Greetings all. This is Cuttingmoon57, back with yet another idea (despite not having finished his other stories). When inspiration hits you, there's not much you can do except let the fingers flow.
Anyway, I've been mulling over this story for a while now, pretty much since my girlfriend got me into Wizard101. That said, I hope many of you enjoy this first installment.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, elements, or borrowed plot ideas from any source I acquire them from, specifically KingsIsle. I merely own any original characters I create.
"Blah" = talking
"Blah" = thoughts, writing, sound effects, or flashbacks
(Blah)= scene change
Shuffling of slipper covered feet, the timed pounding of ornate wooden staff against the ground, and the occasional labored breath all echoed throughout the narrow confines of the dimly lit hallway. The only other provided sound came from the crackling fire of lamps spaced evenly on both walls. Light from their flames gave illumination not only to the thousands of roots, large and small, growing from every crack and crevice, but also light enough for the path's sole traveler to see clearly.
His deep purple robes, adorned throughout with astral symbols and lined with red and gold, swept across the ground behind him with every step. His pace remained even throughout his voyage through the maze-like pathways, though it was clear from the look in his eye that this was no leisurely walk.
Merle Ambrose had no time for games at this moment, or at all lately.
It was within minutes that he arrived at his destination and stepped out from the shadowed hallways into a massive circular room of pure beauty. Hundreds of leaves, each as luminous as an emerald, slowly descended from the top of the arching ceiling like snowflakes. Similar to the hallways, roots covered the walls, this time so large that they could be mistaken for tree trunks. Aligned at the center of the room on a pedestal lay a white crystalline seed, easily six feet in length, its core glowing a subdue beige color. Four evenly spaced columns decorated with runic symbols of a lost age rose from the floor around it and ascended to the higher reaches.
Ambrose stepped forward slowly and stopped a few feet shy, regarding the seed with absolute wonderment. The heat emanating from was warm, strangely comforting, and the old wizard couldn't help but close his eyes and bask in its warmth if not but a moment.
"It is time?"
The elderly man didn't turn around at the sound of the voice. In truth, he had known she was there all along, though not of the hand of magic.
He had asked her to come.
"Indeed." His voice seemed melancholy, whether or not that was his intention. "Are you sure of this?"
"No other is of suitable strength." The subtle fear in her response was obvious to the purple clad wizard, though he wisely said nothing. Her eyes shifted upwards, pupils focusing solely on the crystal seed at the center of the room. She seemed to be almost entranced by its light, and by simply looking at it, Ambrose noticed the doubt in her voice vanish. "I would have none other regardless. It will be my burden to bear, and mine alone."
From Cuttingmoon57, A tale of magical proportions
The wizard stroked his snow white beard with a downcast sigh, then spoke.
"Finally, after a millennium of turmoil and isolation, the prophecy has come full-circle. Here is the Spiral's hope." He stepped even closer to the crystal; his eye only inches away, peering into its depths.
"Here is the Exseed."
First Pip: Rebirthday
Year One, Neo Pangaian Calendar
The world, slowly but surely torn asunder under the force of the warring titans, ceased to exist as we know it. Its remains scattered across the great void, held loosely together only by power of the Grandfather Tree. His strength spent, the great oak planted a single seed before drifting into a deep slumber-
A boisterous fist pounded against Victoria Flaresong's dorm room door, and her head instantly shot up as she closed the freshly bought copy of her Legends of the Spiral textbook. The blonde haired, brown eyed girl stood to her feet, smoothed out her light blue pajama pants and matching shirt, and muttered under her breath from the continued beating of her door.
Novice Wizard: Victoria Flaresong
"What!" The door swung open, and she yelled in protest.
"It's about time you answered the door. It's not very professional to leave people waiting like that."
There stood an adolescent boy, a displeased scowl on his face and his hands crossed across his chest. His robes and pointed hat held a deep purple quality with white trimmings and lightning shaped designs embroidered across them. A cape lay draped over his shoulders and stopped just a few inches from the ground. Tuffs of brown hair could be seen coming out from under the hat, providing a good neutral tone to contrast his vivid purple eyes.
Initiate Diviner: Ty Stormwhisper
The blonde stood frozen for a few moments, and her eyebrow twitched slightly. Apparently he had forgotten the numerous times he had not only been late, but outright ditched her. She calmed herself silently. It wouldn't improve the situation to try and reason with him. The girl moved back into her room, her house slippers gently scraping against the old, wooden floorboards.
"If you're going to disturb me this early in the morning, make the first thing you say important." She muttered, intentionally loud enough for him to hear. "Also, have a good reason."
"I do have a good reason." Victoria turned, raising a hopeful eyebrow at him. "I was bored."
"That's not a good reason!"
"No, but making sure you're not late to class is." He gestured with his eyes to the clock on the far wall, and her light chocolate eyes widened ever so slightly. "Wouldn't want to be late, especially for a Cyrus Drake class. I'd get dressed fast."
She scurried over the small distance between her and the room's entrance, grabbed the handle, and slammed the door right in his face, an action which caused him to slightly flinch. He could hear the sound of fabric flying, dresser drawers opening and closing, and the occasional grunt of pain whenever she tripped over or stepped on a floor bound object.
"Need any help in there?"
"Turn that handle and I'll wring your neck."
Victoria peered around the corner into the classroom, cheering mentally as she spied the time of the clock on the northern wall. She victoriously strolled into the crimson colored room, a bright smile on her face though otherwise trying not to draw too much attention to herself. Not to difficult a task; most of the assemble students conversed quietly amongst themselves or finished up any last minute reading.
She took to a desk near the far back right side, where a cluster of worn empty desks stood, and placed the messenger bag slung over her shoulder onto the ground. Feeling she had enough time before class, she retrieved a tattered, maroon hued book and flipped through the first few pages, then acquired a quill pen from a side pocket.
It's been about a month now since I started classes at Ravenwood. Things have been going pretty well. Haven't made too many new friends yet, but Ty has been keeping me company since we started. I know that you would prefer I not become a wizard, but I…I really believe that I can accomplish something great here.
"Alright, that's quite enough of your babble, children."
Following the voice, Victoria looked up and was greeted by the sight of one rather ornery professor, Cyrus Drake. He entered with an air of superiority about him, absently rubbing his temples with his free hand as if he was bothered by the students' mere presence. Sometimes, she honestly wondered. As he set down the books he carried, she put away her own, stuffing it deep into her bag and retrieving the class textbook and a few pieces of note paper, as did many other students in front of her.
Professor of Myth Studies and Head of History Department: Cyrus Drake
"Now, as we begin class today, I hope every one of you took the time to read chapter three and four last night." He began walking forward down the middle of the desks, absently fiddling with his wand. Victoria's eyes wandered to the blackboard, where a piece of chalk, seemingly floating on its own, scribbled a series of words on the board. "Today's lectures will pick up from where four left off, but first, I am generous enough today to entertain questions about the reading." A few moments of silence passed, and one hand from the desk just ahead of Victoria, rose into the air. "What do you have to say?"
A tan skinned teenage boy stood from the chair, spiky black hair a mess on his head. His robes were the same as every apprentice level wizard currently in the class, plain with the only variations being their primary colors. His held a deep blue hue, with simple yellow trimmings. The strangest thing about him though, was image of an elaborate eye plastered on his forehead. From what Victoria had seen of it every so often, she assumed it was a tattoo of sorts, though she had never held the interest to actually confront him about it.
Novice Wizard: Tala Mythhammer
"In chapter three, the text says something about some sort of seed, but doesn't explain its purpose. Could you please explain?"
Cyrus gave him a wary eye and a condescending look, an action he was quite well versed in. "Very well; I will entertain your request. The legends speak that just before the Grandfather Tree drifted off into the Great Slumber, he planted a seed. Information remains scarce as to what exactly was inside the seed, or to its actual purpose. Rumors abound, and scholars have found little evidence as to the validity of the tale, as there is no written record of Bartleby's words." He moved back up the row to stand at the forefront of the classroom. "It is a myth for sure, though not all myths are necessarily untrue. Until evidence surfaces, take the account as you will."
Quill pens scribbled furiously as the bald instructor finished his explanation and turned towards the board, where the floating chalk had just finished writing the last of the outline. Cyrus continued speaking, and pointed towards a line near the bottom.
"Concerning this, I will have each of you write a one page paper on any aspect of the origins of the Spiral. You are free to choose the paper's focus; I care not. It will be due next class period." A menagerie of groans and disappointed grunts followed, and Victoria could have almost sworn she saw the professor smiling. "Now, for today's material…"
Ty Stormwhisper awkwardly drummed his fingers along the surface of the table while resting his head right along next to them. A sigh would escape his throat every few moments or so, the only noticeable sound in the expansive west wing of the Ravenwood Library. With each and every exhale, Victoria Flaresong, who sat to his left, would focus more and more on her reading, and Tala Mythhammer, who sat across from the two, could only peer above his own book and silently chuckle as she grew angrier.
"My only day off this week, and wouldn't you know I'd still be in a library."
"You asked to come with us." Victoria's voice was hushed as she flipped a page over, though its steel was enough to pierce human flesh.
"I thought we were going somewhere more exciting."
"We told you where we were going…twice." She breathed deeply, and stared forward at her newly met, more levelheaded acquaintance. "Forgive him. He's the worst kind of person."
"Don't worry about it." Tala chuckled with a smile, closing his current book and picking up a new tome. "So have you found anything good yet?"
"Not really." She admitted. "I found a few books on the Dragon's perspective on the Great War, but I was honestly hoping to do something a bit more involving."
"Me too." The black haired boy skimmed through pages. "That whole seed of Bartleby discussion at the beginning of class was kind of interesting, though. That's definitely something I'd like to do a project on, but none of the books here have any information on it. Plus, he's been asleep for a thousand years. It's not like we could wake him up and ask him."
"Yeah." Victoria let out a sigh of her own, slumping forward on the table. "It's probably just some random myth anyway."
"Oh I assure you. It's very real."
The three assembled students all looked up as a strange figure stood next to Tala's chair. He was draped in solid black: the hood covering his head, the long coat that stopped around his ankles, loose fitting pants, and leather boots. The only semblance of color was the paleness of his face and jet black hair that shielded lifeless, ashen eyes. More than simply just his appearance was the complete silence with which he approached him. It was as if he simply appeared.
"How can you be sure?" Tala was the first to respond after the awkward period of silence.
"See for yourself." He removed his hands from his pockets, pulling out a small folded piece of paper. As it touched down on the table, the note magically began to unfold itself into a map, and the three students stared in wonder at it. Upon it was the center of the expansive Ravenwood campus, a map of the area around the Great Tree. "Here. This is where you will find your answers." His pale finger landed on the spot opposite the side of Bartleby's slumbering face. "Behind the fauna at this point, there is a secret passage built into his wood."
"How do you know all of this? And why are you giving this to us?"Victoria queried, her tone skeptical. At this, the boy began to walk away, inviting confused looks, and then whispered over his shoulder in a friendly tone.
"A simple gesture of kindness. Do with it what you will."
The trio watched his retreating form move towards the door to the main foyer, and for the first time noticed the large, white elaborate skull imprinted across the back of his jacket. As he exited eyeshot, Ty lifted his head from the table for the first time, an adventurous look in his eyes.
"I say we go for it."
"Are you crazy?" Victoria asked in surprise. "First of all, we have no idea who that was. Second, even if this secret passage does exist, who's to say that seed is even at the end of it? What if it's some restricted area or something worse? We could seriously get in trouble."
"Oh, Victoria. You think way too much about these things. Where's your sense of adventure?"
She crossed her arms, and looked at him straight-faced. "In the realm of sanity. Where's yours?"
"Insanity, but we digress." Ty turned to Tala with a smirk. "How about you? You in?"
"There's no way he's going to, Ty." The blonde girl interjected. "Unlike you, Tala actually has some sense to…"
"Sure, I'm in."
"I said I'm in." He repeated with a smile. "I mean, we won't know for sure unless we at least check it out. And besides, we're going to be full-fledged wizards soon. We're going to be doing this kind of stuff for a living, so might as well get used to it now while it's only slightly dangerous."
"That's the spirit, Tala." Ty held a mischievous grin as he turned back to his childhood friend. "So, Victoria...looks like you and your reason are the minority here. Still sure you don't want to go?"
Her eyes shifted back and forth between the two boys until finally, against her better judgment, she caved in and expelled a defeated sigh.
"Fine. I'll go."
"Alright, good." The Diviner scooted closer to the table, and the other two leaned in to hear his whispering. "So, here's what we'll do…"
It was the dead of midnight as Victoria leaned her back against one of the few street lamps, the only sources of light in the blanket of darkness that overcame the Ravenwood Academy Park. The muffled cries of owls and chirping of crickets nearby did little to soothe her fears, even though she knew barely anyone traveled outside the dorms this late.
After taking a few seconds to check around for any sign of life, she allowed herself a few seconds to stare up at the twinkling of the stars and the grand white crescent that was the moon, not to mention a moment to question why she had even bothered to come. Instead of coming all the way out here to search for some myth, she could be resting peacefully in her bed right now or at the very least finishing up that paper due the following morning.
"Good to see you actually showed up."
The blonde was torn from musings of more peaceful machinations by the approach of Ty and Tala stepping into the lit range of the street lamp. Both, just like her, adopted the darkest clothing they could find, which mostly consisted of black or gray pants, shirts, and gloves for each of them. Both boys stopped just in front of her, and she leaned off the lamp, responding.
"Well I did say I was in, no matter how idiotic this idea is. Let's just get this over with."
The two simply nodded in response, and Ty motioned for them to follow him. The trio began making their way towards the middle of the park, maneuvering around bushes and trees while keeping watch for any night patrolmen that just so happened to pass by. Finally, after a few minutes, they reached their destination.
The Grandfather Tree Bartleby was gargantuan to say the least; by Victoria's guess at least five hundred yards in diameter at just the base. His branch spread out in all directions, like hundreds of thousands of snake like tendrils, creating a shaded canopy over the entire Ravenwood campus and even part of the Commons during the daylight hours. Even after a month of attendance, it still amazed both her and Tala every time they laid eyes on him this close up, which was often considering his location at the very center of the campus.
It took the small group more time to traverse around to the massive oak's backside than it did to arrive at the meeting spot. Within a twelve minute walk, Ty gave them a hand motion to stop, and looked at the wall of bark to his left.
"The map that guy gave us says this is the place. Let's see if we can find anything." The three hopped the railing surrounding the tree and inched closer to receive a better look, now becoming more fearful that this may have been some sort of setup. Hands wandered over the bark's surface, and Tala took the liberty to check the grass and surrounding bushes for any unordinary markings or occurrences. It would be another ten minutes of this fruitless search before all three of the adolescents sat in the grass, mostly disheartened.
"This was definitely the point the mark said." Ty remarked. "Maybe it can only appear with some magic words or something."
"Or maybe it wasn't here to begin with." Victoria argued, standing to her feet. "Like I warned you, we had no idea who that guy was. Seems now like he was just playing some sort of prank on us. I hope you two have learned a lesson in blindly tru-"
The girl's sentence was abruptly cut off by a flash of light from the tree's surface, instantly catching everyone's attention. The three watched in shock as a runic symbol began to engrave itself in the bark, as if some invisible force was carving it, and the same bright light as the flash gave a glow to the etched markings. As it finished the fourth and last mysterious symbol, another flash erupted from all, temporarily blinding the assembled wizards.
As the three looked on after the flash, Ty and Tala gave their widest grin, and Victoria could only stand there in some strange mixture of both amazement and pure annoyance. Her words mimicked those sentiments.
"You've…you have got to be kidding me."
The two boys high fived enthusiastically, and the elder spoke. "I stopped listening halfway through, but whatever you just said, Victoria, it seems to have been the password we needed." They shot up from their seat on the grass and began to peer into the eerie darkness of the newly revealed tunnel before Ty stepped in, Tala following moments later.
Lastly, as Victoria shrugged and entered behind them, none had noticed the ethereal howl emanating from one of the lower branches thirty feet above them, nor the glowing eyes barely visible through the foliage.
"Ok, so he wasn't lying…there was a path."
"A path right where he said there would be."
"But I'm not about to admit you were right about this one, Ty. We still don't know where this leads or why he would send us here."
"Very well, Victoria." Ty began, speaking over his shoulder to his following companions. A torch he had grabbed from a sconce near the entrance provided enough light for them to accurately navigate the many hallways, all the while giving them a sliver of heat in the otherwise near frigid tunnel. "Like he said…we'll just have to see ourselves, now won't we?"
"So which way do we go from here?" Tala consulted as the group stopped at a four way crossroad. He and Victoria stepped out from behind Ty and planted their feet on either side. The Diviner raised torch to shed some light on the dark corridors. To the left and north seemed normal enough, merely a copy of the paths they had already trekked the past few minutes. The right, however, proved another story. As he shined the torches light upon it, numerous tendril like roots covered the floor, ceiling, and walls, leaving almost no uncovered area. Furthermore, numerous eerie sounds seemed to radiate from it.
"Let's try the le-"
"C'mon guys. This way." Victoria stared dumbfounded as she watched Ty and her classmate head straight for the clearly more dangerous route with fearless indifference. She stopped herself from uttering a word of protest. Ty wasn't the type to heed warnings of any sort.
She soon caught up with the other two, and as a party, they drew deeper into the root filled passageway by the minute, taking turns and downward staircases whenever they presented themselves. Every so often along their journey, they would hear a sickening crawling noise along the walls, but a proper positioning of the torch would reveal only insects scurrying on the roots. Of course, these revelations did nothing to alleviate the growing fear amongst them.
"What this down here." Ty wondered aloud, leading the other two along with him. All laid eyes on the bright light at the end of their current tunnel, a source of hope for the weary travelers despite its usual implications. With haste they crossed the hallway's final expanse, occasionally stumbling over unseen roots, before reaching its end and a much larger room's beginning.
Victoria's mouth could only gape open at the astonishing beauty of the space around her. It was a room like none she'd ever seen. Large roots, as thick as columns, snaked their way up white washed walls, ending at the highest point of the domed ceiling above them. Obscuring that highest point, though, was a canopy of the greenest leaves, glowing with a strange mystical energy. These leaves, a few at a time, would float down like snow, and upon touching the ground would disintegrate into small sparkles of energy. The three stepped out into the room on what seemed to be a fresh carpet of actual grass, a surprising change from the stone floors of the hallways.
"This is…unreal." The girl whispered out, then made a gesture to the center of the room. A large crystalline seed sat upon a rounded pedestal, anchored firmly in the ground. It glowed with energy not unlike the leaves, but of a tan hue and a sense of warmth and comfort the cool foliage could not muster. The sole female of the group approached the gemstone, placing a delicate hand and peering inside while the two boys continued to look around.
"I…I think we found it, you two." Tala proclaimed, sending a positive glance to each. "This definitely has to be that seed the legends were talking about."
"I…guess so. I was expecting something less…shiny though." Ty remarked. "And maybe a little more challenge to get here."
The Diviner began to scan the room for any other sign of life, eyes eventually wandering up towards the upper reaches of the room. His purple orbs ended up following a particularly odd root on the wall ahead of him. It seemed a lot thinner than the others, not to mention less aged. As followed it and the wood connecting it, he noticed that it began to take a certain shape. Two long, gnarled legs ascended into a thin torso, which sprouted out four branches, two on each side and the top much longer than the bottom. Lastly came the head, complete with hollow eyes sockets, two pointed horns, and a beard made of common moss. The figure stood at a massive thirty feet tall, but what perturbed Ty the most was that for one split second…
He saw its head turn.
They both looked at him with raised eyebrows, and in return he pointed towards the wall. As they did, a cracking noise, like the sound of snapping wood, sounded out from the one of the legs. Another came from the arms, then the torso; each causing the assembled group to take back steps in fear. Then suddenly, an unearthly scream came from its mouth. The wooden beast broke free from its bindings on the wall, shattering some of its own bark simply to attain freedom. The humans could only stand frozen in fear as it directed its hollow eyes at their position, and within the few following moments of silence, Victoria gave him another exasperated stare.
"You just had to complain, didn't you?"
It charged, staggering slightly, and as it reached them raised one of its long legs above their heads. The three scattered in separate directions as Ty gave the order to move. The foot came down, implanting in the carpet of grass and otherwise cracking the ground around it. Without losing any time the monstrous treant spotted Victoria, who had managed to avoid the stomp by diving onto the crystal seed pedestal. Its powerful steps shook the ground and with each one the girl retreated closer to the seed until her back lay right up against its crystal form.
"Victoria, get out of there! We have to escape." Ty screamed across the room. "My spells wouldn't be enough to dent a guy of this caliber, and the other two haven't even learned how to cast yet."
"I've got her." The Diviner turned to see Tala rushing towards the creature, lowering his center to better streamline his run. He began to protest at the action until he noticed the boy's sleeves had been rolled up to his elbows. A complicated web of tattoo's now covered his arms from the wrist up, and worked their way to his face where they finally connected with eye shaped tattoo on his forehead.
The treant leaned down and brought its arm back in preparation to sweep out at Victoria. It swung forward, and just as it reached her, she fell flat on the ground. The gnarled hand passed just over her, managing to slash at the ends of her blonde hair that were still airborne. At that moment, Tala arrived in low and picked the girl up in his arms with relative ease, turning on a dime and heading in a direction opposite the beast. Upon reaching a safe distance, his steps became weaker and he stumbled over, dropping Victoria and colliding with the ground.
Ty looked at the situation in both relief and confusion. Those strange tattoos now covering the boy's skin were definitely not there when he had met him earlier in the day. He resolved to inquire at a later date, for there were more pressing matters to attend to.
Before that, however, something in the center of the room managed to catch his eye. The once unblemished crystalline seed had now obtained three deep gashes from the treant's sweep. Even more, light poured out like spurting water and it seemed to capture not only his attention, but that of the bark covered monster as well. Cracks continued to appear on the crystal, and with each new one the potency of the light increased.
The crystal shattered into hundreds of fragments and a shockwave of light and energy burst forth in every direction, so bright that all present could do none but shield their eyes. The treant let out a forceful howl, and just as the flash appeared, it retracted, leaving nothing but silence in its wake.
Victoria was the first to look up, and her eyes were fully and wholly captivated.
From what she could see, he was a few inches taller than herself, about the same height as Ty. Spiky, snow white hair waved in the slight breeze left about from the explosion. A soft beige glow covered his unblemished, tan skin as well as the remainder of his body. That same light emanated from his pupil-less eyes; eyes which turned from her form to the treant.
Then, in an action which confused the three Ravenwood students, that same beast descended to a knee, and bowed its head in reverence.
The mysterious glowing boy turned back to Victoria and began taking slow steps towards her. The once serene glow around his form began to flare into a raging aura with each second. Panicking, she looked at Tala, who for some odd reason was beginning to convulse in pain behind her. The boy continued drawing closer, his face still completely expressionless, and in a mixture of fear and defiance, the blonde stood to her feet. Her arms spread out in either direction, and her feet planted themselves between the approaching entity and Tala.
"Victoria, you idiot! Run!" Ty yelled out, jumping up himself and dashing over.
The glowing boy stopped directly in front of Victoria, so close she could feel his breath on her face. She stared into his blank eyes and a single tear began to stream from each of her own. Steeling herself, the blonde spoke in a low, threatening whisper.
"Don't you touch my friend."
Silence pervaded the area for three seconds, and suddenly the boy's legs buckled, his body slumping forward onto her. In response, she wrapped her arms around his torso, preventing him from slipping to the ground. The powerful aura surrounding him instantly dispersed, the glow even fading away as she slowly knelt to the ground. In its place, a series of peaceful snores sounded from his throat, and his once pure ivory hair morphed into a solid black hue.
Ty arrived moments later and assessed the situation. Tala's spasms seemed to be calming down, the tattoo's fading back into his skin. Victoria held the mysterious, naked, white haired teen in her arms, staring up at the storm wizard with a concerned look.
Not a single one of them had fully understood what just transpired, but without even saying a word, all three had inwardly come to the same conclusion.
"We are going to be in so much trouble."
A mysterious boy emerges from the fabled seed.
And there's the first chapter. Hopefully it was somewhat entertaining. Chances are by the time this is posted, chapter two will be about halfway done. I'll post it sometime within the following week.
Alright a few things to note, just to clear up any confusion and eliminate future misunderstandings.
First. This thing will update sporadically, and I mean very sporadically. This being that I have a current story I'm already devoted to (Forty-five chapters in!) and plan to complete it. To be honest, this chapter wasn't even supposed to be done until March, but for some reason I felt a surge of inspiration. Anyway, I'll update when I can, but I'm not making promises.
Second. As you can probably tell already, some things will not work like the game. Bear this in mind, and I'll do my best to give decent explanations.
Third. Unfortunately I won't be taking on any OC's. Nothing against anyone; there's just no room for any. If anything, I would change a submitted one so much that it would've been easier to just make my own character.
Fourth and last. If something doesn't make sense in this chapter, it's for one of two reasons. Either it's a plot device and I left it intentionally vague, or I just goofed up. If you can't tell, assume it's the former.
All this said, I'm more than willing to answer any questions.
Well that's about it for now. Kudos to Naomi Hansen for initially hearing out the idea on the forum. It's been through quite a few changes since then.
Until next time!