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Winter's Mirth; Open
Topic Started: Jan 4 2018, 12:08 PM (240 Views)
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Sitting alone on a giant rock at the beach. She'd done this almost every day during the summer. She liked how her skin got all dark after a few days under that hot, summer sun. All the people playing and having fun on their vacations. She was jealous of that. It was a lot more cloudy back home, not that she remembered home all that well. To say she really had a home town or anything like that was actually kind of laughable.

Still, when it was overcast like this, it felt more like home. Wherever that was.

It was different here during the winter, though she dressed the same as she did then. Actually, the shorts and baggy t-shirt she was wearing now might have been the exact same, it had probably been awhile since she'd done any laundry.

The icy spray of the ocean felt strange on her face and feet, and the winter breeze blew across it, stinging her nose and toes. It didn't bother her that much, very little did, and she realized she must've looked a sight sitting out there like that, but people rarely bothered her. That was fine by her. By this time, her long, dark hair had begun to stick to her head after repeated slaps from the incoming tide. It would probably be smart to head home soon, before her core temperature dropped too low.

The beach was so different during the winter. There was no joy here at all. Only Mirth
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The beach was beautiful in Winter.

If Agnes actually cared to look at it that is, to take in the whole stretch of breaking waves and sandy coast line disappearing into the distance with her purple eyes, she may have made that very observation. Regrettably, her disposition at that very moment was not appreciation of the natural beauty around her, but exercising.

Eyes closed as she walked along, she shivered. Wind blew through her gray hair, the skin on her arms becoming goose fleshed. Agnes stilled herself, creeping up her amplification of the tactile. Feeling each grain of sand beneath her bare feet. Counting each individual one with every fresh step. Then, she slowly raised auditory sense. Focusing on the sound of wind and cries of birds, absorbing the thunder of crashing waves.

Next she started to amp up her olfactory sense. Feeling dizzy already from trying to advance three senses at once, Agnes steadied herself. Focused. Breathed in.

Ocean.

Salt.

Foods.

...person?

Agnes' eyes fluttered open, her senses returning to normal with a rush she managed to maintain her self control...sort of. She gasped, staggered, and fell. Hand and knee catching her, sinking into frigid, wet sand. She shivered again. She remained knelt for a moment, breathing in sharply until her vision stopped swimming and her balance returned.

Then Agnes looked up.

A rock.

A woman perched on it.

Manners.

"My apologies; I hope I did not disturb your repose."

Finally, Agnes looked out at the ocean.

"Sehr friedlich, sehr hübsch..."

She remarked quietly.
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Oh? So she wasn't the only one out here...

Though, more surprisingly, this person wasn't dressed much more warmly than Mirth herself. Surely, no ordinary person could manage that kind of pain so stoically?

She was intrigued.

She put on her best smile and brightest eyes as they made eye-contact with each other. Like a magnet, she attempted to draw the girl in with her social charms, such as they were coming from a soaking wet stranger on a rock.

"Not at all, it's only natural for someone to enjoy a public beach, after all." Usually not in the winter though, of course. Her ears perked up at the sound of the girl's whispering, and she smirked. "That's... German, right?" Mirth remarked, leaning over her perch to get a better view. She glanced upwards curiously as her mouth fell open, as if physically examining a thought. "Er..." She stumbled for words for a moment.

"Auf diese Weise... dich sich... leicht erkälten können!" She spat out each flurry of words excitedly.

"Sorry, German was never my best language..." She smiled and stuck out her tongue, rubbing the back of her head apologetically.
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"Auf diese Weise... dich sich... leicht erkälten können!"

Standing, and walking over to the rock, Agnes nodded.

"Yes, I would contract a chill I suppose, but my pursuit requires exposure to the elements. However unpleasant, I must have disciplines both cognitive, and of the flesh..."

Agnes said candidly in her curt, business-like Japanese. A tremble rolled through the entirety of her lithe form right then. She could control so much, but not the shivers, apparently. Presently, she hugged arms around herself, and leaned against the rock. Looking up, she noted her new acquaintance tended towards eye contact. Someone else might have felt a bit shy or nervous. Maybe even flighty. Agnes returned the gaze with with her distant, purple eyes, mouth set horizontal like an equatorial line.

She noted the smile.

Smiles in general.

Those would always be problematic to her, a mystery, but she understood that those who were attractive tended to use them in lieu of saying 'come here and say something to me,'. Like smiles, laughter, and perhaps even the concept of attractive on an interpersonal level would also be a mystery for her. All those issues of Tiger Beat were a lost cause, and wasted money on Dr. Lang's part.

"Your German is fair, certainly better than my English; that dialect will be of marginal command at best for me...HOOWW-DY PAH-T-NER...(huff) it is regrettable."

She looked away from Mirth, and out at the ocean.

"I am Two two fi-"

Agnes stopped herself. Closed her eyes, and furrowed her brow. A soft groan drifted from her lips, and she opened her eyes again, staring back up at Mirth.

"My name is Agnes Lowenstein. An Austrian transfer student at Senki Academy. How may I address you?"
Edited by Hesperus, Jan 5 2018, 08:41 AM.
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Well, she'd come to expect this much from Kaneshima island. They were certainly a strange bunch.

"Your English is...very colloquial..." Mirth responded as kindly as possible. Suppose it wasn't much different than learning Bavarian German rather than standard High German...

Mirth parted her slick, wet hair away from her eyes and slid down her stone perch to stand beside the girl. Her bare toes sank into the damp sand, the cold seeping into her bones in a way that she could almost concentrate on. Not that she expected this much to be enough. It was never enough.

Mirth kept her gaze locked on the dead-eyed stranger as she introduced herself. As expected, they were both foreigners, though she hadn't placed the accent as Austrian until she said so. Still, something like that wouldn't surprise her. Whatever this girl was struggling with, that's the meat she was really after.

"It's very nice to meet you, Agnes." She said with honeysuckle in her voice, "My name is Mirth Dvorak,těší mě. I'm from Czechia." Her smile was wide and sharp like a Cheshire grin and she broke her gaze long enough to share hers and looked out onto the water. "It's beautiful this time of year, no?" She said, lying effortlessly. "If you don't mind me asking, you're here to attend that school, aren't you? Seems to be a magnet for strange foreigners like us."
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"A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ms. Dvorak. And yes, It is a view quite alluring."

"If you don't mind me asking, you're here to attend that school, aren't you? Seems to be a magnet for strange foreigners like us."

Agnes regarded Mirth closely, wide eyes blinking, then, she shrugged.

"Yes. I was sent here to attend Senki Academy; Dr. Lan-my father, my father stated that Senki was a safe and unique environment for me to develop my attributes..."

Returning her gaze to the breakers on the shore, Agnes exhaled slowly, closing her eyes and breathing in as slowly. Turning her tactile sense up again to feel the icy lash of the breeze.

She trembled.

Goose flesh.

Opened her eyes.

Regarded Mirth.

"I assume you are here for the same? Or do I assume wrong?"
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"That's the natural assumption, isn't it?" Mirth said with a cunning smirk. "Well, you'd be right on the money, this time. I'm a first year, class B." She said, tossing her arms casually behind her head as chill winds grazed her bare legs and face. Another weak burn, but a welcome one.

"You look a bit cold, should you really be out here like this in the winter?" She asked, her curiosity finely edged. She knew how it sounded coming from someone in the same position, though she clearly had less of a problem with the sensation as this girl did. But if she were normal...

"If you're attending Senki... it must mean something is wrong with you, right?" Her eyes turned to face the other side of the abandoned winter shore as she asked, for once preferring to forgo eye contact.
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"If you're attending Senki... it must mean something is wrong with you, right?"

For once.

Almost an expression.

A ghost of a frown.

"I am not born from flesh and blood in the typical sense. The Biblical sense. It is difficult for me to...being a construct of genetic pursuit...knowing that I am not huma...."

Agnes trailed off, looking down at the sand. She rallied, brow lined, shaking her head. Her eyes, once focused briefly, returned to dead distance, her bunched lips going back to horizontal base. Agnes regarded Mirth directly.

"...this one...cannot understand exactly why she was sent here. Was I difficult? Perplexing? A burden? An unanswerable question? Was there something wrong with me they could not address?"

Agnes followed her friends gaze to the shore.

"I can excommunicate all things relating to me physically...but it does not not extirpate my confusion, it cannot silence doubts, or calm an uneasy mind."
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Mirth offered the girl a sympathetic smile and placed a hand on her shoulder. Though they were clearly very different people, they did seem to have some things in common. Important things, to be sure.

"I know how you feel, láska, I was dumped here too." She replied, seemingly ignoring the bits about her apparent inhumanity. What difference did stuff like that matter anyway? "This place seems to be as much a school as it is a place for parents to drop off kids they can't handle anymore." Despite her smile, there was an edge to her tone and her expression. But just as quickly as it was there, it was gone.

"But then, that's life, right?" Mirth said with a shrug and a wide grin. "Who really wants to talk about depressing stuff like that, anyhow? It's so boring." She added a wave of her hand to shoo away the topic. "So if I'm understanding your ability correctly," she segued perfectly, "you can control your physical senses then, ano?" Now that was interesting. If pain was truth, then freedom from pain was... what? Freedom from truth? A blessed fantasy?

The very notion both thrilled and terrified her.

Mirth sat herself down in the wet sand, her fingers falling over a broken seashell which she began to palm rhythmically. "Are you interested in knowing what I can do?" She asked, her face appearing perfectly innocent, but her tone holding something more... mischievous.
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“Yes, I can elevate their acuity, and shut them down completely. Total sensory deprivation. Oblivion.”

Agnes sat down, taking up next to Mirth.

“You have been generous enough to listen to me. And I am curious as to what gifting made it necessary for you to be enrolled here; most of my encounters to date have been with people of mystical capacity. It makes me perceive this academy as a haven for the supernatural and magic. Am I to assume that your attributes are so?”

After saying this, she dwelt on Mirth's prior words, their tone and delivery. Something in the way she presented herself all around was welcoming. Was this a friend? Perhaps. Agnes hoped so. More and more, Agnes realized she would need allies at least for her stay. Anything could happen here in Kaneshima, and she knew she was woefully ill equipped for it if and when anything did happen.

How far could Judo lessons, and pain resistance go in an environment where people could summon Familiars out of pendants?
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"It's true." Mirth said thoughtfully. "Although this isn't a school for mages like the Tower of Fang, there are a large number of students with magical abilities." Her fingers gripped tightly the seashell she'd been fidgeting with and she smiled broadly at Agnes.

"I suppose you could say my abilities are also mystical in a way. They're certainly not scientific or organic, not really." It was hard not to laugh, knowing what she was about to do and the curls of her lips were telling indeed. "Here, let me show you!" With a sudden, unexpected flourish, she brandished the jagged-edged seashell, attempting to swipe a shallow cut into Agnes' bare forearm.

Mirth wondered to herself as she swung, would this girl feel the pain? Could she just turn it off? What did pain mean...to someone who didn't have to experience it if they didn't want to? She wanted so badly to know.

What would happen if she...?
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The trained reaction. Route. Thoughtless. Fast. Agnes raised her arm to block the swipe, her forearm opened up with a thin, eschew of red that trailed four vertical inches in length. Her face bunched, teeth gritted. A gasp of pain followed. Then, when the surprise left her eyes, Agnes' expression softened.

Agnes groaned as her eyes focused on the laceration. She looked from it to Mirth. Disappointment was evident, and something more vulnerable, but too understated, or maybe not fully understood, laid beneath that surface. Taking a handkerchief from her dress pocket, Agnes held it to the cut, lips wavering as she breathed in.

"All you had to do was ask..."

Raising her left hand, Agnes displayed a jagged, trailing scar of mutilated flesh on her wrist, running the length of a vein. Then, with closed eyes, she focused, turning the sense of touch off completely.

"...and I would have shown you, Ms. Dvorak."


Reaching down, Agnes scooped up wet, cold sand, let some of it fall between her fingers, then, pressed it into the wound. Her mute expression didn't waver at all.

"I would have made the cut myself."


Then she amplified the sense, a shriek escaping her lips as she was rocked by intensified pain. She doubled over, curling into a fetal position in the sand as she pressed the frigid granules into exposed layers with all her might.

"What are friends for, but to give...to trust?"

Those words came through strained, panting breaths.
Edited by Hesperus, Jan 13 2018, 08:32 AM.
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Mirth's smile didn't waver one bit, and perhaps curled up just a bit more at the girl's sweet, naive words. It was a beautiful sentiment, and were Agnes not so terribly interesting, Mirth might have hated her for being able to say it so freely.

Delicately, she took Agnes' damaged hand, hesitating for a moment to search her eyes for that trust she spoke of. Gently, she wiped away the sand from the wound, several grains sticking to her fingers wet with Agnes' blood.

"I told you, I was going to show you what I could do. Have a little faith." She said with a comforting smile. Taking a few of those grains of sand, she widened her eye, touching the coarse grains to her pupil without hesitation. They burned, but such pain was a touch of summer wind compared to the horror in her own veins. Still, it did its job. Mirth's eye watered instinctively to wash out the offending objects and Mirth leaned her head back and let them gather for a moment before tilting her head forward.

Thick tears rolled down onto Agnes' arm as Mirth clumsily aimed for the streak of crimson she'd made with the sharp seashell. As the tears rolled on to the painful cut, the purpose would become immediately clear. The pain would subside, the blood clotting and the skin pulling itself together nearly quick enough to be visible. At a rate nearly five times the norm, the small cut was healing.

Mirth placed a comforting hand atop the minor wound and smiled mischievously. "You see?" She said mirthfully, her one irritated eye closed, but still dripping small pearls. "You can trust me."

A loaded statement, but an honest one. For now, at least.
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Mental notes for consideration and meditation were filed in that instant. One, individuals who were not hired to care after you were unique, interesting, and unpredictable. Two, Kaneshima had the most unpredictable individuals. Three, Mirth was an unpredictable individual among the unpredictable. She had healed her after cutting her.

That was miraculous. Mirth could undue the harm she inflicted upon others. An awesome gift. It came from her tears, which generated a number of questions. How did it work?

"I can trust you to be you, I believe, Ms. Dvorak."

Agnes was reminded of an old legend. She looked up from the healed arm at Mirth.

"Like the Phoenix...?"
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Mirth smirked and nodded in agreement. "You are right about that, láska." Well, she was herself as much as she could be around everyone else. Perhaps one day someone could see her for who she really was and not look away, but that day would not be soon. Maybe Agnes would be the person Mirth could finally share her inner truth with, but she doubted it. It was enough for now, to be like this.

"Like the Phoenix?" Mirth replied, seemingly confused by the girl's sudden muttering. "Oh, you mean my tears?" Mirth laughed openly at the notion. It was both absurd and strangely accurate. Healing in her tears, fire in her blood. Maybe she really was a phoenix, after all.

"You're very funny, Agnes. But it isn't only my tears that heal, but all the water in my body. I just thought it might be rude if I cut you and then spat on you right after." As if cutting her wasn't impolite enough in its own. Mirth had a very unique sense of those sorts of things. It seemed oftentimes that she merely made it up as she went along, which didn't seem impossible.

"I suppose it would be wise if we got off the beach before our core temperature drops to a dangerous level, wouldn't you say?" Mirth smiled dreamily at the girl, pulling her knees up to her chest and resting her chin upon them. Truth be told, she'd be just as happy staying right here all day long. It wasn't the worst way she'd considered dying before.
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Agnes shrugged, then nodded at the last remark.

"Ja. You are correct; I believe I smelled some warm food in the air a bit ago. I presume a restaurant is in our vicinity. I should be able to sniff out its exact location for us.

She said, dwelling on a prior remark Mirth had made, a portion of it anyway. "You are funny, Agnes". Somewhere, Dr. Ingval must be grinning ear to ear.

"Hot tea, or a coffee would be advisable, given how long we have exposed ourselves to the elements."

Standing, Agnes offered a hand to lift her new acquaintance up by.

"I have two questions. One, does your ability have a limits to what it can heal? and two, may I call you Mirth?"

The stoicism was always evident on her face, but her tone belayed curiosity, and yes, need. The hope for familiarity.
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Mirth smiled. "Well, it seems your sense of smell is nothing to scoff at, either." She said, poking Agnes in the ribs playfully with her elbow. "And a hot drink sounds exhilarating! Actually a hot bath sounds even better..." Would it be unreasonable for them to run back to her apartment? Didn't Japan have like, public baths or hot springs or something everywhere?

She made a mental note to discuss this with the concierge in her building.

Mirth gladly took the girl's hand, lifting herself from the wet sand and doing her best to brush it from her clothes, to little avail.

"Maybe after we eat we should buy some dry clothes..." She said, carefully examining her shirt. It had been awhile since she'd gone on a shopping spree. Maybe now that she had company it would be time for another trip. She looked up from her fashion rumination curiously as Agnes asked her questions, the first being fairly mundane, but the second...

Well, it was nearly enough to trigger her cute aggression. She was just like a puppy! Thankfully she managed to stifle that feeling, placing a friendly hand atop The girl's head with a beaming grin. "To your first question," she said, giving Agnes' hair a light tussle, "my ability assists the body's natural healing process, so anything your body can fix naturally, I can heal. So I can't heal the dead. However, being mystical in nature, it also weakens any hostile magic affecting that person."

More importantly, it was the easiest way to neutralize the effects of her blood. It was no small irony that it couldn't cure her own pain...

"To your second question, feel free to call me whatever you like, láska. It seems I've already taken that privilege for myself, ano? Besides, I'm pretty easy going about that formal stuff. No sense getting worked up over etiquette." She shrugged nonchalantly to emphasize the point. That sort of thing was never something she concerned herself with.

"Now," Mirth said definitely, placing her hands on her hips, "lead us to that place you smelled before we both die of hypothermia."

She said that awfully casually...
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Agnes nodded presently. Looking up, she expanded her olfactory sense, and sniffed several times.

"Follow me,"

****

Noodles, as Agnes was informed by Dr. Ingvall, were a common Japanese staple. Like a burger and fries were to the US population. Agnes had explored several interesting dishes in the short time she'd spent in Kaneshima. Having approached eating largely from a dietary standpoint, where, food was less about enjoyment and almost solely a consideration of nourishment, Agnes found her palate bombarded with culinary creations she, well, enjoyed.

Noodles, Ramen specifically, had struck a flavorful cord, as Dr. Ingvall said it would. Complimented with hot tea on a cold day, and Agnes felt she had come to an understanding with the otherwise bewildering doctor, who, had spent a good amount of time between disciplining her, and teaching her how to laugh.

As she slurped the noodles loudly from the bowl, still awkward in her handling of the sticks, Agnes considered the reality of Ingvall in regards to her personal development.

He was the man unafraid to chastise her shortcomings. Point out her flaws. Berate her coldness, and often taciturn demeanor at the facility. He challenged her to be less distant. All of this, he offered guidance and support to help her improve.

A harsh teacher. An honest companion. Her only real parent.

Admittedly. Dr. Lang, who fancied himself her father, despite apparently caring deeply for her, failed in that regard. Ingvall did all the work. Lang felt guilty over it. And that's where Agnes' confusion regarding it all came in.

Was that why she was here?

Agnes looked over at Mirth, dabbing a napkin to her lips. They were both seated at the establishment's bar.

"What did you order?"
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Slap slap slap. Wet feet on tile. Probably should've worn shoes, but then the extra attention they got from the patrons when they walked in dripping wet in the winter cold made her feel a swell of pride. There was something about standing out in a crowd Mirth couldn't resist. She flashed the customers and staff a winning smile, the sincerity of it mixed with their strange appearance leaving them all a bit unsure just as how they should judge the pair.

As they sat down, she couldn't help but feel around briefly in her pocket for her wallet. Italian leather, cracked from age (and probably freezing cold water) felt rough on her fingertips.

At least she hadn't lost it. That and the credit card inside it were the only things of her father she carried with her, inside or out.

Her father...

Mirth hadn't seen him in months now. He'd hunkered down in Hollywood once again for the time being, working on his latest project. Some group he'd scouted in Korea. The man swore K-Pop was going to break into the US market big time soon and wanted to capitalize on it ahead of time. She didn't question it. Frankly, she didn't care. The pair of them were basically strangers who shared a ritual of amicable monthly phone calls.

She could never figure out what drove him to pretend so hard. At least she could respect his indifference...

"Huh?" She started, nearly splashing broth on herself as Agnes' words whipped her back to reality. The noodles she'd been holding on her chopsticks had nearly gone cold after holding them for so long and she quickly stuffed them in her face and swallowed hard.

"It's, uh... tonkotsu ramen, I think. I've always had a fondness for pork." She said with a smile and a shrug. "I don't think it's that strange, though!" Mirth stared into her bowl, the image of her father more clearly showing than the milky white broth. "By the way Agnes, do you know whose class you'll be in yet?" She said, looking up with a friendly, snaggletoothed grin.
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Agnes nodded presently.

"Class 1C...I am still unsure as to who I will have. I have no familiarity with the teaching staff. I will know soon enough, I guess."

Agnes replied, going back to the bowl of ramen and struggling with the chop sticks. Of all things that could be of awkward execution for her, this simple eating utensil was.

Face scrunching a little, a quiet groan escaped from Agnes as she re-positioned the chopsticks in her hand, and attempted to pluck at the noodles once again. She managed to pull several out from their submergence in the broth, blow on them, and slurp them down.

Again, she used a napkin to dab at her lips and chin.

"It is a simple enough proficiency for most to grasp to be sure. Yet there is difficulty in this for me alone."

And Agnes regarded the sticks held by her fingers with a scowl.

"Perhaps a fork is in order."
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