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A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya]

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A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:59 pm

Bathed in the glow of the descending afternoon sun, the Astera Cliffsides revealed their majestic splendor. The waters far below crashed against the rock face, sending up a fine mist that caught the sunlight and sparkled like a sea of dancing diamonds. A gentle ocean breeze ruffled Tōga's hair as he gazed out over the azure expanse, invigorated by the warmth of the sun's rays contrasting with the refreshing coolness of the wind. He drank in the sights and sounds - the cry of circling gulls, the hypnotic rhythm of the waves, the rich and briny scent of the sea. A feeling of peace and contentment washed over him as he stood atop the cliffs, soaking in nature's timeless beauty. This was a magical place that stirred the soul. Tōga smiled, treasuring this perfect, crystalline moment.

"This is the life!" Tōga exclaimed joyfully, throwing his arms wide as if to embrace the invigorating ocean air. The breeze ruffled through his pink, spiky locks, causing them to dance freely. His loose navy top billowed lightly around his frame while the red hoodie beneath kept his core warm against the nip of the seaside wind. With youthful excitement sparkling in his brown eyes, he gazed out eagerly across the azure waters, drinking in the sights and sounds that surrounded him. Pelicans glided gracefully on the updrafts as waves crashed melodically against weathered stone far below. The tang of salt flavored each rejuvenating breath. Tōga closed his eyes for a moment, letting the rhythm of the sea soak into his soul. When he opened them again, he grinned widely with uncomplicated happiness, savoring the simple joy of this place, these sights and sensations that filled him with life.

Tōga had come a long way from his humble beginnings as a private in the Rune Knights. Mission after perilous mission, challenge after daunting challenge - he met them all with an unwavering smile and a relentless drive to succeed. Through each trial he emerged stronger, tempered like steel and discovering newfound talents within himself that continued to surprise. The world was his treasure trove to plunder, and Tōga embraced every opportunity to better himself with wide-eyed curiosity and youthful verve, ever seeking the next adventure. He mined life's obstacles for the lessons they held rather than fearing the adversities. Each failure unveiled a success waiting patiently under its veil. With indefatigable spirit and tireless optimism, Tōga pressed on through setback after setback, buoyed by some inextinguishable zest for growth. All the while the same grin danced across his face, belying the demands. He was yet unfinished, a work-in-progress whose limits were still unknown, but the journey now beckoned with promise and he would follow where it led with laughter in his soul.

wc: 458

#2Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Thu Nov 30, 2023 6:13 pm

Michael Winters
He was in the western part of Fiore, for seemingly no reason, he just wanted to leave central Fiore as soon as possible. Era unsettled him, too clean, too uptight, too much authority over there. Crocus wasnt any better with a too formal city. The west was more neutral... well... kinda. He heard there was a Dark Guild there. Part of him wanted to check it out, one part not so much.

He arrived to Astera cliffs to ruminate and just think for himself, but lo and behold he saw someone he recognized. The person who summoned him to central to begin with
"Well well well, look what the cat dragged in here. Sup, didnt think I'd see you here. I see you took my advice in terms of travel, eh?" Toga would hear a familiar voice of Michael coming from behind him, but upon looking, he would see more of a thuggish looking person

It wasnt Michael in a tidy suit with the whole Blue Pegasus aesthetic, it was a more rebellious and criminal like look. A hoodie which had the hood pulled up to cover his hair, a black leather jacket, old bandages around his palms, pants with a more camo print and messy dirty boots. All tied together with a messy, slightly dirty white mask with a chilling slasher smile and probably some blood stains on it. The more and probably only familiar aspect to this look is that skull tattoo on his neck, which was a bit more visible now that the suit wasnt obstructing it.
Indeed, Michael looked like a very different man. Stella had changed him


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Fri Dec 01, 2023 1:49 am

Basking in nature's embrace atop the windswept cliff, Tōga felt balanced between worlds. The sun caressed his skin with gentle warmth while the ocean breeze wrapped him in cool whispers of salt and adventure, tousling his windswept pink locks. He stood upon a precipice dividing earth and sky, the azure expanse stretching out below him and melding seamlessly with the horizon. From this lofty vantage he could spy white-capped waves crashing relentlessly against stone, carving abstract art into the patient cliffside. Circling seabirds dotted the updrafts, buoyed by the same winds that even now lifted Tōga's spirit. He breathed deeply, filling his lungs with life.

Here, with endless blue above and below, he gained perspective. The worries that hounded him melted away as the rhythmic pulse of surf and wind worked their hypnotic magic. In this moment he felt connected to the timeless power of nature, at one with the elements. Rejuvenated clarity pried his gaze upwards towards new horizons, towards growth and possibilities before unfathomed. From this precipice he stood ready to dive deeper into life's mystery and complexity. The fall no longer frightened him. The ocean's strong hands waited below to catch him, to challenge him, to renew him once again.

The natural splendor had captivated all Tōga's senses when a familiar scent on the breeze turned his head an instant before the beloved voice. "Huh?" Tōga pivoted around, auburn eyes lighting up as they settled on a known face, though garbed unexpectedly. "Michael-kun! great seeing you here!" Tōga hailed his friend jovially, hand waving in an enthusiastic arc. What luck to encounter an old friend in this picturesque yet foreign place. Tōga grinned broadly, taking in Michael's unexpected attire as he awaited the opportune reunion. The ocean's timeless rhythm continued its background pulse, but Tōga's attention now focused expectantly on this new arrival, pleased for reasons beyond just the sublime scenery to have ventured out today. In the chance intersection of friends, the vast city felt a little less anonymous. New adventures perched on the horizon now, with camaraderie setting the course. Tōga's grin widened at the prospects kindled by this unlikely meeting whipped up by fate's playful winds.

"Where's Samuel-kun? And what's with the slick new mask?" Tōga queried, glancing around for the Exceed companion who typically accompanied Michael. His survey of the surroundings revealed no sign of the feline, however. Returning his gaze to Michael, Tōga's eyes glimmered with lively curiosity as he took in his friend's unexpected ensemble. The mask lent Michael an air of mystery and intrigue that piqued Tōga's interest. What exciting new adventure was afoot that necessitated such a radical departure from his customary garb?

wc: 444 [902]

#4Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Fri Dec 08, 2023 2:06 pm

Michael Winters
Toga as per usually rather happily greeted him. He really was overly cheery, last time he's been that cheery himself, he hasnt stepped in Fiore. Which was over 20 years ago. Toga then asked him where was the exceed and what was up with the mask
"He's around. Either with the rest of the guild or doing his own thing. As for this" he touched his mask for a moment "New to you, old to me. I have it for reasons. One of em is that I like it" so he didnt want anyone tryin to take it or break it.
But other reason he wasnt keen on telling, that he was mourning his family still. He just had his own burdens he had to deal with and honestly he wasnt really thinking of bringing Toga into it.
"So what are you doing here?" he curiously asked the Rune Knight. Michael was here because the cliffs were like a remote area where he can be alone, he hadnt anticipated seeing anyone, let alone Toga. So what to do.


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Fri Dec 08, 2023 3:28 pm


As Michael spoke in his customary even tone, Tōga sensed an unsettling discordance stirring beneath the man's composed facade. Though his words rang steady, Michael exuded an aura of solitude and rigidity, a bleak sensation of detachment that clung to him like creeping ivy, threatening to envelop his being. Tōga took care not to let his growing disquiet show, but he filed away this ominous impression in his mind, disturbed by the loneliness emanating from Michael despite his nonchalant airs. There seemed a sadness behind the casual words, a isolation that no casual chat could belie. Try as he might to seem unaffected, Michael could not completely mask the sterile friendlessness that hugged his frame and infected his speech, discernible only by the perceptive eye of Tōga in this moment.

"You've got to see this view!" Tōga called out, pivoting excitedly to face the cliff's edge, where the rocky precipice plunged down to meet the brilliant azure sea stretching to the horizon. He gestured for his friend to join him taking in the sweeping vista. "I was in town for work, but I caught sight of this and just had to stop," he explained, eyes sparkling as he gazed out over the endless ocean swells rolling lazily under the radiant sun. "I've only recently begun wandering outside Era, but so far I'm captivated by all the natural beauty across the land." Tōga's voice rang with zeal and joie de vivre, his roving spirit evident in his awe-filled account and willingness to abandon his duties to revel in the majestic landscape laid out before them. The world seemed bountiful with beauty waiting to be unveiled to Tōga as he ventured farther than ever before across the territories.

"I recently visited this cool country called Stella," Tōga commented, eager to recount his latest adventures while he basked in the golden sunlight washing over him and relished the bracing ocean breeze ruffling his hair. "Have you heard of it before?" he asked, glancing over with bright, curious eyes at his companion. As they stood together appreciating the unhindered view off the rocky clifftops into the azure waters far below, Tōga could not help sharing some of the highlights from his ongoing voyage of self-discovery across intriguing lands unknown to him in his home region. The names of wondrous new places rolled off his tongue, souvenirs gathered along an intrepid trail blazed as he actively sought out new vantage points - both physical and philosophical - from which to survey the wide horizons yet unexplored by this wayfaring wanderer.

The people there were so nice, the food and drinks were great! But some crazy magic festival thing was goin’ on. Kinda weird, but fun, nonetheless.

wc: 451 [1353]

#6Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Sat Dec 09, 2023 12:31 pm

Michael Winters
Toga called him to see the view, but Michael was not a fan of heights and edges of cliffs, so he replied "Im comfortable here where I am" and so he asked him what was he doing here, Toga explained he recently left Era and thus was here. He was happy to lucky as usual, an energy Michael was never able to match. He would tell speak of Stella, a place he's been and did not have fun whatsoever
"Yes" was his mere reply, he heard of Stella, but he didnt need to know anything else. He was glad that Toga liked it, even if he didnt. "So, I guess life was good for you" he tried to make conversation and thought to hear how Toga was during his absence and then be on his way.
He just didnt know what to do with himself, just deal with it. Try to deal with it as he did with before.


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Sun Dec 10, 2023 5:03 pm

"Alright then," Tōga replied, quelling his instinct to further cajole his companion to appreciate the magnificent seascape splayed before them. As an habitual lone wolf, Michael usually preferred his own counsel to relying on others for enjoyment, but today he seemed to have withdrawn deeper into himself, the easy rapport from their last meetup chilled by his newly reticent manner. Tōga discerned the shift in Michael's demeanor which felt oddly disconnected from the warmth of their prior camaraderie.

Though the brilliant vista invited shared wonder, Michael remained sealed off in his own velleities rather than allowing Tōga's infectious zeal to stoke his interest. Something had clearly changed for the more aloof Michael since their last lively exchange as fast friends. An unfamiliar distance stretched between them despite standing side by side, as if Michael meandered in isolation though next to his erstwhile kindred spirit on the heights gazing out at the glittering waters.

As the inscrutable masked Michael persisted in impersonal pleasantries, Tōga's natural perceptiveness attuned him to an incongruent note. Though far from the shrewdest intellect, Tōga had a keen emotional radar that intuitively registered the inner states of those around him. As Michael's words meandered on almost mechanically, Tōga detected the faintest echo of melancholy behind the facade. He pivoted to face Michael squarely, though the man remained aloof several meters off. "Hey, is everything okay, Mike-kun?" Tōga queried, concern creeping into his tone. While Michael's detached mien could seem nonchalant at times, his current bearing intimated a more doleful disconnection that plucked at Tōga's heartstrings. Michael's inaccessible air bespoke a sadness that mystified Tōga, who could not help but reach out to bridge the gulf stretched between them in this moment when solidarity eluded their encounter atop the cliff despite the beckoning beauty abounding before them.

wc: 300 [1653]

#8Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Tue Dec 19, 2023 12:07 pm

Michael Winters
"Im fine" he replied and crossed his arms. He imagined it was obvious he was depressed but he wouldnt say that to Toga. Men dont show their feelings, especially weakness such as sadness. Anywho, the wolf was FINE, he was totally FINE. There was no need to ask him anything. There was no use repeating the stupid sob story and opening old wounds any more. Granted they are already open and more like fresh wounds. He sighed quietly

"So yeah... what do you wanna do here? I assume sightseeing and quests?" he asked as he tried to change the subject and bounce it back to Toga himself who was too chipper and happy for Michael personally. Though on the topic of here as in Astera, he remembered one of his friends was here. Maybe he can find him. Yeah, maybe best way to cheer up was just to get drunk


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Tue Dec 19, 2023 2:43 pm

Even through the white tattered mask that Michael wore, Tōga could sense the anger and unease lurking behind it, so unlike the man he had known on Luluhawa Island. Michael had changed - his clothes, his demeanor, his very aura were those of a different person now. Yet Tōga knew emotions could transform anyone and that beneath this forbidding exterior was still his friend. He resolved to draw Michael out with further conversation, hoping to help this darkened version reconnect with his truer self and see they were still companions despite all that lay between them. Tōga believed that if he could peel back the layers shrouding his friend, ease past the hostility radiating off him like heat, he might reveal the light that had once shone so brightly within. Though the way forward might be difficult, Tōga knew he must try.

"Quests, sightseeing, a drink here and there - you know me, Mike-kun," Tōga replied lightly, a cheerful smile masking his unease at Michael's newfound reserve. Here on this cliffside, astride the flowing sea with Astera behind them, the ease Tōga remembered from Luluhawa lay crushed beneath the weight of all that remained unspoken. Still, Tōga vowed not to externalize his disquiet, unwilling to further burden his friend's darkened spirit. Internally, his mind churned in effort to understand what plagued the man before him. Michael stood distant as a stranger, yet Tōga must believe their bond persisted still beneath the surface changes. He searched for a way to reach past the aloof facade, to refresh the old relationship. If they could but kindle again that spark of friendship, might it not illuminate Michael's soul? Tōga resolved to try, hoping this wonderful spot overlooking the glittering ocean might inspire reminiscences to thaw his friend's newfound reserve. Gentle perseverance may yet pave the way to reconcile present estrangement with fonder memories now immersed in shadow.

I don’t have a quest or anything to tackle, so if you’re free, wanna grab a drink?

wc: 331 [1984]

#10Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Tue Dec 19, 2023 6:54 pm

Michael Winters
"Sure, drink sounds good" honestly he was glad it wasnt something annoying or too overly happy and chipper. A drink was what he needed. Though he didnt know what to expect now. Should Toga lead the way or should he. It was just a weird situation. Well, he just shrugged. "I guess we go to get drinks" he said and then walked away to get some booze. It was something that would make him feel better, only issue was that he didnt want Toga staring at him. Michael was a mess under that mask and he didnt want Toga to see him. He cant stand happy and chipper people, they always annoyed him, especially if they force their happiness onto others.
Anywho, as he would go to Astera, he'd examine the buildings and shops on the way as he'd find a tavern or a pub like place to drink.


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Tue Dec 19, 2023 8:33 pm

"Perfect, Mike-kun!" Tōga exclaimed, relieved to find some common ground after the morning's awkward tension. He knew they needed a fresh start - the peculiarity hovering between them like a storm cloud had dampened their usual amity. What had happened to cast his friend into such shadowed remoteness? Tōga wondered, though he knew life's trials struck individuals uniquely. Still, he ached to understand what painful blows had so darkened Michael's stoic spirit. But prying would only drive him further within that brooding shell; better instead to lure him out with patient friendship. So Tōga drank in his agreement eagerly, grasping at this tendril of connection, fragile though it seemed. Perhaps from this small bud of accord, the vine of their companionship could begin to unfurl again, weaving its way gradually toward sunlight. If he handled moments like these with care, each careful conversation might unwrap another layer of Michael's retreat, until the man Tōga cherished emerged again, set free from the thorns of whatever darkness had imprisoned him.

"There's bound to be a tavern around here," Tōga declared confidently, stretching his weary limbs as he turned to Michael, the wrapped face of Zangetsu jangling lightly across his shoulders. This fading afternoon still echoed with the awkward tension of their earlier encounter, but Tōga remained determined to revive the easy rapport they once shared. As the sun dipped gently toward the distant hills, casting the village in a warm amber glow, he felt hope kindle too - this could still become a convivial evening among friends, full of lively talk to dissolve the unspoken shadows that lingered. With a tavern's drink and camaraderie to smooth the way, might they not rediscover the friendship now mired in oddity? Tōga studied his friend, seeking traces of their earlier bond. Behind the aloof reserve, could Michael's heart yet welcome the offer of fellowship? Tōga prayed that it could, envisioning the two of them laughing together as in days gone by, the tavern resounding with echoes of a friendship reforged through perseverance, bathed now in cheerful lamplight.

"We could drink first and spar after, or fight first and drink to heal," Tōga proposed brightly, thoughts turning to the contest he had been itching for. Even on that first fateful meeting, when Michael seemed another man entirely, Tōga had wondered at the mage who eschewed magic for a simple knife. What quiescent power might he conceal behind that aloof exterior? Curiosity prickled now as Tōga studied his darkened friend, glimpsing perhaps a key to unlock closed doors. For if drink and camaraderie failed to breach the walls Michael had raised between them, might not a friendly duel reveal the man within? Warrior to warrior they could connect, trading blows rather than wary words. And after, flushed with exertion and lingering adrenaline, barriers might slip to reveal the comrade Tōga had missed. Over cooling tankards then, tongues loosened by growing ease, their fractured friendship could begin to mend.

wc: 491 [2475]

#12Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Tue Dec 19, 2023 8:44 pm

Michael Winters
"I'd rather just drink. Trust me, fighting is not a good idea" he just wanted to get drunk and forget everything. A fight is something he doesnt want, he was sure if they did go for a fight, Michael would go for a kill and not for a spar.
They would arrive to a tarvern and speak to the bartender "Beer" a simple one word demand as he'd move his mask away, but keep his hood up. Not wanting to look at Toga, he didnt want Toga to see him. And he hoped there was enough darkness and shadow to cover his eyes.

Michaels drink would arrive and he would gulp it down relatively fast, maybe not in one gulp, but he'd slam the bottle after his one gulp was like half the bottle. Huff, the idea of a fight just pissed him off. Nah, he needs to relax and drink


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Tue Dec 19, 2023 9:29 pm

His refusal only intensified his friend's air of mystery. Tōga had always felt you could learn much of someone by exchanging blows - when words failed, fists conveyed truths unspoken. He studied Michael's darkened countenance, so muted and remote, and wondered again what power lurked within that taciturn shell. A friendly duel might have illuminated hidden depths, unearthing the man Tōga once knew with each traded strike. Yet Michael walls himself ever deeper; Tōga can only peer futilely at what lies barricaded inside."Ayyye, okay, Mike-Kun, but know it wouldn't have been easy, hahahaha," he jested lightly, hoping humor might smooth the awkwardness left by Michael's rejection. Banter had ever been the currency between them before shadows fell. And though Michael keeps his own close counsel now, Tōga refuses to relinquish all hope.

Soon enough the pair happened upon a tavern, warm light spilling invitingly into the gathering dusk. As they settled at the worn countertop, Tōga felt a quiver of hope - here, finally, was a chance to unwind and reconnect over smooth libations, melting away the chill that had cocooned his companion. "Sake for me if you've got it!" he called out jovially to the grinning bartender, the words "Joyan native" lingering unspoken between them, a tenuous thread binding present estrangement to fonder memory. In the steaming ceramic cup set cheeringly before him, Tōga saw possiblility - perhaps drink could thaw the rime enclosing Michael, unlocking the man he once knew with each savored sip. But Michael remained withdrawn as winter's heart, speaking only to request his own drink in clipped tones before lapsing into silence.

Aye, Mike-Kun – don’t drink so fast! You might choke on it, hahaha,

wc: 249 [2724]

#14Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Tue Dec 19, 2023 9:37 pm

Michael Winters
"Which isnt a bad thing. Though, I know someone would resurrect me only to kill me for doing that" he remembered Lumikki and how she behaved when he spoke to his dead parents. He sighed and drank more for a bit, not quite finishing the bottle and wiped his mouth.

"I need to get over this and stop being like this. Wish I could just forget" he sighs defeated "Its not worth it" what he's talking about is revenge. Its not worth trying to get revenge for his dead parents, when they themselves didnt want it. They didnt wanna tell him who killed them. But that was HIS closure. He wanted to close that chapter of a book and see who dunnit. He didnt want to live in the unknown. He didnt care if it didnt bring closure, he couldnt live on like this, not knowing. He just misses home


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Tue Dec 19, 2023 10:14 pm

Tōga shakes his head defiantly when Michael admits that his death wouldn’t be a bad thing; even if it were only a joke.

"Whoa, easy there!" Tōga cautioned, though he could not restrain a flicker of mirth at the macabre jest. Still, such gallows humor betrayed grim shades lurking within his friend's darkened spirit. What despairing thoughts must cloud Michael's mind, that he articulates even fleetingly the potential benefits of his own demise? Tōga studied his companion's obscured face, wishing futilely that he could read what lay inscribed beneath that obscuring mask. Some bleak script carved itself there, invisible to outside eyes yet haunting Michael with the potential relief of oblivion. Though spoken with flippant irony, the words disclosed real demons wrestling inside him. Was this what had so transformed the man Tōga once knew? He ached to grasp the hands thus clandestinely extended, to draw Michael back from the yawning precipice hinted at in his bitter quip. "The world would be far poorer without you in it, my friend," Tōga asserted gently.

Tōga drank deeply as Michael continued, letting the rich sake's warmth trickle, ignored, down his throat. Though his friend had removed the concealing mask, now his dark ruminations took its place as protective covering, a hood lowered to shroud his countenance and allow release of further shadowed confessions. Tōga angled himself closer, straining to uncover some glimpse of what lay beneath that hood's shrouding veil, hoping to finally distinguish the private torment that so changed his friend. When Michael only half-emerges as if still trapped behind unseen barriers, Tōga reaches out, grasping his shoulder with a gentle shake meant to alert, connect, anchor in the now. "What inner demons plague you so, my friend?" he implores softly.

wc: 290 [3014]

#16Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Wed Dec 20, 2023 9:43 am

Michael Winters
"So you think buttercup" if only Toga knew. But one does not simply confess to a Rune Knight that he did do crime in the past. He'd be arrested for sure.
Thats when Toga decided to ask him what troubled him. He'd pause for a moment and think what to say "Im not a fan of sharing sob stories. So lemme just get that out of the way. I despize sob stories. And I hate the idea of people being sorry for me. As much as I despize overly happy people" he spoke up, but at least he was finally opening up. But before he did say what troubled him, he laid out his disclaimer. That he didnt like the idea of a sob story or pity. Michael still believed in that toxic masculinity that men are not supposed to share their feelings of weakness out in the public. Not open up to people


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Wed Dec 20, 2023 2:42 pm

Buttercup - the unexpected sobriquet barely registered as Tōga's focus remained fixed on the man across from him. He cared little for trivial insults, brushing off such ephemeral barbs with ease. Far more concerning was the glimpse of simmering rage and resentment Michael was allowing to slip through his facade of aloof indifference. Tōga leaned in, willing to weather those verbal assaults without reaction if it granted this long-sought chance to finally glimpse beneath his friend's obscuring barriers. He would absorb the blows of Michael's discontent like the sturdy earth accepts the crash of a hammer, not to break but to reveal what lay within. For Tōga discerned that behind this lashing out lay the true crux that had so changed his companion. If serving as an imperturbable sounding board allowed Michael to tap that festering well at last, Tōga would suffer far worse gladly. Let him be the outlet for this downpour, and perhaps eventually cleansed air would follow. Catharsis often emerges on the far side of destruction; tears must flow before hearts can mend. And so Tōga resolved anew that no provoked reaction would deter him from his calm pursuit of answers that might restore all still slumbering underneath this outer turmoil.

"I'm here to listen, not to judge," Tōga affirmed gently as he refilled his cup, letting the fragrant sake warm his tongue before slipping down his throat. Michael's words betrayed a soul still simmering from old wounds, flinching from human connection that might aggravate its pain. Yet like a patient farmer coaxing life from fallow fields, Tōga would provide the time and care to cultivate fertile ground again. He had handled aloofness and even minor insults without reaction, weathering Michael's defenses steadfastly thus far. Surely buried underneath this prickly exterior lay the friend he remembered, needing only gentle encouragement to reemerge in time.

When Michael expressed his distaste for Tōga's brighter temperament, he felt the barb glance off, deflected by persistent hope. Such reflexive strikes reminded him his friend writhed still within thorny confines of his own making, lashing out blindly in long-ingrained habit. But Tōga could perceive the blood hiding underneath each scornful word, betraying real wounds still awaiting balm.

wc: 365 [3379]

#18Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Fri Dec 29, 2023 1:54 pm

Michael Winters
He scoffed hearing Toga and just gave the briefest answer he could. "Long story short, I have dead parents. Killed. Been to Stella and found them among the living dead. Fuckers denied telling me who dunnit and I dont have my fucking CLOSURE!! Now I wanna kill the person who did it more!! But I cant. I fucking couldnt even go with em. I fucking hate this country. I hate it here. Fuck everything!" he said and slammed his fist at the table. His depression slowly got replaced by unbridled rage, the one he felt in his youth. Heh, so much for Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. His stage of grief regressed back to anger.

Michael felt he had to leave right away, because he felt the anger boiling up and he didnt wanna transform there, but somewhere more secluded. Usually when werewolves get pissed they just transform as they cant control it


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Sat Dec 30, 2023 10:41 pm

I’m sorry to hear that…” A frown flickered across Tōga's face as he struggled to find the right words to comfort Michael, who had just confessed the torment plaguing him, and the dragon slayer could only murmur a hollow apology for the pain his friend was enduring, wishing he could offer real solace but knowing his well-meaning yet empty condolences were inadequate.

Casting about desperately for a way to redirect the conversation from Michael's painful revelation, Tōga grasped at the shared supernatural experiences they had in Stella, reminding him how the Jaguar God's ominous spell had stirred the dead there too, though those restless spirits bore little resemblance to the clearly personal and traumatic vestiges of Michael's past. Where Tōga had encountered a fallen Rune Knight stranger amidst the midnight chill, Michael was forced to confront the ghosts of his own murdered parents, a crushing burden they seemed unwilling to unmask. No wonder darkness gnawed at Michael's spirit after such an encounter to unravel even the steadiest mind and soul.

I can’t imagine how that could have been…. Did you at least say anything to them you wished you had while they were alive?” Beyond finding out who killed them?

wc: 213 [3592]

#20Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Mon Jan 08, 2024 12:54 pm

Michael Winters
He sighs "More or less" he spoke as the built up anger was again deflated and replaced with a feeling of defeat. He thought maybe it wasnt worth it. He should just forget. But again that makes him angry that whoever it was gets away with it. The idea wasnt so much as vengence to him but more closure. Like karma coming to get you. It only felt poetic that itd be the kid of your victims. But he guess nothing from that. Because life wasnt poetic, it was cruel. And he was living that life. The most he can do now is live it. Maybe do a quest to distract him from it or maybe just look at the future. He had Lumikki at least. He should write to her. But he had nothing new. Maybe tell her that he feels better since Stella and to check on her. That was a thought


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Mon Jan 08, 2024 2:29 pm

"Fair enough," Tōga thought, sensing the darkness that had enveloped Michael's spirit. He could see his friend struggling against the traumatic memories that continued to haunt him - memories of what had happened with Stella. Though Michael sat beside him now in human form, part of his essence remained trapped in that inner turmoil, wrestling with demons Tōga could not see but intuitively understood. Inwardly, Tōga frowned with empathy, realizing a vital part of his friend had been damaged, perhaps irreparably. Yet as the two companions sat together in the quiet tavern, Tōga hoped that his supportive presence could spark some inner light and provide Michael a lifeline out of his suffering. Even glimmers of respite mattered. With time and care, the shadows might yet release their grip.

"Hey, remember Aha Mountain?" Tōga said lightly, a reminiscent smile breaking through as he lifted his drink. "When we fought off those assassins? Hah, what an adventure." He mimicked a toned-down version of Michael's heroic moves at the bar, chuckling at the memory. "You jumped in to save the Mayor's daughter before they could even land a strike. Just flew across the tavern in a flash." Tōga's eyes glinted playfully, hoping to rekindle that daring camaraderie they had shared. He longed to pull his friend from the darkness threatening to consume him - to anchor Michael back from the pain-filled abyss into lighter, kinder memories. Even if only temporary, a distraction could sometimes shore one’s spirit. So Tōga gestured wildly as he retold old tales, striving to shelter his suffering companion in the familiar refuge of brotherhood that had once bonded them.

wc: 270 [3862]

#22Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Mon Jan 08, 2024 3:45 pm

Michael Winters
"I mildly remember the quest" he answered. Mostly he remembered there was a quest and that he had to rep Blue Pegasus well to a Rune Knight. After that they had a boar meal. But Michael didnt really vocalize what he remembered, instead he focused on listening to Toga who went ahead and told stories of the stuff he had forgotten. Michael wouldnt interrupt the guy, so he'd listen to whatever Toga was saying. Though he couldnt help but think about.... literally anything else. Like what to do. Maybe looking around the town can help. Basically a distraction. Maybe Toga was somewhat helping him after all, just not in the ways he'd expect.
Michael was about to ask why was Toga here, but remembered that he already asked that. It seems his mind was all over the place. So he needed to think of other conversation topics. Unfortunaley nothing came to mind


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Mon Jan 08, 2024 7:26 pm

Michael was doing an excellent job of contributing to the conversation - or so Tōga thought wryly, as his efforts to remind his friend of their exploits seemed to fall on deaf ears. Still, Tōga persisted, recounting the daring adventures the daring trio - Michael, Tōga, and the exceed Samuel - had shared over the months. He spoke fondly of earning jewels and glory across dozens of thrilling quests, weaving the memories into an epic tapestry he hoped might shake Michael from his misery. Yet as the stories flowed, Tōga noticed his companion only sinking deeper into some dark inner realm impervious to tales of the past. The drinks failed to lift Michael's spirit either. With growing concern, Tōga grasped for a lifeline that could pull his friend from the shadows before they swallowed him completely. The nostalgia offered no salvation. Something more was needed - but what? Tōga racked his brain, unwilling to lose Michael to whatever haunted him. There had to be light enough to overcome the dark.

"Hey, Mike-kun," Tōga proposed brightly, "let's finish up these drinks and hit the town. I haven't done much exploring here yet, and some fresh air might do us both some good." He eyed his friend hopefully, suggesting a happy compromise - they'd linger over the last sips of ale, then venture out into Astera's lively streets. Tōga hoped reconnecting with their old adventuring spirit might rekindle happier memories for Michael, stirring him from the darkness that gripped his mind. Their friendship had been forged through the intrepid discovery of foreign realms after all. And now in this unfamiliar city, what curiosities awaited around the corner? The bustling markets and quaint alleys called to Tōga's own wanderlust. With lively jazz drifting from some corner pub, the night held promise - perhaps a walk would grant Michael a reprieve from inner demons. Tōga watched his friend closely, eager for any flicker of interest. Wherever Michael wandered tonight, be it external or within, Tōga vowed not to leave him to travel alone.

wc: 340 [4202]

#24Michael Winters 

A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Mon Jan 08, 2024 7:53 pm

Michael Winters
Michael nodded and finished up on his drink rather swiftly and slowly got up from his seat.
"So where do you wanna go?" at least he started talking more, but really, he didnt know his way around Astera and he hoped to explore it. It was a nice distraction that would hopefully set him to normal. He wanted to see the shops. Maybe secretly some jewelry shops for his lady friend. Gotta look out for that future. Now that was something that put a smile on her face. Well at least on the inside. On the outside, maybe a milimeter of a change.
Plus aside from that, he wanted to look at some other shops. He believed his old friend had a job in Astera. A bakery was the last thing he heard. That his friend was a baker in Astera or an employee of one. So hopefully maybe he finds an old friend and reconnects after years


A World-Beating Heart Rumbles [ft. Maya] Empty Mon Jan 08, 2024 9:51 pm

"Perfect!" Tōga exclaimed, unable to contain his excitement as finally, some life oozed from Michael's muted facade. After agonizing over stilted conversation and the dark clouds that had clung stubbornly to his friend, that simple flicker of interest felt like sunlight breaking through the gloom. Tōga caught the subtle shift behind Michael's stoic mask - that spark promised hope beneath the anguish. "I have no idea where we'll go, but that's the adventure!" Tōga declared with revived enthusiasm. He slammed back the last of his drink, leaving foam clinging to his grin as he dropped a scatter of jewels to cover their tab and a generous tip. Michael's emergence from the shadows deserved real celebration. Tōga could already envision meandering down lively streets, letting impromptu curiosity guide their route through the bustling city. Together they would navigate unfamiliar territory and see which way the night winds blew them. Even one tentative step away from Michael's torment would be progress. Tōga felt sure that a change of scenery and some carefree camaraderie could help clear the dark mists shrouding his friend's wounded but resilient spirit.

"Well, the day won't last forever - let's be off!" Tōga declared, rising energetically from his seat and sweeping his large sword onto his back once more. He shook off the stiffness from sitting too long, though the weight of Michael's sorrow had drained him more than mere time could account for. Still, Tōga rallied himself, committed to lifting those dark veils from his friend. This bustling city must hold keys to happiness somewhere amid its twisting alleys and raucous taverns - and Tōga would scour Astera's streets to unlock that potential. Like so many quests gone by, he took up this mission to restore Michael's brighter spirit with steadfast devotion. The night was young, the air crisp with promise as jazz notes drifted lazily by. Wherever their wandering led under the starlit skies or neon signs, Tōga knew adventure awaited if they but took the first step. With a playful glance back towards Michael, Tōga set off, determined that together they would yet map a route out of the shadows.

wc: 355 [4557]

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