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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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File 143060832255.gif - (49.42KB , 640x480 , 1.gif )
637615 No. 637615 ID: e8e481

For thirteen years you've known Cirrus to be a whimsical guy, but he has been missing for thirteen days. It's been thirteen hours since you started calling; because of this you've decided to take the thirteen minute walk to his house to confront him.

[animated]
Expand all images
>>
No. 637617 ID: e8e481
File 143060841568.png - (30.22KB , 640x480 , 2.png )
637617

Your name is Nim. It's been raining for a while now, unfortunately. What three items does Nim bring with her?
>>
No. 637619 ID: defceb

A pocket knife.
A cell phone.
Some money.
>>
No. 637623 ID: b9cef6
637623

A phone.
A little can of pepperspray.
A lockpick.
>>
No. 637624 ID: e8e481
File 143060897010.png - (21.30KB , 640x480 , 3.png )
637624

Feeling it's going to be just a short trip, you only bring your POCKET KNIFE, CELLPHONE, and WALLET. It's likely Cirrus is just having another one his depression spells, anyway.

The neighborhood is quiet, almost eerily so. The dark rain clouds overhead has darkened the area, giving what is normally a cheerful looking suburban zone a drab and uninteresting look. You can't help but stay quiet as you creep through the empty streets to Cirrus' front door.

You knock on his door thirteen times.

But he does not answer.
>>
No. 637628 ID: 809713

Check if the door is unlocked.

If not, do you know if he hides a spare key outside somewhere?
>>
No. 637629 ID: 9297f4

Use pocket knife on door 13 times.
>>
No. 637630 ID: b9cef6

Check the window?
>>
No. 637632 ID: e114bc

>>637624
You might have to check a window to see if you can see him in there. Is his car in the driveway?
>>
No. 637647 ID: e8e481
File 143061058523.png - (28.01KB , 640x480 , 4.png )
637647

You step out into the rain.

You briefly look around you- you can't see if Cirrus' car is in the driveway as he has a garage which he parks his red Volkswagen Beetle in. All visible windows have their drapes closed- the house seems very much void of life.
>>
No. 637652 ID: e8e481
File 143061068017.png - (13.18KB , 640x480 , 5.png )
637652

You walk back to the front door and try to open it- which you are surprised to find unlocked. This is odd to you- Cirrus can be kind of a scaredy cat and has three different locks to his door.
>>
No. 637658 ID: defceb

Consider the potential gravity of the situation. Panic only a little bit. Enter house.
>>
No. 637660 ID: e114bc

>>637652
Go in. Try not to drip water over everything.
>>
No. 637662 ID: e8e481
File 143061278444.png - (20.55KB , 640x480 , 6.png )
637662

It turns out you did not walk to the door- but rather RAN to it. You drop your UMBRELLA behind you as you carelessly swing the door open.

It occurs to you that you have never been inside Cirrus' house before.
>>
No. 637664 ID: e8e481
File 143061297235.png - (23.87KB , 640x480 , 7.png )
637664

You fail to not get everything around the door wet as you step inside- and you take a good hard look at the room around you. You suppose you are in the FOYER- there is a closet beside you that you suppose is meant for storing shoes, coats, umbrellas, and the likes. On your other side is an unused coatrack- beyond that you can see a dark hallway, and what appears to be a living room. Straight back is a door to what you think is the porch, but due to how dark the house is you can't really see what's outside all that well.

You close the door behind you before the house gets any more needlessly wet.
>>
No. 637665 ID: b9cef6

Turn on the lights, chiggidy check out that cabinet.
What's Cirrus like? Must be a pretty successful guy to have a house like this.
>>
No. 637667 ID: e114bc

>>637664
No coat on the coatrack...? Call out, ask if anyone's home. Turn on the lights, go into the next room.

Wait does your shadow have EYES?
>>
No. 637673 ID: a9753c

Leave the house, call 911. Report a suspected break-in.
>>
No. 637674 ID: e8e481
File 143061453464.png - (20.86KB , 640x480 , 8.png )
637674

It doesn't matter how hard you look- there is no visible light-switch in the area, let alone a light fixture to turn on. You call out into the dark, apparently empty house, and you aren't that surprised at this point that you receive no reply.

You figure maybe he's just sleeping, and walk over to the closet to put away your wet shoes, and find something even more odd. You find an unlabeled key sitting on the top shelf, a bunch of tiny shoes on the second, and some regular-sized shoes on the bottom. You also see a familiar red umbrella in the umbrella bin.
>>
No. 637677 ID: 809713

Hang up your umbrella, wipe feet on mat.

Leave the key for now. You don't need to loot your friend's house, and if you find a locked door, you can double back for it.

Start searching the house. Check each door, see if you can find him in any of the rooms. Checking if he's somewhere in the house, and if he's hurt or something takes priority over investigating the contents of any of the rooms.
>>
No. 637679 ID: b9cef6

...didn't we drop the umbrella outside?
Is it still out there?
Also, does he have kids? That would explain the little shoes.
Keep heading in, I suppose.
>>
No. 637683 ID: e8e481
File 143061638027.png - (20.19KB , 640x480 , 9.png )
637683

You wipe your feet off on the mat and take off your shoes. At first you are concerned about the placement of the umbrella- you're pretty sure you left yours outside, but then you remember you and Cirrus got matching ones last year.

You smile and hang up the umbrella just to be sure- this one is absolutely dry, so it couldn't be the same one.

You walk off to explore the LIVING ROOM, the first available room you can find.
>>
No. 637686 ID: e8e481
File 143061665967.png - (17.32KB , 640x480 , 10.png )
637686

Cirrus was kind. The two of you have been friends for thirteen years, and since you've known him he's always the first one to bust up into laughs or find strange and unusual things for the two of you to do. He's creative and insightful- who knew that his paintings could fund enough money to afford a place like this?

You fondly remember him as a man of smiles, and how he always makes time to see you no matter how busy his schedule.

He wasn't perfect though. The two of you knew he had severe depression, and how he never let ANYONE inside his house. You think he might have been abused when he was younger- but he'd never tell. There was no way someone like him could have some kids, you think.
>>
No. 637688 ID: e8e481
File 143061669878.png - (15.59KB , 640x480 , 11.png )
637688

And now, you suppose, he never will.
>>
No. 637695 ID: d75a7d

>>637688
read note
cry
>>
No. 637697 ID: bd8b82

read note, be wary of posed as suicide instead of actually being one.
>>
No. 637700 ID: 809713

Read note, don't touch it. Or him. You don't want to contaminate evidence.

Then go call the cops and wait.
>>
No. 637706 ID: e8e481
File 143061902860.png - (22.79KB , 640x480 , 12.png )
637706

Nim,
I can’t apologize enough that you had to see me like this. The one thing that haunted me about this release I craved was the price it bore on the both of us. The price I almost could not bear- knowing that my death would hurt you. You are the one and only person I want to see happy- it hurts me to think that I will become the reason for you to suffer. But I had to. Please, hear me out.
Ever since I was young I had the ability to SEE something in this world I still cannot explain. There is an unnatural force in this world that is the driving force behind all grief, uncertainty and pain, primarily to breed power. I don’t know what they are and what to call them, but for now I’ll refer to them as DEMONS.
The depression spells I’ve had for years was because of them. I have been storing as many of these demons into my spirit in preparation of this day; the day I kill myself and the demons within me, to banish them for all eternity. My only regret is… you. I wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of my days living happily with you. If it isn’t too pretentious of me, I wanted to marry you. To be happy, make a family, and spend more adventures with you beneath the clouds in the sky.
I love you Nim. I love you even still, beyond the living and beyond my death. I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
I am always yours, and I will always be with you. Even in death.

Thank you.
Cirrus
>>
No. 637710 ID: 809713

Cry on the floor.

Then go call the cops. You want to report a suicide.
>>
No. 637712 ID: e114bc

>>637683
Eyes in the shadow again. Wanna bet you've got a Demon?

...go get that key after you call the cops, find out what it unlocks.
>>
No. 637713 ID: a9753c

Get him off the rope, perform CPR!

He might not be dead. Even if he is, you have to be sure.

(But be sure to look into his mouth, make sure that his corpse isn't infected with said "demons".)
>>
No. 637722 ID: e8e481
File 143061994411.png - (14.79KB , 640x480 , 13.png )
637722

Your first thought is to take him off the rope and perform CPR- until you smell the rancid stench of emptied bowels, and you end up falling to the floor bawling your eyes out.
He LOVED you.
You loved him too!
You frantically call 911, but for some reason your cellphone can't get service. GREAT!
>>
No. 637724 ID: bd8b82

house phone
>>
No. 637727 ID: 809713

This is a house. There should be a hardline / lanline to call out on. Usually in the kitchen.
>>
No. 637733 ID: a9753c

Methinks he'd want to be cremated, given the "I'm taking you @#$%ing demons with me" mindset.

Also, leave the house. NOW.
>>
No. 637766 ID: 330ce5

You can't stay in the same room as the body. Get somewhere else to get some breathe.
>>
No. 637790 ID: e8e481
File 143062970755.png - (17.01KB , 640x480 , 14.png )
637790

You have got to find a phone. But the house is so large- you don't even know where to begin. You look down the FIRST HALLWAY visible from the FOYER. There's not much in it- at the left is an unmarked door, and to the right you see something that looks like another closet. In the back of the hallway you see some sort of niche, but the shelves are all empty. The end of the hallway veers to your right.
>>
No. 637792 ID: e8e481
File 143062984161.png - (13.98KB , 640x480 , 15.png )
637792

The SECOND HALLWAY is visible on the righthand side of the LIVING ROOM, on the wall opposite of the body. The hallway stretches down has two unmarked doors, and well as a wide entrance to another room. The end of this hallway also appears to be another room, but it is very dark.
>>
No. 637795 ID: e8e481
File 143063003246.png - (18.02KB , 640x480 , 16.png )
637795

The SECOND HALLWAY's open room seems to be a DINING ROOM, however there are no chairs to be seen. There is only a lone table, a painting, a flower arrangement, and the curtain that covers the front window. You decide to wait here for the time being as you decide where you want to go; it's far enough from the body that you can think.
>>
No. 637797 ID: a9753c

Okay your shadow is most definitely not normal

Time to go

Leave the house

Now

Please
>>
No. 637802 ID: 809713

Okay, if you can't find a phone, this is where you go for help. You go back outside, pound on the neighbors' doors until one of them answers, and ask them to call the police, please, your friend is dead.
>>
No. 637803 ID: e114bc

>>637795
Open the curtains. Try to get a signal on your phone again.

What's that on the table?
>>
No. 637815 ID: defceb

GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
>>
No. 637827 ID: e8e481
File 143063432552.gif - (118.96KB , 640x470 , 18.gif )
637827

You open the curtain and turn around.

[animated]
>>
No. 637829 ID: e8e481
File 143063445678.png - (14.75KB , 640x480 , 19.png )
637829

FUCK THAT.
You immediately dash for the door- round the corner back into the FOYER, where you try your best to
>GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
>>
No. 637831 ID: e8e481
File 143063451748.png - (13.41KB , 640x480 , 17.png )
637831

However, despite the door being obviously unlocked, it won't open. It won't even budge, as if it were a prop instead of a proper door.
>>
No. 637832 ID: defceb

Step one; Freak out at the gravity of the situation
Step two; Panic attack
Step three; Freak out at the increased gravity of the situation.
>>
No. 637834 ID: bd8b82

find largest object you can lift, throw it at/through the window.
>>
No. 637837 ID: 809713

Try the key!
>>
No. 637838 ID: e114bc

>>637831
This house is proper haunted, yep. Seems like when your friend killed himself to try to kill the demons... it didn't work all the way.
>>
No. 637839 ID: 04b86a

There's a set of glass doors that look like they lead outside just past the couch. Grab the coat rack or something, smash the glass, and leave through there.
>>
No. 637840 ID: a9753c

Jump out a window.
>>
No. 637969 ID: e8e481
File 143069120120.gif - (37.01KB , 640x480 , 20.gif )
637969

You grab the coat rack from the FOYER and lift it over head to shatter the set of glass doors in the back of the LIVING ROOM.

You are stopped before you can swing by a familiar voice.

"NIM. STOP. IT'S ME. PLEASE."

You hesitate, but do you continue?

[animated]
>>
No. 637970 ID: bd8b82

hold on to it, ask for proof, something cirrus would know alone.
>>
No. 637971 ID: 809713

>You hesitate, but do you continue?
Hesitate.

Do this. >>637970

It has to be something early, too. If he's been storing 'demons' inside him for a long time, they could have been watching. It has to be something from before all this started.
>>
No. 637972 ID: 330ce5

This seems like a trap. Hearing what it has to say though could prove distracting from the current situation. If it seems like it is spouting bull we can just smash the window.
>>
No. 637973 ID: e114bc

>>637969
Prove it.
>>
No. 637975 ID: e8e481
File 143069481298.png - (16.37KB , 640x480 , 21.png )
637975

"... Cirrus?"

The shadow creature remains silent.

"Is that really you? If it is- prove it. Prove it! Tell me something that only Cirrus would know."

"You ask the impossible from me, Nim."

"Then move out of the way!"

"The demons will escape if you make a hole for them to leave. You can't leave yet."
>>
No. 637980 ID: e114bc

>>637975
...what does he want you to do? Shouldn't the demons have gotten out when you opened the door to get in, anyway? Why can't he prove he is Cirrus?
>>
No. 637981 ID: 6e79d4

And how do we know you aren't a demon?
>>
No. 637982 ID: 809713

>>637975
Look, you left a suicide note saying there are dangerous demons, and now I'm talking to a shadow. How do I know you're you, keeping me here for a good reason, and not a demon trying to trick me?

If you wanted to keep them in, why didn't you lock the door?!

Give me something here, please.
>>
No. 637984 ID: a9753c

Play along for now, but the moment he bars the windows or asks for a ritual that is questionable, run.

Maybe you could perform half the rituals that he asks and then leave, to get a proper exorcist and/or cultist. Half the locks are better than none, right?
>>
No. 637985 ID: e8e481
File 143069774193.png - (16.44KB , 640x480 , 24.png )
637985

"Look, you left a suicide note saying there are dangerous demons, and now I'm talking to a shadow. How do I know you're you, keeping me here for a good reason, and not a demon trying to trick me?"
"Demons hate to be seen. Demons cannot leave this house without an open portal."
>>
No. 637987 ID: e8e481
File 143069784893.png - (25.10KB , 640x480 , 22.png )
637987

" They know who you are. They have always been with me. And I have always been with you. But the reason I became interested in you. Is."
>>
No. 637988 ID: e8e481
File 143069800540.png - (16.04KB , 640x480 , 23.png )
637988

" You have the ability to see them too."
"What?"
" I could hide them from you when I was alive. I can no longer do so. I thought it would not be a problem. I did not know they could detach from my spirit at a crucial moment."
"... Cirrus?"
"I told you I would always be with you. Even in death."
>>
No. 637991 ID: f63e0b

>>637985

Get angry.

"You know, if you are Cirrus, you could have at least left a message on my phone! You left me a note, so you knew I would be coming. Couldn't you at least have thought a little further ahead, so that I wouldn't get stuck with demons or whatever?! What do I do now? Stay here with you and my new demonic roommates for the rest of my life?"
>>
No. 637992 ID: a9753c

So now Nim is trapped in a haunted house and is slated for possession by hundreds of demons that Cirrus trapped for the sole purpose of banishing via ritual sacrifice. "Yippee."

Tell Cirrus that he should have worked with you. You either wanted to be with him forever or you wanted to be alone. And now you'll get neither. (Gauge his reaction to your statement.)

Alright, how to banish / seal / pacify demons? They are probably not your run-of-the-mill demons from the stories.
>>
No. 637993 ID: bd8b82

SIGH, couldn't you have trained me a little bit before now?
>>
No. 637994 ID: 809713

>Demons hate to be seen. Demons cannot leave this house without an open portal.
Says the potential demon. We only have his word anything he tells us about demons is true, just as all we have is his word he's him.

We might as well play along, though. Until we get the chance to start testing if anything he tells us is true. Just remember you can't be sure. Not yet.

>I did not know they could detach from my spirit at a crucial moment
So you died for nothing? They jumped ship at the last moment?

>demons trapped in the house, but can leave via an open portal
Then what am I to do? I can't leave, without loosing them. But I can't stay here forever. If I do, won't they latch onto me, like they did you?
>>
No. 638003 ID: 809713

>>637991
Also, if he knew his home was going to become some kind of hazard, he could have locked the door!

Or lied that you were going on vacation or something so I wouldn't come check!

I'm thinking Brad Delp, here. He left notes warning whoever found him there was carbon monoxide on the other side of the door. Seems to me demons would merit that kind of precaution / courtesy.
>>
No. 638009 ID: e8e481
File 143070195440.png - (17.77KB , 640x480 , 25.png )
638009

>Get angry.
Not only do you get angry- you get PISSED.

"You know, if you are Cirrus, you could have at least left a message on my phone! You left me a note, so you knew I would be coming. Couldn't you at least have thought a little further ahead, so that I wouldn't get stuck with demons or whatever?! What do I do now? Stay here with you and my new demonic roommates for the rest of my life?"
"Calm down, Nim."
"HELL NO. If you knew your house was going to become some kind of hazard, you could have locked the door!"
"I did not know."
"Then what do I do? I can't leave without letting them loose. But I can't stay here forever!"
"Calm down and I will explain."
"You should have worked with me! I rather have stayed with you forever with the world plagued with demons- or never met you at all!"
"NIM."
>>
No. 638010 ID: e8e481
File 143070202265.png - (16.45KB , 640x480 , 26.png )
638010

"YOUR FEAR AND ANGER CALLS TO THEM. THEY ARE COMING. ARM YOURSELF."
>>
No. 638013 ID: de4854

Find something to use as a weapon and prepare for combat.
>>
No. 638014 ID: b2f345

Equip Pocket Knife
>>
No. 638016 ID: e114bc

>>638010
You have the coat rack.
>>
No. 638019 ID: a9753c

What about Cirrus' Red Umbrella? Did he modify his umbrella with anti-demonic technology?

If that is Cirrus (or at least one of his familiars), he should know the house fairly well - including where all the weapons and safe rooms are.

Anything else that Nim needs to know about fighting demons, or is it mostly instinct at this point?
>>
No. 638021 ID: 809713

>YOUR FEAR AND ANGER CALLS TO THEM.
When we have a chance to bring this up again- you have a right to be angry. He killed himself, he kept secrets from you for years, and in doing so, he's put you in danger.

>ARM YOURSELF.
With what? What works? Steel or iron? Wood? Salt? Emotional significance?

>>638019
The umbrella strikes me as emotionally significant, and it's the only thing in color. That might well be the right choice.

Although I don't know if we can get to it in time. It's not in this room and they're coming.
>>
No. 638023 ID: 330ce5

To the kitchen! kitchens have knifes, rolling pins, and spoons. It is the best place to find demon whacking stuff.
>>
No. 638027 ID: 89ffd9

>>638021
No, she brought the coat rack to this room, the umbrella might have been on it before she was about to hit the window.

Also, you can trip someone up with a curtain, sort of like throwing a net.
Could be good for temporarily incapacitating someone so you can use the umbrella.

Worst comes to worst the coat hanger and the curtain rod are still around.
>>
No. 638042 ID: e8e481
File 143071464057.png - (16.71KB , 640x480 , 27.png )
638042

"With what? What works? Steel or iron? Wood? Salt?"
"A circle."
"What-?!"
You look around for the nearest weapon you can reach. You have access to your POCKET KNIFE, which Cirrus gave you, the COAT RACK in Cirrus' FOYER, and Cirrus' UMBRELLA.

You're sensing a theme.

"Don't you have some sort of anti-demonic object or something?!"
"The circle."
>>
No. 638043 ID: e8e481
File 143071479635.png - (41.50KB , 640x480 , 28.png )
638043

You open the umbrella. You are now armed- with something? You're not really sure.
"Wh-what is this?"
"The knife is inscribed with the same thing. You can trap them with these objects."
>>
No. 638047 ID: 809713

Okay. With a magic circle on it, that makes the umbrella a shield to hide behind, maybe a weapon.

If circles work, should we use the knife to draw a circle on the ground to stand in?

>You can trap them with these objects
Trap them where. In me? Like you did?
>>
No. 638059 ID: e8e481
File 143071832708.gif - (20.80KB , 640x480 , 29.gif )
638059

"Trap them where. In me? Like you did?!"

The shadow-Cirrus does not reply, and you follow his line of sight to the other side of the room. You end up locking sight on the Cirrus' corpse, taken down from his rope and now propped on a chair. Surrounding him is three separate creatures- all of various sizes and shapes.

"Hello, Nim!" Says the shadow with horns, and his spreads his arms wide in what seems to be a gesture of good will. "And hello to you too, Stratus. No need to be frightened- we aren't going to hurt you. We just want to talk."
>>
No. 638060 ID: a9753c

>>638043
Nice, it's modified with a sealing rune! But honestly, I'd be more confident if it weren't in @#$%ing Latin. Seriously, couldn't Cirrus find a more appropriate and much more ancient language for sealing away demons?

The rune is poorly designed; asymmetric center, some of the inscriptions are simply repeats of the same word. Perhaps the demons are banished by programming CONCEPTS into a sealing circle? Or maybe Cirrus never got formal training on how to properly seal a demon; makes sense.

Use the Umbrella, but don't trust it to seal demons for long. Any demons you seal, find a good set of solid places to stuff them into.
>>
No. 638062 ID: a9753c

>>638059
Begin Negotiations. See if you can convert these demons to your side.

It is entirely possible that these three are simply a single enemy. It is also possible that your new guide is just another demon posing as Cirrus. For all intents and purposes, gather as much information as you can from both parties. Use logical deductions to decide which of your own theories best suits the occasion.

For all you know, keeping these demons sealed away could end the world. Or maybe you're letting a bunch of psychos loose on the world right after Cirrus sacrificed himself to banish them. Or maybe you went insane from the loss of Cirrus, and that note isn't even real.

Hey, what did those three do with the note?
>>
No. 638063 ID: bd8b82

point the umbrella at them.
>>
No. 638064 ID: 809713

>Stratus
Not Cirrus. But then again, we have no reason to know this one is being honest, either.

Either the first one lied and isn't Cirrus, or the new ones are fucking with you to make you mistrust him.

Notable is the the horned one isn't talking like this. A concrete difference supports the idea your companion might not be one of them. (A ghost instead of a demon)?

>No need to be frightened- we aren't going to hurt you. We just want to talk.
Well we have nothing to talk about. So you can go, now.

Hold the umbrella between you and them, two handed.
>>
No. 638072 ID: e114bc

>>638059
Keep the umbrella at the ready. "Then talk."
>>
No. 638107 ID: 2677fc

>>638059
is that a scar on his stomach? check that out later
>>
No. 638146 ID: e8e481
File 143077824916.png - (24.61KB , 640x480 , 30.png )
638146

Defensively, the first thing you do is put some distance between you and the trio by holding up the umbrella between you. If this act frightened them at all, they did not show it.
The adrenaline for the past few minutes has your heart pumping madly, leaving you feeling a bit crazed as the constant thuds fill your ears.
"Then talk. But I can go at any time, then, if you aren't going to hurt me."
The horned shadow drops his arms, and his smile seemingly lessens. But still, he continues his tirade.
"I'm sorry to properly meet you under these circumstances, after craving to meet you for all these years. Cirrus was never the type of guy to share, after all. The three of us are the last members of the Midnight Court to reside here, and to be honest that is a bit of a threat."
The horned shadow pauses and looks over at the other two shadows, who are mostly silent. Eventually, though, the rabbit-like one speaks up.
"ᵞᵒᵘ ᵐᵃʸ ᵛᵃᶰᵠᵘᶤᶳʰ ᵗʷᵒ ᵒᶠ ᵘᶳ˒ ᵇᵘᵗ ʷᵉ ʳᵉᵠᵘᶤʳᵉ ʸᵒᵘ ᵇᶤᶰᵈ ᵒᶰᵉ ᵒᶠ ᵘᶳ ᵗᵒ ʸᵒᵘˑ ᵂᵉ ᵇᵒᵗʰ ᶜᵃᶰ ˡᵉᵃᵛᵉ ᵗʰᶤᶳ ʰᵒᵘᶳᵉˑ ᴵᵗ'ᶳ ᵃ ᵐᵘᵗᵘᵃˡˡʸ ᵇᵉᶰᵉᶠᶤᶜᶤᵃˡ ᵈᵉᵃˡˑ"
"How about it, Nim?"

Finally, after being silent all this time, the shadow-Cirrus speaks up.
"You intend to escape."
>>
No. 638150 ID: 330ce5

Who are you demons, what is the Midnight Court and why should we make any deals? Also, if we were to bind what would that really mean?
Finally, how and why would you move Cirrus's body?
>>
No. 638152 ID: e114bc

>>638146
"Vanquish"? If that were possible with you still leaving alive, why did Cirrus die? How did they even move his body?
>>
No. 638154 ID: 809713

>The three of us are the last members of the Midnight Court to reside here, and to be honest that is a bit of a threat.
What is the midnight court? (Are they saying as the midnight court, they're a threat to us, or that the fact the court is almost gone is a threat to us?).

>ᵇᵘᵗ ʷᵉ ʳᵉᵠᵘᶤʳᵉ ʸᵒᵘ ᵇᶤᶰᵈ ᵒᶰᵉ ᵒᶠ ᵘᶳ ᵗᵒ ʸᵒᵘˑ
Why would I want to bind anything to myself? I've seen where that path leads. (Look or gesture pointedly at the corpse).

>shadow-Cirrus
Slash Stratus.

Ask him, deliberately: "and what would you have me do?"
>>
No. 638165 ID: d3be40

Maybe they can respawn if at least one of them is alive. That would explain their willingness to self-sacrifice if at least one of them reaches the goal.

Ask about the midnight court. Why would you ever let three demons loose on the world... unless the world is in danger?
>>
No. 638189 ID: 8f01e8

Alright, so four mysterious shadow creatures seem to be disagreeing among themselves on key points, but they're all trying to talk rather than getting violent, so they all want something and need your cooperation in order to get it. So, before you decide which (if any) to cooperate with, press your advantage by extorting more information from them. Specifically, what happened to the front door when you were trying to leave? And what is the significance of the number thirteen?
>>
No. 638244 ID: 57d76a

>>638189
And three. Three also seems to be a significant number.
>>
No. 638319 ID: e8e481
File 143086537677.png - (23.81KB , 640x480 , 31.png )
638319

"How did... you move his body?" You ask, carefully, and in response the rabbit-like shadow lifts up one of his arms with ease.
"I see." You reply, and you cut that train of thought off immediately.

You swallow a thick lump in your throat as you look over the free shadows in question- the horned one seems friendly, almost helpful. The rabbit one is quiet, but seems to be quietly judging you. And the last one, a beaked creature, just silently watches the four of you.

"What is.. the Midnight Court?"
They don't reply.

"What happened to the front door.. when I tried to leave?"
They don't reply.

".. ugh! What do you mean, bind one of you to me? I don't want to! You already killed Cirrus, what else do you want from me?!"
This is when the horned shadow speaks up.
"Two of us will humbly die if at least one of us gets to escape this household. Willingly. Don't you want to leave, Nim?"

You exhale, hesitantly.
"Who are you?"

Silence.

The horned one speaks up, after a long pause.
"My name is Bull. The one beside me is Rod, and the one sitting on the fireplace is Bus."
>>
No. 638320 ID: e8e481
File 143086556502.png - (16.17KB , 640x480 , 32.png )
638320

You quietly turn to Stratus, giving him a watchful eye.
"What would YOU have me do, Stratus?"

Stratus is silent as he looks at the others, before replying.
"They may not mean you harm. But they are not to escape."

You frown.

"..I am Cirrus."
>>
No. 638321 ID: bd8b82

so why shouldn't i just kill all of you?
>>
No. 638322 ID: e8e481
File 143086610882.png - (16.95KB , 640x480 , 33.png )
638322

"What if I just killed all of yo-"

"I wouldn't recommend that."
>>
No. 638324 ID: e114bc

>>638322
Well, they can probably defend themselves, considering they can move the body around. They could force you to fight him, or just grab your body.

Tell them you aren't taking their deal, but it looks like a direct confrontation won't work either. Tell them to get out of your sight.

Time to explore the house.
>>
No. 638325 ID: bd8b82

you need time to think.
>>
No. 638327 ID: 79940c

Right. That's one extreme. And what if I just do nothing? You need me to leave. I don't know that I need any of you.
>>
No. 638329 ID: e8e481
File 143086715562.gif - (89.38KB , 640x480 , 34.gif )
638329

"... Leave me alone." You say finally, and Bull looks at you with a careful eye.

"Are you rejecting our deal?"

"Yes. For now. I have no intention of letting you.. BIND with me. But it's not like we're going anywhere any time soon- so get out of my sight. I need time to think."

They all look at each other for a moment, and Rod nods.

They disperse, leaving you with Stratus and the body.

"We'll be waiting, Nim." Says Bull's cheerful voice as the rest of him vanishes without a trace.

[animated]
>>
No. 638333 ID: 330ce5

Is there a computer we can use to look up the Midnight Court? Also ask Cirrus(?) if they know anything about the demons we just met.
>>
No. 638334 ID: 79940c

Fall to the floor, back the the wall, again.

Well. Okay. Their plan is I make a deal with the devil. What's yours? How do you think I get out without letting anything loose?

Can you tell me what that midnight court deal is? Or who they are? (What they stand for?). Why would two of them be willing to die to get the third bound to me?

...if they can be killed, why did you opt for the binding suicide gambit?

(Questioning him like he's Cirrus. Still no guarantee we he is, or we can trust him, but I'd prefer to get him talking. Questionable lore is at least something to start with).

>one last thing
*Look down on the umbrella*. If you're you, and not one of them, this won't work on you, right?
>>
No. 638336 ID: e114bc

Ask your shadow why they call it Stratus.
>>
No. 638357 ID: 350a50

I have a feeling this might not be Cirrus. Or, if it was Cirrus, it isn't entirely Cirrus anymore.

Don't let it in on that you know, though, or threaten it with the umbrella. At most ask what the name Stratus means and why the demons used it.
>>
No. 638848 ID: 8f01e8

Alright, so they won't tell you how you're locked in here, and they won't tell you what happens if you take the obvious violent route, beyond vague threats. They should at least be willing to disclose the advantages of the deal, right? Presumably it varies based on which of them you bind to.

If they don't tell you enough about the upsides of being bound to a demon for you to guess at the downside by filling in gaps, accuse them of being evasive. Point out that you're a cornered rat in this situation, good as dead either way, and if they had some way to get what they want from you by force they would've done it already, so you get answers or the shadows get Hulk Smash. Maybe come up with a plan for setting the place on fire.
>>
No. 638866 ID: d3be40

Cirrus and Stratus are cloud types. Maybe Stratus is one of Cirrus' familiars. Else why would the demons have called him something so similar? If they were working with Stratus, they could have easily called him Cirrus and played the two-party con. If they didn't want you to have any suspicion of a connection, then they could have called him something else. Unless they can't lie about that, but that would just make your life easier.

For now, you're in no state to interrogate Stratus. Ask him about where to find supplies (food, weapons, armor, gear, and safe houses) and the conditions required to use them without side effects.
>>
No. 639111 ID: e8e481
File 143113020255.png - (16.17KB , 640x480 , 35.png )
639111

As the trio disappear from your line of sight you release a shaky breath you did not even realize you were holding. The stress of it all has you panicking- you find yourself inching back against the wall until you're pressed entirely against it, and you slide down to the floor to make yourself smaller.

You breathe in thirteen second intervals.

Your session is interrupted, however, by Stratus, who calls out to you.
"Nim. Are you. Alright?"
The question takes you off guard, and you look at him oddly for a moment before cautiously replying.
".. I'm alright, Cirrus. Can I ask you some questions?"

By the fact he doesn't reply, you take it as a go-ahead. You take a good, long, breath and begin to shoot off.

"What the hell is the Midnight Court? Do you know anything about them? Is there a computer I can look them up with, maybe?"
"There are no electronics in this house."
".. okay, and what about my other questions."
"I do not know."
"Right. Okay. Whatever. Why are they willing to die to get something bound to me? And if they can be killed.. why did you.."
You look over at Cirrus' corpse.
"They can kill themselves willingly."
"Why?"
"To escape."

You flatten your lips and shut your eyes, before asking the looming question hanging on your mind.
"Why do they call you Stratus?"
"I am Stratus as I am Cirrus."
".. that means nothing to me. You're not one of them, right?"
"I never said I wasn't."
"Wha-"
You try to lean away from him, but ask he has taken your "shadow", he just immediately follows you.
"Then this umbrella- it'll work on you?"
"Perhaps."

You swallow hard.

"... Their plan is that I make a deal with the devil, essentially. What... What's your plan?"
"This form is unique. I can consume them. If you trap them, that is. Once they are gone, you can lock me here, and leave."
>>
No. 639113 ID: e8e481
File 143113074176.png - (13.98KB , 640x480 , 37.png )
639113

".. Is there any safe places here? I'm tired. This is... This is too much."
"The safest place in the house. Would be the kitchen."
"Which is? As Cirrus, you'd know I've never been here before."
" . . . . "

You rub your head as the shadow moves to the other wall, in your line of vision, and points down the SECOND HALLWAY.

"This house has thirteen rooms, thirteen closet spaces, and three inaccessible areas. The kitchen is the first door on the left, or directly across from the dining room."
The shadow pauses.
"The door on the right leads to the utility room, storage, and the garage. The back of the hallway leads to the study and the guest bedroom."
>>
No. 639115 ID: e8e481
File 143113101520.png - (17.01KB , 640x480 , 36.png )
639115

".. and the other hallway?"
"The immediate left door is the first of three bathrooms. The hallway officially ends at the entrance of my bedroom."
"And.. where would the shadows be, you think?"
"Both bedrooms and the study."

You slink a little farther towards the ground.
>>
No. 639116 ID: 79940c

>I do not know
You said these things were in your head your whole life. You made bonds with them. They didn't tell you anything, in all that time? Shouldn't you know them?

>This house has thirteen rooms, thirteen closet spaces, and three inaccessible areas.
That's... a lot of closets. Usually there's more rooms than closets. And that's a lot of rooms for one person.

>Once they are gone, you can lock me here, and leave.
...that sure doesn't sound like never leaving me.
>>
No. 639117 ID: a9753c

Who WAS Cirrus, anyway? Why would he have a huge house, but no electronics or exorcists?

This doesn't add up, even with the existence of demons. Are they even demons? Or are you being played and led into a con so ridiculous that there is no precedent for the constraints that you know of?

Head to the kitchen, find a bag to store some food. Cook some and grab what you can; you're going to have a long night.
>>
No. 639119 ID: bd8b82

>three inaccessible areas
why? i mean, why build a house with spaces that do nothing?
>>
No. 639120 ID: a9753c

>>639119
Boiler rooms, load-bearing structures, splintered wood and poisonous gas, sealed demons, etc.

Worry about that later, food now.
>>
No. 639131 ID: e8e481
File 143113559685.png - (28.11KB , 640x480 , 38.png )
639131

You follow Stratus' directions and enter the KITCHEN.
Inside there is one cabinet up high, three near the ground, a six-burner gas stove with an oven, a chrome vent, a closet (which you presume is the PANTRY), easy access to a BREAKFAST NOOK, and a SCREENED PORCH that Stratus makes quick to note about.
"You may not leave out that door. The screen can not keep the demons inside."

However, what really catches your eye is a painting hanging on the LIVING ROOM shared wall. There is a girl with long black hair standing beneath a red umbrella standing in the center of a thunderstorm. You vaguely recall seeing this painting in one of Cirrus' gallery exhibits.
>>
No. 639134 ID: 350a50

>>639131
Get some comfort food.

Any ice cream?
>>
No. 639135 ID: 6141de

Raid PANTRY.
>>
No. 639140 ID: 79940c

Look for chocolate. And tea.

>There is a girl with long black hair standing beneath a red umbrella standing in the center of a thunderstorm.
...is that supposed to be me?

>Also
At some point I want to raise the point we're not so thrilled with his plan that we leave your best friend locked alone in an empty house for the rest of forever.

...and he can't stay there forever, anyways. Eventually someone else will come. The bank. The cops. Thieves. Kids, checking out that old abandoned house they're not supposed to. Construction workers. The house won't stay shut.
>>
No. 639149 ID: 8f01e8

Find a bottle of ketchup, use it to draw a floor plan of the house on the breakfast nook table and a copy of the binding circle from the umbrella in the middle of the floor.

No refrigerator?
>>
No. 639150 ID: 96c896

>>639131
Painting of someone using a red umbrella and wearing red shoes. It's possible some shoes were weaponized in the same way the umbrella is. Care to check, after this room?

Ask Stratus how he became bound to you.
>>
No. 639151 ID: 79940c

>>639150
Ask if he's bound to you.
>>
No. 639243 ID: e8e481
File 143121407470.png - (31.15KB , 640x480 , 39.png )
639243

You bend over to reach the teeny tiny cabinets and stand up on your toes to reach the tallest one. You expect to see SOMETHING- but the cabinets are filled with three things: cans of beans, cans of barley soup, and cans of tuna.
You frown, can anyone live off of just beans, tuna, and soup?
Beneath the sink, however, you do find a lone SALT SHAKER, and you take it with you. You take a quick inventory check- you now have the SALT SHAKER, POCKET KNIFE, WALLET, and PHONE.

You close up the cabinets behind you as you question Stratus some more.

"I always wondered about that painting, Cirrus. Is that supposed to be me?"
"Do you not like it?"
"Of course I like it, I always have."
"Yes, it is you."
"I see."

You stand up straight again and look over at your.. shadow?

"By the way, are you uh..."
He remains silent.
"Bound to me?"
"No. I am possessing your shadow, at the cost of a physical form. Would you like to bind to me?"
"No."

You are firm to deny this as you walk over to the PANTRY.

"You shouldn't go in there."
>>
No. 639246 ID: e8e481
File 143121427722.png - (30.99KB , 640x480 , 40.png )
639246

You reveal the PANTRY is, in fact, the THIRD HALLWAY, into what Hell unknown, you don't know.
"What the-"
"I warned you."
"Did not!"
>>
No. 639247 ID: a9753c

Grab some cans of food, see if they're still good. Cirrus likely used the rations as an anti-demon diet / ritual ingredients.

Ask Stratus if the pantry holds any demons. Leave it alone for now.
>>
No. 639248 ID: 186e27

>>639246
"You didn't mention a basement."
>>
No. 639249 ID: defceb

What, exactly, does it mean to bind to a person?
>>
No. 639251 ID: 79940c

>>639246
I'm not sure why Nim is grinning.

Did you do this, or have they been decorating?

>You are firm to deny [binding him]
Yeah. That might be a way to keep your friend around, maybe. Depending on the costs, and how binding works, it might be better than losing him. If you're really comfortable spending the rest of your life with what is functionally a ghost.

But we're not 100% sure Stratus is who he says he is, and it's possible this is all a ploy. A demon playing nice, getting close, so you'll offer to bind him willingly.

>SALT SHAKER
I wonder if salt is significant here. It's something pure, natural. In some traditions, you can use it against the occult. (A circle to protect yourself or trap something, a line across a door or portal to block egress).
>>
No. 639252 ID: defceb

>>639251
Considering the repetition of thirteen, occult symbols, and general weirdness I think it's safe to say the salt is significant in some way.

How much of it is still in there? If we're not worried about quantity it might be a good idea to say a line of salt across the pantry door.
>>
No. 639253 ID: e8e481
File 143121535054.png - (31.06KB , 640x480 , 41.png )
639253

"You didn't mention any basement, wiseguy."
"I said there was three inaccessible areas. This is one of them."
"What are the other ones, then?!"
"The porch, the basement, and the garage."
"... okay."

You look down the stair well- it seems pitch black down there.

"Is there a demon down there?"
"Yes."
"I'm not going down there then, any time soon. While you're answering questions though- what does it even mean for you to bind to me?"
"I would consume part of your spirit. You get my abilities and I get to keep the portion of your spirit after your death."
>>
No. 639254 ID: 79940c

>I get to keep the portion of your spirit after your death
*sick feeling* ...so then, every demon here took a part of you?

That's why you're acting weird. That's how you're Cirrus and not Cirrus. You're what's left after they cut you to pieces. You're a shadow of yourself.

(We might have a quest here. Recollect as his soul parts from all the demons).

Wouldn't I want all the parts of my spirit when I'm dead? I mean, I'm not sure where people normally go when they die, but...

>You get my abilities
Obvious question would be what abilities he has to offer, besides knowledge of the situation here.

And... this means you were some kind of secret superhero with a ton of different powers when you were alive?
>>
No. 639259 ID: e8e481
File 143121810725.png - (30.25KB , 640x480 , 42.png )
639259

"So.. then every demon here took a part of you?"
"Yes."
"Wouldn't I want all the parts of my spirit when I'm dead? I mean, I'm not sure where people normally go when they die, but..."
"Not necessarily. As long as you have the majority of your own spirit, you will be alright."
"Well.. what kind of abilities do you have?"
"Many. I have bound seven spirits to me, with various abilities."

You were looking off into the closet when he said that, and you slowly turn around.
>>
No. 639260 ID: e8e481
File 143121826895.png - (24.32KB , 640x480 , 43.png )
639260

"... Yes. To the point where I feel like I lost my own identity. That was my mistake."

You are getting a strong feeling about closing the THIRD HALLWAY door and bolting it up forever.
>>
No. 639262 ID: defceb

Close the door, throw down a line of salt, and we'll get back to it later.
>>
No. 639263 ID: 79940c

Okay, his name is written on the inside of the door, in blood. That's not good.

That suggests... what. It's a seal by the demon below to keep him out? Or this is where Cyrus preformed the ritual that made him into Stratus?

>>639262
...that's sounds entirely reasonable at this point.

>"Many. I have bound seven spirits to me, with various abilities."
You still have those? I would have expected with you being, well, dead, and them leaving you and all doing their own thing, that their abilities would be their own again.

...really makes me wonder why they're not interfering. If I ever agree to bond with you, that seriously undercuts their bargaining position. They can't offer me anything you don't already have.

>every demon here took a part of you?
That's why consuming them is an option. You can take back what's yours.

>analysis
Huh. So all together, we have either have our ghost boyfriend who lost his humanity by letting 7 demons cut him to pieces we can maybe get back. Or we have a very clever eighth demon with a gambit to get us help him consume the others, collect more spirit pieces and/or bind to us for more personal power while impersonating our dead boyfriend.

...aaaand no good objective way to test which scenario is true.
>>
No. 639301 ID: a9753c

This is not a good deal. Two possibilities come to mind:

1. You sell too much of your soul and forget who you are.
2. You give a demon the wrong soul shard and they go suicidally feral.

>>639262
NaCl, stuff of the earth. Ask Stratus if it will help, and then lay down a small line across the pantry anyway, to tag movement.
>>
No. 639318 ID: e8e481
File 143123378215.png - (29.07KB , 640x480 , 44.png )
639318

You promptly leave the room, following your gut instinct, but make a mental note to yourself to return again later. You feel like that room has some unsettled business you need to attend to, but you aren't sure what.

Meanwhile you poke Stratus' brain around some more for further intel.

"Do you still have any of those abilities?"
"Yes."
"And if I 'bound' with you, I'd have them too?"
"Yes."

You think about this as you look at the SALT SHAKER in your hand.

"If they're demons, will a salted door or circle keep them out?"
"Yes."
"For how long?"
"Long enough for you to run."

You press your back against the wall and peer warily at the THIRD HALLWAY DOOR.

SALT USAGE: 1/3. 2/3 USES LEFT.
>>
No. 639327 ID: 79940c

>You feel like that room has some unsettled business you need to attend to, but you aren't sure what.
Well, the STRATUS on the wall, for one.

Also the fact stuff was drawn separately in red and then black. One scribbled over the other. If the markings were meant to do one thing, they were then altered. We don't know if Cirrus made those when he was alive, and if they were altered by a demon since, or what what they mean / do.

>what else
Not sure what we have to do besides rest and ask questions. You certainly don't want to go out confronting demons, yet.

Are there books or something? If you had to deal with this your entire life, you must have tried to research it, look for help, right? (I wish you'd let me help, instead of trying to hide all this, and protect me. All it did was hurt me and put me in more danger).

Books mean we have a source of information besides Stratus. Be nice if we could corroborate some of this from less-suspect sources.

Where do demons come from? Are they all dead people?

...how many are there? Even if I get past the seven in this house, am I gonna find the world just filled with shadows I couldn't see before?
>>
No. 639395 ID: a9753c

>>639327
Do you think that Cirrus had a brother? Don't ask this just yet, but keep it in mind.

Alright, look around some more, grab a few cans of whatever you like, and make your way to the Study.

Ask Cirrus what books would me most reliable for beginner's demon research.
>>
No. 639518 ID: 04e33b

>>639318
Wait. Stratus/Cirrus can eat demons. If he does that, and those demons were the ones he bound to himself... would he get those parts of his soul back? Maybe that's why he wants you to do it. So he can become himself again, or even pass on to the afterlife.

Would the portion of the soul that he consumes be larger since he has a bunch of demons bound to him?
>>
No. 639536 ID: 04e33b

Hang on... he said the shadows/demons would most likely be in the bedrooms and study. The basement is none of those, yet there's a demon down there now? Are there four all of a sudden? Get him to explain.
>>
No. 639537 ID: 79940c

>>639536
He's already said that he was bound to 7 demons.

Depending on whether or not that count includes Stratus, there's 7-8 in the house.
>>
No. 639639 ID: e8e481
File 143134055068.png - (29.07KB , 640x480 , 45.png )
639639

"..."
You are quiet for a bit as you rest. You've been through a lot in such a short time and understandably you're pretty tired.

"Hey, Stra- Cirrus, do you have any books around here? Maybe of like pentagrams, or research, or..."
"Yes."
"In the study, right? I guess that's where we're going, first. I need to know what I'm up against if I'm going to fight my way out of here."
"Nim."
"Speaking of fighting, how many demons are in here? Ignoring the countless others that could be out there- now that I know about them, how am I going to-"
"Nim."
"I know, I know, it's not the time to be thinking about this. But I'm pretty scared, Cirrus. I need information. What kind of stuff do I need to know as a beginner? I'm grasping straws here, Cirrus."
"NIM."
"WHAT."
"Come into the damn breakfast nook."

You sit up, alarmed, and then follow Stratus into the "damn BREAKFAST NOOK".
>>
No. 639645 ID: e8e481
File 143134307852.png - (42.61KB , 640x480 , 46.png )
639645

"Hey, don't go ordering me around, just bec- oh. Ohhhhhhhhhhh."
You stop your bitter comment to look over at a lone bookshelf inside the BREAKFAST NOOK. It's not exactly what you would have expected- rather then a small table like the name would imply there sits a rather fluffy rug, a window bench, and the bookshelf that Stratus is rather aggressively trying to point out.
"... well, sorry I assumed the breakfast nook was used for actually eating breakfast. I'll be sure to note your weird furnishing habits in the future."

You look around the room one more time before catching eye with the thirteen books on the shelf. They are all titled with something, although some of them are clearly beyond you.

- Demonology 101 (Leeman)
- Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness (Silver)
- Earths Children (Auel)
- The Cloud Book: How to Understand the Skies (Hamblyn)
- Baphomet: Book of Shadows (Kessler)
- The Marriage (Bannon)
- Theosophia revelata, das ist, Alle göttliche Schriften (Bohme)
- Book of Eldritch Might (Cook)
- The Midnight Court (Merriman)
- Atlas of the Human Anatomy (Netter)
- Necronomicon (Alhazred)
- Warhafter Bericht vom philosophischen Athanor, und dessen Gebrauch und Nutzen (Heinrich)
- Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare)

You pick up Demonology 101, since it's pretty straight forward.
>>
No. 639646 ID: e8e481
File 143134327429.png - (20.17KB , 640x480 , 47.png )
639646

You flip it open to a random page, and aren't even surprised at the results.
".. it's empty, Cirrus. It says "Nice try nimrod!" along with a drawing of a dead bunny."
"What."
"Which reminds me, are you guys all dead? Like, is that how shadow demons reproduce?"
"The information is gone?"
"Yeah. Must've been the bunny one, that's my guess."
" . . . . "

Stratus goes silent.
>>
No. 639647 ID: 88960e

Well, looks like we don't have to worry whether the demons falsified the information in the books. They blatantly censored them.

Start flipping through the books. Are they all effected?

If so, ask Cirrus if he can fix them. If one of the demons has the power to alter books, he should have it too, right? Can he undo what was done?

...failing that, he's gonna have to go into lecture mode.

>also
He doesn't talk much. When he starts just saying your name to get your attention, it's probably important. Listen, and don't make him repeat it 50 times.
>>
No. 639653 ID: e8e481
File 143134677786.png - (42.02KB , 640x480 , 48.png )
639653

Surprisingly, the only books with their pages defiled is Demonology 101, Baphomet: Book of Shadows and Necronomicon. You pick up the others and read brief excerpts from their contents/covers.
"... this encyclopedic study in cultural history illuminates the hidden web of connections between the Victorian fascination with fairies and their lore and the dominant preoccupations of Victorian culture at large." (Silver)
"Stratocumulus clouds are the most common clouds on Earth, being routinely visible over vast tracts of land and sea." (Hamblyn)
"Could their love tower above society's deepest taboos?" (Bannon)
"Her chariot is an empty hazelnut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night" (Shakespeare)
“She loved him, more than she could ever find words for, but this love he felt for her was not quite the same. It wasn't so much stronger, as more demanding, more insistent. As though he feared he would lose that which he had finally won.” (Auel)
"A nongood creature is forced to think about some evil deed it performed, denying it any actions except to defend itself." (Cook)
"Mhilisbhog bhéaltais mhéarlag mhealltach
Thaithneamhach shásta tháclach fhionn" (Merriman)
You stop there- you have no idea what language what that last one is, although you recognize the other two foreign books to be probably German. As for the anatomy book, it's fairly straight forward.

You also take a mental note to pay more attention and listen to Cirrus from now on.
>>
No. 639654 ID: e8e481
File 143134776732.png - (18.13KB , 640x480 , 49.png )
639654

"... Sorry about ignoring you, earlier. It's been a long day."
"It's alright."
"If you say so. Can I ask you more questions?"
"Yes."
"Can you alter the books? I mean, if that's their power, you should have it too."
"This was not done by abilities. The real book must be somewhere else in the house."
"Oh! Okay, that's good to hear."
>>
No. 639655 ID: 88960e

Heh. Blush.

Right. So we just need to search the house filled with demons for basic knowledge. Or more likely, deal with Rod. Probably what he's trying to force. (Don't use his name out loud. Don't want to attract attention).

Of the non-fake books, the one on the midnight court might be most relevant. Can it tell you who or what they are?

>What kind of stuff do I need to know as a beginner?
Important topic to come back to. Can he think of anything in the missing 101 book you really need to know?

Another topic to ask after is the weapons. How do they work? How do you use them? You should probably know how you're supposed to trap something before you need to defend yourself again. Trapping is different from bonding, right?
>>
No. 639732 ID: 9ddf68

ask if he has any idea where to start looking?
>>
No. 639734 ID: 330ce5

Does Cirrus know the abilities of the other demons and could he tell us his own abilities?
>>
No. 639764 ID: e8e481
File 143139347532.png - (29.83KB , 640x480 , 50.png )
639764

You thumb through The Midnight Court again. You stop around the midst of the thin poetry book to find some translations written in what you think is Cirrus' handwriting.
"I've been powerless but patient for far too long
I can overcome my weakness and right this wrong:
Potions from dried-up herbs I'll wring
Over which magic incantations I'll sing."

It goes on about hexing some woman, and you get the feeling that The Midnight Court is some kind of comedy. He even scribbled down "Probably Irrelavant". (You make a mental note to correct his spelling later if you ever find a pen.)

You look up as Stratus calls your name.
"The only books you needed are gone, so no need to thumb through the rest."
You put the book back on the shelf.
"Do you remember anything from the Demonology 101 book?"
"Yes. It has instructions on trapping, and categorizing demons. It would be faster for you to read it, rather then for me to tell you."
You nod in agreement as he goes on.
"The umbrella you have-"
"The umbrella you left behind, then, has a magic circle drawn on it. If you can get a demon's real form to walk on it, they will be trapped in that space."
"Their real form?"
"I told you, demons do not like to be seen."
"Right. And how do I get the demons to stand on an UMBRELLA? I mean, that's pretty crucial."
"There is a button on the handle that ejects the circle from the rod. I suppose you could then use the umbrella handle as a baton."
You scratch your head, but it does make sense.
"Okay. So I need to get the umbrella from the living room. What else do you think I need to look for before I go confronting demons?"
"The key in the front closet opens the utility room. I keep some supplies there, if it already isn't ransacked. There is also plenty of other rooms in the house that the demons aren't residing in that you could go through, as well."
".. Oh, hey! What kind of powers you have? So I know what they have, as well."
"No more questions. I need to rest."
"Rest?"
>>
No. 639765 ID: e8e481
File 143139349107.png - (37.92KB , 640x480 , 51.png )
639765

Nim is alone.
>>
No. 639770 ID: 9ddf68

...you know he's hiding something right?

Also is it just me or are there two eyes looking at you from the window? next to the left pillow.
>>
No. 639775 ID: 79940c

Well, that's creepy. You don't have a shadow anymore.

Might explain why they need to bond, if they can only interact / remain corporeal for a short time before needing a rest.

>supposing how the umbrella could be used
So... he never used it himself? That's weird. Unless he made it specifically for you to find? Although he'd already given you the knife.

Huh. How do you get something to walk across a circle on a knife? At least the one on the umbrella is big.

>demon's real form
That might explain why they all looked like shadows. You could see the shadows, while the 'real' demon in front was hidden from your sight.

Maybe that's why he's weak? He's just your shadow, right now.

>what do
I suppose we double back for the umbrella, and hope no other demon decided to take or move it.
>>
No. 639778 ID: d3be40

Keep reading. See if Cirrus wrote a coded message for Nim in those annotations.

Afterwards, explore the house, but don't try to open anything that is locked, as it might be sealing a few demons.

You also need to find a place to sleep.
>>
No. 639787 ID: 330ce5

Probably should get that umbrella back and look around the house for a bit.
>>
No. 639794 ID: e8e481
File 143140212912.png - (24.47KB , 640x480 , 52.png )
639794

You double back from the KITCHEN back to the LIVING ROOM. The umbrella is still there!

You lift it above your head in celebration!
>>
No. 639795 ID: 79940c

Well, there's one thing gone right. Make sure to keep it with you.

Next thing to do would to be double back for the key.
>>
No. 639797 ID: d3be40

Check the runes on the umbrella.

Also, your misplaced enthusiasm signals a need for sleep.
>>
No. 639812 ID: 57d76a
639812

>>639653

Looks like some kind of Celtic. Scottish Gaelic, probably? (Google thought Irish, but it was only able to understand half the words.)
Not that it matters, really.
>>
No. 639819 ID: 350a50

>>639812
See the related post in the discussion thread.

>>639794
By utility room did he mean the washroom? Go there next and check his medicine cabinet for a first aid kit.
>>
No. 639825 ID: df6309

Heh, sounds like Doug's on.
>>
No. 639848 ID: e8e481
File 143142285394.png - (18.89KB , 640x480 , 53.png )
639848

The body is gone.
>>
No. 639849 ID: e8e481
File 143142335073.png - (22.43KB , 640x480 , 54.png )
639849

You double back to the FOYER and grab the UTILITY ROOM KEY, which is promptly added to your inventory. (Extensive pockets, much?)

You have several options as Stratus explained to you a good number of rooms you haven't checked yet. You can visit the LOCKED UTILITY ROOM, the STORAGE, or the GUEST BATHROOM. You can also check the LINEN CLOSET if you need some blankets to sleep with.
Alternatively you can go look for Stratus back in that creepy basement or enter any one of the rooms that the Midnight Court members reside in.

You also take a moment to do a weapons check- the runes of Cirrus' UMBRELLA do not "appear" unless a demon is nearby. The POCKETKNIFE seems rather useless for a demon to walk onto, so you're not sure if it's useful at all unless you need to cut something. The COAT RACK has seemingly been returned to its original position while your back was turned. You also still have TWO USES out of your SALT SHAKER.

What should you do?
>>
No. 639854 ID: 9ddf68

well we got the key, I say go to the linen closet, grab what we need, then head to the locked room and turn it into a safe room for us to sleep and rest should we need to.
>>
No. 639873 ID: 79940c

>the runes of Cirrus' UMBRELLA do not "appear" unless a demon is nearby
Um. Then how do you know one of them didn't switch his magic umbrella out for your ordinary one?

>blankets to sleep with?
I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable with Stratus temporarily out of the picture. You should have someone around to watch you in your sleep, and at the moment, I'd trust him more than the other demons.

(Even if it's all an act, it doesn't further that to attack you in your sleep. In fact, a liar would protect you in your sleep, for the trust boost).

>The COAT RACK has seemingly been returned to its original position while your back was turned.
That's weird. What interest do any of them have in keeping the house in order? (A demon of... stagnation, maybe? The opposite of growth and change?).

>What should you do?
Let's check the utility room. Basic necessities for survival are a priority, and it won't take the demons long to figure out depriving you of those and/or securing them for themselves strengthens their bargaining position. If they haven't got to them already, you don't want to give them time to do so.
>>
No. 639880 ID: 350a50

>>639873
Agreed, Utility Room first, then check the bathroom medicine cabinet for first aid supplies if they're not in the utility room.
>>
No. 639908 ID: 330ce5

Let's check out the utility room.
>>
No. 640029 ID: e8e481
File 143148675166.png - (19.38KB , 640x480 , 55.png )
640029

You leave the FOYER, shutting the closet doors behind you. You figure since you're alone, you might as well make this stay as temporarily comfortable as you can.
>>
No. 640033 ID: e8e481
File 143148681675.png - (15.70KB , 640x480 , 56.png )
640033

You enter the door by the DINING ROOM, hoping Stratus didn't lie to you about the location of the UTILITY ROOM.
>>
No. 640034 ID: e8e481
File 143148687845.png - (17.27KB , 640x480 , 57.png )
640034

And pointedly ignore the STORAGE AREA and the GARAGE DOOR for your own sanity.

You unlock the UTILITY CLOSET and enter it, carefully shutting the door behind you.
>>
No. 640038 ID: e8e481
File 143148709416.png - (22.65KB , 640x480 , 58.png )
640038

It's less of a room and more of a closet, and you haven't the slightest why he'd call it a UTILITY ROOM rather then a BROOM CLOSET. There is an odd painting on the wall, with some paint chipped off. There's also a BROOM, a PAINT TRAY, a bucket that smells like PAINT THINNER, and a BOX OF MATCHES. You are unable to lock or unlock the room from the inside.
>>
No. 640041 ID: 50cce1

>>640038
Chip off more paint. That looks distinctly like a sealing circle under it. The more circles you have access to, the better.
>>
No. 640042 ID: 350a50

Get BOX OF MATCHES and check BEHIND PAINTING.
>>
No. 640044 ID: 79940c

>>640033
Stratus sneaking behind you? That's not resting.

>>640038
Is that Stratus again? Except he has 7 head-spikes, not 5.

Take the matches, I guess. The rest seems too bulky to carry unless you need it. Also, I don't trust the demons with matches.
>>
No. 640051 ID: e8e481
File 143148906807.png - (22.75KB , 640x480 , 59.png )
640051

You try scratching at the painting to reveal the picture underneath, but you really can only get so much progress with your nails. You give up on this idea for now.

You're pretty sure it's another pentagram of sorts, though.
>>
No. 640054 ID: e8e481
File 143148926475.png - (22.87KB , 640x480 , 60.png )
640054

You do get the idea of taking the painting down, and you find a hidden safe of sorts! You find a OIL LANTERN and a PHOTO of you and Cirrus.

The MATCHBOX and the PHOTO are quickly pocketed.
>>
No. 640056 ID: 79940c

>>640051
The knife might have worked better than your nails.

I'm not sure what good it does us to expose the pentagram, though. The pentagram might have been a ward- to keep the demons from getting access to the stuff in the hidden safe.

>photo
Examine photo, and be sure to check the back.

>oil lantern
Potentially useful, but probably too big for pockets, or to carry around everywhere. Is it stocked with oil?
>>
No. 640260 ID: 8403a7

>>640054
Is the red stuff paint? Might be some use for the paint thinner later, but not right now.

Put the painting back in place. Let's go to the Study next.
>>
No. 640282 ID: 8f01e8

As an exit option, could you put a line of salt on the door to the porch, open the door, and then close it again from the other side before demons can break through?
>>
No. 640293 ID: 350a50

>>640282
I doubt it would come recommended, but it might work - assuming it's not a windy day. I think we need a better understanding of the wards on this place before we risk disrupting them though.
>>
No. 640338 ID: e8e481
File 143161376039.png - (31.58KB , 640x480 , 61.png )
640338

You fumble with your newly acquired inventory and take a good look at the PHOTO.

It's a rather cute picture of you and Cirrus. It's back around your sophomore year of highschool, you guess, when you and Cirrus were dating. You remember printing out tons of pictures of the two of you and drawing all over them in sharpie- this must be one of the pictures you gave to him, you suppose.

It gives you mixed feelings, now that he's dead, and you put mean to quickly put it away so you don't have to look at it. You do look over at the back of it, though, and find a note from Cirrus.

"One day I'm going to ask you to marry me."

You shove the photo roughly into your pocket and find something else to look at. You trifle with the OIL LANTERN- it's fairly large, so it wouldn't be convenient to carry it AND your umbrella. It is, in fact, stocked with oil.

You look over at the red stuff- you're pretty sure it's paint? You hope so, it's all dried up so it's not like you can smell it. You figure Cirrus must have used it to hold paint while he put up all those pentagrams.

Thinking of Cirrus so much has gotten you rather upset. You leave the UTILITY ROOM promptly.
>>
No. 640340 ID: e8e481
File 143161391536.png - (17.84KB , 640x480 , 62.png )
640340

As you leave the UTILITY ROOM you mindfully lock the door behind you, and keep in mind you probably could use this room as some kind of SAFE later.

"I guess I'll go to the study then. Got to slay demons, go me."
"Rod is in the study."

Stratus has returned.
>>
No. 640343 ID: 88960e

>>640338
I wonder why Cirrus has two magic red eyes while you only have the one. You have less of the gift? You haven't fully awoken your power? You straddle the worlds, he fell fully into one?

Can you see those in the picture now?

>>640340
You didn't rest for very long.

What happened to the box that was behind you? Someone moved it while you were in there.

>Rod is in the study
Are you suggesting then that I should not go to the study, or that I should confront him over the missing books?
>>
No. 640347 ID: 696535

>>640340
Thanks, Cirrus. Even when you're dead, you're still looking out for me.
>>
No. 640350 ID: 330ce5

Let's go have chat with Rod then. Anything we should look out for when confronting him Cirrus?
>>
No. 640385 ID: e8e481
File 143163538671.png - (16.30KB , 640x480 , 63.png )
640385

"Whoa! Stratus. I wasn't... expecting you back, any time soon. You didn't rest for very long, did you?"
"As I have no physical form I only require a mental rest."
"Oh. Okay, well did you see a box in the storage area? I was gonna check it out, but it's missing now."
"No."
"Oh. Okay!"
"Would you prefer I left?"
"Wait, what? No! No, no, please. It's just.."
"Just?"
"... nevermind. Thank you, though, Cirrus. You've always been looking out for me, haven't you?"
"You have always been the only one for me."

You look down at your hands, and the red UMBRELLA reminds you of what your next plan of action is.
"I'm going to confront Rod over the missing books, then. Is there any advice you have for me about confronting him?"
"He has the maturity of a child."
"What does that mean?"

Stratus doesn't reply, but he isn't leaving again either.
>>
No. 640400 ID: 79940c

>As I have no physical form I only require a mental rest
Convenient. Although it still sounds like he's covering for something. I wouldn't push it now, though.

>Cirrus / Stratus
Maybe you should make an effort to call him Cirrus? Even if you can't be sure, if that's really him, the open distrust has gotta hurt. (Even if you have good reason to be upset with Cirrus over hiding all this from you and killing himself).

...and if Stratus is lying, it doesn't hurt us to let him think we buy it.

>"What does [the maturity of a child] mean?"
Well, for one thing, don't expect pure reason or logic to work. Expect him to dig in on his ideas. If you get him angry, expect him to be unreasonable about it. Selfish, self centered.

Direct confrontation, or loosing your patience or temper with him will probably not work. You might be able to lead him into things, though.

Hello, Rod. I believe you've borrowed some books I would like to read.
>>
No. 640440 ID: a9f180

>>640385
If you go to where Rod is, double check the umbrella. It could be your umbrella and not Cirrus's.
>>
No. 640443 ID: 79940c

>>640440
We can probably test if we have the right umbrella right here. Stratus should be demon enough for the markings to appear in his presence.
>>
No. 640483 ID: 350a50

>>640443
Ya check umbrella.
>>
No. 640519 ID: e8e481
File 143167153531.png - (22.98KB , 640x480 , 64.png )
640519

You point your umbrella up at Stratus to check if it's indeed the right one. As on cue, the trap lights up as it's supposed to.
"What are you doing?"
"Oh.. um.."
You grin, recovering from your funk enough to crack a joke.
"Trying to capture your heart?"
"You already did that years ago."
"..."
You shake your head and walk out of the STORAGE to go find Rod.
>>
No. 640520 ID: e8e481
File 143167170412.png - (18.54KB , 640x480 , 65.png )
640520

Rod has already been looking for you.

". . . . . "
". . . . ."
" ˑ ˑ ˑ ˑ ˑ"
"Weren't you supposed to be in the study?"
"ˑˑˑ ᴵ ᶳᵗᶤˡˡ ᵃᵐˑ ᶜᵃᶰ ʷᵉ ᵗᵃˡᵏ ᵃˡᵒᶰᵉ˒ ᴺᶤᵐˀ"
>>
No. 640522 ID: 350a50

"Maybe - if you give back one of the books that was taken."
>>
No. 640583 ID: 88960e

Hmm. They can be in more than one place at a time? Maybe the shadow can go walkabout from the body.

>can I talk to you alone?
Mentality of a child means we should probably humor him.

I, um. Okay.

Turn and ask your shadow if you can have a minute? (You'll be okay. You'll yell if you need him).

Wait and see what Rod has to say before raising the issue of the books. (I expect him to make some kind of offer, or to issue a warning about Stratus).
>>
No. 640610 ID: e8e481
File 143170408005.png - (18.27KB , 640x480 , 66.png )
640610

"I don't advise it, Nim."
"Thank you for the concern, Cirrus, but.. I'm considering it, Rod. Only if you give back the books that you stole from Cirrus."
"Ah."
"ᶠᶤᶰᵉᵎ ᵂʰᵃᵗᵉᵛᵉʳˑ ᴵ ʲᵘᶳᵗ ʷᵃᶰᵗ ᵗᵒ ᵗᵃˡᵏ ᵗᵒ ʸᵒᵘˑ ᵂᶤᵗʰᵒᵘᵗ ʸᵒᵘʳ ᶠʳᶤᵉᶰᵈ ᵃʳᵒᵘᶰᵈˑ ᴾʳᵉᶠᵉʳᵃᵇˡʸ ᶤᶰ ᵗʰᵉ ᶳᵗᵘᵈʸˑ"
You look over at Cirrus and he looks rather agitated at the prospect.
>>
No. 640614 ID: 88960e

We have to take a risk for the books, I think.

I'll be careful, Cirrus. I've got protection and words alone aren't going to hurt me more than anything else that's happened today. (Cirrus' suicide hurt worse than anything Rod can say).
>>
No. 640628 ID: 350a50

Ask Cirrus to look for anything that might be useful while you go and speak with Rod.
>>
No. 640743 ID: 6e1eb1

>>640610
THIS PACT IS SEALED
>>
No. 640757 ID: d3be40

Tell Rod that it's disrespectful to the three of you if you don't show SOME mistrust about the situation.

Ask him for one of the books, see if there's something you can do for him. Start out small.
>>
No. 640846 ID: e8e481
File 143177183786.png - (16.02KB , 640x480 , 67.png )
640846

"Nim, don't."
"Just for a bit, Cirrus. I'll be careful. Anyway, you'll come running to my aid if I need you, won't you?"
"It's still a stupid call."
Cirrus remains rather apprehensive, but you notice that he is no longer connected to your feet. Feeling a little confident, you follow Rod towards the back of the hallway.
It's a little eerie how the shadow-creature doesn't have any footsteps, but you aren't surprised about it either.
"ᵀʰᵃᶰᵏᶳ˒ ᴺᶤᵐˑ ᵀʰᵉ ᶳᵗᵘᵈʸ ᶤᶳ ᵗʰᶤᶳ ʷᵃʸˑ"
You just hope you made the right choice.
>>
No. 640847 ID: e8e481
File 143177184759.png - (14.66KB , 640x480 , 68.png )
640847

The two of you enter the STUDY. Your discussion begins.

"What do you have to say, Rod? Also.. where are the books?"
"ᴴᵉʳᵉˑ ᵀʰᵉ ᵇᵒᵒᵏᶳ ᵃʳᵉ ᵘᶰᶤᵐᵖᵒʳᵗᵃᶰᵗ˒ ᵗʰᵒᵘᵍʰˑ"
"To you, maybe. But they're a good source of information to me, so."
"ᵞᵒᵘ ᶜᵃᶰ'ᵗ ᵇᵉˡᶤᵉᵛᵉ ᶤᶰ ᵃᶰʸᵗʰᶤᶰᵍ ᶤᶰ ᵗʰᶤᶳ ʰᵒᵘᶳᵉ˒ ᴺᶤᵐᵎ ᴱᵛᵉʳʸᵗʰᶤᶰᵍ ᶤᶳ ᵗᵃᵐᵖᵉʳᵃᵇˡᵉ˒ ᵉᶳᵖᵉᶜᶤᵃˡˡʸ ᶤᶠ ᶤᵗ ᶜᵃᵐᵉ ᶠʳᵒᵐ ᴴᴵᶳ ʰᵃᶰᵈᶳˑ ᵂᵉ ᵍᵃᵛᵉ ʸᵒᵘ ᵃ ˡᶤᵗᵗˡᵉ ᵗᶤᵐᵉ ᵗᵒ ᵘᶰᵈᵉʳᶳᵗᵃᶰᵈ ᵗʰᵉ ᵍʳᵃᵛᶤᵗʸ ᵒᶠ ʸᵒᵘʳ ᶳᶤᵗᵘᵃᵗᶤᵒᶰ˒ ᶰᵒʷ ʷᶤˡˡ ʸᵒᵘ ᵖˡᵉᵃᶳᵉ ˡᶤᶳᵗᵉᶰ ᵗᵒ ᵘᶳˀ"
"You mean about binding one of you three to my spirit so you could escape. Right. After Cirrus went through so much just to destroy you? You know I can't do that."
"ᴵ ᵏᶰᵒʷˑ ᴵ ᵏᶰᵒʷᵎ ᴮᵘᵗ ᴺᶤᵐ⁻ ʸᵒᵘ ᶜᵃᶰ'ᵗ ˡᵉᵃᵛᵉ ᵘᶳ ʰᵉʳᵉˑ ᴺᵒᵗ ʷᶤᵗʰ ʰᶤᵐˑ"
"ᴵ'ᵈ ʳᵃᵗʰᵉʳ ᵈᶤᵉˑ"
"Then why don't I just.. get rid of you? Hate to put it like that, but you're not giving me a good case, bunny."
"ᵞᵒᵘ ᵈᵒᶰ'ᵗ ʷᵃᶰᵗ ᵗᵒ ᵈᵒ ᵗʰᵃᵗ˒ ᴺᶤᵐˑ"
"And how would YOU know? You don't even know m-"
"ᵂᵉ'ᵛᵉ ʷᵃᵗᶜʰᵉᵈ ʸᵒᵘ ᶳᶤᶰᶜᵉ ʸᵒᵘ ʷᵉʳᵉ ʸᵒᵘᶰᵍ˒ ᴺᶤᵐˑ ᵂᶤᵗʰ ᶜᶤʳʳᵘᶳˑ"
"Right. Still, though. I don't exactly expect you to have sort of empathy with my situation.."
"ᵂᵒᵘˡᵈ ʸᵒᵘ ᵇᵉˡᶤᵉᵛᵉ ᵐᵉ ᶤᶠ ᴵ ᶳᵃᶤᵈ ʷᵉ ʷᵉʳᵉ ᵒᶰᶜᵉ ʰᵘᵐᵃᶰ˒ ˡᶤᵏᵉ ʸᵒᵘˀ ᵂᵒᵘˡᵈ ʸᵒᵘ ᵇᵉˡᶤᵉᵛᵉ ᵐᵉ ᵗʰᵃᵗ ʷᵉ ʰᵃᵛᵉ ᵃ ʷᶤᶳʰ ᵗᵒ ᶳᵘʳᵛᶤᵛᵉ ᵃᶰᵈ ᴺᴼᵀ ᵇᵉ ᶜᵒᶰᶳᵘᵐᵉᵈ ᵇʸ ᵃ ᶳᵖᶤᵏᵉʸ ʰᵉᵃᵈ ᵍᵘʸ ʷᶤᵗʰ ᵃ ᵛᵉᶰᵈᵉᵗᵗᵃˀ"
".. You were human?"


The rabbit looks at you with wide eyes, and you feel sick.
>>
No. 640862 ID: 350a50

Were all demons human, once? Or are there some that just always existed?
>>
No. 640864 ID: 696535

>>640847
"Were" is the key word, though. Whatever you were before is not what you are now.
>>
No. 640865 ID: 563dc1

Remember that all of this may be a lie. And yes, he may already not have been human anymore by the time Stratus turned on him.

This is far too little information to go on. Ask him for the whole backstory - what he knows about Stratus and/or Cirrus, why they watched you, what happened to turn them into what they are, and why Stratus is opposed to them now.
Also ask for any applicable evidence. The story would be good to know even without - you might be able to pick out supporting evidence or contradictions - but if they can offer more to help you decide who is lying about what here, that would be useful.
>>
No. 640866 ID: 350a50

>>640864
If that's our argument, the same applies to Cirrus.
>>
No. 640872 ID: d3be40

Right now, you don't have enough information to trust Rod or Stratus.

Do not accept any deals yet. Of ANY kind. If he asks for a task in exchange for something, you may try to do it but do not make any promises.
>>
No. 640881 ID: 6141de

Ambivalence is the best option at this point.

Squeeze all the valuable information you can from Rod about himself, Stratus, and the other two shadows.
>>
No. 640887 ID: 79940c

>ᵂᵒᵘˡᵈ ʸᵒᵘ ᵇᵉˡᶤᵉᵛᵉ ᵐᵉ ᶤᶠ ᴵ ᶳᵃᶤᵈ ʷᵉ ʷᵉʳᵉ ᵒᶰᶜᵉ ʰᵘᵐᵃᶰ˒ ˡᶤᵏᵉ ʸᵒᵘˀ
If Stratus is telling the truth, then that's actually consistent with his story. If Cirrus could turn into a demon after death, so could other people.

Ask Rod if they all were.

>obvious question
If you're all nice normal people who just happen to be dead, why did Cirrus kill himself to get rid of you and leave that note?

Or are you claiming the note was tampered with as well?

One thing I know, that isn't open to tampering, is that Cirrus spent years battling depression. And that he's dead. And that all of you claim you spend those years with him. That's... circumstantial, but it doesn't paint you all in a good light.

>vendetta
What's his vendetta?

>statement
You'll notice I didn't jump to make a deal with the three of you before, Rod. But I didn't jump to doing what Stratus wants me to do, either.

I'm not going to do anything until I understand what's going on here, unless my hand is forced. Okay?
>>
No. 640930 ID: e8e481
File 143181461969.png - (15.10KB , 640x480 , 69.png )
640930

"Just because you were doesn't mean you still have some sort of human emotion left in you, you know."
"ᶜᵃᶰ'ᵗ ᵗʰᵉ ᶳᵃᵐᵉ ᵇᵉ ᵃᵖᵖˡᶤᵉᵈ ᵗᵒ ᶳᵗʳᵃᵗᵘᶳˀ"
"At this point I don't trust either of you. You aren't really giving me a good case, either."
" ˑ ˑ ˑ "
He practically growls at you.
"Tell me. Tell me what you are, how you turned into what you are, and why Stratus is opposed to you. He didn't fight years of depression for nothing."
"ᵞᵒᵘ ᶳᵉˡᶠᶤᶳʰ ᶠᵘᶜᵏᶤᶰᵍ ˡᶤᵗᵗˡᵉ ᵍᶤʳˡˑ ᵀʰᵉ ʷᵒʳˡᵈ ᵈᵒᵉᶳᶰ'ᵗ ʳᵉᵛᵒˡᵛᵉ ᵃʳᵒᵘᶰᵈ ʸᵒᵘˑ ᵂʰʸ ᵈᵒᶰ'ᵗ ʸᵒᵘ ʲᵘᶳᵗ ˡᶤᶳᵗᵉᶰ ᵃᶰᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵉᵖᵗ ʷʰᵃᵗ ʸᵒᵘ'ʳᵉ ᵗᵒˡᵈ ᶠᵒʳ ᵃ ᶜʰᵃᶰᵍᵉ˒ ʰᵘʰˀᵎ"
"Hey, hey! You'll notice I didn't jump to make a deal with the three of you before, Rod. But I didn't jump to doing what Stratus wants me to do, either."
"ᶳᵒˀ"
"I'm not going to do anything until I understand what's going on here, unless my hand is forced. Okay?"
"ᴵ ʰᵒᵖᵉ ʸᵒᵘ ᶠᵘᶜᵏᶤᶰᵍ ʳᵒᵗ ʰᵉʳᵉ ʷʰᶤˡᵉ ʸᵒᵘ ᵗʳʸ ᵗᵒ ᵘᶰᵈᵉʳᶳᵗᵃᶰᵈ ʷʰᵃᵗ'ᶳ ʰᵃᵖᵖᵉᶰᶤᶰᵍ˒ ᵗʰᵉᶰ"
"You see that? You're loosing so many points right now. Just be honest with me. Were all of you once human? What's your vendetta? What's your backstory to begin with? How did you turn to what you are? If you could give me evidence, I.."
"ᵀʰᵉ ᵇᶤᶰᵈᶤᶰᵍ ᵒᶠ ᶳᵒᵘˡᶳ ᵃᶜᵗᶳ ᵃᶳ ᵐᵘᶜʰ ᵃᶳ ᶠᵒᵒᵈ ᵃᶳ ᶤᵗ ᵈᵒᵉᶳ 'ʳᵉᵖʳᵒᵈᵘᶜᵗᶤᵒᶰ'ˑ ᵀʰᵒᶳᵉ ᶳᵒᵘˡ ᵗʰᵃᵗ'ᶳ ᶜᵒᶰᶳᵘᵐᵉᵈ ʷᶤˡˡ ᵇᵉ ʳᵉᵇᵒʳᶰ ᵃᶳ ᵃ ᶳʰᵃᵈᵒʷ ᵒᶰᶜᵉ ᵗʰᵉ ᵉᵃᵗᵉʳ ᵈᶤᵉᶳˑ ᵀʰᵘᶳ˒ ᵘᶳᵘᵃˡˡʸ ʷʰᵉᶰ ᵃ ᵈᵉᵐᵒᶰ ᵈᶤᵉᶳ˒ ᶠᵒᵘʳ ᵐᵒʳᵉ ᵖᵒᵖ ʳᶤᵍʰᵗ ᵒᵘᵗˑ ᶜᶤʳʳᵘᶳ ᵗʰᶤᶰᵏᶳ ʷᵉ'ʳᵉ ᵐᵃˡᵉᵛᵒˡᵉᶰᵗ˒ ᵇᵘᵗ ʰᵃᶳ ᵇᵉᵉᶰ ᵗʳʸᶤᶰᵍ ᵗᵒ ᵃᵇᶳᵒʳᵇ ᵘᶳ ᵃˡˡ ʰᶤᶳ ˡᶤᶠᵉˑ ᴴᵉ'ᶳ ᵃ ᵈᶤᶳᵍᵘᶳᵗᶤᶰᵍ ʰᵘᵐᵃᶰ ᵇᵉᶤᶰᵍˑ"
"And if they are 'consumed' then?"
"ᴵᶠ ᶳᵗʳᵃᵗᵘᶳ ᵃᵗᵉ ᵐᵉ ʳᶤᵍʰᵗ ᶰᵒʷ˒ ᵘᵖᵒᶰ ʰᶤᶳ ᵈᵉᵃᵗʰ ᵇᵒᵗʰ ᵗʰᵉ ᶳᵖᶤʳᶤᵗᶳ ʰᵉ ᵃᵗᵉ ᵃᶰᵈ ᵗʰᵉ ᶳᵖᶤʳᶤᵗᶳ ᴵ ᵃᵗᵉ ʷᶤˡˡ ᵖᵒᵖ ᵒᵘᵗ ᵒᶠ ʰᶤᵐ ˡᶤᵏᵉ ᵇᵃᵇᶤᵉᶳ ᵒᵘᵗ ᵒᶠ ᵃ ᶳᵖᶤᵈᵉʳ'ᶳ ᵉᵍᵍ ᶳᵃᶜᵏˑ"
"Then why does Stratus want to bind with me?"
"ᴵᵗ'ᶳ ᵗʰᵉ ᶳᵃᵐᵉ ʳᵉᶳᵘˡᵗ ᶠᵒʳ ᵇᵒᵗʰ ᵒᶠ ᵘᶳ˒ ᶠᵒʳ ᵈᶤᶠᶠᵉʳᵉᶰᵗ ᵍᵒᵃˡᶳˑ ᴵᶠ ʸᵒᵘ ᵇᶤᶰᵈ ʷᶤᵗʰ ʰᶤᵐ ᵘᵖᵒᶰ ʰᶤᶳ ᵈᵉᵃᵗʰ ᵃ ᶠᵒʳᵐ ᵒᶠ ʸᵒᵘ ʷᶤˡˡ ˡᶤᵛᵉ ᵃᶳ ᵃ ᵈᵉᵐᵒᶰˑ ᴵᶠ ʸᵒᵘ ᵇᶤᶰᵈ ʷᶤᵗʰ ᵘᶳ˒ ᵘᵖᵒᶰ ᵒᵘʳ ᵈᵉᵃᵗʰ ᶳᵒᵐᵉ ᶠᵒʳᵐ ʷᶤˡˡ ʸᵒᵘ ʷᶤˡˡ ˡᶤᵛᵉ ᵃᶳ ᵃ ᵈᵉᵐᵒᶰˑ ᴵᶰ ᵒᵘʳ ᶜᵃᶳᵉ˒ ᵒᵘʳ ᵍᵒᵃˡ ᶤᶳ ʳᵉᵖʳᵒᵈᵘᶜᵗᶤᵒᶰˑ ᴴᶤᶳ ᶤᶳˑˑ ᶠᵘᶜᵏᶤᶰᵍ ᶜᵒᵐᵖˡᶤᶜᵃᵗᵉᵈˑ"
"Your proof?"
"ᴵᵗ'ᶳ ᶤᶰ ʰᶤᶳ ᵈᶤᵃʳʸˑ ᵁᶰᶠᵒʳᵗᵘᶰᵃᵗᵉˡʸ ᴵ ᶜᵃᶰᶰᵒᵗ ˡᵉᵗ ʸᵒᵘ ʳᵉᵃᵈ ᶤᵗˑ ᶠᵒʳ ʸᵒᵘ ᵒʷᶰ ᶳᵃᶠᵉᵗʸ˒ ᵘᶰᵍʳᵃᵗᵉᶠᵘˡ ᵃᶳᶳʰᵒˡᵉˑ"
>>
No. 640933 ID: 79940c

Okay. Just let me make sure I have your story right.

You guys make deals to bind with people. This gives you little bits of spirit that make you stronger. When you die, all those little bits of spirits become new demons. That's how you became one.

And if I bind with any of you, I will too.

...that also means if you took the midnight court's deal and killed two of them, you'd have a whole lot more demons in here.

>"ᴵᶠ ᶳᵗʳᵃᵗᵘᶳ ᵃᵗᵉ ᵐᵉ ʳᶤᵍʰᵗ ᶰᵒʷ˒ ᵘᵖᵒᶰ ʰᶤᶳ ᵈᵉᵃᵗʰ ᵇᵒᵗʰ ᵗʰᵉ ᶳᵖᶤʳᶤᵗᶳ ʰᵉ ᵃᵗᵉ ᵃᶰᵈ ᵗʰᵉ ᶳᵖᶤʳᶤᵗᶳ ᴵ ᵃᵗᵉ ʷᶤˡˡ ᵖᵒᵖ ᵒᵘᵗ ᵒᶠ ʰᶤᵐ ˡᶤᵏᵉ ᵇᵃᵇᶤᵉᶳ ᵒᵘᵗ ᵒᶠ ᵃ ᶳᵖᶤᵈᵉʳ'ᶳ ᵉᵍᵍ ᶳᵃᶜᵏˑ
Um. Maybe I don't get it, but how's that different from normal? Either way, parent demon dies, baby demons come out. What's different?

>other stuff
Is there anything else he's said you'd like to dispute? Cirrus' note said you cause suffering and pain- do you?

I mean, what do you guys do when you're not trapped in a house with a dead body? Why would I want to consider letting myself become one of you?

>ᴵᵗ'ᶳ ᶤᶰ ʰᶤᶳ ᵈᶤᵃʳʸˑ ᵁᶰᶠᵒʳᵗᵘᶰᵃᵗᵉˡʸ ᴵ ᶜᵃᶰᶰᵒᵗ ˡᵉᵗ ʸᵒᵘ ʳᵉᵃᵈ ᶤᵗˑ ᶠᵒʳ ʸᵒᵘ ᵒʷᶰ ᶳᵃᶠᵉᵗʸ˒ ᵘᶰᵍʳᵃᵗᵉᶠᵘˡ ᵃᶳᶳʰᵒˡᵉˑ
If Cirrus wrote hurtful things about me in his diary, you're not doing me any favors keeping them from me. He hid this from me my whole life- I'm done with lies and secrets to 'protect' me.

>ᴵᶰ ᵒᵘʳ ᶜᵃᶳᵉ˒ ᵒᵘʳ ᵍᵒᵃˡ ᶤᶳ ʳᵉᵖʳᵒᵈᵘᶜᵗᶤᵒᶰˑ ᴴᶤᶳ ᶤᶳˑˑ ᶠᵘᶜᵏᶤᶰᵍ ᶜᵒᵐᵖˡᶤᶜᵃᵗᵉᵈˑ
Some kind of immortality gambit? Live forever with the girl he loves?
>>
No. 640940 ID: ecdd59

>>640930
Thank him for explaining, ask if theres anything else he wants to say, and if theres anything we can ask stratus that might get him to explain.

>>640933
>Cirrus wrote hurtful things about me
Sounds more like things he'd get violent over if he knew you know.

>immortality gambit
Maybe, but doesnt explain why he hates demons so much in the first place.
>>
No. 640947 ID: 350a50

>>640940
>why he hates demons so much in the first place
Maybe not demons in general, so much as the ones who can reveal he's a creepy occult yandere.
>>
No. 640967 ID: 6e1eb1

>>640930
I like how we told him Stratus wants to bind with Nim. He said he does not- he wants to eat the remaining demons and be left here to rot. This makes sense, because if he bound with Nim, Nim would create more demons when she dies. Stratus' proposed plan makes sense if he still wants to remove as many demons as possible from the world. They would all be concentrated in one spot. If the tomb could then be sealed properly, it would remove quite a lot of demons...

It occurs to me that if we want to effectively commit genocide we could go around the world and bind more demons for Stratus to eat.

...hang on what happens if a demon dies without having been bound to anyone? It sounds like the only way for demons to reproduce is by convincing someone to bind, and then waiting for the person to die... or killing them. ...also why would four demons be produced? If a person binds with one demon, wouldn't just two demons be produced? The person's shadow, and the shadow's soul-fragment?
>>
No. 640976 ID: 79940c

>>640967
Just cause Stratus didn't say he wants to bind doesn't mean he doesn't. The whole 'leave me here forever' thing could be a play for sympathy, trying to manipulate Nim into offering herself.

As for the four demon children, I think that assumes the dead demon parent in question has successfully bound with and outlived 4 human hosts. I'd guess that's just an average or approximation?
>>
No. 640980 ID: 350a50

>>640967
>>640976
As soon as Nim mentioned binding to him, Stratus very quickly posed a question that could be viewed as the offer of a pact.
>Would you like to bind to me?
Seemed a very eager reaction to my eyes.
>>
No. 641008 ID: e8e481
File 143185180759.png - (18.45KB , 640x480 , 70.png )
641008

"..Okay. Just let me make sure I have your story right. "
You take a deep breath.
"You guys make deals to bind with people. This gives you little bits of spirit that make you stronger. When you die, all those little bits of spirits become new demons. That's how you became one, correct?"
"ᴱᶳᶳᵉᶰᵗᶤᵃˡˡʸˑ"
"And if I bind with any of you, I'll become one too, right?"
"ᴵᶰᶜᵒʳʳᵉᶜᵗˑ ᴬ ᵖᵃʳᵗ ᵒᶠ ʸᵒᵘ ʷᶤˡˡ ᵇᵉᶜᵒᵐᵉ ᵃ ᵈᵉᵐᵒᶰ˒ ˡᶤᵏᵉ ᵘᶳ˒ ᵇᵘᵗ ᵗʰᵉ ᶜᵘʳʳᵉᶰᵗ ᶜᵒᶰᶳᶜᶤᵒᵘᶳᶰᵉᶳᶳ ʸᵒᵘ ʰᵒˡᵈ ʷᶤˡˡ ˡᶤᵛᵉ ᵃᶰᵈ ᵈᶤᵉ ᵃᶳ ʸᵒᵘ ᵃʳᵉˑ ᴳᶤᵛᵉ ᵒʳ ᵗᵃᵏᵉ ᵃᶰ ᵃᵇᶤˡᶤᵗʸˑ"
"Excuse me?"
"ᵀʰᵉ ᶳᵐᵃˡˡ ᵖᵃʳᵗ ᵒᶠ ʸᵒᵘ ᵍʳᵒʷᶳ ᶤᶰᵗᵒ ᶤᵗ'ᶳ ᵒʷᶰ ᵖᵉʳᶳᵒᶰˑ ᵀʰᵘᶳ˒ʷᵉ ᵃʳᵉ ᵗʰᵉ ᶳᵃᵐᵉˑ ᵀʰᵉ ᶳᵃᵐᵉ˒ ᵇᵘᵗ ᵈᶤᶠᶠᵉʳᵉᶰᵗˑ"
You pull your hands close to your chest.
"... 'I am Stratus as I am Cirrus.' That's what he told me."
"ᶜᶤʳʳᵘᶳ˒ ᵃᶳ ʸᵒᵘ ᵏᶰᵉʷ ʰᶤᵐ˒ ᶤᶳ ᵈᵉᵃᵈ ᴺᶤᵐˑ"
"But I can still save him, can't I? I think.. if I gather the scattered parts of his spirit, maybe.."
"ᶳᵗʳᵃᵗᵘᶳ ᶤᶳᶰ'ᵗ ᶳᵖᵉᶜᶤᵃˡˑ ᴴᵉ ᶤᶳ ʲᵘᶳᵗ ᵃᶳ ᵐᵘᶜʰ ᵒᶠ ᵃ ᵐᵒᶰᶳᵗᵉʳ ᵃᶳ ʷᵉ ᵃʳᵉ⁻ ᵇᵘᵗ ʰᶤᶳ ᶜᵒᶰᵛᶤᶜᵗᶤᵒᶰ ᶠʳᵒᵐ ᵇᵉᶤᶰᵍ ʰᵘᵐᵃᶰ ʰᵃᶳᶰ'ᵗ ᵉˣᵃᶜᵗˡʸ ᶜʰᵃᶰᵍᵉᵈˑ ᴴᵉ'ᶳ ᵗᵒʳᶰ ᵇᵉᵗʷᵉᵉᶰ ᵖʳᵒᵗᵉᶜᵗᶤᶰᵍ ʸᵒᵘ ᵃᶰᵈ ᵗᵉᵃʳᶤᶰᵍ ʸᵒᵘ ᵃᵖᵃʳᵗˑ ᵞᵒᵘ ᶜᵃᶰᶰᵒᵗ ᶳᵃᵛᵉ ʰᶤᵐˑ"
"You have no proof of that! I.. I just lost him, you can't be telling me I'm going to lose him when I've been given a second chance! Plus, how could he be like you if he-"
"ᵀʰᵉ ᶠᶤᵛᵉ ᵈᵉᵐᵒᶰᶳ ʰᵉ ᶳˡᵃʸᵉᵈ ᵘᵖᵒᶰ ʰᶤᶳ ᵈᵉᵃᵗʰ ᵒᶰˡʸ ʰᵃᵈ ᵖᵃᶜᵗᶳ ᵗᵒ ʰᶤᵐˑ ᵀʰᵉʸ ᵃˡˡ ʳᵉˡᵉᵃᶳᵉᵈ ᵖᵒʳᵗᶤᵒᶰᶳ ᵒᶠ ʰᶤᶳ ᶳᵒᵘˡ ᵘᵖᵒᶰ ʰᶤᶳ ᵈᵉᵃᵗʰˑ ᵀʰᵉʳᵉ ᶤᶳᶰ'ᵗ ᵃ ᶠᵘᶜᵏᶤᶰᵍ ᵈᶤᶠᶠᵉʳᵉᶰᶜᵉ˒ ᴺᶤᵐᵎ ᴳᵉᵗ ʸᵒᵘʳ ʰᵉᵃᵈ ᵒᵘᵗ ᵒᶠ ʸᵒᵘʳ ᵃᶳᶳˑ"
>>
No. 641009 ID: e8e481
File 143185181557.png - (25.59KB , 640x480 , 71.png )
641009

A soccer ball rolls by your feet.
"ᵀʰᵉʳᵉ ᶤᶳ ᶰᵒ ᶳᵘᶜʰ ᵗʰᶤᶰᵍᶳ ᵃᶳ ʰᵃᵖᵖʸ ᵉᶰᵈᶤᶰᵍᶳˑ ᵞᵒᵘ ᶰᵉᵉᵈ ᵗᵒ ᶜʰᵒᵒᶳᵉ˒ ᵃᶰᵈ ʸᵒᵘ ᶰᵉᵉᵈ ᵗᵒ ᶜʰᵒᵒᶳᵉ ᶰᵒʷˑ ᴰᵒ ʸᵒᵘ ᵇᶤᶰᵈ ʷᶤᵗʰ ᵒᶰᵉ ᵘᶳ ᵘᶳˀ ᴰᵒ ʸᵒᵘ ᵇᶤᶰᵈ ʷᶤᵗʰ ʰᶤᵐˀ ᴰᵒ ʸᵒᵘ ᶠᶤᵍʰᵗ ʰᶤᵐ ᵒʳˑˑ ᵈᵒ ʸᵒᵘ ᶠᶤᵍʰᵗ ᵘᶳˀ"
The atmosphere goes stagnant as his body begins to shake.
"I told you, I'm not making a decision until I kno-"
"ᴵ'ᵛᴱ ᴷᴵᴸᴸᴱᴰ ᶳᴼᴹᴱᴼᴺᴱ ᴮᴱᶠᴼᴿᴱ˒ ᴬᴺᴰ ᴵ'ᴹ ᵂᴵᴸᴸᴵᴺᴳ ᵀᴼ ᴰᴼ ᴵᵀ ᴬᴳᴬᴵᴺ ᴺᴵᴹˑ ᵞᴼᵁ ᶜᴴᴼᶳᴱ ᵀᴼ ᶜᴼᴹᴱ ᴴᴱᴿᴱ ᴬᴺᴰ ᶠᴬᶜᴱ ᴹᴱˑ ᵂᴱ ᵀᴬᴸᴷᴱᴰˑ ᴺᴼᵂ ᶜᴴᴼᴼᶳᴱˑ"

The ground is shaking, and you cry out for Stratus, but he doesn't come.
The room is dark and it's open for as far as you can see.
You're likely trapped.
>>
No. 641010 ID: bd8b82

open umbrella jab at the darkness. go down fighting.
>>
No. 641012 ID: defceb

Five demons? We've only seen four so far, if you count Stratus.

Doesn't look like we have time for questions though. Try to get him with the umbrella's circle.
>>
No. 641014 ID: 79940c

Long shot, but the fact we call them demons, and that they can be bound, implies certain rules.

You gave me your word, Rod! I came to talk with you, as agreed. You owe me those books. If you try to kill me now, before you return them, you're violating a pact.

>The five he [slew] upon his death
I guess they didn't all jump ship quick enough when he hung himself. He dragged a few down with him.

5 spikes- 5 pieces. Stratus isn't what's left of Cirrus after the demons all took their bits of spirit, he's a reconstitution of 5 of those pieces.

If it's true that a demon only takes a small bit of a human's spirit, then most of Cirrus is still dead. We've only got a few bits of the jigsaw.

Might explain why he took on as many demons as possible. If this was an immortality gambit all along, the more demons you collect, the more pieces of your spirit you can save from death, and the more complete your demon-form will be.

Also explains why Stratus had more spikes in the painting you found. Cirrus expected more of the demons to die than actually did.

>Stratus torn between trying to hurt and protect you
For the moment, even if that's true, that would still put him in a better position than Rod. Who seems quite intent on harming you.

>Now choose
I make no choice. I refuse to bind. If we fight, that choice is yours.

>tactics
The umbrella has range, but we need to drop it to force him on it, eventually. The knife can cut. Salt can make a circle if we're pressed.

We're cut off from Stratus- but he's our shadow. I think we might be able to summon him if we made a light, so we cast a shadow. We have matches, we just need something to burn. And a study should have nice combustible books.
>>
No. 641016 ID: e8e481
File 143185499607.gif - (31.43KB , 640x480 , 72.gif )
641016

Rod starts coming apart. His shadow pulsates, not unlike a heart, as his little body slowly snaps out of proportion. The sight is so frightful that Nim forgets how to operate the umbrella and just proceeds to hold in infront of her.
"Y-y-you gave me your word, Rod! I came to talk with you, as agreed. You owe me those books. If you try to kill me now, before you return them, you're violating a pact."
"ᵞᵒᵘ ᶰᵉᵛᵉʳ ᶳᵖᵉᶜᶤᶠᶤᵉᵈ ʏᴏᴜ ʜᴀᴅ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴀʟɪᴠᴇ ʷʰᵉᶰ ʳᵉᶜᶤᵉᵛᶤᶰᵍ ᵗʰᵉ ᵇᵒᵒᵏᶳ ᶰᵒʷ˒ ᴅɪᴅ ʏᴏᴜ﹖"
His voice is shaking. It's distorting, perhaps he's losing control of himself, because sometimes his words don't even come from his mouth, but the room itself.
"ɴᴏᴡ ᴄʜᴏᴏsᴇ﹐ NIM﹗"
"Fight me, then! I.. I won't ever bind. With anyone!"
"ᵛᵉʳʸ ʷᵉˡˡˑɪ ʜᴏᴘᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ᴀʀᴇ ᴄᴏɴғɪᴅᴇɴᴛ ɪɴ ʏᴏᴜʀ ɪᴅɪᴏᴛɪᴄ ᴅᴇᴄɪsɪᴏɴ﹐ ᴛʜᴇɴ﹗"

[ animated ]
>>
No. 641017 ID: bd8b82

kick soccer ball, a circle works so a sphere should too!
>>
No. 641018 ID: 9ddf68

is that thing coming from your shadow?
>>
No. 641019 ID: e239f9

Accept your fate! Become Nim-Rod.
>>
No. 641021 ID: bd8b82

wait, how can a shadow cast a shadow? sever the floor shadow.
>>
No. 641023 ID: e8e481
File 143186258638.gif - (55.93KB , 640x480 , 73.gif )
641023

As you lean closer to the pulsating shadow, the less the runes of your umbrella seem to appear. Eventually, the runes vanish all together.
You quickly jab your umbrella at the ground, to sever the shadow off entirely.

The apparition peters out to seemingly nothing at all.

[animated]
>>
No. 641024 ID: e8e481
File 143186261763.gif - (38.39KB , 640x480 , 74.gif )
641024

[animated]
>>
No. 641058 ID: 79940c

>ᵞᵒᵘ ᶰᵉᵛᵉʳ ᶳᵖᵉᶜᶤᶠᶤᵉᵈ ʏᴏᴜ ʜᴀᴅ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴀʟɪᴠᴇ ʷʰᵉᶰ ʳᵉᶜᶤᵉᵛᶤᶰᵍ ᵗʰᵉ ᵇᵒᵒᵏᶳ ᶰᵒʷ˒ ᴅɪᴅ ʏᴏᴜ
It's kind of implied by the fact the dead don't have possessions, and cannot therefore receive goods.

The fact that he made the effort to find what he considered a loophole does seem to confirm they're bound to agreements, though. That's useful- we just have to use it more carefully in the future.

>I.. I won't ever bind. With anyone!
Ooh. I wonder how bad that definitive stance is gonna bite us in the ass. Then again, we're human. We're not necessarily bound to our word.

>>641024
He's making himself look like Cirrus to fuck with you?

Umbrella up, defensive position. You need to get a look to your left. What's casting the shadow? There's probably a body or true form you need to deal with.
>>
No. 641098 ID: e114bc

>>641024
That soccer ball is suspicious. I believe that demons are very much like shadows in that they have to attach themselves to something. Ron is attached to the soccer ball right now, and it's close to you so that he can strike at you.

Also, remember what Stratus said. The umbrella rod detaches, and he implied that it could be used to attack with.
>>
No. 641122 ID: 350a50

The circle vanished because the source of the demon is leaving its detection range. This is just Rod's shadow distracting you from what his true form is doing.
>>
No. 641867 ID: 873355

>>641024
no. It's either a new demon or that's CirRod, cirrus demon #2 born of rod's death. It may well be that Rod is attached to Cirrus' body and you severed that connection. The question is should we let CirRod operate independently or get eated my Stratus.
>>
No. 641962 ID: 350a50

>>641867
The umbrella doesn't kill them, it supposedly captures them Pokeball style.
>>
No. 645096 ID: e8e481
File 143337464388.png - (28.24KB , 640x480 , 75.png )
645096

The air grows stagnant as your pulse rises slowly to your ears. The shadow in front of you may have petered out into nothingness, the line casting it is still holding strong.
You cautiously peer behind you.
>>
No. 645097 ID: e8e481
File 143337466606.png - (33.58KB , 640x480 , 76.png )
645097

The boy with the broken neck takes hold of your own and lifts you slight off the ground in one quick motion. You drop the umbrella to the floor and quickly try to yank his large hands off your neck, to no avail.

It hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts!
>>
No. 645098 ID: e8e481
File 143337498930.png - (89.99KB , 640x480 , 77.png )
645098

Your vision begins to blur white as his nails dig into your skin, and you you can feel yourself growing weak beneath his grasp.

An unfamiliar voice calls out to you.

You have allies in this house, Nim. You can save him! You can save all of us, just call out my na-
Your ears are ringing loudly but another, much more familiar voice, greets you this time.
"NIM! CALL FOR ME. I CANNOT ENTER HIS LAIR OTHERWISE."
>>
No. 645100 ID: 8e0b6a

In retrospect, we should have Elbereth-ed at the first opportunity. Dropped the top of the umbrella to the floor and stepped inside the magic circle first chance they got. It shouldn't affect us, and nothing could close with us without getting trapped.

>call out my name
I wonder if that's a simple summoning, or if in doing so, we bind them.

We're presented with a choice- the unknown voice thinks we can still save the demon trying to kill us. Stratus will just kill just want to kill / eat Rod.

Problem is, it's an empty choice, since we don't know the first person's name. (Unless there's been hints for us to guess at, or he's Cirrus, distinct from Stratus?).

And it's a moot point entirely so long as we're being strangled. We cannot call anyone.

>what do
Epic back-kick. Get Rod in the balls. If you don't hurt or surprise him enough to release his stranglehold, you're dead.

As soon as you're on the ground, grab at the umbrella, try to get the magic circle between you.

>who call
If we get the chance, I'm not sure we should call Stratus. I don't know if his eat the others plan is one we want to buy into. Still, it may be he's our best bet.

If we do call out to him, use specific wording. Call on him by the bonds that held you to each other in life, call to the bonds of your shadow now. Do not invoke a direct connection between him and you- we won't be so easily tricked / pressured into binding, if that's what this is.
>>
No. 645105 ID: e114bc

...but we already CALLED for Stratus. >>641009
>The ground is shaking, and you cry out for Stratus, but he doesn't come.

Call for Cirrus instead. Hell, call for all of the shadows.
>>
No. 645126 ID: 350a50

My current OOC theory is that this is either Jose or the guy we're judging in a visit from death who killed Jose. The twisted neck says Jose, but the claim that he's killed someone before says perhaps he's the killer sentenced to damnation, and forced to take the form of his sin. Perhaps if we call out his true name it would shake him enough for us to get free?

Unfortunately Nim has no way to know this, and we can't tell for sure which of them it is.

>>645105
Call for Cirrus. Stratus doesn't identify himself as Stratus; if that's why calling for him didn't work previously, perhaps calling for the name he does identify with will work.
>>
No. 645134 ID: 350a50

>>645126
Wait, scratch that. I've got an idea. If the option is there we have to be able to find it somehow?

Nim, is there anything written on the soccer ball? It came out of nowhere. It must be connected to Rod, perhaps a clue to his true name.
>>
No. 645138 ID: d3be40

Perform a jumping headbutt! Use the umbrella.
>>
No. 645153 ID: e114bc

>>645134
>his true name
That could be Jose. I have NO IDEA how his corpse is here though.
>>
No. 645159 ID: 350a50

>>645153
I think this is his true demonic form.
>>
No. 645162 ID: 350a50

>>645153
>>645100
Actually, Rod has the big hands, the broken neck, the dark hair, the athlete's strength, and is described as having the mentality of a child (Jose is... mentally stunted, according to a visit).

Something like "Jose, your mother would weep if she saw you now." might stun him long enough to grab the umbrella and seal him.

The question is whether Nim has the ability to guess this.
>>
No. 645179 ID: 330ce5

The only voice we haven't heard yet is bus' so call for him, if all else fails. Even if that isn't the unfamiliar voice we are kinda desperate so any help could be useful.
>>
No. 645185 ID: 350a50

>>645179
True, we've never heard Bus speak - and the voice refers to 'him' and 'us' as though it and Rod are in the same grouping.
>>
No. 645205 ID: e8e481
File 143339440379.png - (58.07KB , 640x480 , 78.png )
645205

Please.

Don't kill him.

>>
No. 645206 ID: e114bc

>>645205
...Rodney?
>>
No. 645210 ID: 330ce5

Wasn't Rod the name of the rabbit? Well we don't have many options left so; Rodney I choose you!
>>
No. 645211 ID: 350a50

Say his name. "Rodney."
>>
No. 645221 ID: a2b630

Well, better late than never.

Our choice is sudden. Rodney! Help us out, here!
>>
No. 645239 ID: e8e481
File 143340250913.png - (9.67KB , 640x480 , 79.png )
645239

Your vision has gone completely white as you try to lift your legs to kick him, fight back, do anything, but you feel weak. You are limp in his hands as the color drains entirely from your face, and you're loosing total consciousness.
>>
No. 645241 ID: e8e481
File 143340256751.png - (21.38KB , 640x480 , 80.png )
645241

Your name is Nim. It's been snowing for a while now, unfortunately. What three items does Nim bring with her?
>>
No. 645247 ID: e114bc

Cellphone. Lighter. Swiss army knife.
>>
No. 645248 ID: d3be40

Riot Shield
Force Field Generator
Explosive-Tip Grappling Hook

Screw the dream formalities, you're dying here!
>>
No. 645299 ID: 88960e

Mittens. A phone. That Swiss army knife you're not really supposed to have at your age but Cirrus have you.
>>
No. 645307 ID: 330ce5

Gloves, a blue ink pen, and a Swiss army knife.
>>
No. 645342 ID: 9b13ae

mittens, candy and the knife
or, if we only get to choose items weve seen already
soccer ball, knife and salt
>>
No. 645384 ID: a01678

A winter coat, a pocket knife, crackers.
>>
No. 645407 ID: e8e481
File 143345081485.png - (34.59KB , 640x480 , M.png )
645407

It's a snow day! Which means there's no school, which means no homework, which means all the neighborhood kids are going to hang out in the empty lot behind the ranch houses and have snowball fights in the snow. Duh!

You bring with you an extra set of MITTENS, your favorite SNACK, and a little POCKET KNIFE you really shouldn't have! But Cirrus gave it to you, so you can't exactly bring yourself to leave it at home.

You think these are Cirrus' footprints you're following, since you both come from the same direction, and you think he couldn't have gotten there all that faster then you.

The cold is kind of getting to you though- you didn't wear a jacket and a hat because Cirrus doesn't, and it kind of really matters to you to try and impress him. You're not some wimp who can't stand the cold! Except the fact there's snow up to your knees, and your ears feel like they're going to fall off. Ugh.

What should you do? Keep heading for the lot? Go home and get a jacket? Or..
You could just do your own thing, you suppose. You're your own independent lady!
>>
No. 645411 ID: 9b13ae

rub your ears and keep following the tracks
>>
No. 645443 ID: ab7529

You're so gonna catch cold, you know. Unless it's one of those not so cold days. Or you don't stay out for long.
>>
No. 645458 ID: d3be40

You might want a jacket. If not, then run really fast so that your body generates heat.
>>
No. 645493 ID: 350a50

Wrap your scarf around your ears.
>>
No. 645494 ID: 26e769

Make snow angels.
>>
No. 645501 ID: 680b49

make a snow woman
not a man
what are you
I thought you were a strong independent lady
do it
>>
No. 645566 ID: e8e481
File 143348135644.png - (32.12KB , 640x480 , I.png )
645566

You wrap your scarf around your head to cover your ears and rub them a lot to get them warm again. It works, but you feel kind of silly afterwards with the long red scarf looped around your noggin like that. You feel self conscious as you make your decision. You could go home, but you think that if you run really fast and make sure you don't stay out too long you won't get sick!
You look at the ground. You could also play in the snow yourself, but...
You look up at the tracks and you break out into a run. You really do think you want to meet up with Cirrus after all!
>>
No. 645568 ID: e8e481
File 143348140263.png - (31.85KB , 640x480 , 83.png )
645568

You call out his name.
>>
No. 645570 ID: e8e481
File 143348154102.png - (20.19KB , 640x480 , N.png )
645570

As you near the usual hangout spot you see him waving you down with a soccer ball by his feet. No one seems to have joined him today- score! You'll get some serious alone time with him.

It's not like you have a crush or anything on him though! You just think he's really, really, REALLY cool. What should you say to him? Something cool so he thinks you're cool, too. Or perhaps... maybe something cute so he sees you as a girl...?
>>
No. 645577 ID: ab7529

>>645570
...is that Cirrus? Why did he bring a soccer ball to a snow fight? That's not normally a thing Cirrus does, is it?
>>
No. 645592 ID: 350a50

ask Cirrus if he wants to build a snowman
>>
No. 645773 ID: d3be40

Pay close attention too the soccer ball, try and see if Cirrus wrote something on it.
>>
No. 646393 ID: e8e481
File 143353874895.png - (19.01KB , 640x480 , P.png )
646393

You stop, mid stride, as your heard starts to hurt. That... that absolutely is Cirrus out there, but why would he be alone? And why would he bring a soccer ball? You know everything about Cirrus, and you know for a fact he doesn't even like kick ball!

You shake off your feeling of unease and call out. "Hey, Cirrus, do you want to build a snowman?"
He doesn't respond other then kicking the ball your way.
>>
No. 646394 ID: e8e481
File 143353879637.png - (17.18KB , 640x480 , U.png )
646394

The soccer ball gets stuck in the snow by your feet.

"Rodney" is scribbled out on the top in a slightly worn-out sharpie.
>>
No. 646395 ID: d3be40

See if there's a last name.

Then wake up.
>>
No. 646399 ID: ab7529

Oh no. Not again.

Run forward, bend down, clutch the ball to your chest and whip around to make sure there's not someone behind you to strangle you.

If not turn back to face Cirrus, examine ball for more detail.

...one option is stabbing it with the knife, but I don't know if that's the right move. I wanna get a better look at it, first.
>>
No. 646404 ID: a2b630

Correct yourself. Say the proper name.
>>
No. 646406 ID: 350a50

"Who is Rodney?"
>>
No. 646422 ID: e8e481
File 143354174979.png - (19.11KB , 640x480 , E.png )
646422

You awkwardly bend down and scoop the odd soccer ball into your hands- for some reason it's a little warm to the touch. You look over it from every direction; the only visible writing is the name "Rodney", which you assume is the name of the kid Cirrus borrowed the ball from.

Speaking of, you hold the warm ball to your chest to peer behind you, not being able to shake off a weird feeling of anxiety. Nothing seems to be around you, though, besides Cirrus himself, so you decide to make a beeline to his side.

You're certain that he could protect you from whatever you're panicking over.
>>
No. 646429 ID: e8e481
File 143354240916.png - (30.38KB , 640x480 , K.png )
646429

"C- Cirrus!" You stumble over his name with the chattering of your teeth and the the breathlessness that came from running. He originally seems eager to see you, but his initial smile breaks into a frown.
"Nim, why aren't you wearing a coat! You look cold- should I walk you back to your house?"
"N-no. It's f-f-fine! If you don't wear a c-c-coat, then neither will I!"
He looks away with an apparent blush on his face.
".. that's stupid, Nim. We both know I don't get sick! Man, I should've brought a coat.." He mutters something about a 'prince charming moment' under his breath.
"S-s-sorry then, Cirrus."
"No, no, don't apologize! I'm just happy you chose me rather than.."
"Cho.. chose you?"
"... nothing. Nothing you won't get till you're older, anyway. Why'd you pick up the ball instead of kicking back over, anyway?"
You hug the ball even closer.
"I-it's warm. I wanted to ask.. kuh, too, who is R-Rod..ney?"
"Who is- oh. I don't know. It's an old ball I found at the dump, so it's probably just the guy who used to own it."

You gently run your fingers over the ball's surface.

"I-it's filled with a lot of good memories, Cirrus. I like it."

Cirrus' expression darkens considerably.

"I thought I told you to ignore those things, Nim."
>>
No. 646432 ID: e114bc

>>646429
Tell him there's no reason to ignore good things. Gotta enjoy life, right?
>>
No. 646437 ID: ab7529

Oh, he's cheating even now. One of the demons he's bonded to protects him from the elements. And/or sickness.

>chose him
But... who else is there? You've only got one Cirrus!

>>646432
That's good wording. Why should we ignore good things?

Trace your mitten-ed finger absently over the letters damaged name. (Maybe reinforcing what was scratched out will strengthen it?).
>>
No. 646456 ID: 350a50

>>646432
"Somebody loved this ball. Rodney loved this ball. Whoever he is, it feels like this is a memory of him at his best."

"Isn't there anything you love like that?"
>>
No. 646509 ID: e8e481
File 143356296685.png - (21.30KB , 640x480 , A.png )
646509

The soccer ball's warmth spreads through your body.
"There's no reason for me to ignore stuff like this, Cirrus! I like stuff like this."
"Nim, stop."
"Somebody loved this ball. Rodney loved this ball. Whoever he is, it feels like this is a memory of him at his best."
"Nim!"
"Isn't there anything you love like that?"
"Yes, but- this isn't you talking. Your powers are showing-!"

A vision of a man snapping another man's neck starts etching itself beneath your eyelids.
>>
No. 646511 ID: ab7529

Oh. So that's binding works. Someone sensitive needs to accept an emotionally charged object?

This must be the day Cirrus got Rod. (Although, if he knew the ball was charged and potentially reactive, why did he kick it to Nim if he was trying to hide this world from her?).

>A vision of a man snapping another man's neck starts etching itself beneath your eyelids.
Gasp and drop it.
>>
No. 646513 ID: e114bc

>>646509
Well that's not a good memory. Try to step back mentally from the memories in the ball. Control your powers.
>>
No. 646520 ID: d3be40

>>646509
"What's going on?"

*Private*
That's the kid whose neck got snapped, Jose.
*/Private*
>>
No. 646521 ID: 350a50

Push that presence away, and keep it away from you. That's not what you're looking for.
>>
No. 646522 ID: 350a50

>>646521
In fact, take your pocket knife and set it against the ball - don't stab the ball, just press the flat against it. Don't let the memories of evil and darkness into you. Force them into the knife instead.
>>
No. 646545 ID: 330ce5

We can't drop the ball now. Ask Cirrus where he actually got this ball and why does he still have it. Also take a step back and comment on how Cirrus is acting kinda weird.
>>
No. 649309 ID: a19cd5

>>646509
nah, scrooge that. dropkick that shit.
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