself in the middle of the storm, a sick feeling creeping into her chest as she walks. She doesnt know how she arrived here, or why she is walking, but...

This reminds her of dark places. Not the cool nights of Fluorgis or the torch-lit comfort of Daguerreo, but of the cold, empty desert where monsters lurk. Of the misty, bleak forest where we tangoed with the shadow of Garland, and the more literal shadow of Leida.

Of Shibuya.

This staircase makes the comparison clear most of all. Shiki clutches herself, becoming more and more aware of her surroundings by degrees. Lucid dreaming begins to creep in, that state of mind where you are aware and can think about the events in your dream rather than being a blind participant, unknowing that this isnt the real world.

Dont remind me of there...

Shiki speaks to the storm, walking forward- because a staircase that stretches before you always means to be climbed. As she goes, she steps past the silt-covered stained glass, the appearance tickling her memory. Wasnt there someone there she didnt recognise?

Its maddening, once she hears the voice. She doesnt recognise it either. So many things about this fill her with dread. The ruin, the environment, the weather, the mystery. Shibuya on rainy days was the worst, when the driving rain turned it from a bustling, happy place to a miserable one, full of an oppressive neon glow and people milling around with their heads down.

Like a cyberpunk story vision... a breeding ground, she was sure, for Noise.

But Shiki climbs the staircase and ascends, because shes not a victim. She hears the music just beyond the driving rain, and where theres music, theres people to make it, or so she hopes. So she takes the rail and begins to climb, hoping shell find someone else.
Stormfall Shibuya beyond the reach of the tear in the world was broken. It lay like a shattered mirror with hundreds of islands. Some of them small enough for a single object floating above a dark abyss of roiling clouds. Some large enough to span buildings or part of city blocks.

Everything hangs in the void at numerous heights both above and below and it looks like a jumping puzzle just crossing Scramble Crossing to any of the familiar buildings looming overhead. Nothing seems to be broken except the terrain.

The buildings are bright, billboards gleaming in the silvery light that seems to come from nowhere. People are moving through the square but.. more like the echoes. There is an echo of music that thrums through this place and the echoes of people move as the music does. Barely anything there except pale, indistinct silhouettes and a feeling of their passage-- ghosts on the move.

In the middle of the 104 building is a gigantic digital readout, it's bare red numbers pointing straight at 12:00 and flashing there like a disconnected alarm clock. There is another sense that someone is talking, that it might even be urgent, but only the tone comes across.

And then a voice, vaguely male and completely composed speaks right at her elbow. "Hmm.. Shiki Misaki." The voice says this as if abstractedly surprised by something. "Do you know where this path leads?" there is a pause, then they continue. "..well. It leads where it has always led. Is it the shield that repels all ills, or simply one that pushes people away?"
Stormfall And yet...

Despite everything, theres a thrill to be here again. Perhaps its only a dream, perhaps its mangled and broken, but despite everything its still Shibuya. It will always be home, no matter what it looks like. And when youre dreaming, you dont know its a memory, so your joy isnt at all muted...

Is this a dream?

Shiki steps forward, as far as this little island will let her, and pulls the brow of her hat back to get a closer look. Its all there, and if anything... a part of her feels even MORE excited. She imagines jumping from island to island, strengthened by her psychokinesis, hunting down the secret to what has made this change to the world. A riddle, a secret, an adventure...

Except, she thinks as she continues to move and observe, it would be a little... dismaying surrounded by ghosts. When she first comes across these echoes, it stabs at her, diminishes her greedy sense of adventure significantly.

Immediately, the thrill decreases, as she remembers a key fact- Shibuya is packed with people, hundreds of them... people which, in a perverse way, stand in front of her now. Hundreds of lost people.

Its like the reapers game again, standing in the centre of Scramble Crossing and seeing the people mill around you as an invisible being, except...

Except now Shiki is alive, and they are phantoms.

It brings a tear to her eye, one she hasnt cried in months. She tries to hold it in, but even trying to listen to the source of the phantom music, something to distract her, a hypothetical goal to reach- this makes it just as bad.

And so, for a few moments, Shiki simply mills back and forth at the crossing, feeling the chill of the ghosts walk past her, seeing the huge sign flash like a reset clock. By now the sense of adventure has entirely dissolved- shes not walking around an adventure or a mystery at all, so much as she is walking around Shibuyas empty shell. Its corpse.

And that maddening, tickling voice wont--

Shiki jumps as she hears something right at her ear. She spins around, but theres no-one there...

But the words have weight to them nonetheless.

...I want to know where it leads, she says, her voice trembling from her emotion. Shibuya wasnt a path before, so if someone arranged whats... left of it into one, then they did it to lead the way to something.

The memories come back, and something falls into place... yes, she remembers now why that stained glass was familiar. She remembers her previous dream, of the stained glass stations, the shield...

I never push people away. I always-- I reach out, even when someone else doesnt reach back-
Stormfall There is a sound of footsteps and a man makes his way down across the winding and fractured street. As he does so, the concrete heaves and flows together again. Asphalt mends. Everything settles back into it's proper place as he approaches, creating a line of restored cityscape in his wake.

The beat of the phantom music follows their footsteps, a black coat with white spirals edging from the wide cuffs shrouding their figure. The hood is pulled over their face which can only barely be seen but itself is mostly shadow.

The voice itself is strange. Sometimes fragments of people she'd known, other times something entirely alien and strange. A vaguely male voice, calm and sophisticated. An avenue of terrain shifts and totters together, a part of Shibuya twisting back into shape leading into the 104 building. "Do you really?" inquires the hooded man. Not condescending or snide. There is a flat edge of curiosity and a complete lack of judgement. "This path goes where it wants to go. Into the past.. or the future.

Into questions not yet asked or answered. It is there if you wish. And Shibuya is here also.. if only in memory." The voice pauses and then adds. "For now." Evaporating like a curl of smoke leaving only the shattered city and the restored pathway to the 104 building and within.
Stormfall Shikis eyes widen as... someone else approaches, and with it, everything is restored.

She doesnt understand what it means. By now, of course, the difference between dreaming and lucidity is becoming hard to define, the amount of concious awareness Shiki currently has is uncertain. But the music is there...

She wants to say who are you, but when he speaks, with that disconcerting voice, she wonders if it might be a moot point. But he has a question for her... and Shiki, who hasnt had anyone to really voice her own insecurities to recently, is willing to reply.


Shes thinking about Priel Aylin. Of course she is.

Im not naive... I hope Im not... if there was anything I could do... but if someone doesnt WANT to be helped...

But anyway, theres a path to follow, and Shiki is happy to do so. She reflects on what this figure says... both the past and the future are important to her, but she doesnt want to focus exclusively on either.

Until I can come back here, Id like to keep that... memory... she says, although the statement is cut off as the figure disappears. A little tense now, worried about what he... it... he said, she walks into the building.
Stormfall Inside the 104 building there is a feeling of pressure, as if moving through a barrier. The pressure is mild though, only a prickling on the skin and a feeling of slightly cooler temperatures on the other side.

The spiral that loops through the massive shopping mall is completely empty. There are no echoes of people here. The walls, floor and ceiling however are littered with gleaming fragments. These echoes of ancient and rusted blades number in the hundred, thousands... maybe tens of thousands.

Some are proud and elegant. Others are simple, almost harshly so. All are broken and rusted and barely shadows that disappear or reappear depending on the angle of the light. There is also that clock.

The digital readout is still present everywhere. In every shop front, on every television screen and billboard and clock. There is the same time. 12:00 -- In flashing red letters. Amongst the hundreds of echoing fragments that glisten in the air and along the walls like motes of dust, there are shop signs.

The advertisements are small and colorful and eye catching. Each has a small decal like a pin and the stylistic curves and graffiti lines that is almost like a noise symbol except not quite the same. Here are the words to each advertisement, which stand in a number of shopfronts throughout the mall.

Endless-- A black and yellow advertisement in front of a clothing store.
Tower of Voices --- A starkly white and red advertisement in front of a food court.
Zero Point --- A silver, black and purple sign on a electronics storefront window.
Utter Silence --- A grey advertisement on a stairwell.
Wayfinder --- A white and blue advertisement on an Accessory shop door.
Dark Margin --- A dark and purple advertisement on the floor near a shoe store.

There is also a note on the wall at eye level, in Shiki's own handwriting. It says simply. "There is never enough time to do everything."
Stormfall How frightening.

Shiki takes a step through, barely noticing the prickle as she goes inside. Shes being propelled forward by this intense urge to understand, to try and make some sense of this journey, to figure out what it all means.

And even so, for a moment, even that desire is eclipsed by this amazing sight.

Oh, yes, its more bizarreness, to be sure. But its... fascinating. In a way, its... beautiful, in the same way a silent, untouched ruin or castle is... heck, in some ways, theyre similar. Shiki is an urban explorer, moving through the abandoned ruins filled with blades.

Even though theyre rusty, even though theyre broken- they interest her. Its like looking at the piles of junk that sometimes cropped up in the realground, assembled by an unknown sculptor into an abstract art form.

(If she knew that was Sho, it wouldnt make it any less interesting.)

But she cant touch them- she cant even see them all clearly. Of all the things in this dream, she hopes she remembers this the most. Theres just so much to see...

So she walks through it all, seeing the building as if for the first time, looking at the bizarre shop signs. Some she lingers on, such as Wayfinder, which makes her smile. Others, like Utter Silence, seem to perturb her, and so she moves on--

Right in vision of the sign. A paper sign she apparently wrote herself. Shiki walks over to it, takes a look.

There is never enough time to do everything, it says? She thinks, fingers against the paper. She decides its true- even with a second lease on life, you have to just decide to do what will be the best for yourself and for others. Shes never really been a do-everything girl, anyway. Always, shes done what would help and support other people, or so shed like to think.

She turns around and looks at those fragments again. She hopes that she can at least remember everything she has seen. She wants to hold onto these memories- even if theyre of a ruined Shibuya; an empty Shibuya, its still her precious home.
Stormfall Music comes over the speakers of an empty 104 building.

Enforced BGM Change:

The music vaguely thrums and sparkles and the symbols on each advertisement begins to stir and to move as if straining to be freed from the paper that they are printed on. There is a sense of unreality, as if each of the advertisements were pockets of dream reality and that touching them would disturb that delicate surface tension.
Stormfall Oh my.

Shiki gasps as the music- something thats familiar, and yet not- well, its a remix, after all- fills the air, as do many other things. She likes this song. Interesting new take on it.

She listens to it for about two minutes, watching the advertisements shudder and waver in such a beautiful way. She walks back over to the one she was compelled by a while ago...

Wayfinder. Who doesnt want more direction in life? When youre walking a path, and all that...

She feels as if touching one would...

Little by little, I feel a bit better. Let me know, set me free...

Shiki cant help it. She touches the Wayfinder advert.
Stormfall The ocean.

Phantom water laps at Shiki's feet as water spills from over the upper tiers and the storefronts, turning the entire mall into a series of tiered waterfalls and pools. The light filtering through the water makes it sparkle and dance.

There is a pressure and then the smell of water. The feeling of baking sun on skin and a wind that flutters the advertisements and a warm, moist wind that comes from inside storefronts.

A woman's voice, tinny and indistinct like hearing their voice through far away headphones shivers from the advertisement.

"Somewhere out there." The smile can almost be heard in the voice. The hope. And-- behind that.. doubt. Worry. All so carefully wrapped away.

"--there's this tree with star-shaped fruit. And the fruit represents an unbreakable connection. As long as you carry good luck charms shaped like it, nothing can ever drive you apart. You will always find your way back to each other. An unbreakable connection."

Golden sand. Sa distant and dusky shore comes in for a moment -- and then goes out like the tide. The mall returns to how it was before but there is something in hand.

It's a five pointed star. It's pieced together carefully, constructed well even if it looks flimsy. It's a paper star made from stickynote paper but oddly shining at the same time. Holding it brings to mind the connections made and lost. The paths that have lead to this day and this hour.. and the choices, good or bad, that make up those connections.

The advertisement has disappeared. There is another pressure wave and a horrible sound of many clocks at the same time chiming at once. Four notes. All of the clocks that are plastered everywhere now read. "8:00"

The hooded figure is leaning against the wall, arms crossed. "It's true." they say. And the voice is discernably Riku's although.. It has an odd echoing overlap quality to it.

"..We all stand together in this and we all make choices, and then live with them. What will you choose, I wonder?" --and again, they fade out of sight like a plume of smoke.
Stormfall Another gasp. The 104 building has never looked so beautiful! Although now her shoes are we... wait, its a dream, silly Shiki. Just enjoy it!

Shiki laughs airily as the beautiful sparkling water runs from walls and staircases, hands out and amazed at... everything. This is beautiful! Its a beach unlike any shes visited before, for the amount of time it lasts. Not like Junon at all!

Oh, and-- theres a voice. Shiki has learned by now to listen carefully, and she stands absolutely still, ears sharp- because its a tiny voice, and yet so important... its surely got something to tell that she has to remember. Just like the empty streets, and the mysterious man, and the rusted yet strangely beautiful blades, she has to remember this, make sure it doesnt fade...

And when the sound passes, theres something in her hand. Something intense and emotionally charged, even though its paper- something that resonates with her incredibly.

Bonds. Shikis important thing. Good and bad; the people shes seen and met and interacted with. Faces come to her mind as she considers it, as the clocks chime: Reize and Neku, Lily and Lenn, Ping, Gilgamesh, Relm, Tifa and Uh-Oa, even that huge crab... and of course, Priel and Hades and Sho and--




...but hes gone again before she can go to him, as soon as he came, just a message and then he disappears. It hurts her heart a little, that. Although he disappeared, he still left an impression on her... hes a person she wants to find again...

She holds the wayfinder delicately, taking care not to crumple it, but at the same time making sure that water doesnt drizzle onto it from above. She walks away from the advertisement- or where it used to be- looking at the countdown. Or so she guesses.

Is it time to look at another advertisement? She guesses thats the course of action to take. If its still there, she wanders through the dancing lights and over to the food court.

Tower of Voices. Voices belong to people: precious people, both friends and the masses of Shibuya. And enemies, too. If its still there, she reaches out to touch it and see what comes of it.
Stormfall This was unexpected!

Shiki gets a terrible thrill of fear, a momentary consideration that shes made a mistake. But--

She can only go forward. And she has to stand on her own.

So she walks up the steps, although shes afraid, listening as each step makes a note. Past thrones, past terrible danger and the lurking presence of something horrible. The staircase squirms like a snake, shakes like a dragon--


She has to press on. She has to. Something is rising within her, something-- an urge, a need. Shes been feeling it for a while now. Her steps become more confident as that feeling cements itself within her.

Junons plight. The birds of the Tiki Room. Leida. The terrible power wielded by Sho and Hades. Someone has to be brave. Someone has to stand up for whats right. Someone has to be a hero.

She has to be a hero. Before, she thought it was Neku. She followed his lead in the Reapers Game, even though ostensibly they were partners, but he always had more of something, more drive, more authority--

But Nekus gone now. She cant follow any more. She has to be strong.

And as she goes, as she hears the voices all around her-- Shiki feels this even more. She can hear them- a fearful thought wonders if these are the people of Shibuya, tangled up in Noise, lost in the darkness. Are these her people?

She cant do anything for them as she is. Her hands cant crack stone, cannot tear them out of these thrones. But as she hears them... Shiki begins to feel as if she has to do something for them.

As I am now... Shiki says, hoping they will hear. I... cant help you. Im not strong enough. I have to learn... I need to get stronger. I need to be able to fight... I need experience... but if I can get those things, Ill help you... I will...

She has to keep walking, even as the sound grows and grows and grows. Its painful, and her hands shake as she continues to climb the staircase. But never once does she think about turning back. Even if her words- her thoughts- are drowned out, she keeps going down the path.

And at the apex of it, she finds... a sword in a stone. A weapon of unimaginable power.

But before that... for just a second... it was nothingness, an absence.

Shiki stares at it. She looks at the blade, like the ones shes encountered before. Whereas they had a strange beauty to them, this just has power. Power overwhelming. Power is all it is. Pure, unimaginable power, absolute.

Didnt she just say she wasnt strong enough?

Well, isnt this the answer to that?

Shiki glances at it. This weapon promises absolute strength.

But strength without skill...

I rejected the sword once before, Shiki says, staring right at the sword, then turning around and looking around the empty room, searching for a person, for an answer. She looks back at the way she came in... at those poor, tortured voices. Wouldnt a sword like this just cut them up too?

Absolute power without the skill to use it is pointless. I dont just want to take some super-mega-sword and chop all the bad stuff to bits. This isnt the kind of strength I want!
Stormfall When Shiki turns around, the tower is gone. One way or another the vision is banished. The sword. The voices. The noise. It is all gone. The wayfinder glows with a faint warm light and the mall has returned. There is another imperious series of chimes from shopfronts and billboards. The clocks now read "4:00" in their luminous red.

There are a number of cracks in this version of the 104 building, as though the entire construct was as thin as an egg-shell and ready to burst into a thousand pieces if brushed too hard in the wrong direction. The advertisement for the Tower of Voice disappears to wherever it came from.

Perhaps time for one more of these bits and pieces of strange dreams before..

Before what?
Stormfall Shiki is back, and so is the wayfinder.

She is no longer so carefree. She was engrossed by this place before- although it was intertwined with fear, there was at least familiarity and beauty. But now shes painfully aware that this is... that this has some sort of purpose. Theres something important, something that means her sense of aesthetics shouldnt be her driving force. That she shouldnt be naive.

She shudders. Those voices still ring in her ears.

Whats left? Endless, Zero Point, Dark Margin... Utter Silence... all of those have very ominous names, dont they? Shiki makes her way back, but even as she does she treads lightly. The 104 building feels different. She wonders if this is what the mysterious figure meant when he said that this place was only here for now. If it could disappear soon.

She takes a moment to think- just a moment. She has to make a fast decision.

Dark. Silence. Both of these sound like bad ideas. Darkness is not a good place to venture into, and even though she would like a little quiet time, absolute silence is a terrifying idea. So...

Endless and Zero Point. Opposites, almost.

As she passes by the window of Endless... she thinks. She casts her mind back. There is never enough time to do everything. Live with your choices. It is here for now...

No choice is right or wrong. In the end, Shiki goes with her instincts.

Shed always go for the fashion over the electronics. Off into Endless she goes!
Stormfall There is another pressure wave as the advertisement is touched. This time it pulls rather than pushing and the entire world seems to invert as Shiki is pulled quickly and inexorably towards the paper, passing through it and the wall like they were made out of fog. Trailing wisps fade as Shiki finds herself in the deepest reaches of space.

Stars and planets stand out starkly on the carpet of inky black. Nebulae and comets and a howling solar wind swirl and rip through the cosmos, through the unfathomable reaches between worlds. In this titanic place, how can anything be connected to anything else when they are so far.. far apart.

A single heartbeat shudders through this pocket universe.

It is not a sound in itself, not a music in and of itself but it has elements of both. A single pulse that makes the walls and ceiling and floor of what is now revealed to be a room on which the sea of stars has been painted ripple as if the material she was standing on, the air she breathes, the walls around her ripple like liquid.

It moves slightly underfoot. Surface tension of a pond disturbed by that sound, that event.


Sound / Music / ..something else. Emotions. Not quite words or thoughts. Intentions. Wishes. Hopes.


The universe lights up for a split second and every interconnected heart is shown, a delicate infinite tapestry of the interconnections life shares on a grand scale. A cosmic scale. A shining thread of song and sight and emotion shivers from some far flung edge of the universe where all of these threads converge. A nexus in the weave, a core melody at the heart of the song.

Darkness here as well. A great blanket in which light is embedded. Threads of chaos everywhere seeking to ensnare, to entrap.. but also part of the pattern as well. And something else..

An absence. Places in the universe where there is no song. No sound. No life.

Empty places in the universe where it is all starting to unravel.

Then the journey of the thread again. It flashes bright and silver brilliant against the cosmos and travels that shivering line of interconnection to Shiki. And the universe neatly inverts itself again. It's her song. Her innate music on display now. Her connections to others. How they have changed. How she has grown over time, a microcosm of the bigger picture.

All hearts connected. Even separated by so much distance. So much pain and suffering and tragedy.

So much darkness.

And still.

Still light.

And still, them interconnected-- just like everything.

Surprise Shiki.

The World Begins With You.

The Mall returns with the force of being flung backwards, of a rubber banding away from that universe-in-a-box. The wayfinder paper star is gone, and replaced by a small pin with a star and a outlined white heart on a black and starry field. All of the clocks read "1:00".
Stormfall Shiki draws her hand back a little as the wall dissolves in front of her, just long enough to make sure nothing blows into her face. Once her minor concern is satisfied, she takes just one step-

But she neednt, as the transition is doing the moving for her. Its a frightening feeling for a second, the small girl holding her arms out to try balancing. Shes weightless, of course...

Deep in space...

She bites her knuckles. What is she supposed to look at first?! Shikis head darts back and forth for a moment, as she gradually begins to realise something important- because of the light pollution, shes never really been able to see a field of stars in Shibuya before. Oh, yes, shes seen starfields since then, but she never made the connection...

But is this really a starfield? As the room ripples, shes unsure for a moment, testing to see if she can move, or perhaps swim, in the strangle, rippling environment. Does she need to? Is she already at the centre of this tiny universe? Shiki looks around herself, turning in 360 degrees as she tries to see everything around her.

All it does is make her realise that this heartbeat is coming from everywhere.

And then.

My gosh, Shiki says, narrating as the sudden change occurs. Its full of hearts.

Her eyes widen- as far as they will possibly go, the starfield reflected in both of them. Shiki stands there, seeing the proof of something she has always romantically believed- the interconnectedness of peoples hearts- taking in this entire amazing truth....

But the fact of the matter is when you see the whole truth, you also see the bad parts along with the good. Shiki stands there looking, slowly taking in everything. The sea of stars; of hearts.

The void.

The chaos.

The darkness.

And the places where the world itself is coming apart...

And as Shiki burns that starlight into her mind, another image she doesnt want to forget- the world around her changes once again, whipping up her hair, forcing her to hold onto her hat with one hand and the wayfinder with the other--

When the mall returns, she gasps in shock, worried for a second that in the chaos shed crumpled it. But she opens her hand and... theres a pin there instead. An incredibly precious one, she knows. She KNOWS. Her hand is hot and trembling,, the tiny piece of metal already growing warm, so she pins it to her hat. The hat, after all, is precious too, so...

She turns around and looks at the clock. She blinks. She thought that once she returned, then the count would be over, but... theres one thing left, she supposes, to do. And...

That means the only destinations she has left...

Are the ones with the ominous titles. Zero Point, Dark Margin and Utter Silence. She gulps.

What now?, she wonders. Does she have to pick her poison? She steps away, needing to sit down for a moment, having to think about everything shes seen and witnessed so far.

On a bench, she sits and looks at her hat. Well, not technically her hat, but really, whos counting? Its an important hat. Maybe shell buy one of her own some time. She looks, too, at the pin she put there... the wayfinder-pin, seeing the silver thread that connects her to everything.

Zero Point, she says. This has been all about journeys and paths, right? Every path begins at zero...

So thats where she finally goes. Shed considered going here before, and it makes sense. In a way. Shes not going to silence; Shiki hates the idea. And shes not going to darkness. This is the only one left that... makes sense? She guesses? Shes not going to back down now.

Off into Zero Point.
Stormfall Crack.

The cracks around the Mall spread. There is a sound of splintering glass as Shiki puts her hand on Zero Point. There is a feeling, only for a moment of a dark shore before the cracks spread over the advertisement and the mall /explodes/ outwards like a eggshell.

The 104 building is all but destroyed, leaving only small platforms and the place where Shiki is standing on now in the whirling maelstrom below and shadowy miasma around that holds Shibuya embedded.

The hooded figure returns, the one who sounds like Riku but also sounds like many other snatches of people in that calm and composed voice. "There is never enough time to do everything." the man says blandly, Shibuya piecing itself together again as he walks sedately towards where Shiki was standing.

"But time enough. You seek knowledge, do you not? Experience?" A faint chuckle. "Perhaps you are a seeker of truth like myself. I too.. come from a shattered world. What would you do.. if someone offered to help you restore yours? All those people. All that life, restored to the places where they should reside."
Stormfall Crunch.

Shiki steps into the electronics store doorway, and theres a feeling like stepping on thin ice...

And the cracks spread and spread and spread. She wondered, deep down, if something like this was going to happen, but it doesnt make this any easier to bear. She is standing in the middle of the 104 building as it all falls down, and she cant-


But imagine the time this happened before, when the Heartless tore the world apart....

This time, its an explosion. Shiki holds her hat on and crosses her chest with her other arm, because this burst of wind and shock is even worse than before, rattling her bones and forcing her to squint as everything shatters, herself at the epicenter.

Shes surrounded by maelstrom and miasma in the middle of nothing, a swirling storm of debris and darkness. For a moment she tenses, waiting for the last piece of ground to collapse-

And it doesnt. The mysterious man is there once again, and he makes everything better again. The explosion is reversed, after a fashion, as everything reassembles under his feet. Shiki cant help but stare...she mouths, but does not voice, the words who are you?.

He has a question. She has an answer.

"Id offer to be their friend," she says, the words coming easily. "Id tell them about everyone else thats trying to restore the lost worlds. The Shard Seekers, the Zodiac Braves, all of those other people- wed work together, use the things weve been inventing, go on adventures to find it..."
Stormfall "Hmm... I see."

The hooded figure slowly walks around Shiki, hands behind their back as they stroll and take everything in. Cracks begin to spread onto the platform that Shiki is standing on but very slowly. Sudden movement might disrupt the whole thing and bring it all crashing down.

The hooded figure extends a hand and there is a small sharp /flash/ of energy. A black and blue keyblade appears in their hand, an intricate design. They place it edge down on the Shibuya terrain and it starts to fit itself together again. There is a moat of distortion and cracks around Shiki. The quickly restoring Shibuya on one side. The isolated and slowly crumbling floor on the other.

"This.. is the key to restoring your world, Shiki. Restoring all your lost worlds. Helping your friends. I can help you... but I cannot simply give it to you--" a faint chuckle. "As with all things worth having, it must be earned." The hooded man extends a hand towards her. "Come with me. And I will show you how and where you might begin."
Stormfall Shiki gasps.

Shes seen this before. Soras... Soras keyblade. It seems long ago now, when they ran out of the desert and rested in Fluorgis... now she understands what happened when she met him in Traverse Town.

The look in her eyes is... strange. Its... strange to think, and although it makes sense, it makes her feel... a stab of regret, in a way. Why didnt she reach out to him more? Why did she let him wander? Not because she suddenly covets that power, but because...

She advised him to travel and find friends. Why didnt she...?

Oh, of course, she couldnt, because she had the Seekers, but...

Shikis heart hurts. She cant be everywhere at once, cant travel with everyone. But she suddenly regrets not being there for him more.

The brow of her hat shadows her eyes... and then, she nods. Un.

And Shiki follows, treading delicately, as if walking on soap bubbles... off to the key to her destiny.
Stormfall The light in Shibuya dims down as if the world was passing through noon to twilight and evening in the space of a few heartbeats. The clocks, all of them read 0:00-- and then go dark. The spreading miasma rolls across the building and the streets, folding the city away as if a treasured memory.

The shattered Shibuya in this one instant is whole and complete and perfect... and then the field of vision contracts. All is returned to that cylinder of darkness from which this all started. "Very well." The hooded figure says with their calm voice of certainty. "Then seek me.. here."

There is a picture, an image, a flash of rolling green hills and a white expanse of castle in the middle of that green. Castle Oblivion to those who know its name. A forgotten place of memory to those who do not.

And it is never the same.

A dangerous path outlines itself in Shiki's mind. A way to get to that place.

"And we shall begin."

The last light goes out.

Destiny or distortion.

Dream or prophecy or nightmare.

All things in their places, and at their own times.

And as Shibuya at last fades completely into the fog, Shiki wakes up.

In their hand is still the small, smooth pin with the heart design and the paper star.
Stormfall A trail to blaze...

Shikis vision begins to darken as the lights go out, as time runs out-

"Wait!" she says, too confused to move "Will you tell me your name?!"

But perhaps its too late... because in Fluorgis, a new day is dawning, and the sunlight is coming through the window frame. Its time for another day of training and work for Shiki...

She opens her hand, and looks at whats inside it.

OK, maybe it wont be another day of work after all.

This scene contained 23 poses. The players who were present were: Stormfall.