Forward: This is a roleplay, so it's kind of in the format we wrote it in originally because we're lazy. Ryoko's parts are in regular text, and Scrible's will be bolded.
Ryoko opened her eyes and sat up, the bright morning sun had awoken her. She yawned and outstretched her arms.
Well, I guess it's time to get movin' again.
She picked up the cloak that was folded in the sand beside her and stood up to shake the sand from it. She wrapped the cloth around her shoulders letting it rest there momentarily as she searched the ground for her mask. She found the black mask half buried in the sand nearby. She carefully picked the object up, dusted it off and placed it upon her face. She adjusted everything one last time before she began climbing up the dune in front of her. She stopped at the top of the dune and closed her eyes, sighing as the desert air whipped past her, the warm morning breeze felt refreshing. She opened her eyes once again and gazed at a mysterious mountain that loomed in the distance. It was the first thing she'd seen many months; it was quite a relief to see something other than miles of endless sand. This mountain glistened and shone, a brilliant light shot from its peak. She was awe struck by it's appearance , and she couldn't help but question why it was there and why it seemed to call to her. Something caught her attention in the sands below. Little stone markers covered the area, each evenly spaced apart from each other. The sight of the markers set chills through her ; however curiosity took over and she just had to go investigate them. As she approached one of the marker, she noticed a faint glimmer coming from it. She took a closer look at it she came to the the conclusion that it was a soul symbol, and the marker was most likely a tombstone. This must be a graveyard, I wonder what they all died from? Ryoko looked up and saw the remains of structure ahead with a big bright glowing symbol; a puzzled look formed upon her face.
What is that thing? She climbed the steps of the ruin and approached the symbol. She reached out to touch the symbol with her hand and much to her surprise it dissolved into thin air. Little symbols swirled around her, she looked behind her to see that the symbols had formed a small piece of cloth on her back under her hood. She was very confused as to what exactly it was and she questioned if it had a purpose. Ryoko saw a group of clothlets that floated around in circles in the wind. She approached the cloth pieces and sung to them. They responded by swarming around her lifted her up off the ground and charging the piece of cloth on her back. She floated back down, landing back in the sand softly. Well, I guess that's a step closer to figuring out what it does. She spotted a relatively large structure below her, in the center sat a circular building with four long cloth strands. Behind it sat the statue of a traveller and a gate. Curious about this new discovery, Ryoko made her way down the dune towards the center structure, and climbed the steps up to the top. She let out a single chime to the stands of rugged cloth and clothlets were released from the grating on the floor. She jumped across the gap between the center structure and the statue. Once she reached the statue she ran around to each of the markers softly chiming to each until all of the markers light up. A shining circle of light in formed in front of the statue. Ryoko curiously stepped into the light and then sat down in the center of it.
Ryoko felt herself drift off into some sort of trance as she meditated in the circle of light. Time seemed to fade away and when she opened her eyes again, she saw nothing around her. Where am I? she thought. This world was so empty and quiet but she felt at ease. She looked around for a few moments and walked forward. She felt the presence of another being close to her, startled she looked ahead of her. A taller, grey unidentifiable figure stood in front of her.
"W-Who are you?" the young wayfarer questioned slightly confused and a little alarmed.
The figure began to speak to her "Do not be alarmed child of the mountain; I have been waiting here for you for a long, long time. I am a guardian deity and I am here to help. However I must ask you first and foremost, are you ready to accept the trials that lie ahead of this gate?" She hesitated confused, "What do you mean by trials?" she thought about it for a moment and then realized that the spirit was talking about traveling to the mountain. I really don't have much of a choice, I mean I can't exactly go back home. She bowed respectfully before the figure, "Yes, I accept"
"A great journey awaits you young one. The road will be long and treacherous and the Trials of Transcendence are equally as challenging. That being said, always remember that the mountain is a beacon; its light will never fail you. I must leave now, I wish you luck with your travels young one" The figure sang out and faded. An image of the mountain appeared before Ryoko. She saw the world's beginnings, how the stars and the mountain had created life. White cloaked travelers were born from the energy of the stars. They stood around the very first cloth strand that had grown from the ground. The vision faded, and once again she was conscious of her surroundings. The glowing markings on the statue dimmed and the large gate ahead of her opened. She got up slowly and stood looking at the hallway before her. Ryoko she took a quick glance back behind her and then back at the hallway. There's no turning back now, I suppose She walked forward, looking ahead. She squinted to get a better glance at something that was at the end of the hallway; it was another wayfarer! "Hello there!" she called out with a cheerful note. "Hey, wait where are you going!?" she said as the other wayfarer turned around swiftly and ran away disappearing into the light. She chased after the figure through the hallway which eventually led her to a ledge. Ryoko stopped running and tried to catch her breath. She looked around confused "Well that's strange where'd ya go?" she said to herself. She walked over to the edge. Wow, it's beautiful here. The ledge overlooked a canyon, four broken pillars of what looked to be the remains of a bridge sat in a row. She continued to scan her surroundings until she finally decided that she wanted to explore the area more. She jumped off the ledge, landing on the sand below her. Once again she had a feeling that she wasn't alone.
Ryoko looked around and then spotted someone else in the distance. She wondered if they had noticed her already, they did not seem aware of her presence yet . Ryoko took a deep breath and sighed, it was against her better judgment to go up to a complete stranger and talk to them, however she was lost and had'nt seen anyone else in a very long time, maybe this wayfarer could point her in the right direction. Well, here goes nothing she thought. She shyly approached the other wayfarer. "Uh hello there" she said rather awkwardly.
Scrible was alone. She had been alone for a while now, the last little red cloak she had helped up the mountain had been weeks ago. She had only ever run across white-cloaks or others already in pairs. She kept her distance. They usually kept theirs. Bandits were dangerous out here, even this close to the graveyard ruins.
So the lone figure in the distance had brought on a mix of emotions. Relief being the foremost, finally someone that might just stop. She did not hold too much hope, though. She looked like a bandit, even playing amongst the cloth creatures.
So to say she was surprised when the girl actually came right up to her and struck up conversation would have been an understatement. She turned to look at her, studying her up and down.
"Who are you?" The words left her without much thought on her part. Most people did not just walk up like that. Most people knew better, kept their distance for a while, then came closer. "Don't you know it's dangerous to just walk up to someone?" Her tone was not exactly harsh, but neither was it gentle. "I could be a bandit for all you know."
Ryoko began to grow a bit suspicious, now that she thought about it the stranger did look like the fearsome bandits that her tribe had warned her of so many years ago. She felt uncomfortable as the stranger looked her up and down.
"I uh.." she swallowed, looking at the ground. She felt so nervous that she could hardly even speak or do anything. She wasn't sure how to answer. She backed away uneasily , fearing that the other would do something now.
I knew I shouldn't have approached them. She left the question about her name unanswered, for her own safety she didn't want to reveal anything about herself. She was prepared to reach for the dagger that rested on her belt if things got ugly and she had to defend herself.
Now that was the reaction Scrible had been expecting. Fear crawled across the other's body. She could see it in her movement, looking down, moving away, the phantom grab for a weapon.
Scrible took a moment to examine her closely. Colorful cloak, pitch black mask, not a tear in her clothes. She wasn't from the desert. She must have been very young, but Scrible couldn't tell exactly how old with mask still on.
She fluttered off the rock, pulling her scimitar from her belt and pointing it at the girl's throat all in one smooth, practiced movement. The metal glinted in the sunlight, dangerously close to tender flesh. She wasn't really going to hurt her, but she knew better than to underestimate anyone. She had the flight advantage at this moment, her scarf being significantly longer, as well as her sword. While she could not see the weapon the girl had, she knew it could not be much bigger than a dagger.
"That wasn't very smart of you."
She wanted to see her reaction. She wanted to see her brass. Was she tough enough for this journey or should she turn her around and tell her to go home. She hated taking kids. They were too young to listen and they got hurt because of it. The fault was on Scrible, however, because she was assigned to protect them and when she failed, it was all on her. So now, what would this child do?
Ryoko took the initiative and she struck, swiftly and precisely. Adrenaline and fear surged through her fueling her attack. Her blade struck the sword with a loud clang. She had managed to knock the weapon away from her neck.
How dare you
Ryoko was very angered by now, she didn't take to kindly to the stranger's actions. She didn't know what the other was capable of or what combat skills they had but that didn't matter, she was going to fend for her life at all costs. She took half a step back, pinning her ears flat against her head and glaring back at the stranger, she had just about had enough with this redcloak. They were right, Ryoko was a fool for even thinking that she could approach a stranger and trust them enough to talk to them. She stood defensibly, her blade was raised and protecting her face. She was prepared for the other to strike this time . "Don't even think about trying anything else." she said in a low foreboding voice.
Scrible smiled beneath her mask. The kid had passed her little test with flying colors. She lowered the sword, but didn't put it away yet, just in case.
"Just wanted to make sure," she said quietly. "I've seen kids die on their way to the Mountain, simply because they weren't ready for the journey." She bowed shallowly, sweeping her cloak elegantly in front of her. "Forgive my hostility."
It was a little too regal for her tastes but sometime a little bit of formality went a long way. "Might I ask why you are going to the Mountain?"
Ryoko watched her lower her weapon and bow. The other wayfarer seemed slightly less threatening now but nonetheless, her behavior was very questionable.
Kid? I am not a kid. "I wanted to make sure you were ready" She thought mockingly. Why wouldn't I be ready!? I've come way too far already to not go to the mountain. She almost said her thoughts out loud but instead she kept it to herself and she huffed annoyedly. She was irritated because she realized that the other wayfarer was playing stood up a little straighter and she answered in a bold voice,
"I am going to the mountain because I choose to"
"Because you choose to," she repeated to herself. That was a different answer than what she usually got. She liked this answer better.
Most people went to Mountain because they were lost. That was why she had gone up the first time, only to come back down again. That was why she went up all the times after. She would always be lost, but she could at least help others to the top.
She looked at the other sympathetically, finally sheathing her sword. "I go because I'm lost," she admitted sadly.
Lost... That word lingered in Ryoko's head; it poisoned her mind and sparked distasteful thoughts. She didn't want to admit it but she was lost. She wouldn't be lost if she hadn't done what she had done. For a flash her thoughts wandered back to her own tribe and family members. She remembered the despondent look upon the elder's faces as she was escorted away, the despair that was expressed by her family,knowing that they would never see her again. She remembered turning back around to face her tribe for the last time. She took account of those who had never truly accepted her; the one's who let her down, and more importantly an entire clan who had lost all of their hope, faith, and pride . They were just a bunch of cowards anyway, sealing themselves away from the rest of the world, hiding in fear. Suddenly reality came crashing back to her, she had almost forgotten that she wasn't alone. She saw that the other wayfarer had put their weapon away, indicating that they were no longer posing a threat. She did the same, placing her dagger back on to her belt. The wayfarer's words encouraged her, at least someone had the same objective as she did. She still didn't quite trust the new wayfarer yet, but just maybe they could still help her.
"If you wouldn't mind me asking, have you been there? Am I heading in the right direction?"
The other seemed so lost in her own mind that Scrible was instantly aware of the baggage behind her words. It was less of of a choice, she knew. She was like Scrible, lost.
"It's kind of hard to go in the wrong directions," she replied sardonically. "You can see the destination pretty much anywhere in a hundred mile radius." She laughed. "But it is such a hard journey, especially one to make alone. I mean, since I happen to be going the same direction…"
Ryoko paused for a long moment thinking about the other's proposal. What did she have to lose by going with her? She would rather have someone to accompany her to the mountain as she didn't know her way around here, it was a completely new terrain for her. She was honestly surprised she had even made it this far without getting lost or attacked by bandits. She had wandered alone for so long the prospect of having someone elses company didn't seem so bad.
"Sure if you'd be so kind"
She extended her hand in kind greeting.
"By the way the name's Ryoko. It's nice to meet ya. I'm sorry but I didn't catch your name."
A companion at last; she thanked whatever deity had finally taken pity on her poor, lonely soul. She smiled beneath her mask and took the offered hand with only a second of hesitation. "I'm Scrible. And despite the initial greeting, it is an immense pleasure to make your acquaintance." She bowed lower this time, almost wishing her cloak was not so torn up.
In the next moment she fluttered up, using some energy to lift off the sand and circle Ryoko. She grabbed at her cloak, examining the clan symbol on her back.
She'd seen it once, but couldn't remember where. It was not a desert clan, nor a mountain clan, so maybe one of the clans by the ocean? No, it didn't have enough squiggly lines to be one of those. She was sure she'd seen it on some other traveler once, but it felt like a lifetime ago.
"What clan are you from?"
Scrible huh? That's kind of an odd name. Ryoko felt herself tense up inside a little at the question. She had just met them and they were already asking where she was from? Oh that's just great! She spotted my clan's symbol! Think Ryoko, think of something quick before she grows suspicious. Ryoko spoke as confidently as she could hoping Scrible wouldn't find any traces of a lie in her voice.
"I came from a small clan just east of here."
She dared not reveal the true name and location of her clan. She bit her lip nervously, grateful that her mask concealed her expressions. She was afraid that she'd given the wrong answer, but what she she feared the most was rejection. She looked at Scrible again and fired the same question right back at her.
" Where are you from?"
She examined the symbol for a moment, running the cloth in between her fingers thoughtfully. "Out east, huh? That's not very specific," she said finally, pretending to not have heard Ryoko's question. She was nosy by nature and entirely hypocritical about it, being tight lipped with her own secrets. "Which one?" she asked nonchalantly, making no sign that she even registered that Ryoko voiced her curiosity.
By diverting the question back to the other she could get attention off of herself, and perhaps learn more about her faceless companion, as well as test her to gauge what kind of person she was and how tightly she clung to her secrets. Scrible had to give the girl props for being a smooth liar, or at least a convincing diversionist. She actually could not tell if she had been lying when she said from the east, but there were all kinds of clans out there. It could be the ones in the mountains to the east, or maybe the creepy clans that lived in the old cities from before the Great War. It was toss up and she could not tell because it was obvious that Ryoko was a talented liar.
She let go of the cloth and examined her in general. She had the clean, colorful cloth that Scrible was a little jealous of. She had a mask without cracks and scars so it had to have been a clan that saw little conflict and little sun. Perhaps it was one of those underground clans. But you didn't see them very often. They were an exclusive bunch that stuck to their lands. It would explain the darker hue of red that her cloak was. She was smaller than Scrible but not by much. She was a little stockier than Scrible, less lean more muscle tone. While Scrible was nothing but wiry strength from living in the desert her her whole life, Ryoko seemed to have some real bulk to her. Perhaps a mining clan. That would explain her being well fed, seeing as mining clans, especially of precious stones and metals tended to be pretty well off. There wasn't a single tear in the other's cloak, like it was still perfect.
She realized rather belatedly that she had been staring with creepy intensity at the other for a long moment while she ran through her analysis. She looked up to give the impression that she was waiting for an answer from the other, pretending that she had not just tried very hard to figure it out without her.
Ryoko noticed Scrible's intense stare. A small alarm sounded off in her head; maybe Scrible had already figured it out and was contemplating if she really could trust her. Deep down inside Ryoko was scared and confused, she didn't know how to interpret her new companion's expression. She wasn't used to interacting with strangers from the outside world and this was the first for her. What's running through her mind? Has she already figured out where I am actually from? Is there something she's not telling me? These questions raced through her mind. Everything screamed inside of her not to lie, she desperately wanted to tell the truth.
Mustering up every bit of confidence she had, she answered "The Tsukikk Clan."
She was still lying but there was a little truth to it. The Tsukikk clan came from the same area that her tribe had originally came from. The two tribes were so similar that they were practically sister clans. Ryoko hoped this answer would be convincing enough, she held her breath and waited for Scrible's answer.
"Tsukikk," Scrible muttered, letting the word roll off her tongue like cool water. Ryoko was lying to her. She had seen the Tsukikk, and she knew of their symbol. The insignia on Ryoko's back was not of the Tsukikk.
"You're a good liar, kid. Not even a tremble in your voice. You could have fooled anyone. But I'm a little more knowledgeable about the people of the land than most." She did not elaborate, nor did she continue, nor even press for the truth. She knew that pushing too hard would not get her the answers she wanted. Ryoko was lying and now she knew that Scrible knew it. For now, that would be enough. She would eventually guilt the truth out of her. "I understand that you don't trust me. No one ever trusts me," she said with a hint of heavy sadness that she had perfected over the years.
She turned her back to the other and took a few steps away. She sighed heavily for effect, her shoulder slumping and her head tilted slightly in a mournful manor. "Not that I had anyone to really talk to for a while. You know that I wouldn't care where you're from or what you did to get kicked out of there. I'm so lonely that I would accept you even if you were a murderer."
Scrible's mournful manner struck a bit of guilt into Ryoko's heart. She was disappointed in herself for lying. She gave up; there was no use in lying, somehow Scrible had seen right through her. She sighed, approaching Scrible humbly with her head lowered and then looked over at her. "You're right, I am not from the Tsukikk. I am from an underground clan known as the Hasudaiki.
"I was banished for stealing and treachery. They condemned me to the desert so I am no longer welcome there. I'm just another wanderer, lost to the sands." she chuckled.
"Sounds pretty stupid huh?" She said, her expression lightened.
"Oh well, who needs em' anyway?" She looked up at the broken bridge that stood before them and listened to the soft howl of the desert wind. "By the way, I am glad you have graciously accepted my company and I do trust you, otherwise I wouldn't still be talking to you."
It took her a moment longer to realize she was staring in utter shock at Ryoko's admission. "Ah," she replied sagely, hoping that Ryoko heard none of the nervousness hiding just beneath the surface. "That clan is known by many. I am not one of those many. I have never heard of it." The name seemed familiar and now she could mentally put the name with the symbol in her head for future reference. She had probably heard of it in the past but she could not bring any particular stories to mind. "As far the whole stealing thing, I make no judgments. I've seen people do a lot worse than a little thievery. And while I appreciate the trust, you should be careful not to trust people so willingly. You're not from the desert, and you happened along a good person so it's forgiven this time. Next time, you may not be so lucky. Out here, people will cut your throat for a drink of water."
She looked to the broken bridge, not giving Ryoko time to reply or to remember that Scrible had given her absolutely no information about herself yet. "We should get going, though. That bridge isn't going to fix itself and we don't want to be in the valley when the sun goes down. It gets rather cold down here at night."
Ryoko followed closely behind Scrible as she led the way to the first piece of cloth to activate the bridge. As she followed her, it was then that Ryoko noticed Scrible didn't have a clan symbol on her back. Her cloak was very faded and torn, parts of the cloak and hood looked like they had been restitched many times over. Hmm that's odd, why doesn't she have a clan symbol? Ryoko thought it was a little bit suspicious however, she didn't put too much thought into it. She also noticed Scrible had a longer scarf than she did. She wondered how Scrible had used the scarves energy to float off the ground earlier. Then the thought occurred to her, she didn't even know how to fly.
"Hey uh, Scrible...h- how do you fly?" She felt embarrassed to ask .
She glanced back at the other wayfarer, honestly perplexed. She stopped walking to face Ryoko fully. "You don't know how to fly?"
She could almost feel the embarrassment coming off the poor kid, so she cleared her throat and stood a little straighter. "It's alright, you aren't the first to not know, and you won't be the last." She smiled under her mask, tilting her head to the side. "It's easy. You press X."
She let the joke sink in for a second before laughing at it herself. "Sorry, sorry. I couldn't resist. It's actually pretty easy. You just spread your arms and flap your cloak like wings and imagine yourself in the sky. Think of the energy that is in your soul, like you do when you sing, except use it to make yourself fly."
She followed her own directions, opening her arms and flapping, lifting off the ground again and into the air with a swell of energy, the marking on her cloak glowing with power. The breeze had her drifting a few feet away but her scarf had been cut during her last unfortunate encounter with the war machines and it was not as long as it had been once. She couldn't get very far. She dropped to the sand, sticking the landing with the grace of practice, and grinned beneath her mask. "It's pretty easy. Just don't think too hard or you'll end up flopping. Okay, you try."
Ryoko did exactly as Scrible had instructed. She tried to imagine herself flying, focusing all her thoughts skyward. Her scarf began to glow as its energy lifted her off the ground; she caught about a couple of feet air off the ground. Smiling under her mask she let out a loud chime to express her excitement. Her triumph was short lived though, her scarf was so short that its power ran out very quickly and strong gust of air knocked her off balance, sending her face first into the sand. She tumbled head over heels in the sand a couple of times and eventually came to a stop. She sat up and laughed. A bright red blush formed on her face. She felt like a klutz, she had not landed nearly as graceful as her teacher had. Still laughing, she stood up and shook off the dust off.
Afterword: It has been a very long time since I've posted anything and for that I'm very sorry. I've been a very busy cookie. Well, this little blurb is actually a roleplay that I did with my best friend, who for the time being we will call Luna. Her character is little Ryoko, and I play Scrible. Scrible's parts are bolded. Chapter breaks will be a bit awkward because we didn't write it with that sort of thing in mind. We've started another roleplay, so we've decided it's safe to post this one. Sorry for the stilted roleplay format, but I'm too lazy to stitch it all together better.
Also a few other things to keep in mind. One, this is the first major thing Luna has ever written. She gets better as we go along. Second, this was the first thing I wrote in about a year, so I'm rusty too. Third, we wrote this over the course of about eight months, and I know in some parts that gaps in the time we wrote together really shows.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy something a little different.