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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: December 26th, 2009, 2:24 pm 
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Boots are great :3

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Revised the design, gave her a proper helmet. Somehow doesn't look as impressive. I did simplify some parts and compacted the armour more, and gave her a more correct body size, so maybe the smallness effected it. She is meant to be a young girl after all though. Maybe I should fit a cape in there or something..

Haven't come up with anything to write about at the moment. I'll give it some thought...

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 3rd, 2010, 4:36 pm 
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Deciding that hurting my brain over that suit of armour too much wasn't too healthy, I decided to move onto other things for a bit.

Kuchikami no Sake, that Eastern Wonderland story I worked on so while back got revived for a bit for that purpose. That and I was playing Okami, and started looking at all this Okami fanart and the personified versions of Ammy and got rather inspired to do some miko miko action.

ImageImage

Lineart and a rough colour schemes piece. I combined the Shinto priest/male imperial court clothing with the traditional miko outfit. Result is this additional vest that is worn over the miko outfit. Got the mask back from my old Kumiho design and added a flower to the hair to balance the mask. The little plant growing from the Gohei shows that she has magical powers of some sort!

And thus this is the star of Kuchikami no Sake, reborn as Hoshi-no-Tamaki. Hoshi-chan, Tama-chan… call her whatever! I looked up how Japanese named worked way back in the day, and it seemed it kinda went like that. Surname-no-Name. Name-of-SomeClan. So its Tamaki of the Hoshi clan or something like that. It is also a bit of a pun I guess. Hoshi no Tama, or star balls are said to belong to foxes in Japanese folklore. They are said to be glowing with fox fire and to contain the soul of the fox. She wears a fox mask which is obviously concealing something. Wee.

Anyway I wrote a short story. Although I think I managed more words than the previous attempt. Its basically starting off Kuchikami no Sake from the very beginning. Might be a bit dull though since there is no action whatsoever.

...
The first thing she saw was darkness. She lay there for a while, dazed and confused as her eyes slowly adjusted themselves before images re emerged from the black. At first, they were just blotches of dark colours, but eventually they slowly began to shape themselves into a recognizable scene.

She was looking up at a wooden ceiling. Water was dripping through the wet planks all around her. Her senses were gradually returning to her one by one. The single drops of water played out a calm melody into her ears. The cold danced all over her skin. The damp aroma of rotting wood flooded into her nostrils.

As if moving her body for the first time, she slowly moved her fingers one by one. Clenching her fists, and then letting go. Soon she moved onto the rest of her joints, bending her knees and elbows before getting into an upright position and stretching.

A run-down altar lay before her. There was an unmistakable form of a small house-like object, amongst a clutter of broken wood. It was impossible to tell what exactly was worshiped at the place anymore. As she stood up and examined the place, she found that she was in a shrine. The place was a massive tatter of broken wet wood, as if a heavy wave had come crashing through the place. Before she even began to wonder what she was doing in such a place, a gust of wind blew in and sent a signal through her mind. She needed some clothes.

Not really caring about her current condition, she clumsily moved out of the shrine. It was a wet mess outside. The other shrine buildings were all missing their doors and a mess of broken wood was scattered everywhere. The full moon shone brightly overhead, illuminating the tragic scene. The girl paused a moment to look at the bright pearl in the sky, before finding her reflection in a puddle. An unfamiliar face peered back at her, filled with confusion. And in the left eye socket of the face in the puddle sat a glass orb with a faint glow emanating from within. But before she could register the fact that the strange face belonged to her, another gust of wind danced around her wet body and hurried her onwards.

She found herself within another damp wooden building, looking around. Without too much fumbling about, she managed to find a wooden chest. Upon opening it, she discovers a bundle of wet fabric. Not really thinking about whether she would be better off naked or with bundles of wet clothes on top of her, empties the chest onto the damp floor below. After sorting out the various pieces of the outfit, she manages to identify it as some form of ceremonial robe. The fabric seemed to find their way into her hands with great familiarity, and she managed to put on the entire outfit with ease.

Suddenly remembering the strange sight that was her face, she ran back out into the courtyard, and stared down the face in the puddle. A glowing orb lay in the place of what should have been a left eye. She raised her hand to her right eye in response, and the reflection raised its left to mirror the response. Her mind began to start running again and her thoughts spun themselves into words.

Who am I?

She started surveying her surroundings, looking for an answer. However the only response was the ringing of silence.

Where am I?

The wet and run down ruins of a shrine once again returned a golden silence as an answer.

It then dawned upon her that her mind was empty. She had no idea who she was or what she was or where she was. Nothing. Her mind started to grasp for words, searching deep for any answer.

Words.

She discovered that she knew words. She could identify the place as a shrine, the face in the puddle as a reflection and the warm dry clothes she wore as a form of ceremonial dress. She then paused for a moment, and then noticed that something was odd.

Warmth.

Her clothes were warm and dry, and bore no wet stains from when they sat within that damp chest. She had no reason why, but that wasn’t the only odd occurrence of the day. She had a glowing ball for an eye and just woke up in a mess of a shrine, not knowing her own identity.

She began to search in the ruins for an answer. But there was none to be found within the battered and wet ruins. A lot of water had definitely gone through the shrine, and nothing remained beyond a basic wooden structure. Although there was no answer, she did find some wet socks and sandals, amongst a pile of other junk she assembled on the veranda.

Her eyes examined the various items she had collected.

A small wooden plaque with a series of black scrawl all over it. She managed to pick out a few characters which she recognized as ‘happy’, ‘luck’ and ‘together’. She recognized it as some form of charm, where you write out your wishes and hang them out onto the shrine where they would supposedly come true.

A mask. She recognized the empty face staring back at her as that of a fox. The shrine probably sold this sort of thing during a festival.

A battered circular wooden frame. Scraps of wet paper still clinging onto it indicated that it used to be a lantern.

A few pairs of dirty wet socks and some straw sandals were laid around. She decided that her feet felt empty and put them on. Miraculously, the socks soon bleached themselves into a pure white and became warm and dry. She found herself looking down at them for a moment, wondering whether the clothes in this place were magical. Of perhaps it was her? It occurred to her that it wouldn’t be odd if she somehow did it, she did have a glowing ball for an eye after all.

She stared down the rest of the items, as if awaiting for them to tell her everything she wanted to know. But as items are, they do not speak. Thus she came to the conclusion that there was nothing she could do, standing around at this place and decided to leave. It did occur to her that her glowing eye was a rather strange sight and might scare off anybody who could at least tell her where she was. She then picked up the fox mask and used it to cover her eye. Deciding that the wooden plaque looked a bit lonely, she stuck it into her sash. The broken wooden frame of a lantern however, was of no use to her and was abandoned.

A stone pathway led deep into the forest, with no indication of where it was going. She took her time, traversing the pathway while giving the shrine and the moon a few more looks as if to make sure they wouldn’t tell her anything. Soon the shrine was out of sight, and the only companions she had left were the moon and the trees along with the tranquillity of silence.

“But no matter,” she thought as she continued walking into the darkness. “Not like I had anything to do anyway. “

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 4th, 2010, 12:08 pm 
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Storm_Shinobi wrote:
The little plant growing from the Gohei shows that she has magical powers of some sort!

Well, a miko is a shaman after all.

I guess the country where your Miko walks is fictitious?
After Buddhism became the state religion in the wake of 6th century reforms Miko and Shintô saw a sort of decline that culminated in the Tokugawa shogunate. The ruling warrior class was Buddhist and while temples received rich donations many shrines fell apart and Miko and priests wandered the land simply because they had no home. They survived because Shintô survived as a form of folklore.
After the Meiji restauration in 1864 the situation was reversed. The Shôgun was ousted and the emperor ruled, being the highest priest of the Shintô cult. But due to the long period of negligience practically everything had been forgotten, passed on only orally. Therefore the elder statesmen reinvented Shintô, telling the people those were ages-old rituals, while almost everything you see in a shrine nowadays has only been thought up like 120 years ago. The only rituals that were saved were the ones carried out by the emperor himself. It's like if Christianity had only the papal ceremonies left, all books burned, and travelling priests doing the job, hopping from town to town.
Most original ceremonies, rituals, and liturgies are unretrievably lost.

The fate of your Miko depends on how much of Japan is in your idea of that country and what time period we're talking about.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
I looked up how Japanese named worked way back in the day, and it seemed it kinda went like that. Surname-no-Name. Name-of-SomeClan. So its Tamaki of the Hoshi clan or something like that.

Basically right, but please bear in mind that myôji (clan/family names) were a priviledge of the higher classes. Common people were often called by their profession. And going to the highest levels you must know that members of the Imperial family had an own name system, e.g. Yamato Takeru no Mikoto. He's from tha Yamato Clan, Takeru being an honorary name, and "no Mikoto" refers to his being a member of the Imperial family.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
A small wooden plaque with a series of black scrawl all over it. She managed to pick out a few characters which she recognized as ‘happy’, ‘luck’ and ‘together’. (...) Deciding that the wooden plaque looked a bit lonely, she stuck it into her sash.

That's a detail missing in your picture.
And you never mention the writing - 天恩 - on her belt.
(If you do, I must have missed it, sorry.)

Nice story for character introduction, by the way.
I was only a bit surprised at how composedly she accepts the fact that instead of a left eye she now has a glowing orb. At least it seems to me that said fact is news to her.
That is, does the orb allow her to see normally? Having only one day hinders your 3D vision and leaves a good deal of your surroundings dark, which is very disturbing if you're not used to it. So I'm just wondering why she's so cool about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 5th, 2010, 5:27 am 
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42317 wrote:
I guess the country where your Miko walks is fictitious?

I'm thinking pretty primitive Japan. The nation is not quite a unified whole, and there are many separate villages without a higher order than the village elder or council, depending on how they choose to run it. Some areas might have a bit more development, like a city with a local lord ruling it along with control of nearby villages. There will be as many lesser deities as there are villages essentially and it'll be a very spiritual age. I'm thinking something like Mushishi's setting. Without mushi but with youkai and other supernatural stuff hanging about rather.

42317 wrote:
Basically right, but please bear in mind that myôji (clan/family names) were a priviledge of the higher classes. Common people were often called by their profession. And going to the highest levels you must know that members of the Imperial family had an own name system, e.g. Yamato Takeru no Mikoto. He's from tha Yamato Clan, Takeru being an honorary name, and "no Mikoto" refers to his being a member of the Imperial family.

Since she is an amnesiac with no name, she kinda just comes up with a name for herself. So I'm probably not going to worry about the social system too much in regards to her anyway.

42317 wrote:
Storm_Shinobi wrote:
A small wooden plaque with a series of black scrawl all over it. She managed to pick out a few characters which she recognized as ‘happy’, ‘luck’ and ‘together’. (...) Deciding that the wooden plaque looked a bit lonely, she stuck it into her sash.

That's a detail missing in your picture.
And you never mention the writing - 天恩 - on her belt.
(If you do, I must have missed it, sorry.)

The plaque she picked up was something I kinda came up with in the writing stage, after I drew it all out. She'll probably get rid of it at some point...
As for the 天恩 on her belt, its just something that was part of the outfit she found in the chest.

42317 wrote:
Nice story for character introduction, by the way.
I was only a bit surprised at how composedly she accepts the fact that instead of a left eye she now has a glowing orb. At least it seems to me that said fact is news to her.
That is, does the orb allow her to see normally? Having only one day hinders your 3D vision and leaves a good deal of your surroundings dark, which is very disturbing if you're not used to it. So I'm just wondering why she's so cool about it.


I decided to make her a bit more intuitive and resourceful, rather than being completely lost and needing someone to tell her everything. She can't really accomplish anything by sitting there and worrying about her glowing ball of an eye.

About the obscured vision... that is a very good point. And thus I decided that glowing eye will have some sort of astral vision tied to it.


Anyway bam.
Image
Did another drawing. Didn't quite turn out as well, and I wasn't in some super inspiration mode.

At any rate, chapter 2! Or rather, 2nd part of chapter 1. I don't think novel chapters are quite that short...
I really have no idea how this is going to work in terms of chapter structure. Maybe with this second passage and the first passage, they can make up part 1 of chapter 1.

.....



As she walked down the dark and lonely path, she started to ponder about the glowing orb she had for an eye. What exactly was it? What does it do? How did it get there? Can it even see?

Can it even see?

She then paused for a moment and started to examine her own vision. Something was odd, her vision was completely normal. As if the mask obscuring her right eye wasn’t there. She then removed the mask and noticed nothing different about her vision.

Odd.

She then raised the mask back up to obscure her glowing eye. For a brief moment, there was a noticeable darkness on the right field of her vision which faded almost immediately. Curious, she lowered her mask and tried obscuring that same eye with her palm with the same results. She then tried closing her eyelids. The darkness however did not fade this time.

Interesting.

She repeated the process on her other normal eye. However her vision would be obscured on that side, indicating that her magical vision was only limited to that oddity she had glowing in her right eye socket. As she trod down the dirt path, she started to experiment with her magical eye. She first plucked a leaf off a nearby tree and slowly drew it closer and closer to her eye. The leaf would grow bigger as it closed in, and once it blanketed her eye in darkness it would suddenly blink away from vision. She then tried using her sleeves, the wooden plaque that she picked up earlier and even stopped to try out her sandal.

Her brief moment of fun was interrupted by a sudden rustle of leaves in a nearby bush. She immediately donned her mask and clumsily slipped her sandal back on. The sound had stopped, leaving her to wonder just exactly what it was or where the sound came from. But before her mind began to go beyond those simple thoughts, the rustling sound returned. She immediately turned towards to the direction of the sound.

A small triangular head of fur peeked out from a mess of leaves. Its nose twitched for a moment, as if sniffing the air and it turned around to examine its surroundings. Then its gaze caught hers.

She recognized that creature as a fox. It was staring intently into her eyes, as if scrutinizing her face. Her eyes remained locked onto the gaze of the fox as she knelt down and reached out her hand. The fox then switched its focus towards her hand, reaching out to sniff it. She then proceeded to stroke the furry little head, enjoying the touch of the soft and warm fur. The fox closed its eyes and moved its head according to her hand movements, as if to show its delight for the act.

Suddenly the fox perked upright and jumped out of the bush onto her lap. After locking eyes with her one more time, it turned and ran a distance before stopping and looking back at her.

“Do you want me to follow you?”

She felt silly for a moment for trying to talk to a fox. However the fox let out a bark, ran down the path a short distance and turned its gaze back once again. It then barked again, as if to understand her query.

“Oh, it can’t hurt.”

Every time the fox ran too far ahead, it would stop and turn its gaze back towards her. She was thinking that maybe she was just chasing the poor creature, rather than it trying to lead her elsewhere. But its actions were much too obvious, it definitely wanted to bring her somewhere.

Despite having found herself with no memories and possessing a glowing orb for an eye, she was having fun. There was nothing she could do about her current predicament anyway. The idea of having communicated with an animal and it leading her somewhere amused her. She had no real destination in mind anyway, she continued to follow her new found bushy friend. As if it was the first time her life had any real direction, she followed after the fox enthusiastically. Her sense of time was lost as she passed through trees and winding dirt roads. Her journey with the fox had started with a fast walk, but later broke out into a run as the fox increased its speed. It eventually jumped off the road into the trees.

She ran after it. The fox had disappeared from sight. Suddenly new emotions started to emerge within her. Fear and insecurity presented themselves as she no longer had a guide. She did find it strange that those emotions did not surface earlier however. Never the less she pushed onwards deeper into the trees, looking for her companion. Eventually, a warm glow appeared in her eyes.

She found herself in a clearing, with no sign of the fox. A man sat near a campfire. A bundle lay on the opposite side of the flame which she assumed was a sleeping person. Behind them was a cart carrying a number of cloth sacks. A brown horse lay asleep in front of the cart, its massive chest swelling and deflating as it breathed.

Anxious about how to approach, she stood there while examining the scene. The man seemed to be absorbed in his act of poking the fire with a stick. After some thought, she realized that this was her chance of getting to some civilization. Thus she composed herself and walked towards the campfire.

“Good Evening.”

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 5th, 2010, 8:19 pm 
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Storm_Shinobi wrote:
42317 wrote:
And you never mention the writing - 天恩 - on her belt.
As for the 天恩 on her belt, its just something that was part of the outfit she found in the chest.

Well, I guessed so. I was rather aiming at your intention when you chose exactly that term. I hope you're not telling me that you just opened the dictionary and chose the first mildly esoteric combination you encountered? :lol:
Wouldn't be like you.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
42317 wrote:
I was only a bit surprised at how composedly she accepts the fact that instead of a left eye she now has a glowing orb.
I decided to make her a bit more intuitive and resourceful (...) She can't really accomplish anything by sitting there and worrying about her glowing ball of an eye.

True. But still... humans are very sensitive about their eyes. If something threatens to hit your head or face your eyes are the first thing you will intuitively protect, and even a slight attack on the eyeballs will have a very distracting effect on an enemy, more than hitting his belly with all your might.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
I decided that glowing eye will have some sort of astral vision tied to it.

Sounds cool... like now she is able to see and maybe summon the spirits that normal people cannot spot? That would make her a true Miko and distinguish her from everyone else.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
Her brief moment of fun was interrupted

She's really hardcore carefree if she considers readjusting eyesight "fun". :sweat:

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
Despite having found herself with no memories and possessing a glowing orb for an eye, she was having fun. There was nothing she could do about her current predicament anyway.

Really hardcore. :lol2:
Anybody else would be extremely worried. I mean, talk to a woman or a girl and ask her what she'd think about wandering alone in the dark in an unknown area with no means to defend herself. At least most women I know are quite afraid of being assaulted.
But, of course, if you're aiming at something lighthearted your choice is perfectly justified.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
Fear and insecurity presented themselves as she no longer had a guide.

When a moment ago she was totally fine without one?

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
She did find it strange that those emotions did not surface earlier however.

Aha! :mrgreen:

I'm enjoying this so far. :d^_^b:

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 9th, 2010, 2:19 pm 
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42317 wrote:
Well, I guessed so. I was rather aiming at your intention when you chose exactly that term. I hope you're not telling me that you just opened the dictionary and chose the first mildly esoteric combination you encountered? :lol:
Wouldn't be like you.

When designing the outfit, I noticed that thing on the belt of the outfits I based it off. I decided to not have the typical miko hakama ribbon thing and put that in instead. Then I was... man I need to put some text on there!
After searching around a bit, those two words which means Heaven's Blessing or something to that effect seemed like a suitable choice.


42317 wrote:
I was only a bit surprised at how composedly she accepts the fact that instead of a left eye she now has a glowing orb.
I decided to make her a bit more intuitive and resourceful (...) She can't really accomplish anything by sitting there and worrying about her glowing ball of an eye.[/quote]
True. But still... humans are very sensitive about their eyes. If something threatens to hit your head or face your eyes are the first thing you will intuitively protect, and even a slight attack on the eyeballs will have a very distracting effect on an enemy, more than hitting his belly with all your might.

42317 wrote:
Sounds cool... like now she is able to see and maybe summon the spirits that normal people cannot spot? That would make her a true Miko and distinguish her from everyone else.

Probably something to that effect. She's not normal, I'll tell you that much!

42317 wrote:
She's really hardcore carefree if she considers readjusting eyesight "fun". :sweat:

Anybody else would be extremely worried. I mean, talk to a woman or a girl and ask her what she'd think about wandering alone in the dark in an unknown area with no means to defend herself. At least most women I know are quite afraid of being assaulted.
But, of course, if you're aiming at something lighthearted your choice is perfectly justified.

Was thinking about her mentality being a bit childlike. Curious, fearless and rather carefree. Don't know danger until they get hurt!

42317 wrote:
I'm enjoying this so far. :d^_^b:


Glad that somebody is!




Image
A scene from the previous part.

I started on part 2, and decided to finish it all with at least 2000 or so words(a length I'm aiming for) but I'm kinda stuck and not getting anywhere. Kinda need roughly 500 more words of substance. The previous two bits were part 1 as a whole.

....
She soon found herself on the move again. The cart gently rocked up and down with an uneven tempo, as the beast of burden trotted along. A cool and gentle breeze blew crisp air across her face as she recalled the night before.

“Good evening to you too young lady. Do you need something?” the man had replied to her greeting. He looked middle age, with a weathered looking face. She had stood there, stunned for a moment. Her mind worked as fast as possible to churn out a possible reply. She regretted the absurdities that spilled out of her mouth that moment.
“Uhm, I was being chased by wild beasts and I've lost my map and and I've been wandering around for days an uh-”
The man had stared at her for a moment, before breaking out in laughter. She stood there, stunned by his sudden outburst. The bundle on the opposite side of the campfire began to stir at the sudden noise. A figure sprang upright from within the bundle and let out a ferocious shriek.
“Oh sorry, did I wake you up?” said the man calmly, unperturbed. A woman had risen on the opposite side of the flame with her hair in a slithering mass of tangles. Distorted shadows danced across her face as the campfire flickered in the night. She let out a massive yawn and rubbed her eyes before looking around with a blank look on her face. After surveying her surroundings to her satisfaction, she cast a venomous look straight at the man.
“Is it morning yet?” croaked the woman. She was clearly unamused that her night's sleep had been interrupted.

“Nope.” replied the man. His face was the very visage of serenity.
“Clearly not you oaf. Are we being under attack?”
“Not at all.”
“Has our horse run away?”
“It loves me too much to.”
“Is there something on my face?”

The girl stood there at a loss. The couple bantered on, the woman's questions starting to become more and more ridiculous.

“Have the trees come to life?”
“It'd be interesting if they did.”

She took the opportunity to think about how to act when the conversation would inevitably turn towards her. What if they ask me where I'm from? What if they ask my name? What if they ask how old I am? A long chain of what ifs began to entwine her mind, with no answer to be found. Her train of thought was suddenly interrupted by a loud-

“THEN WHY HAVE YOU WOKEN ME UP?!!” screamed the woman in a fit of hysteria.

The girl jumped at the abrupt exclamation. Her ears rang as her heart thumped like it was a rabbit hopping away from a fox. The cry had reverberated through her head and destroyed any thoughts she had.

“You see-” the man had started to explain before being interrupted by yet another question.
“Just who is that?”
“As I was saying-”
“Oh, she is a priestess isn't she?”

More questions started to circulate in the girl's mind. Am I a priestess? What does a priestess even do? Why is she saying I am a priestess? The girl then realized that she was indeed dressed in the ceremonial garb of what many would consider that of a priestess. She then found that the odd couple were looking her up and down as if she was a once in a lifetime phenomenon.
“Indeed she must be one,” declared the man in his usual calm demeanor.
The woman suddenly sprung up and grasped the girl's hands tightly. Time seemed to have frozen as the woman looked deep into the girl's eyes with a desperate look upon her face.
“You must help us!” pleaded the woman.

The girl had then learned that the dysfunctional couple were a trader and his wife. They were returning to their home village after trading furs for rice, which explained the cloth sacks that currently filled his cart. Their village was currently being plagued by a weed that had invaded their fields and devastated their crops. Various methods had been attempted to rid themselves of the plague, such as plowing the weeds over and even burning the fields to no avail. They had hence turned towards the supernatural for aid, but their desperate prayers towards the village deity had remained unanswered. The woman had since calmed down significantly, although she still spoke at an amazing pace.

“Don't worry about her, she is always loud when she wakes up in the morning,” the man had explained.
“I am not always loud. It was because you woke me up in the middle of the night!” snapped his wife.

The trader's wife told tales of how the local priestess had called upon their deity to invoke rain in times of drought and other miraculous deeds, including calling the wind to drive away a swarm of locusts. Unfortunately the priestess had passed away many years ago, leaving no successor. She was sure that the reason that their prayers had not been answered was because they have not been performing the correct rituals. Her husband however, dismissed her tales.

“Bah, those were just bed time stories our parents used to tell us. We have never seen such miracles before. If it were so great, it would have gotten rid of those weeds already. Damn thing probably doesn't even exist, all pure superstition,” retorted the man.
“Maybe it is because of your insolence that our prayers haven't been answered.” his wife rebuked.

They had managed to survive the winter with food they had already stocked up on, but their granaries were running empty. The villagers had turned to hunting and foraging in nearby forests to keep themselves going. With the furs obtained from hunting, they could trade with neighbouring villages for grain. However without a harvest this year, the village would not last when winter comes again.

“Will you help us? You might be our last hope!” the trader's wife had begged. She had sincerely thought that the girl was their salvation.
“Uhm, I'll try my best,” the girl had agreed, being drawn into their pace.

And with that, she was on the road again. The trader's wife had insisted that they make haste and return to the village immediately.

“Don't mind it so much, we won't blame you if you can't help us,” said the trader to the girl, after noticing a troubled look on her face.
“Have some faith!” said his wife, sticking an elbow into his side.
“We can always just eat the weeds you know. We tried digging them up and found some potato like roots.”
“Do you have any idea how bad they taste? They are probably poisonous!”
“Better than starving. We could always move elsewhere. As a trader, I could still make a living traveling around.”
“Oh, so you don't care about the other villagers? And the fields our parents worked so hard on? You cold heartless-”

As the couple resumed their ceaseless banter about the effectiveness of prayer and the existence of the supernatural, the girl had some time to think about her next move.
She began to organize her thoughts. For now at least, she was a priestess. As she began to think deeper, information surfaced in her head about the role of a priestess. She recognized it as someone who was an authority on the spiritual, one who could communicate with the gods and could perform a variety of rituals such as exorcism or calling upon the dead amongst various other spiritual deeds. With that information at hand, she deduced that she would probably be asked to invoke the village deity through a ritual to solve their problems.
This troubled her for she was not really a priestess and hence lacked the knowledge to perform any sort of ritual. Additionally each different deity probably had rituals unique to them, so a random priestess wouldn't know of them anyway.
Should she come up with an excuse? Or say that she wasn't a priestess? But then she would have to explain why she was wandering around dressed as one. She also felt like she had to live up to their expectations due to the desperate pleading of the trader's wife.
After some thought, she settled on just trying anything came to mind at that moment. As long as it looked ritualistic, it should be fine right? She can just apologize and say she tried her best, come up with some excuse and then leave for the next village. For now, she just wanted a ride to some civilization and a place to rest and think about things.
Setting aside her upcoming trials, she started to analyze herself. Despite having no memories concerning herself, she had knowledge. She could read, dress herself and had common knowledge of the world around her. Having realized that, she wondered what else she knew. Perhaps she was a priestess after all, she did wake up in a shrine and manage to dress herself in a complicated ceremonial attire all by herself. If it was, it could be a chance to regain some memories by helping the trader's village out. There was a slim chance that she might somehow remember how to perform a ritual of some sort and regain her old memories in the process.
She now had a renewed sense of purpose.

.....



Thinking of ending it when they reach the village. But I'm really turning the last bit into a blegh chunk of internal thought cake beating. I have no idea how the conversations turned out, my writing experience is pretty much zilch. I should really get some of my novels back together in one place to use as a reference point. Thinking of having yet another conversation with the odd couple where she maybe says something for a change. Not sure how to actually bring it up and what about though. Maybe something along the lines of her trying to gauge what season it is? Which would be Spring-ish, since thats when farmers start planting their stuff. Worrying about things not growing in the Summer or Autumn would probably be too late.

I wonder if I should get too hung up over word count though. Should probably reread and possibly rewrite chunks and resort the structure. Since this is a rather mundane scene where nothing much is being done, it feels rather hard to write for. If not for the dysfunctional couple idea, I might not have gotten so far. Maybe I should have just made her reach the village halfway and get started on the supernatural business....

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 9th, 2010, 6:23 pm 
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Storm_Shinobi wrote:
Was thinking about her mentality being a bit childlike. Curious, fearless and rather carefree. Don't know danger until they get hurt!

Aren't children afraid of the dark? Which never hurts anybody? Isn't any human worried when encountered with a situation s/he doesn't understand? You don't need much imagination to guess that this applies all the more when you have no idea who or where you are. Last but not least any 15yo knows that there are bad people who hurt girls for the fun of it.
But if this is a world where all people are noble and good and the only evil is supernatural (the kind without tentacles, too)... why not.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
42317 wrote:
I'm enjoying this so far. :d^_^b:
Glad that somebody is!

I'm saving lots of time ignoring the "What are you reading now" thread. :lol:
And you know how long people's attention span is nowadays. :mrgreen:


Storm_Shinobi wrote:
A scene from the previous part.

I would critisize the way she is depicted while running... I would... because I could not imagine someone actually moving like that, arms swirling around wildly... but in fact my former sergeant is married to a Korean woman who happens to run just like that, like she had emerged from Anime. So I guess it has a certain realism to it... :sweat:

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
"Have the trees come to life?”
"It'd be interesting if they did.” (...)
“THEN WHY HAVE YOU WOKEN ME UP?!!” screamed the woman in a fit of hysteria.

I like that conversation, it's totally Anime-like... I can just see Kogami Akira having a go with Minoru, shaking him like mad. :lol2:

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
The girl had then learned that the dysfunctional couple were a trader and his wife.

Oh man, I thought they were travelling mercenaries, or a thief/fighter combo on the run, people with a mysterious background or something... I may have seen too much Anime, ha... often the wish is the father of the thought, as we say. Anyways, I would not have expected something that normal. :sweat:

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
The woman had since calmed down significantly, although she still spoke at an amazing pace.

She speaks fast? I didn't realize until now. Maybe I missed a piece of information...

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
Should she come up with an excuse? Or say that she wasn't a priestess? (...) As long as it looked ritualistic, it should be fine right? She can just apologize and say she tried her best, come up with some excuse and then leave for the next village.

Her tendency towards deceit troubles me.
But it's a good starting point for
- confrontation,
- catastrophe,
- character development towards the better, and
- conclusion/resolution.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
There was a slim chance that she might somehow remember how to perform a ritual of some sort and regain her old memories in the process.

Sounds like she has read too many Shôjo Manga! :lol2:

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
Thinking of ending it when they reach the village.

"This is our village."
"How beautiful and serene!"
And they lived happily ever after.
Is that what you mean? :lol:
There should be a an anti-climax - a confrontation of sorts, failure, doubt - then self-reflection, and eventually a climax, and triumph.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
I have no idea how the conversations turned out

Between the "dysfunctional" couple (who will probably turn out to be willing to die for each other)? That was super! The right kind of humor at the best possible time: The protagonist is forlorn and potentially in danger and then stumbles upon this kind of comic relief. I couldn't have done it any better. Actually, I'm not good at writing comical conversations :oops: so I envy you in a way for this one.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
Thinking of having yet another conversation with the odd couple where she maybe says something for a change.

I found it completely comprehensible that she didn't actually say much, given the hilarious reaction of the woman to being awoken so suddenly. I imagine Tamaki must have said something like "Yes, I'll try to help you" at some point since she's riding the cart, but she may have been too startled (her face: :sweat: ) to actually say much or anything complex. It makes perfect sense imho.
The next meaningful conversation should be with the village elder for example.

All I'm missing is the couple introducing their names, and it is never clarified why the trader bursts out in a laugh when Tamaki says that she had lost her map, wandering around for days. I thought he'd come up with an explanation why that was impossible (at least for someone native to that world I presume).

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2010, 6:25 am 
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Managed to finish it. Added a few lines in between what was already written and then continued on and hit past my 2000 word mark. And by ending it, I mean just this particular segment rather than the whole story! Its a bit too soon to do that!

As for the names, I'm thinking of avoiding the issue till the end of part 4. She has no idea what to call herself yet and her tromps with the local spirituality will give her an idea of what to call herself.
....

She soon found herself on the move again. The cart gently rocked up and down with an uneven tempo, as the beast of burden trotted along. A cool and gentle breeze blew crisp air across her face as they traveled out of the forest and through grassy plains. The girl rested her head on the sacks of grain as she began to recall the events of the night before.

“Good evening to you too young lady. Do you need something?” the man had replied to her greeting. He looked middle age, with a weathered looking face. She had stood there, stunned for a moment. Her mind worked as fast as possible to churn out a possible reply. She regretted the absurdities that spilled out of her mouth that moment.
“Uhm, I was being chased by wild beasts and I've lost my map and and I've been wandering around for days an uh-”
The man had stared at her for a moment, before breaking out in laughter. She stood there, stunned by his sudden outburst. The bundle on the opposite side of the campfire began to stir at the sudden noise. A figure sprang upright from within the bundle and let out a ferocious shriek.
“Oh sorry, did I wake you up?” said the man calmly, unperturbed. A woman had risen on the opposite side of the flame with her hair in a slithering mass of tangles. Distorted shadows danced across her face as the campfire flickered in the night. She let out a massive yawn and rubbed her eyes before looking around with a blank look on her face. After surveying her surroundings to her satisfaction, she cast a venomous look straight at the man.
“Is it morning yet?” croaked the woman. She was clearly unamused that her night's sleep had been interrupted.

“Nope.” replied the man. His face was the very visage of serenity.
“Clearly not you oaf. Are we being under attack?”
“Not at all.”
“Has our horse run away?”
“It loves me too much to.”
“Is there something on my face?”

The girl stood there at a loss. The couple bantered on, the woman's questions starting to become more and more ridiculous.

“Have the trees come to life?”
“It'd be interesting if they did.”

She took the opportunity to think about how to act when the conversation would inevitably turn towards her. What if they ask me where I'm from? What if they ask my name? What if they ask how old I am? A long chain of what ifs began to entwine her mind, with no answer to be found. Her train of thought was suddenly interrupted by a loud-

“THEN WHY HAVE YOU WOKEN ME UP?!!” screamed the woman in a fit of hysteria.

The girl jumped at the abrupt exclamation. Her ears rang as her heart thumped like it was a rabbit hopping away from a fox. The cry had reverberated through her head and destroyed any thoughts she had.

“You see-” the man had started to explain before being interrupted by yet another question.
“Just who is that?”
“As I was saying-”
“Oh, she is a priestess isn't she?”

More questions started to circulate in the girl's mind. Am I a priestess? What does a priestess even do? Why is she saying I am a priestess? The girl then realized that she was indeed dressed in the ceremonial garb of what many would consider that of a priestess. She then found that the odd couple were looking her up and down as if she was a once in a lifetime phenomenon.
“Indeed she must be one,” declared the man in his usual calm demeanor.
The woman suddenly sprung up and grasped the girl's hands tightly. Time seemed to have frozen as the woman looked deep into the girl's eyes with a desperate look upon her face.
“You must help us!” pleaded the woman.

The girl had then learned that the dysfunctional couple were a trader and his wife. They were returning to their home village after trading furs for rice, which explained the cloth sacks that currently filled his cart. Their village was currently being plagued by a weed that had invaded their fields and devastated their crops. Various methods had been attempted to rid themselves of the plague, such as plowing the weeds over and even burning the fields to no avail. They had hence turned towards the supernatural for aid, but their desperate prayers towards the village deity had remained unanswered. The woman had since calmed down significantly, although she still spoke at an amazing pace.

“Don't worry about her, she is always loud when she wakes up in the morning,” the man had explained.
“I am not always loud. It was because you woke me up in the middle of the night! What were you doing laughing like that anyway?” snapped his wife.
“The priestess suddenly appeared with such a funny look on her face! I couldn't help it!”

Those words stung the girl. She unconsciously raised her hands to her face to check if something was wrong with it. But before she could find the words of protest to that statement, the conversation had already moved on.
The trader's wife told tales of how the local priestess had called upon their deity to invoke rain in times of drought and other miraculous deeds, including calling the wind to drive away a swarm of locusts. Unfortunately the priestess had passed away many years ago, leaving no successor. She was sure that the reason that their prayers had not been answered was because they have not been performing the correct rituals. Her husband however, dismissed her tales.

“Bah, those were just bed time stories our parents used to tell us. We have never seen such miracles before. If it were so great, it would have gotten rid of those weeds already. Damn thing probably doesn't even exist, all pure superstition,” retorted the man.
“Maybe it is because of your insolence that our prayers haven't been answered.” his wife rebuked.

They had managed to survive the winter with food they had already stocked up on, but their granaries were running empty. The villagers had turned to hunting and foraging in nearby forests to keep themselves going. With the furs obtained from hunting, they could trade with neighbouring villages for grain. However without a harvest this year, the village would not last when winter comes again.

“Will you help us? You might be our last hope!” the trader's wife had begged. She had sincerely thought that the girl was their salvation.
“Uhm, I'll try my best,” the girl had agreed, being drawn into their pace.

And with that, she was on the road again. The trader's wife had insisted that they make haste and return to the village immediately.

“Don't mind it so much, we won't blame you if you can't help us,” said the trader to the girl, after noticing a troubled look on her face.
“Have some faith!” said his wife, sticking an elbow into his side.
“We can always just eat the weeds you know. We tried digging them up and found some potato like roots.”
“Do you have any idea how bad they taste? They are probably poisonous!”
“Better than starving. We could always move elsewhere. As a trader, I could still make a living traveling around.”
“Oh, so you don't care about the other villagers? And the fields our parents worked so hard on? You cold heartless-”

As the couple resumed their ceaseless banter about the effectiveness of prayer and the existence of the supernatural, the girl had some time to think about her next move.
She began to organize her thoughts. For now at least, she was a priestess. As she began to think deeper, information surfaced in her head about the role of a priestess. She recognized it as someone who was an authority on the spiritual, one who could communicate with the gods and could perform a variety of rituals such as exorcism or calling upon the dead amongst various other spiritual deeds. With that information at hand, she deduced that she would probably be asked to invoke the village deity through a ritual to solve their problems.
This troubled her for she was not really a priestess and hence lacked the knowledge to perform any sort of ritual. Additionally each different deity probably had rituals unique to them, so a random priestess wouldn't know of them anyway.
Should she come up with an excuse? Or say that she wasn't a priestess? But then she would have to explain why she was wandering around dressed as one. She also felt like she had to live up to their expectations due to the desperate pleading of the trader's wife.
After some thought, she settled on just trying anything came to mind at that moment. As long as it looked ritualistic, it should be fine right? She can just apologize and say she tried her best, come up with some excuse and then leave for the next village. For now, she just wanted a ride to some civilization and a place to rest and think about things.
Setting aside her upcoming trials, she started to analyze herself. Despite having no memories concerning herself, she had knowledge. She could read, dress herself and had common knowledge of the world around her. Having realized that, she wondered what else she knew. Perhaps she was a priestess after all, she did wake up in a shrine and manage to dress herself in a complicated ceremonial attire all by herself. If it was, it could be a chance to regain some memories by helping the trader's village out. There was a slim chance that she might somehow remember how to perform a ritual of some sort and regain her old memories in the process.
The girl's chain of hopeful thoughts were suddenly interrupted as the cart ran over a few rocks, jolting her back into reality. She only then noticed the fireball peeking over the far off mountains, casting a orange hue over the skies and the clouds being ignited with a pink light. The sun had began to rise as she was lost in thought. It had began to cast light over the mountains and on throughout the land, banishing the night away.
Her appreciation of the morning sunrise came to a halt as the cart slowed to a stop. The trader then spoke, “We're here. Just in time for morning.”
The girl then got up and peered over the other side of the cart. A large landscape was spread out before her, like a canvas mottled with an earthy hue and a viridian tincture. Simple houses of wood and straw stood upon the earth which was carpeted with a haze of green. There were two rows of houses situated on both sides of a great tree, while large green fields stretched out behind. She then noticed that besides the tree that stood in the center of the village, the only other life were the villagers and that one type of grass that now covered the entire village.

“Looks like it spread while we were gone,” remarked the trader as he got off the cart. He examined the surroundings with a dejected look on his face. The horse stood around idly for a moment before lowering its head to take a munches out of the weed infestation. “Go on, eat them all up for us. If only there were a hundred of you.”
“We have a priestess now! Surely our deity will save us this time,” said his wife as she got off the cart.
“I say we pack up and move. Just look at this mess!” replied the man, dismissing his wife's hopeful outlook.

As the girl got off the cart, a group of villagers approached led by an elderly man with a cane. He steadily walked forward with a stooped posture, the lines of wrinkles and the length of his beard telling of his age and wisdom. The girl then began to panic, not over the task she faced but the fact that she probably would have to introduce herself. She had not yet thought of a name. Before she could even begin thinking of a name, yet another interruption presented itself like there was an army of them ready to derail the poor girl's thoughts at every moment's turn. This interruption presented itself as a massive gust of wind, almost toppling the girl over. And with it came a whisper in an authoritative voice.

“Finally. You have come.”

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 13th, 2010, 7:05 pm 
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And that's the end? :blink:
Come on, this is a mere introduction of main characters - the reader doesn't even get the faintest hint at what's actually going on!

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 14th, 2010, 1:08 am 
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It isn't the end! Its the end of part 2!

I'm using this structure as a loose guideline:
1 part consists of 2000 words minimum.
1 Chapter consists of 5 parts.
1 Volume consists of 5 chapters.

So theres going to be part 3 and 4 and 5. What was witnessed thus far was just part 1 and 2. The chapter isn't even over yet!

At any rate, I'm thinking of rewriting part 2. Its a bit incoherent as it is and I could probably reorganize and rewrite it better with a more balanced mix of conversation, inner thoughts and stuff happening all throughout than having a chunk here and a chunk there. The whole sitting on a cart reminiscence bit will probably be written out, and I'll restart from when she meets the trader and go on properly from there. Although it feels like a while to me, in essence its only part 2 of a 5 part chapter, and nothing has happened much that such a scene was even required.


New drawings!
ImageImage
I tried drawing new boots. Like the flashier frilly boots better or the more (relatively anyway!) normal looking ones?

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 14th, 2010, 7:48 am 
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Storm_Shinobi wrote:
It isn't the end! Its the end of part 2! (...) theres going to be part 3 and 4 and 5.

Whew, you had me worry for a moment. :sweat:

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
At any rate, I'm thinking of rewriting part 2 (...) better with a more balanced mix of conversation, inner thoughts and stuff happening all throughout

The conversation was awesome! :P2:

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
The whole sitting on a cart reminiscence bit will probably be written out, and I'll restart from when she meets the trader and go on properly from there.

That would probably improve the flow of events, but I thought the flashback wasn't that disturbing so I didn't comment on it.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
New drawings!
I tried drawing new boots.

Well, I'm not surprised. :whistle:
Gawd, I don't wanna know what sort of kinky stuff you have on your hard drive. 8)
An acquaintance of mine likes boots, too, and has an according picture collection... totally unsexy from my point of view. I am opposed to boots as an expression of fashion or aesthetics (they're okay for work, hiking, or cold weather) because imho they obscure the natural beauty of the female leg too much. :booyah:

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 16th, 2010, 4:29 am 
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Still feeling too lazy to write. And I got a challenge to a LOLITA FASHION face off. Just a friendly thing, finish an 'original' piece of lolita fashion by the end of the month.

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A super sketchy attempt. A guro-loli. Basically a bloodied up lolita, thats kinda all grotesque and whatnot.... not too sure if there are any real guidelines besides trying to make it look kinda dark and broken. Not too satisfied so I will try another design direction. I'm keeping her hooked bonesaw though, which has a finger vise for a handle. She breaks her own fingers before cutting people up!

Thinking of giving her a bloodied grater to replace the syringe maybe. Maybe I can keep the syringes wedged under the bandages....

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 16th, 2010, 8:30 pm 
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A bit too sick for my tastes, and I do not like the knock-knees approach.
It doesn't make her look feeble... more like a junkie half-wit.

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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 16th, 2010, 9:15 pm 
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I hate needles... I REALLY hate needles... :sweat:

*faints from the shock of how long the needle is :blink: *

Just refrain from using needles in your future art, and everything will be hunky dory.


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 Post subject: Re: Storm Shinobi's STUFFs
PostPosted: January 18th, 2010, 1:11 pm 
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Funny, I thought about making her a drug addict at some point.

As for the fate of the needle, I'm thinking of replacing it with a bloodied food grater. Like I think graters have an untapped potential in these sort of gorey grotesque line of stuff. Its a friggin grater, it'd be utterly horrible and painful having your face grated. And pretty bloody.

...

Jewel of the Stars Chapter 1 Part 2 REWRITE

After messing around, chopping up bits I can re-use and rewriting parts here and there, I have come up with a 2nd version of part 2. Hopefully it is a bit more natural, with a basic linear progression. I tried to toss things up a bit so a conversation or text-wall doesn't go on for too long at any one time.

My ability to assess myself is still rather lousy, but I do think I've done a better job this time around.
...

“Good evening to you too young lady. Do you need something?” the man had replied to her greeting. He looked middle age, with a weathered looking face. She had stood there, stunned for a moment. Her mind worked as fast as possible to churn out a possible reply. She regretted the absurdities that spilled out of her mouth that moment.
“Uhm, I was being chased by wild beasts and I’ve lost my map and and I’ve been wandering around for days an uh-”
The man had stared at her for a moment, before breaking out in laughter. She stood there, stunned by his sudden outburst. The bundle on the opposite side of the campfire began to stir at the sudden noise. Suddenly there was a ferocious shriek.
“Oh sorry, did I wake you up?” said the man, unperturbed. The girl looked at the bundle of sheets fearfully, cautiously taking a step back. At a moment's notice, a figure sprung upright from within. A woman had risen on the opposite side of the flame with her hair in a slithering mass of tangles. Distorted shadows danced across her face as the campfire flickered in the night. She let out a massive yawn and rubbed her eyes before looking around with a blank look on her face. After surveying her surroundings to her satisfaction, she cast a venomous look straight at the man.

“Is it morning yet?” croaked the woman. She was clearly unamused that her night’s sleep had been interrupted.
“Nope.” replied the man. His face was the very visage of serenity.
“Clearly not you oaf. Are we being under attack?” Contrastingly, the woman looked like a wild beast with a malicious glint in her eyes.
“Not at all.” said the man craning his neck to look behind himself. “Unless those bandits are really good at hiding!”
“Has our horse run away?” croaked the woman while rubbing her eyes. She let out a yawn and her spine arched backwards as she stretched. The girl winced as she heard bones crack.
The horse had already awoken from the earlier commotion and now laid on the grass lazily after finding nothing worth noting.
“It loves me too much to, don't you now?” declared the man with a grin on his face, while turning to face the horse. The horse was more interested in poking its nose into the grass to pay the man's question any attention.
“Is there something on my face?” inquired the woman.
“Oh dear, I haven't seen those wrinkles before.” revealed the man while rubbing the stubble on his chin.

The pointless exchange of questions paused for a moment as the woman shot a vicious glare at the man, like a bird of prey ready to strike. The pause allowed the girl to think for a moment. She took the opportunity to think about how to act when the conversation would inevitably turn towards her. What if they ask me where I’m from? What if they ask my name? What if they ask how old I am? A long chain of what ifs began to entwine her mind, with no answer to be found.

“Oh dear, you better tell me what was so funny that you woke me up,” hissed the woman.
“You should have seen the look on her face. You see-” the man had started to explain before being interrupted by yet another question.
“Just who is that?” The girl's eyes met with the woman's.
“As I was saying-”
“Oh, she is a priestess isn’t she?”

More questions started to circulate in the girl’s mind. Am I a priestess? What does a priestess even do? Why is she saying I am a priestess? As the odd couple looked her up and down, she herself decided to examine herself and found that she was dressed in what she recognized as the ceremonial garb of a priestess.

“Oh-ho, I didn't notice,” remarked the man in his usual calm demeanor.
The woman suddenly sprung up and grasped the girl’s hands tightly. Time seemed to have frozen as the woman looked deep into the girl’s eyes with a desperate look upon her face.
“You must help us!”
The girl, unsure of how to react had simply nodded.
“Then we must leave now.” The woman had gotten up, her face lit up with enthusiasm.
Gone was the wild beast within. The man looked up at her as if to say something, but then decided against it and resigned himself to her decision. He put out the fire by kicking dirt into it. After that, he proceeded to fold the sheets up into a neat square. He shook his head and sighed as he walked over and tossed the sheets onto the cart.
“Come, let's go” said the woman. She held the girl from behind by the shoulders and drove her towards the cart. “I'll explain on the way.”
The girl simply complied to the woman's urging, having being drawn into her pace. She clambered onto the cart, wondering just she gotten herself into. The man had already readied the horse and was sitting in the front next to the woman. As the horse started off to a gentle trot, the cart creaked itself into motion.

“My name is Haruka, and this is my stupid husband Yoshikazu,” began the woman with a simple introduction.
“This stupid husband just traded some cheap furs for enough grain to last the village a week.” chimed in her husband.
“This swindling man is a trader. But that is not important.” Haruka was annoyed at her husband's interruption.
“You may call this swindling man Kazu,” he said, taking his wife's insults in good humour. “I am a trader.”

The girl panicked at the introductions and racked her brain in an attempt to come up with a name. A multitude of names formed in her mind, but the conversation moved on before she could decide on a suitable candidate.

“We were coming back after trading for some grain-” continued Yoshikazu but he was immediately interrupted.
“I'm the one telling the story!” interjected his wife after sticking an elbow into his side. “Anyway our village has been plagued by a demonic weed. It started appearing last spring and invaded our fields. With it around, we can no longer grow any crops. We managed to get by the year with food stored from previous harvests as well as by foraging and hunting in the forests. But now it is spring again and we cannot plant our crops now.” She stopped for a moment to catch her breath. The girl felt somewhat glad that the topic on her name was avoided.

“If we cannot plant anything now, we won't be able to last the upcoming winter. We tried everything, even burning the fields down. They just grow back the next day,” continued her husband.
“Such an accursed weed cannot be normal. It must be the work of some demon. We have tried praying to our deity, the great Taifu-no-kami but to no avail,” said Haruka in a gloomy voice.
“This great deity probably doesn't even exist. Or if it does, it doesn't care.” scoffed her husband, who was elbowed yet again in the ribs.
Haruka continued on, ignoring her husband. “The priestess of the great Taifu-no-kami died five years ago, leaving no successor. Perhaps that is why our prayers have not been answered yet. Maybe with your powers, it will finally hear us.”

The girl began to understand why her aid was wanted. Haruka wanted a priestess to invoke their deity and cause a miracle to happen. Except she wasn't a priestess and just happened to be dressed like one.

“If it was so great, it would be able to hear our prayers without anybody special,” muttered Yoshikazu under his breath.
“Maybe it is because of your insolence that our prayers haven’t been answered.” his wife rebuked. “Do you not remember the story where our great Taifu-no-kami blew away a locust swarm?”
“And it all happened a hundred years ago. Bah, those were just bed time stories our parents used to tell us. We have never seen such miracles before. Damn thing probably doesn’t even exist, all pure superstition,” retorted the man.

The girl began to organize her thoughts. For now at least, she was a priestess. Someone who was an authority on the spiritual, believed to be able to call upon miracles and blessings by invoking the power of a deity. She knew she had to somehow invoke their deity to solve their weed problem.
This troubled her for she was not really a priestess and hence lacked the knowledge to perform any sort of ritual. Additionally each different deity probably had rituals unique to them, so a random priestess wouldn’t know of them anyway.

“Sorry for dragging you off like that, nothing can stop my wife once she starts going off like that. Don’t mind it so much, we won’t blame you if you can’t help us,” said Yoshikazu to the girl, after noticing a troubled look on her face.
“Have some faith!” said his wife, sticking an elbow into his side.
“You were lost weren't you? I'll draw you a map of the area once we get to the village.”
“That would be helpful, thank you very much.” said the girl.

She thought of coming up with an excuse, or coming out into the open about now being a priestess. But then she would have to explain why she was wandering around dressed as one. She also felt like she had to live up to their expectations due to the desperate pleading of Haruka. And she wanted to do something for the free ride and map she was getting.
After some thought, she settled on just trying anything came to mind at that moment. As long as it looked ritualistic, it should be fine right? She then toyed with the possibility that she was actually a priestess with powers of some sort. After all, she did wake up in a shrine. There was also her mysterious eye which indicated that she was not a normal human being. She started to get hopeful, thinking that it could possibly work out in the end.

The girl’s chain of hopeful thoughts were suddenly interrupted as the cart ran over a few rocks, jolting her back into reality. She only then noticed the fireball peeking over the far off mountains, casting a orange hue over the skies and the clouds being ignited with a pink light. The sun had begun to rise as she was lost in thought. It had began to cast light over the mountains and on throughout the land, banishing the night away.

Her appreciation of the morning sunrise came to a halt as the cart slowed to a stop. Yoshikazu then spoke, “We’re here. Just in time for sunrise.”

The girl then got up and peered over the other side of the cart. A large landscape was spread out before her, like a canvas mottled with an earthy hue and a viridian tincture. Simple houses of wood and straw stood upon the earth which was carpeted with a haze of green. There were two rows of houses situated on both sides of a great tree, while large green fields stretched out behind. She then noticed that besides the tree that stood in the center of the village, the only other life were the villagers and that one type of grass that now covered the entire village.

“Looks like it spread while we were gone,” remarked the Yoshikazu as he got off the cart. He examined the surroundings with a dejected look on his face. The horse stood around idly for a moment before lowering its head to take a munches out of the weed infestation. “Go on, eat them all up for us.”
“We have a priestess now! Surely our deity will save us this time,” said Haruka as she got off the cart.
“I say we pack up and move. Just look at this mess!” replied Yoshikazu dismissing his wife’s hopeful outlook.

As the girl got off the cart, a group of villagers approached led by an elderly man with a cane. He steadily walked forward with a stooped posture, the lines of wrinkles and the length of his beard telling of his age and wisdom. The girl then began to panic, not over the task she faced but the fact that she probably would have to introduce herself. She regretted not having thought about the matter more carefully during the journey. Suddenly a massive gust of wind presented itself, almost toppling the girl over. And with it came a whisper in an authoritative voice.

“Finally. You have come.”

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The contents of a deranged mind.


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