5543/You'll Never See It Coming

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You'll Never See It Coming
Date of Scene: 31 October 2017
Location: Alberichstadt <P:WTWM>
Synopsis: Die Reisende runs into the worst thing you could see in the Forest, or anywhere really.
Cast of Characters: Janine Liberi, William Pauwel, 151, 999, Kotone Yamakawa, August Kohler, 1040

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The Forest feels different, as it does every Halloween. The day whereupon the Pale Wolf strides out from his section of the glassy trees and terrorizes the collective unconscious. Last time, Die Reisende had to venture in regardless, as some unwitting innocents had decided to play the Persona Game.

    But tonight, nothing of the sort has happened. And yet, there is something strange about the mirrors. A pair of eyes staring out from them, unblinking and harsh. Neither the Pale Wolf's eyes, nor the Red Woodsman's, a pair never before seen. It's concerning, to say the least, and so they mobilize to ensure nothing awful is happening.

    The ominous feeling that pervades the twisted Forest pounds against the skin like a physical thing. It's not all-encompassing Fear like it was last year. This is raw, unfiltered Power, without restraint or discrimination. Somewhere in the Forest is a being unlike anything they have faced before.

    Do they even want to go on?

William Pauwel has posed:
>Asking a William Pauwel if he wants to explore something that's unfathomably dangerous with no guarantee of any sort of reward.

>Not expecting he'll be the first one there.

William Pauwel is the first one there. His motorcycle roars like a wild animal amidst the thrumming overtones of raw, uninhibited power, as if even the sounds of its twin engines have taken on some of that dread aspect.

Will, for his part, is dressed as he always is for adventurin'. He's got his hat, he's got his armored dudes, he's got... A little pumpkin-shaped bolo tie around his neck, because it's Halloween, dangit. Even if they don't celebrate back home, he can still be kind of festive!

For now, though, he... Just kind of has to wait for the others to show up. He's not going to go into the forest /alone./ He's crazy, not stupid.

Ainsley (151) has posed:
    This made Ainsley anxious.

    Gathered with the rest, she stood to the side with her journal opened in front of her. She was scribbling something down in the pages which, if any are curious enough to peek, happen to be the shape of the eyes in the mirror, and whatever shadowy details might've been discerned behind them. She notes the date on the top of the page, and a single line below the picture: "Not the Pale Wolf?" Then she underlines it and hangs the metal-bound journal back off her hip.

    Her feathers are in a constant state of half-puffed. She looks around, briefly, and then... curiosity gets the best of her. She speaks a single word to herself, a magic word meant to apply a sensory filter to her eyes so she can sense emotion. As Shadows are made of them, she could pinpoint the epicenter of this sensation if she just followed the 'brightest' point before her.


    Then she walks to the edge of the clearing, and points out where they should be going, announcing to the others, "This way!"

    Whether or not anyone follows her, she's going to start walking right after saying that. She needs to talk to whatever is giving off this feeling. She needs to know.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    It is rare for Emily Branford to be given pause; something in her past has rendered her a woman of singular, unwavering conviction, the sort who can look at almost anything and come to a calm, steadfast decision of what to do (even if that decision is 'we should probably flee now').

    When they step through the mirror, though, the look on her face very briefly betrays surprise and more than a little concern. "...dear me," she murmurs, absently reaching up to adjust her glasses. This is-"

    And there goes Ainsley. "Goodness, just marching off on your own without even pausing to speak with us and plan. You've some sort of death wish. Whatever this is, we really shouldn't just be rushing in." She'll go if Janine goes; she'll stay if Janine stays.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
So here they were in the forest again she was on edge after what hat happened last year, she'd left her own motorcycle behgind opting to only bring what she could carry on herperson or in her Matter Maniplator unit with her. Given what happened last yer she was afraid but here she was. Even if things seem to have been somewhat distant as of late? Kotone has still come and she looked to Will as he arrived a bit after her.

"Nice ride William."

Then she looks back to Ainsley for a m9oment a she too arrives and she move to start following after Ainsley not wnating to let her go off alone, here of all places and on this day of days.

"Hey, hey wait up Ainsley!"

August Kohler has posed:
August is among the last ones here, but he's here. He's wearing a hoodie, hood over his head, and has a revolver at his side, holstered with several clips of ammunition on his waist. A mirrored bracelet is clasped across his wrist, as he wordlessly approaches. Last year, a boy got abducted and thrown through her. Immediately after that, August was abducted and went through what he'd consider living hell. He hates this day.

Doesn't help it's also his birthday.

As Ainsley moves forward, August follows after her. He doesn't say anything yet, but his hand stays on his gun. Looks like he's not in the best of moods.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine is present, and she does go after Ainsley, muttering that if there's something else like this in the Forest, may as well know about it. Ainsley would lead them through great swathes of destructive scenery. Entire acres of felled glass trees, pools of superheated liquid glass, points where the ground has fractured and torn.

    There in the centre of it is the Woodsman and the Wolf both. But not locked in combat, nor are they together amicably, but both seem to have been defeated by a single figure. One who has their boot planted against the Wolf's throat, one who holds the Woodsman up by his neck.

    He doesn't look to be any older than Janine or August. His hair is black and short, just longer than a buzz cut. His chest is bare, and he wears only skinny knee-length shorts with battered black and blue sneakers. His lack of a shirt displays his skinny form, his pale skin marked with tattoos of black lines outlined with green. They go all around his torso, flowing down his arms and legs, and even come up the sides of his face.

    His eyes are the same burning red that were seen in the mirrors, and he has a black horn coming from the back of his neck.

    When he notices the party, his dour face splits into a grin, before he viciously kicks the Wolf's prone body, sending him sailing through the air, over and through the trees into the distance. He also flings away the Woodsman, sending him tumbling away before regarding the party. He raises his arms, crossing them before his collarbone while raising the hands so the backs of them frame his face.

    An unusual stance, but it seems like he's challenging them.

Ainsley (151) has posed:
    Ainsley walks through an incredible battlefield, a torn world melted and shattered by a titanic battle. And then she pauses, and her Motus spell fades away as her eyes come upon the sight of a being standing there before them. A shirtless man who has conquered two of the most terrifying beings in the Mirror Forest. She feels her heart tighten, her pupils shrink, and her feathers puff up when he kicks the Wolf away, and her head leans back in surprise, turning slightly to watch the Woodsman cartwheel away like a discarded bag of garbage.


    She laughs, very nervously, and says, "I don't think any of us want to fight you," and she points off in the direction of the discarded Shadows. "Thanks for doing that, though, those guys are awful. Could we, uh... interest you in a conversation instead?" She holds out her hands with palms up, a little helplessly. She waves her hands a bit, urging the others to think of something to say.

    "... you don't look like a Shadow..."

    While waiting on how this turns out, she pulls out her journal and begins scribbling down in it. She draws the design she sees on this strange man's body.

    "At least we know those two are not invulnerable, now..." she mutters.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    Someone- no, some/thing/ that can best both the Wolf and the Woodsman. And not just best them, but best them with seemingly little effort, in a battle that looks to have involved tremendous power being thrown around. It doesn't take a great deal of thinking to determine the best course of action here.

    "I'm afraid I'm going to have to decline that invitation. I'm not in the habit of hopeless battles for... what's the word these days?" She glances at Janine and August briefly, for effect. "'Funsies'? I concede it's rather obvious you'd win, given all present evidence. I'd just as soon we were on our way and left you three to it."

William Pauwel has posed:

That's... That's the Woodsman. And the Big Bad Wolf. And... Some guy who looks like he just tore through them like they weren't anything important at all.

He's still rarin' for a fight. What kind of monster is that guy, even?

"Uhh... Hey... there, guy," Will says with an uncertain wave. "Uh. Mighty fine job you did here. Beatin'... those two guys."


"Yeah no, I really don't think we aughtta be tanglin' with y'all, pardner. How about we just... Talk? I can go fetch some pie! It'll be grand."

(Somehow Will doesn't think it will be nearly so easy.)

Ran Itoh (1040) has posed:
    It's... a human?

    No. It's - HE is - something else, maybe. No human, even a Persona-User, could fell the Woodsman and the Wolf so easily, could they? Ran holds back, hands clasped tightly in front of her chest.

    She didn't bother with a Halloween costume. Not after last year.

    "Ne..." she begins uncertainly, whiskey-colored eyes darkened as she gazes at the stranger, "Who are you? ...No, /what/ are you?"

August Kohler has posed:
That's not what August was expecting. His actual first glance is to try and see if the Wolf and the Woodsman are still /alive/, because he has very strong theories about what would happen if they'd die. His second is to stare at the man, before stepping ahead of the others, making sure he's the first one the strange tattooed man can address. His hand never leaves his gun, and instead tightens on it. "Alright, so, I have never seen you before and you don't have yellow eyes, therefore you're probably not a Shadow. That is terrifying, and I'm well aware you shouldn't say that to someone's face. August Kohler, leader of Die Reisende. Who the hell are you, what do you want, and how long do we have to flee before you snap our necks?" It may be, actually, that August is setting himself up so that if this man attacks, he's bait.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone is now moving after Ainsley art this point and she's getting really worried about this and as they press on through the battlefield, looking like something out of the Union and Confederate war? She can't help but stare at the man and keep alongside Ainsley then she laughs for a moment, and Kotone stares she finally finds some words for a moment.

"I'm no looking for a fight with you."

She notes to the man looking rather concerned still and then she notices Will who actually has better things to say than she does at the moment.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The Wolf whined, and the Woodsman groaned before the figure launched them away, and a fall like that wouldn't kill them. They'll be fine.

    The being seems surprised as the party opts to talk rather than fight. Surprised... and also disappointed. But he lowers his hands and nods, though he doesn't exactly turn off the power flowing from him like waves.

                            DEMON NEGOTIATION START                            

    He holds out an empty palm, before rubbing thumb and finger together with his other hand, the universal gesture for money. Is he... demanding a bribe?

    In response to all the queries as to his nature, he doesn't speak, but merely gestures. His tattoos shine with an awful blue light before rays erupt from his form, slamming the ground to the side of the party. When the smoke clears, it reveals he has carved something into it.

    "Death's vastness holds no peace. I come at the end of the long road. Neither human, nor devil... all bends to my will."

William Pauwel has posed:

Is he asking for... Money? Is he stuck here or something? Does he need to pay a bus fare? Can't he just take the warp g-------


No. He should never, ever learn about Warp Gates. That would be double ultra plus bad.

"Uhhh, suuuuure pardner," Will nods slowly and reaches for his wallet... Right as the Demi-Fiend unceremoniously incinerates a message into the forest floor. Will frowns severely at the words there, then looks over towards the guy with the tattoos and says:

"Well, look pardner, as much as I'd be flattered, I ain't for sale. Now, if y'all wanted to buy another Will, I'd probably object too, no matter how many things you'd get to bend to them."

Will used... Pun!?

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    Emily frowns, considering for a moment. "I suppose a bribe is quite worth our lives, but there's an issue with that. I strongly doubt any currency we have on hand is worth anything to you. What is it you want us to bribe you with? Gold? Information? Some kind of supernatural currency? Entertainment? One of our own? I'd have to object quite hard to that last one, but..."

Ainsley (151) has posed:
    Ainsley looks up from her drawing in a squeak, tensing up and widening her eyes when the beams of light smash down and carve into the ground. But then the man gestured to everyone, and she closed her journal to dig in her pockets. A frown sagged on her face as she tried to find something and couldn't seem to find it. "My wallet..." she murmurs, her brow knitted. "Damn it..."

    Then she produces something from her pocket. It was a bag of candy. She gave it a skeptical look... not because of what it was, or that she was considering giving it to him, but... "I wanted to give this out to kids..." She relents, and lets out a sigh, and walks to approach the terrifying fellow. She holds out...

    Ainsley offered *HALLOWEEN CANDY*!

Ran Itoh (1040) has posed:
    August steps out in front of them all. The stranger reeks of power in a way that Ran has never experienced before. Even the Woodsman and the Wolf are helpless against him...

    But instinct will carry her further than thought. As August steps forward, she reaches out to grab his arm. "Wait."

    It's not like she could completely stop him, but her grip is tight, nails uncomfortably present against his skin.

    Ran swallows. When did her mouth get so dry?

August Kohler has posed:
August frowns sharply at the man's request for a...bribe. As Ran reaches for him, he pulls away, making sure that he's in front of the group even if he has to force his way out of her grip. "You don't even seem able to talk, having to communicate via some sort of laser beam. What do you need money for? If you want money, maybe not search in a forest for people to fight for it." Despite the fact August absolutely doesn't want to fight this guy, he's also not going to just let him bully them. He does glance to Ainsley, though. "You can have some candy. Chocolate, it's good, you know. Not getting any money out of us, though."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa lookss At the Wol for a moment then to the Woodsman but something else is going on here she watches something ios going on like he's wanting something form the? She looks at what was carved it's some sort of riddle from the looks of it? She thinks on it's meaning or is it a message for it? She's not sure she pauses for a moment she checks her gear, hard money is not something she uses often so that's out but others are giving it things she also looks to Will for a moment.

"An interesing bit of information, a riddle is what is offered to us or is it about your self? I didn't expect to get something to think about."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The being's eyes flick all over as it tries to figure out what Will is saying. His features are Asian... maybe the pun doesn't transcend language? But after a moment, he cracks a small grin. Hey, it's something!

    He considers Emily for a moment, before making a symbol with his hands. Using thumb and forefinger to make a lowercase 'n', withe the index finger of the other hand vertical next to it. It looks like a lowercase 'h.' Certainly not the symbol of the Euro, nor the British Pound!

    Ainsley offers treats! The man takes the bag, opening it and popping a piece of candy from it into his mouth. He nods, seemingly satisfied, before spiriting the rest of the bag away somewhere for later.

    August squares up, which just makes the thing smirk before getting right in his face. In spite of his incredible power, they're about the same height, so August gets to stare right into those red eyes. Eyes that shine with absolute Freedom. Freedom from morals, Freedom from restraint.

    Kotone asks a question, and all the figure does is gesture back at the message before pointing to himself. So yes, it's not a puzzle to be solved. It is just about him.

    The negotiation continues! He produces an energy sword from his palm, but does not attack. Instead, he uses it once more to engrave the ground with a question.

    "What is your Reason?"

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    It's some time before Emily answers. She spends that time staring at the words, and at the Demi-Fiend. Her expression is unreadable; all that can be discerned for sure is that she seems to be considering her own next words very carefully.

    When she finally speaks, the words have an odd weight to them, spoken with an unshakable conviction sharper than most here have ever heard from her. "We are, all of us, connected. The smallest butterfly can affect the largest city through the winds of change. That is my Reason. That is my Truth."

Ainsley (151) has posed:
    Ainsley smiles when it seems the man accepts the candy just fine, but it's a small smile, because she had planned for giving that to people that aren't absolutely terrifying to talk to. The man produces an energy sword, and she shrinks back from it, but when he doesn't immediately stab one of them she looks down at the wording and reaches up to scratch through her feathers. She contemplates this question with a furrow of her brow.

    "My Reason is Truth itself. To know what others see, to understand why they walk their paths, to step along their paths with them... and to protect them so that their journey may not end prematurely."

Ran Itoh (1040) has posed:

    Ran watches the strange man eat the piece of candy Ainsley gave him. So... that's some kind of human response, at least...? No, more like human-ish. What does he really want? He isn't the Wolf, chasing them. He isn't the Woodsman, using them. What is he really?

    The others give their reasons, reveal pieces of themselves. Ran is still and quiet, worried eyes traveling from one member of Die Reisende to the next. Reason. Does she have one?

    Think back.

    It was then, wasn't it? When she found out...

    Her lips thin. The line of the energy sword reflects in her pupils. "To never feel helpless again." The words feel like weights. "To never let anyone suffer when I could stop it."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
the Negotiations go one she looks at the enery blade for a moment as he asks them wht is their Reason? Shge just kinda pauses for a moment staring at it then thinks back to the other message? She's really not sure just what's up here but she keeps trying to think about it when Ainsley speaks she gets an idea of what she's talking about. Does she have a reason? Surival? That is one given how hard she's clung on to life? To explore? That's one of the thing tht she was keen on.

"If you have to ask such a thing that? I'd hacve to say to explore, to learn about the world beyond my own, to see what's out there, the road keeps calling to me."

William Pauwel has posed:
Oh! Hey! That was a smile! Will grins back at that little bit of a smirk. See? Humor does transcend boundaries! Just... Maybe not as well as they could. He could be laughing, that would be nice. But maybe he... can't laugh? Is that why he's writing everything into the ground like he is?

What is your Reason?

Will blinks once, twice. He stares at the words in the earth. What is his reason? The others all give their answers. That's... Hm.



"I believe in a world," Will says, "Where everyone gets a second chance. Where people are decent to one another. But I'm also an explorer, a discoverer, I think great fortune should reward great effort. I dunno if you'd call that a reason, but..." The Chaser shrugs, "I... guess if you boil it down, my Reason is for Justice and Compassion to find a way to go hand in hand. To see that people are rewarded for what good they've done, given the chance to work out of their mistakes. I want to show people that it's okay to Be Good, and that Doing the Right Thing is worth it, no matter how painful it can be."

"The world is full of too many dark things as it is already. Folks're the only ones who can give it the light that this beautiful world of ours deserves. That's what I believe."

August Kohler has posed:
August doesn't take a step back when the Demi-Fiend walks up and stares into his eyes, though he's clearly a bit nervous. He instead stands his ground, planting his feet into the grass. The sense he gets from him is...strange, and truly fascinating, really. A man who embodies freedom over all? August considers, then, when the man asks his question. He considers how best to respond, and knows immediately what he'll say.

"None of your business. You have no right to judge me. My 'Reason' is my own." August keeps his eyes fixated on the Demi-Fiend, never taking them off him.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The man shows different facial expressions as everyone answers him. He nods to Emily, rolls his eyes at Ainsley, smirks at Ran, sneers at Kotone, gives Will a vaguely impressed look, and grins wildly as August refuses to answer. His tattoos begin to glow, as do his eyes. Have negotiations broken down?!...

    Suddenly, a child is at the being's side. They wear a brown coat and have long, brilliantly golden hair. They cut an androgynous figure, so it's hard to tell if it's a boy or a girl. "Come, my lieutenant. The Great Will awaits." The being stops glowing and looks down at the child, before striding away from the party. They abruptly hunch over, tattoos shining before their body erupts into lances of light that strike at nothing, and shatter it. A hole into a yawning void is opened, occupied only by grand golden faces that shine against the blackness, an equally ominous feeling rolling from them. If this monster that defeated the Woodsman and Wolf was Freedom, those faces were Law. Uncompromising, inflexible.

    The figure leaps through the hole before it closes. The last glimpse of them Die Reisende see is them drawing back his fist to strike at one of the faces before the hole heals itself.

    "I'm sorry about him. He's always spoiling for a fight," the child says, bearing an angelic smile. "I hope it did not ruin your Halloween festivities. My favourite time of the year..." They rummage in their pockets before producing some candy, offering a piece to everyone. The brand is 'Lightbringer,' one that does not exist in this world. "It was good to meet you all. I hope to do so again in the future. Especially you," they add, eyeing August.

    And then they too are gone, vanishing into the ether.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
May have miss understood things she looks at the Demi-Fiend for a moment she also looks at them for a moment there' something she does not like at all she braces now she's got a thing to think about and she looks at them there's something tht get the her heckles up she doesn't make for a fight she watches she looks at them both she's not sure what to say but then comes the hole she doesnt like it something bigger than h3er fr bigger than her.

"No, no you didn't..."

She pauses at the candy in ther pocket she'll accept the cany though not to be rude she thinks nothing of the brand but will find it doesn't exist in this world, and whe'll know they were a traveler///

Ran Itoh (1040) has posed:

    Ran supposes she can't understand everybody. Especially the kind of anybody who shows up with glowing bodypaint, an energy sword, and doesn't even try talking.

    What a weirdo!!

    Before she can protest - not that she was likely to anyway - the stranger is brought to heel by... a kid? Ran blinks, and then yelps as the stranger /tears a hole in space/ to go fight /a bunch of faces/.

    She takes a piece of candy when it's offered to her. Hell, it's the most normal thing that's happened today. "...Thanks," she warbles uncertainly, eyes straying to August and Will. Oh no, don't tell her August became interesting to those creeps!!

Ainsley (151) has posed:
    The look Ainsley gives in return is a tired frown. She honestly doesn't care what he thinks, because it's what she's resolved herself to do. But when he prepares to get into a fight with them-- he's halted, by a mysterious figure. She stares up at them, this being that seems to keep the reins of this overwhelming strong creature.

    The candy is accepted. She immediately understands what it means when it says 'Lightbringer,' because there aren't many beings that use the moniker. The androgynous figure, the apparent mission against Order and perhaps even God itself, and then this name.

    Before she can say anything about it, the figure vanishes.

    Ainsley holds the candy out at arms' length and stares at it with her mouth pulled into a thin line.

August Kohler has posed:
August proceeds not to move, though his hand grips even tighter on the gun, just about to draw it...when the child appears and stops any potential conflict. Well, that's...that's a thing. August just /stares/ as the glowing man leaps through a wormhole to fight faces that /feel/ like law and order, in another dimension. When the boy hands out candy, August waits a moment...before grabbing a piece, still stone silent. He doesn't speak again while the Lightbringer boy is here, not until he's gone.

"I hate this damn holiday." August rips open the candy and shoves it in his mouth. Doesn't matter if it's extradimensional or not!

William Pauwel has posed:
Will feels... Something terrible as the strange black-tattoo'd guy rips open a hole in space and time. It's not the hole that does it, it's that... That /thing/ coming from inside of it. Those golden faces...

What /were/ they?

He shakes his head, clearing his thoughts. Well. At least that guy liked him, right? "Uh, yeah! Sure. Y'all can... come around again, to talk. If y'all wants to. Just--" He glances to the Wolf and the Woodsman and frowns. How the blazes? "Just, not to fight."

At least he got candy out of it, though!

"Uh, thanks?" Will says to the little blonde kid who is NOT CREEPY AT ALL. "We... We can get pie, eh? Uh."


Will turns to August and frowns.

"August, what did you do?"