|The Tree Lady|
Well, either way, there's a number of people at the Higashi Ayase Park on a Sunday, enjoying their day off, likely. So Kazuki's heading into a quiet part of the place. Why? To practice, of course. It's one of the things he does when he's upset. And he's upset now, because he doesn't know how to get back home. So once he's found a quiet park of the park, he starts to set up.
Set up? Why yes, he's setting up a portable keyboard. Somehow it has power, despite not having a plug. And soon enough there's music coming from it. This is just him limbering his fingers up. But he's good. So what's coming out of the keyboard is actually quite good.
The sakura trees surround the small, quiet part of the park that this boy has chosen to practice. The atmosphere is a bit odd here, nothing drastic, but there is a certain serenity in this place that seems odd. Especially considering how lively and crowded the park is right outside these parts. At the base of the oldest sakura tree lies a bundle of vines and leaves, about the size of a petite human. Though out of the way, it is impossible to ignore such a sigh because those vines and leaves do not appear anywhere else in the park.
As the music dances around the park, the nature seems to liven up. Even though Silencia's unconscious, the melody that springs from the boy's fingers is something that touches upon the very surface of her consciousness. She likes this unfamiliar melody. The nature around the bundle reacts accordingly, the sakura tree livening up and blooming just a bit brighter than the others.
Kazuki's just trying to forget being afraid at the moment. Raising his own morale has never really worked the way it worked for others, though. Still, for the time being he pushes away the fearful thoughts, and just... plays. It's no wonder the life reacts so. It's not just the music that's happening. He's reaching for happiness here, and the life around him reacts accordingly.
Another reason he wanted to set off on his own and see what he could do for the universe-- because he knows what he's doing. He knows the effect he's having. And that's... kind of what he's also doing. He's not just practicing the music. He's practicing that effect.
Once he's done playing, though, he looks around to see what the effect was... and that's when he notices the 'pod' made of leaves and vines. He takes a step back, barely avoiding knocking his keyboard over in the process. If there's someone else there besides that pod, he has no idea.
As the last traces of that tune die out, so does the effect Silencia has on the surrounding nature. The tree beside her cocoon that bloomed so brilliantly slowly returns to it's regular appearance. The little cocoon doesn't move or change in any way, simply sitting there. Silencia slips back into the deeper parts of her sleep, that song had made her liven up, but now she's once again closed off of the world. The only evidence of her having heard that beautiful melody is a single violet that sprouts from the cocoon. Though it is small, it's color is beautifully bright. The little flower stands there as if a tribute to the boy.
Kazuki's first thought? Old horror movies shown at ass o'clock on the classic movie stations. Like those from the 1980s, those almost 70 year old movies. None of those are particularly scary, but they're still quite disturbing.
And then suddenly... a violet blooms. He blinks. His eyes are, coincidentally enough, of a similar color. Was that intentional? Hard to tell. And then, against his better judgement, Kazuki's walking a little closer to the pod. Thing. Hey, nobody accused him of being the sharpest tool in the shed.
Anyway, he reaches up, as if he's going to touch the violet, but he draws his hand back, curling his fingers back into his palm. Should he? What if it drains him? Like those people they found unconscious?
The little violet seems harmless enough. Actually, aside from the odd appearance of the cocoon itself, the bundle doesn't seem out of place. It's as if those vines and leaves were meant to be there, even though there is no trace of them anywhere other than this little bundle.
Well, the fact that the nature's not rebelling or running away is something, anyway. So he approaches the pod again, and reaches up to touch the violet. He doesn't pick it, though... he's not sure what it would do to the plant-pod if he did. Nor what the plant-pod would do to HIM if he picked the flower!
Then he turns his head a little and notices someone! He blinks, and then steps to the side. He should really pay better attention to his surroundings. He takes a few steps in the person's direction to try to see a few more details.
The person is a woman... a teenager, really, sound asleep and leaning against the big bundle of nature. She's clearly a warrior of some sort, judging from the armor and swords she has at her sides. Oddly, she appears to be straight out of the middle ages, though her swords perhaps look Japanese in nature from their curve rather than the European that her armor appears to be. But really, even more than the armor and swords, the thing that stands out the most about her is her hair. The long hair cascading past her shoulders is quite clearly colored like a rainbow, from red on her left to deep purple on her right. Is she just sleeping? Or has this bundle of nature drained her somehow, causing her to loose consciousness...
There's really not much time to ponder this, as suddenly her eyes flutter open... and soon widen upon seeing the musician. She recoils slightly with a start, possibly held in check only by the cherry tree at her other side. She quickly draws one of the swords into her right hand and points it at Kazuki. "Who are you?! What do you want?!" Well... she sounds rather stressed out.
There is no reaction from Silencia, as the girl is already in the deeper parts in the world of dreams. However, there is someone else there, high up in the trees, looking down and smiling as they watch the exchange between the rainbow-headed warrior and the beautiful boy. At the moment, that figure is completely hidden away, simply watching.
The rainbow hair is what draws Kazuki closer, to examine her. He's never seen hair like that... could she be a Meltran? Maybe, they do tend to have rather fanciful hair colors, don't they? Blue, green, purple... but he's never seen one with 'hair of many colors' like this! That's probably caused him to get a bit closer to Rayne than she's entirely comfortable with...
And he finds the challenge line quite easily when suddenly she's awake and there's a sword in his face! "GAH!" He tries to jump back faster than his brain can catch up with his feet, or maybe the reverse. Either way, what ends up happening is he falls on his ass. He's got a hand raised. "H-hey..." he tries. "I wasn't doing anything. I just happened to see you there and wondered if you were OK..."
He doesn't notice anyone else just yet. Though to be fair, when one has a sword pointed at one, it does tend to take up the majority of one's focus...
Rayne continues to breathe the heavy breathing of someone who has woken up with a start. "Uhhh....." she says uncertainly before sheathing her weapon. "R-right. S...sorry, I'm fine." She pulls her feet beneath her to stand up. "Um.... right... Uh... I'm going to have to ask you to step away from the.... mass of..." She looks over at the pod. "...vines and stuff." She doesn't seem to have a clue as to someone being up in the tree. Sadly, when she gets panicked, Rayne has a tendency to have a bit of tunnel vision.
The figure in the tree seems to choose that moment to speak up. "It's called a cocoon, dear." The voice is a deep, female voice. Even if the two were to look up at the tree, they would not be able to see the person hiding within its branches. The figure simply blends in with the tree. That doesn't take long though, because the person jumps down from the tree and lands lightly next to the cocoon. The figure appears to be made of the tree's branches, the blooming blossoms on top of the head taking the role of 'hair'. The general shape of the unfamiliar person is female, with a hint of a face, but it's rather crude. More plant than person, the figure smiles at Rayne. "You might want to calm down, Silencia needs her sleep and your panic will not aid her."
Kazuki nods, and stands up again, once the sword's not being pointed at him. He does step back without complaint. "Sorry. I didn't know what it was." For being as androgynous as he is, his voice actually isn't feminine at all. It's actually close to a baritone, and doesn't seem to go with his features at all. But it makes determining his gender easier. "There are things that... drain people somehow. I don't know how, the Spacy's pretty close-lipped about it. No surprise there." He rolls his eyes a bit. "So I was trying to make sure you hadn't been drained too. I mean... I could have fixed it if you were, so..." He trails off; now he's just talking out of nervousness.
Suddenly someone else is speaking, and Kazuki looks around. Who was that? he looks up, but doesn't see anything. However, as the person lands lightly next to the cocoon, he pauses. He looks at the female. Looks at the pod. They're clearly related. And the things she says about someone 'needing her sleep'...
"...Someone's in there?" he asks, a touch of fear entering his tone. Though it's fear for the person inside the pod rather than for himself at the moment.
Rayne blinks at the plant-like woman as she lands nearby. "Yyyyy... wha.... who-" She continues to look at the strange woman for a moment before she coems to her conclusion of at least whose side she's on. "Uhhhh.... What? Um... S...Sorry." She blushes slightly in embarrassment. "Um... you seem to know what's... going on, so.... what's going on?" As Kazuki explains himself, she shakes her head. "No, it's not a threat, it's a friend of mine... I was guarding her..."
The figure made of branches chuckles before reaching down and plucking that little violet off of the cocoon. She walks over to Kazuki and offers the flower to him. "She made this flower bloom for you, boy." She nods with a smile to his question, turning her attention to Rayne afterward. "How adorable... I can see why she's so fond of you..." The female steps closer to Rayne, not touching her, but close. "Silencia is growing. She was but a larva when you met her. She is finally ready to mature." Well, that is informative! There is something about the air around this person that calms one down. It feels just as when a person takes a solitary walk through a beautiful forest. She returns to the pod and sits down beside it, leaning casually against the cocoon. She crosses her arms and glances at the two as if awaiting further questions.
Kazuki tilts his head in the direction of the goings-on. He's only just got here-- like literally, just here in the world-- so he has no idea what's going on. He's just hoping that poor person inside there isn't being drained. The flower being offered to him gets a blink. But he does accept it. "Th-thank you," he says hesitantly. "I didn't know if picking it was a good idea." Growing? Larva? Admittedly the first thing that pops into Kazuki's head is a caterpillar. "...She's going to be a butterfly?" It's a ridiculous notion, but with weirdness being the flavor of the evening, he's not going to discount anything right now.
Rayne, predictably, still takes a step back as the branchy woman steps close, her blush from embarrassment still not going away. "Sh... what?" No, she is far from calmed down, yet. Sure, she's calmed a little, but she was really stressed out before. After a glance to Kazuki, she looks back to the strange woman. "This is related to her, uh, Fae blood, isn't it? She's awakening?" Well, she's using the terms that her mother used when discussing her own heritage, even if that's not Fae related at all. "And who are you?"
The blossom-haired lady seems amused by Rayne's obviously shaken nerves. It is Kazuki that makes the woman burst out in merry laughter though. "A butterfly he says... Well... it's similar, so I can understand your thinking." Rayne gets a soft nod. "She is becoming a mature Fae. Her powers will only continue to grow." The woman smiles warmly at the cocoon, petting the vines that soften underneath her touch. "I remember the days where she was merely a babe, they grow up so fast..." As Rayne asks her who she is, she simply smiles. "I have many names, but you can call me Alitura."
The look to Kazuki from Rayne is returned with a bewildered shrug. Nope. No gain there, he's just as clueless. Maybe moreso, since he has no basis for comparison, being a run-of-the-mill human. No awakening is going on with him. Closest thing to that was puberty, and he's through that already. The plant-woman introduces herself, and Kazuki bows politely. "Pleased to meet you," he responds. My name's Kazuki." That's to both of the ladies present.
Rayne frowns, finally sheathing her sword. "You've.... been here the whole time? Been watching her ever since she's gotten here... and before, haven't you?" She glances at Kazuki. "Rayne Hurris, Second of TASK." She shakes her head, ending the motion with looking at Alitura again. "So then... how long is this going to take, then?"
Alitura slowly rises and offers a bow of her own to Kazuki. "Your melody from before was delightful, Kazuki, it's been awhile since I've last enjoyed music." Alitura shakes her head softly at Rayne. "I've been watching over for most of her life. I haven't been able to watch her while she was here, not consciously though. Even now, I have to borrow this tree's body to project myself into this place." The second question makes the woman glance down at the cocoon. "It'll take as long as she needs it to take. Some can pop out in a matter of hours while others take months, even years, to mature." The woman seems to be a bit thoughtful. "Some even remain in their cocoons for the rest of their lives..."
"Pleased to meet you, too," Kazuki offers to Rayne. He goes quiet when Alitura speaks, though. Her compliment seems to embarrass him a little, and he rubs the back of his neck. "I'm glad you liked it," he says nonetheless. "I was just practicing... it didn't wake her up or disturb her did it?" Referring to the girl in the cocoon. He does wince a little when the woman says there's a possibility that the girl in the cocoon won't ever come out. "...I hope it doesn't come to that," he says quietly. Pause. "I mean... I don't know her, but... that sounds sad for the people that care about her."
Rayne frowns at the news of just how long this could possibly take. She doesn't particularly mean to ignore Kazuki, but the thought of one of her best friends being cocooned for years, if not forever, really concerns her, of course. She walks back over to the cocoon, reaching out with a hand to cautiously touch it before stepping closer to rest her forehead on the vines. "Sil... Don't stay for long in there..."
Alitura smiles at the boy and shakes her head. "On the contrary, she seems to have enjoyed that melody. It's rather difficult to wake her right now..." With that her attention shifts to Rayne as the phoenix addresses the fae. She kneels down and speaks calmly, facing Rayne. "Don't worry. Silencia is different from those... Her will is strong and because you all are here for her, she will return." Her words seem like she's simply saying this to cheer Rayne up, but the tone of her voice is so very certain and calm, as if it's only natural for Silencia to come out soon. The woman made of trees suddenly straightens and peeks at the cocoon. "Oh my, almost forgot..." She shifts to sit on the other side of the cocoon, where Silencia's head would be. She peeks up at Kazuki and smiles. "Face away for a moment." She doesn't even check to see if he listens, diving straight into what she came to do. The vines move to allow her hands to pass through without completely uncovering Silencia. She makes a face while rummaging around inside the cocoon before pulling her hands back, the vines closing up. In her hands she holds a dark green tunic embedded with chainmail. It's Silencia's tunic. She folds it and hands it to Rayne. "This will be in the way while she undergoes her metamorphosis, so I'll leave it with you." Alitura seems to follow a pace that is completely her own. Though she's gentle with Rayne's concern for Silencia, she herself doesn't seem to be very worried. It is unclear if she has that much faith in the fae or if she's simply oblivious.
"That. Just exactly that," Kazuki replies, as Rayne interacts so with the cocoon. He frowns too, though it's more in concern than anything else. He doesn't seem to mind being overlooked in this case; he probably understands the concern. Alitura's words seem to clear up the concern, though, and Kazuki breathes a sigh of relief. Then suddenly he's being asked to face away. "...Huh?" Though the reason why clicks as the plant-woman starts rummaging around in the cocoon. Quickly Kazuki turns his head away, a bit of a blush showing on his fair features. When Alitura turns back around, Kazuki looks at what she's got in her hands. "Oh, right," he notes. "Makes sense. If her body's changing, clothes WOULD get in the way, wouldn't they?"
Rayne somewhat cautiously takes the chainmail. "Um... right. Of course... uh... thank you." She looks down at the rather light chain mail and frowns. Will Silencia even be able to wear this again? She doesn't know. She has no idea if Silencia will even be recognizable. "Um... Yeah. I guess so," she says to Kazuki's comment. Something else then clicks with her. "...We're going to have to see if... we can remove whatever magic is on her necklace..." She reaches into the pocket built into the cloth area of her armor. Yes, she still has it with her. "She'll want it back... But I don't think the magic in it is good for her anymore, is it?"
"Ahh..." Alitura gently takes the necklace from Rayne and, just for a moment, she looks more human than she ever has before, she even looks like she's about to cry. It disappears as quickly as it came and she shakes her head. "You don't need to worry about that... As a larva, the magic within this necklace was stronger than her, but as a mature Fae, she'll be stronger." She sighs and hands the necklace back to Rayne. "You did well back then. If you hadn't removed the necklace, Silencia would have become insane. That is how strong her instinctual need for Metamorphosis was." Her tone is actually... proud. She speaks like a mother bragging about her child. She doesn't look very old, one would guess she's in her twenties, if she weren't made of branches. She can't be Silencia's mother... right? She reaches down and points at the back of the tunic. "You might want to find a way to cut open the back of this garment. She's going to need the room..." Alitura rises and stretches lazily, the branches creaking. "Be quick with the rest of your questions, I should rest soon. Maintaining this form is more difficult than you would expect." This woman can be a bit frustrating. She speaks and explains plenty, but everything she says sounds like it's only part of the truth. She keeps hiding things or only explaining part of the truth.
Kazuki raises a brow at the mention of the necklace. "Was there something wrong with it?" he inquires. He's not sure if it's his business, but he's going to ask anyway. He figures if Rayne doesn't want to tell him, she'll say it's none of his business. Alitura's explanations might only be half of things, but they're enough, as far as he's concerned. He will leave the cutting open of the tunic to Rayne. Instead he turns his attention to Alitura. "I might be able to recharge you a little," he offers. "Do you want me to try?"
Rayne flinches slightly as the necklace is taken from her hand, but calms down quickly enough. "I....um... Just one... Are you... keeping her safe while she's in there? I... want to sleep... I want to sleep in my own bed, but I can't leave her here unprotected." She frowns, considering her question to be rather selfish in nature... But she has such trouble sleeping recently without the stone Casdy gave her. She doesn't answer Kazuki's question... because in her mind, Alitura answered that. Okay, maybe not completely, but Rayne's not entirely with it right now. As for cutting the tunic... She'll leave that to Muradin. This is mithril chain, it would be a disrespect to the tunic to have anyone but a master alter it. In the end, she just nods absently.
Alitura shakes her head at Kazuki's suggestion. "I should return to my own 'body' soon..." Rayne's little request brings a smile to the wooden face. "Go and sleep, child. This one is under the protection of the very earth itself. Nothing will be able to hurt her." She raises a finger, as if to bring attention to her next words. "Do promise me one thing... Never tell Silencia about me." With that, Alitura steps toward that tree and her body fuses into the wood, the woman completely disappearing. She didn't even wait for Rayne to actually respond. This person really sticks to her own pace.
Kazuki nods when Alitura refuses the offer. He wasn't sure he could anyway, really. He's still experimenting with that weird ability of his. He nods to the plant-woman's request, and then blinks as she disappears into the tree again. There's a moment of pause. "Well. That was... a thing," he comments. Then he looks to Rayne. "Is there someone you can call to relieve you? You mentioned some organization you're second of, right?"
Rayne blinks at the woman. "Never...but...." She sighs as the woman vanishes into the tree. She's looking incredibly tired, but looks up again at Kazuki. "Uhhh... I dunno, but I think I can trust her.... except I don't want Sil to be alone when she wakes up." She shrugs. "At this point... I want someone with her that she cares about, rather than a real guard..." She groans and hangs her head again. "Yeah... TASK... The police-ish force of the town across the bridge." She taps the badge attached to her chestplate.
Kazuki nods. "Yeah, I get that," he says, referring to wanting someone here that Silencia knows. As for the city across the bridge? He nods. "Yeah, that's where I showed up," he agrees. "Just today. This place looked more familiar though, so I came here, looking for something I recognize."
Rayne blinks, her head pulling back slightly. "Oh... You're a new convergence. Yeah. Um....Welcome to Twisted, then." She then frowns. It's part of her job to really help the newly converged, but she's really far from the top of her form right now. "Um...yeah, did you remember that tower past the... Greek lookin' building? That's TASK Headquarters... In the bottom floor is the Welcome Center... the people there should be able to help you out... I, uh, kinda run it, but...." She frowns. "I'm sorry, I'm not really myself today."
A tiny butterfly, it's wings colored in a multitude of colors, reminiscent of a rainbow flutters around. It is unclear where the little thing came from, but it lands on Rayne's hand. It flutters its wings and just sits there. The butterfly looks exactly like the one Silencia had used to cheer the anxious warrior up one day.
Kazuki nods to being a new convergence. "Sounds like it's a Thing That Happens," he observes. He listens to the directions to TASK HQ and the welcome center, and nods. "Right, I'll check that out. Thanks." He offers a smile. Though it fades as he notices Rayne's upset. And the explanation gets a nod. "Yeah, I can understand. Your friend's in that thing and you don't know when she's going to come out," he acknowledges. "You're keepin' it together pretty well under the circumstances, I think." The butterfly gets a blink. "Wow. Never seen one that color," he notes as it lands. "What kind is it?" He seems to think this is just the weird wildlife that lives here.
Rayne blinks as the butterfly lands on her hand, and then smiles. "Thanks... I think. I guess I could be doing worse. But this... this shows Sil's... in there. She's somehow aware... she's summoned these before...." She looks up at Kazuki again. "No clue what kind it is, I've only ever seen Sil summon them."
The butterfly flutters up and lands on the tip of Rayne's nose before fluttering off. As the sun hits the colorful wings, it creates pretty little rainbows. It returns to sit on Rayne's hand.
Kazuki seems to relax too when he notes Rayne seems a little more at ease. "I guess she can still sense you in there, even if she's asleep," he notes. "Sort of like how people instinctively hug someone they know in their sleep, right?" Pause. "This isn't really my area of expertise, I admit. I'm just a typical human being, really. So all this magic stuff is way beyond me."
Rayne tries to push the butterfly from her nose, but it turns out she didn't need to, as it's off again before she can move to it. When it lands on her hand again, she lets it stay. "Yeah... Something like that, I suppose." She looks up at Kazuki again. "Being human doesn't keep you from learning magic. It just takes training. Sure, it can be years, but it's just training. You'll need to get used to magical things here... And remember, just because someone looks extremely strange, it doesn't mean they're a monster. One of our good friends, Ren, is a species called 'Fsst.' She has no similarity to humans at all... no skeleton, no teeth, aquatic, and very brightly colored. But she's the friendliest person you'll ever meet... she's probably on duty in the Welcome Center right now."
Kazuki smirks at the butterfly mischievously. But then he's listening to Rayne. "Well, I mean." Pause. "I guess I count as a mage where I'm from. But we don't have magic there. Not like..." He pauses, to wiggle his fingers. "'Hocus pocus, abra kadabra, make my monster grow'." And Rayne's explanation of things? That makes one eyebrow raise. 'Fsst'? Sounded like the sound something made when hissing through a steam vent. "Well, unless she tries to eat me, I'm not going to attack it. I'm not a fighter, really."
Rayne laughs at the thought of Ren trying to eat someone. "I don't think you have to worry about that! But you might want to beware of the girl with the... rainbow crystal wings. She might try to eat you... but she's getting better. I don't think she'd do that anymore." She pockets Silencia's necklace, finally, and starts making some motions with her hands. "Well, in my world, there are a lot of hocus pocus types... I have a minimal amount of training, but I'm more a dabbler, not a full on mage." She opens her hands at the end of her motions, and a small ball of hovering light appears between them.
Kazuki's eye twitches a little at the mention of someone with rainbow crystal wings possibly trying to eat him. "Mental note: rainbow crystal wings means trouble. Right," he quips. Then he watches as Rayne makes a ball of light in her hands. His eyes widen. "Oh wow!" He seems pretty impressed by that small show of magic. "Magic, if you really wanna call it that, doesn't really work like that in my world. It's... way more subtle. It works on living things, that's about it. I can't do like that. Like..." He pauses, thinks a moment, with a quiet 'hmm'. "Like this." He shuts his eyes, takes a breath, and concentrates. Some form of energy is shifting inside him, the energy of life itself. And he starts to sing.
~* Then I'll embrace you in the endless rain.
If you are hiding away your answer,
Then I'll somehow whisper to you with my unchanging voice,
And at the very least, I'll wrap up your broken heart. *~
When he sings, the plants around him react, seeming to very gently lean in his direction, to be a little brighter. And it's possible that Rayne may feel the emotions of the song, it's one of wishing for a reunion with a loved one that one's been away from for a long time.