It was a welcomed surprise to find that the older man that we had been taken to could speak Astoran, no matter how haltingly, or horribly mispronounced some of the words were.
It was somewhere to work from.
The grey-haired man, who had introduced himself as 'Professor Ozpin' (which gave me flashbacks to the Vinheim Dragon College... again), had apparently been trying every alley of opportunity, having seen signs that the fire we had sparked was fading as well. Unfortunately, the knowledge of how the fire was ignited died with us, especially once Lordran rapidly fell into ruin, what with all the occupants either dead, horrible mutants and demons, or hollow, and said that he had used rare soapstones to find our summoning signs and permanently summon us.
Apparently, the enarest he could figure, with Manus dead, none of us standing as the dark lord, and the light still strong enough to prevent The Abyss from forming, the darkness had eddied and coalesced into dark creatures that were called Grimm, which were drawn to negative emotions and were out for human blood.
Ozpin asked us to attempt to travel down to the kiln to try and maintain the fire to stop the nightmare that was Lordran in the twilight years, the world that we had known the accursed place from re-occurring.
He had mentioned that we had several thousand years to catch up on, which we were sceptical of before he handed us each odd devices that, judging from the absurd number of impossible abilities it possessed, from communicating over incredible distances to being able to take instantaneous, realistic portraits (especially the ones that moved) and much more, seemed almost miraculous if Ozpin hadn't reassured us (in that jarring, halting grasp of Astoran he had) that they were manmade, and that everything that made them work was a real, physical thing.
Lukas, our resident paladin, wasn't convinced.
It was late and the sun had begun to set over the horizon when the Old man finally let us go, and the strict woman (who we found was named Professor Goodwitch, which begged the question of there being a 'Badwitch' somewhere) guided us to a spare dormitory to spend the night at.
[Early the next morning]
Ozpin approached the door to the room that he had given to the chosen heroes. He would be lying if he said he wasn't somewhat excited at the prospect of working with the four great heroes who had once reversed the coming darkness centuries ago. They must have been—correction: be founts of ancient and arcane knowledge. Who knew what could be accomplished with even small bits of 'new' information in the right hands. Penicillin was discovered by accident after all.
He knocked on the door and waited for a response. Ozpin quickly pulled back from the door as the response came in the form of two large, sharp-looking knives erupting from the hardwood door with a loud BANG, like someone had struck the door with a hammer. Ozpin's ears barely caught the soft hissing of a fuse burning and he reflexively braced himself as the door exploded outwards in a shower of fire and splinters, his aura thankfully mitigating the worst of the damage.
Ozpin looked around and saw several students poking their heads out of their dorm rooms, some still half-asleep and wondering what the noise was, others with their weapons on-hand and ready to respond to whatever had caused such a loud explosion this early in the morning.
Waving his hands to clear the smoke as the sprinklers doused everything in water, Ozpin finally caught sight of the four heroes.
Sitting upright in their beds, having reacted to the disturbance in their sleep, were four fully-clothed Undead, sheepish looks on their faces and arms outstretched from having thrown their weapons and seemingly only just remembering where they were.
"Apologies Professor; reflexes." one of them, wearing the golden armour, said trying to justify their actions.
"Of course." Ozpin said, quickly regaining his composure, straightening himself out and re-adjusting his glasses. He'd have to get his suit cleaned with all the soot on it now... if the water didn't completely ruin it.
"From all accounts, you've had a trying journey. I came here to show you the school, but something tells me I'll be needing someone to show much more than that." Ozpin said. "If you'll follow me, I'll direct you to the cafeteria whilst I find someone."
[Later in the cafeteria]
"FOOD! GLORIOUS FOOD! No more diseased rat, mushroom kid and 'scroungeables' from Darkroot! No more weeks of having to subsist on Estus and souls!" Melanie shouted loudly, digging into some of the best meat and bread she'd ever had. She only stopped eating to take large gulps of Orange Juice from a tall glass and Estus from her flask.
"Glad to know Mel's happy." Elric said in a heavily sarcastic tone.
"Says the one who wept as he sampled the bacon." Florence retorted as she dug unto her own food.
"Not like you were much better." Elric replied.
Lukas simply rolled his eyes and continued eating as his travelling companions bickered. The Paladin hadn't been much one for talking during his meals after many long and silent dinners in the convent.
When they had entered the canteen, they were assaulted by the smell of food. And every one of them had begun to drool; it smelt so good.
They had all agreed that the food was much better than anything they had tasted before.
Over at the other side of the cafeteria, the two teams of RWBY and JNPR were also eating their breakfast together.
"Who are they?" Ruby asked as she looked over a few tables across from them where the four strangers, who had appeared in a flash of fire yesterday and had been led off by Professor Goodwitch, drew more than a few stares as one of them shouted in her native tongue.
Naturally Ruby and co. examined them; sizing them up as opponents attempting to tell who they were.
Each looked incredibly distinct, both in the face (what they could see of their faces), in the style of their armour and even the way they moved, leaving little doubt they were all raised in different countries to the more observant beacon students, though no one could say exactly where. Whilst each of them bore the hollowed out, emaciated look of someone exposed to prolonged conflict, they couldn't have possibly all come from one place.
The most immediately noticeable one was the one dressed up in a full-blown witch costume. She was wearing a long purple dress that reached to her ankles, a long coat that covered the back of the dress entirely, some kind of tattered cape that reached the small of her back and a large, broad-brimmed cone hat that was large enough to obscure most of her face. What they could see during the moments she did tilt her head back to drink or laugh, suggested what had once been soft, scholarly features, though the aura of sheer danger each of them seemingly exuded disabused notions that she was a thinker and not a fighter.
The next most noticeable was a man dressed in golden armour covered in some sort of white robe that seemed overly ornate. His chainmail jingled and plates clattered against one another as he moved around in the primitive suit, but he moved with apparent ease all the same, as if he'd worn the same armour for a long time. On the table next to him was a helmet of the same gold-coloured metal with a seemingly solid plate over where the visor should have been. Under the helmet was a chain coif that saw locks of platinum-blonde hair that slipped out to bother blue eyes, on a face that had raised a few murmurs about his 'handsome features', among other things.
The third member of their party was a flame-haired woman, whose hair cascaded down to her shoulders in a fashion eerily reminiscent of Yang. Her armour was made mostly from studded and boiled leather parts reinforced with steel, particularly along the shoulders and on the shins of her boots, though flashes of light from several holes in the leather suggested the presence of a breastplate. Occasionally, if they looked closely, they could see that her eyes were the same red tone as her hair. Everything about her spoke of energy, from her volume (though no one could understand a word of whatever language she was speaking), to her voracious appetite.
The final newcomer was a man dressed in rough hides and quilted fabrics, and wore his hood everywhere, even inside, obscuring his face. His most notable feature was the large shaggy pelt draped across his shoulders and quilted gambeson. What was visible suggested long hair and a pale complexion, though.
"Didn't you check the newsletter? They're foreign guests of Ozpin. They were apparently sent here to deal with some sort of technical issue." Blake answered.
"What's with those clothes? Did they rob a renaissance fair?" Weiss asked, none too subtly. "And what was with suddenly appearing in the middle of the cafeteria like that? They still haven't managed to put that sword out."
She indicated the sword that had a few students around it, watching as Cardin tried to put it out. The sword laughed in the face of all the water and chemical foams they had dumped on it, and continued to burn as if mocking them. Ozpin had been nice enough to put a small fence around it to keep people from falling into the fire at least.
"Why don't you ask them? They seem friendly enough." Yang suggested as she nudged her sister with her elbow.
"Great idea, Yang!" Ruby said, making her way over to the table occupied by the objects of their conversation, despite protests from Weiss.
The four 'chosen' undead almost didn't know what to do with the... exuberant youth before them.
Elric nudged Melanie and pointed at her scroll.
Melanie realized what Elric was getting at and clumsily attempted to open the translation program without much success, attempting to explain to the girl with a number of gestures that they didn't speak Deltoran, but the scroll could translate for them.
The girl could see Melanie struggling with the scroll and was able to help her with the unfamiliar technology, navigating through the smart device until she found the translation software.
Whilst the harsh robotic voice of the translator unnerved the four undead and grated on their ears, it allowed the girl, who was being joined by another three girls to hold a conversation.
"Thanks, all this is so new to us." Melanie said.
"You're welcome. I'm Ruby," the girl, now identified as Ruby, said, if the voice-to-foreign text translator was correct. Another marvel of the device.
"Greetings Ruby, I'm Melanie of Catarina. My companions here are Florence of Vinheim, Elric of Carim and Lukas of Thorolund."
"Is that where you're from?" Ruby asked bouncing on her feet.
"It is indeed," Melanie replied in a calm manner, hoping that her answers would placate the energetic child.
No one noticed Weiss behind Ruby until she spoke up. "I've never heard of places like that... and what is that Language you speak?"
"The Language is Astoran," Lukas replied.
"Astoran? You speak a dead language?" Blake asked.
Before they could answer, Team RWBY's scrolls all simultaneously rang.
On the screen was Professor Ozpin, his face as unreadable as ever.
"Ah Girls, I see you've met our new guests. I would like you to be their guides, as they have indeed come from the past and have much to adjust to, though I do not condone allowing this to become common knowledge. Answer any questions they may ask and show them around the school, we need them for an incredibly important task later."
"A-are you sure you should be asking us to do that, Professor?" Ruby asked.
"These four here require someone to teach them of our language, history, culture and society, as they will be staying here for some time, and you four are remarkably adept at finding the sort of trouble that requires a lot of paperwork on my part to clean up. This is my way of killing two birds with one stone. I'm sure miss Schnee would jump at the opportunity to show off some of the finer aspects of Vale. If you wish, feel free to have team JNPR help you out in this matter." Ozpin reasoned.
"Does anyone else here think that we're not exactly the most qualified people for the job?" Blake asked.
"Be that as it may, all I need you to do is show them daily life in Vale and at Beacon, there will be professors taking time out to teach them language and the history they've missed, I merely need you to... "lead by example", and the rest should fall into place." Ozpin explained.
"If you insist, we'll do it." Ruby said, flashing her teammates a smile to reassure them. "After all, they're just going to follow us around."
"Good. In addition I expect you to keep up with your schoolwork still... though this will count as extra credit... consider it an official mission." Ozpin said before ending the call with a final "good luck".
"Well, looks like you four are stuck with us." Yang said to the four companions, who each bore looks of apprehension as they read the text message that had appeared on their scrolls and glanced at team RWBY.
Wow... so I'm late with this upload, mostly because I kept getting sidetracked.
I have no real excuses, other than the disclaimer in the description and that this is worked on on-and-off with no real schedule...
...on another note, R.I.P Monty Oum.
Though we wish you had stuck around longer before you crossed the veil and sailed to the shining shores, I can say that of all the candles, you truly did burn the brightest.
Taken from us before your time, we shall always remember you through the stunning work and creations you gave us, and the world is suddenly poorer for your loss.
"...And it seems to me/ you lived your life like a candle in the wind (…) and I would've like to know you, but I was just a kid/ the candle burned out long before/ the legend ever did..." -Candle in the Wind, Elton John
May you find peace in the next life. Amen.
Next Chapter: we find the second fire and kick this party into high gear!