OOC: This is my first post in Avalon! W00t!
Shin Megami Tensei
Today was actually quite interesting. Shin had met with Antonio Candia, one of the managers over at Sleuth Financials, regarding a possiblt internship at the company. The meeting went rather well; Antonio had basically given him a lecture about what is to be expected for working for such a firm, the type of work Shin would be doing as an intern, and the nature of the company. To this, Shin listened, paying attention to any detail that sounded like it could be important. For as an intern, he had much to learn about all the ins and outs of the company. And he had to know those ins and outs, in order to take the company over someday. It disappointed him a little that Antonio made no mention of Shin's further goals, but Shin just assumed that to be him treating every person equally. Now was not the time for Shin to go about criticizing anybody at Sleuth, for they were to be his respected allies.
The day after that had been relaxing. In celebration of Shin landing that internship (which would start in early July), the family all went out to see a movie, and all went out to dinner afterward. Now, it was about 9 at night, and the family had just gotten home. Most of his uncles were already tipsy or drunk, having enjoyed perhaps a little too much beer over at the restaurant. And Shin did a few chores, as there were usually more chores to be done when there were guests over, and since he was the youngest in the family, he was the one who was expected to do most of them. It was a simple family obligation. And just before bed, Shin had just over an hour to look online at any stuff about the new programming language he was learning that he could find.
After Shin fell asleep, the first thing he saw was a sparkly blue butterfly. A butterfly that was all too familiar to him. Like the will-o-wisps of Celtic folklore, it glistened with a beautiful yet ominous air, beckoning him onward, leading him to the exact place he was destined to be. In the background, he could hear a piano softly playing a melody he could remember from somewhere... a melody reminiscent of a lonely voyage across the sea at night. Not having anything better to do, Shin's mind followed this butterfly, unaware of any sense of himself, open to all the fates had to offer.
The next thing Shin knew, he was sitting on a bed of sand. Opening his eyes, he looked around to find himself on a moonlit beach, on some island that he... recognised, somehow. Wasn't he just here a little while ago? Whatever the situation was, he instinctively knew that danger lurked in this place. And, also instinctively, he looked out to the sea, and he saw a shape that he could swear resembled a ship of some sort. If that was what it was, then he remembered having been on board such a ship, a ship with a velvety blue interior and smartly-dressed otherworldly people dressed also in velvety blue. And something about teamwork and tarot cards. He knew. And he had always known.
And he was not alone. Other people, ones he felt as if he had known from somewhere as well, had gathered around, some wielding weapons, others with monsters of some sort standing by their side. And he looked around further, trying to make out detail in some of those people. They all looked to be about his age, though some looked just a little older and others much younger. One of them was an older man who... wait. He knew him. He had just seen him that morning. Same went for the goth girl near him... Yes, it was his waiter at the Jasmine Cafe. The one who he had accused of slipping something into his coffee. The one who he had also seen in the Velvet Room.
Something truly fishy is going on... Shin thought as he briefly closed his eyes. I'm dreaming. By definition, I am in a lucid dream, therefore. Huh, I was reading about lucid dreams, and doubted whether or not they could actually happen. Though, I guess there could be an explanation as to how they happen. And the fact is at least that this is a dream. As long as I don't go mad from it, I should be fine.
And then Shin looked down towards his feet. There, he noticed something stuck in the sand beside him. Something that looked at first glance to be a small black anchor... but when Shin picked it up, he knew at once that it was something else: a crossbow. Curious, he held it in his hand, and even drew an arrow back just to see how supple the drawstring was. Doing so felt so natural to him, it was eerie. It was as if the crossbow was made specially for him. It handled kind of like a gun, with the vertical support just below the bow part, so that Shin had something to grasp and subsequently aim with. A pretty handy weapon, actually, though as he thought about it now he would have probably preferred a pistol of some sort.
Just for curiosity, Shin tried shooting an arrow at a tree nearest the sand. Picking up the quiver that came with the bow and slinging it over his shoulder, he withdrew one arrow from it and slipped it into the crossbow's shaft. And then he drew the string back, aimed at the tree, and fired... and the arrow his squarely on the trunk. Wow. Shin was a pretty competent archer already, and he didn't even know it. Actually, now that he mentioned it, this was a pretty darn cool weapon.
After Shin waked over to the tree and withdrew his arrow from it, he glimpsed Alistair and Jenna, who had just found each other, out of the corner of his eye. Alistair had just finished introducing himself to everyone, and some of the others were doing the same.
Now this is just silly, Shin thought as the ntroductions were held. Does nobody else besides me realise that this is just a dream, and that it won't even matter once we wake up? And why does my waiter, of all people, seem to be unphazed by this. This is REALLY weird...
In fact, Shin had had enough of it. After most of the introductions seemed to be done, he walked over to Alistair, straightening out the sleeves of his fancy blue coat as he went.
"Alistair," Shin began, sounding as cold and serious as the young businessman he was. "What is all this? A dream? An illusion? A mirage that you slipped into my..."
Before Shin could finish his sentence, panic rose in the air. They came. Monsters of all shapes and sizes approached the group, cloaked in a shadowy air, hungry for the souls of the people on this island. The group broke, as people dealt with the monsters. Shin himself swerved around the masses of people and ducked behind the tree he had shot an arrow at earlier, watching intently as Alistair faced one of the shadows. At one point in the game, he summoned a powerful-looking being before him, probably a demon of some sort, a great and terrible one at that. At the sight of this, Shin couldn't help but smile. But he remembered something... something he had overheard from one of the people in the Velvet Room. Something about a Persona... so was this demon creature a Persona? A look around at the crowd told Shin that there were other people with odd creatures by their side, and not all monsters or demons either. A couple of them were even recognisable: one of the girls had the one and only Joan of Arc before her, and a Hispanic-looking young man elsewhere had an old wizard Shin knew to be the one and only Merlin by his side.
Figures of history and mythology... Shin thought, clearly puzzled. Are they Personae too? Why should they take on such a form? Hmm. If this is a dream, I suppose it makes sense why some of them would manifest as beings familiar to me. But there are many I don't recognise...
As Shin was counting the Personae that had appeared, he heard a crash above him, and the crunching of wood. He shut his eyes tight, and when he opened them again, he saw that he was no longer in the shade of the tree. Looking up, he saw that the entire top of the tree had been ripped off. And above him, a loud SCREECH sounded.
He remembered this screech. He had seen it before when he hid behind this very same tree last night. He remembered it now. All details of a dream almost exactly like this one that he had had last night. He remembered this beach, he remembered the castle in the distance, he remembered this group of people before him... He even remembered the crossbow he now held sitting in the sand some distance away, only last time he had not bothered to pick it up. And he remembered the monsters. Especially this one in particular...
And the same thing happened to him that did last time. Shin looked up, and he found himself face-to-face with a harpy. A menacing hybrid between a wretched woman and a crow, gleaming with hate, emitting the same shadowy air as the monsters Shin had seen approach just a while ago. He remembered last time, somebody else attacked the harpy... but this time, that didn't happen. Instead the harpy grasped its surprisingly strong talons around Shin's shoulders and lifted him into the air. Shin was so startled that he dropped his crossbow near the ripped-up tree.
Some distance away, the harpy dropped Shin, who landed just about a foot away from a sharp rock jutting out from the sand. Looking at this rock, Shin just realised how doomed he might have been if that harpy had dropped him just a hundredth of a degree to the left of her course. Above, the harpy was making more unearthly screeching noises, which quickly turned into a chorus of three... Wait, three? Looking up once more, Shin saw that there were now three harpies in the air, all with their eyes on him.
Damn harpies, this is my dream, Shin thought. My territory. As the rightful member of the Yakuza, I feel the right to disapprove of that. You have crossed the line. Prepare to die.
In one fleeting moment, Shin dove to the side, narrowly missing the simultaneous swooping down of the three harpies. After that, he made a mad dash to his crossbow.
Why am I even doing this? Shin thought as he ran for his bow. This is a dream after all--I should be able to spontaneously develop telekinetic powers that would bring the bow to me if I am in control of it.
Focusing his attention on the bow now, he tried to will it back to him, as if he really did possess telekinetic powers. But it didn't come. Maybe he wasn't concentrating hard enough? Maybe the fear of being killed by the harpies was still on his mind? He tried to push that out of his mind now, again trying to bring the bow to him as he continued running up to it...
Shin was so focused on the bow, that he failed to notice a cute little Shadow Crab that had been crawling along the sand. In all his focus, Shin stepped right onto the back of this crab, which threw off his footing and made him faceplant right into the sand. The impact wasn't that hard--if anything, his face itched--but when he looked forward again, he saw that one of the harpies had Shin's crossbow in her grasp, and was now carrying it over his head. Shin whipped his head around to see where she was taking it... and watched as she threw it into the sea.
"Drat!" Shin swore aloud. Throwing his arms aside in exasperation, and wondering where he went wrong, he turned around back to face the trees. But as his gaze passed over the sharp rock he nearly landed on, he spotted something peculiar about it... specifically, something on the rock. Something small and rectangular.
A tarot card.
This card depicted a middle-aged yet strong-looking man with a scepter in his hand, standing in a mighty stance and looking out over the world. At the top was the roman numeral IV. And at the bottom it read...
"The Emperor." Shin read it aloud, unsure of what it meant. He had seen this card back in the Velvet Room too, as he recalled, but did that even explain anything?
Moreover, as Shin gazed at this card, a voice spoke inside his mind. A deep and powerful-sounding voice.
"Thou art I, and I art thou.
From the sea of thy soul I cometh.
I am the Great Demon King of the Sixth Heaven."
"Demon king... of the sixth heaven..."
Just as Shin was repeating this, wondering what the voice was, he felt something strike him hard in the back. Panicking and wincing, Shin found himself pushed right into the side of the jutting rock, the wind knocked out of him. And then his arms felt really light... and something was grasping them... and then his feet felt light... Looking from side to side, he realised that two of the harpies were now lifting him into the air once again. And, just like they had done with his crossbow before dropping it, they were flying him out over the sea. A screech sounded overhead: the third harpy was flying right above him.
Nice try, harpies... I can swim, you know... well... then again, I have no idea how cold that water is...
Somewhere inside, Shin knew that he was doomed. Especially now that the harpies were carrying him higher into the sky. His heart was pounding. This was perhaps the first time he had ever been afraid for his life.
But wait... he thought, desperately. This is a dream. If I die in a dream, I just wake up. It wouldn't make sense any other way. This is simply a nightmare. Once I wake up, I'll be back in my house again. I'll be back in my life again. I'll be helping my mother make breakfast. This is all just some silly dream that trying to toy with my mind... But I know better. I alone am in control of my life, and this silly dream is powerless to stop me.
Shin's gaze again averted to the sharp rock on the shore, where he had just seen the Emperor card moments before. As he did, a peculiar thought came to his mind... a single word rather. A word he had heard back in the Velvet Room... a word he had heard a few of the others call out, even...
Then Shin's heart skipped a beat: the harpies had let go of him. Now he found himself plummeting towards the sea, his coat fluttering upwards in the air, nothing there between him and the possibly-icy water below. He took a quick glance to the shore and thought that maybe he might be able to swim there, but would the fall kill him first? For a moment he had forgotten his surmisation that dying in a dream would not matter. And he was falling fast. In less than a second he would be submerged in the sea... He had no choice.
~ ~ ~
Meanwhile, high above the water, it was the three harpies' turn to panic. For just then, in a flash of crimson light, he appeared. A demon king clad in black armour with red trim, giving off a truly forbidding air, his cape flapping in the sea breeze, his hands reaching for something at his hip...
The haries had no time to react. In three quick motions, all three found themselves sliced in half, and then dissolving into the air. Rokuten Maoh, the Demon King of the Sexth Heaven, withdrew his crimson thunderbolt-shaped blade, looking now to the sea below. And he curled up into a ball, and plummeted into the sea himself. When he landed, he created a wave that crashed onto the shore, a cloud of steam forming above it.
And but one thing washed up on shore as a result of the wave: Shin, who was both drenched and motionless, the Emperor card lying beside him.
OOC: Shin is unconscious for the time being, in case you haven't guessed that already.