First Draft

The bellow script was the original iteration of Counterbalance’s first Episode, written by Kessir in November/December of 2016.

Upon realizing that there was a lot of worldbuilding and exposition that needed to be covered in order for the tension in the group to make any sense, I decided to split the episode into five. The first draft therefore contains the contents of Episodes 1 through 5.


Scene 1 – University of Wakaluri – Day
*”Corporate”-Sound rings, signaling the activation of the Windshell*
Akasar: We don’t know the extend of the tangleweave yet. We only got a messenger asking for support from any adept patcher last night.

Raka:     Where is it located again?

Akasar:    In the south-west, near Wyvelin – at the foot of mount Skundr, if you know the area.

Raka:     I know where Skundr is but I’ve never been there.

Akasar:    Fjalfana, go and fetch Raka a copy of a Map of that area.

Fjalf.:    Immediately.

Akasar:    Raka, I want you to pack what you need and start out right away.

Raka:     Tonight or in the morning?

Akasar:    I know its getting late but I want you to leave today. You may ask Yolku for the quickest Krekou she can give you, but even with a very quick one it will take you roughtly 2 or even 3 days to get there if you don’t stop for rest. The messenger that asked for our help came here on an Aivi, so he must’ve been on his way for at least 5 days. As far as we know the tangleweave occurred a bit over a week ago by now, it should be taken care of as soon as possible.

Raka:     Right, they’re tedious to handle when they’re around for too long… Do you know if there are Watergates near the Skundr I could use instead? I could be there in a day, if one is close enough.

Akasar:    Pah, Watergates! Those are exactly the reason why things like Tangleweaves happen in the first place!

Raka:     (through gridded teeth)
Right, I had forgotten your aversion to them.

Auril:    Akasar, I’m sure Raka will know how to pass through a Watergate without causing a tangleweave right away-

Akasar:    That is NOT my point, Auril.
*exasperated* The fact that some scrawny water-mage thought of creating those and then decided to monetize their use is simply-
*annoyed* Oh you know my standpoint on this matter already why do I even bother!
Take a Watergate if you must, Raka, but if you do make sure I won’t hear of it! Just make sure you leave tonight!
Now excuse me, I have other matters to attend to.
Akasar leaves the room.

Auril:    Well I do see his point, but if it’s this urgent…

Raka:     We should make an exception. You heard of the situation?

Auril:    Yea, I actually came here because I wanted to give you this.
Auril hands Raka a Windshell

Raka:     What is it? A snail shell – theres a sphere embedded I assume? Is this a music shell?

Auril:    An upgrade of a music shell, a new project I’ve been working on.

Raka:     What does it do?

Auril:    It senses when there are disturbances on the aetherweb and activates, giving off a warning sound.

Raka:     … And why do you think I need this?

Auril:    The… warning signal isn’t it’s main purpose. What it does once it activates is start to record the airwaves around you.

Raka:     Like a music shell.

Auril:    Like a music shell, yes, but instead of recording music and storing the sounds, it will… “transfer” the sounds to me.

Raka:     So you have a receptor that catches the sounds?

Auril:    Yes exactly. And THAT receptor in turn channels the sound to other shells that record these sounds-

Raka:     So it’s basically a long-distance music shell.

Auril:    That’s very simply put – but yes, that’s exactly what it is.

Raka:     Ok… but why?

Auril:    Why what?

Raka:     Why do you want me to take this with me? Other than warning me of spirits or aether-frays I don’t see much use for this. It’s not like I will be singing to any spirits to make it worth recording what happens there.

Auril:    No, no, no Raka dear, you have to see the bigger picture here! These Shells will not record just music, but anything that happens around you. What you say, what the spirits say and how you negotiate with them, which Runes you use to summon them or tether them or get them under control – you’re the most adept patcher in this university, if we record your activities, other students can listen back to those recordings and learn from your actions!

Raka:     Really, Auril, I think patching is way too complex to learn from the actions of just one person. And beside that, they can learn what I know from reading the books I learned from. They even get to experience a simulated tangleweave first hand in the practical courses!

Auril:    Of couse, but we can’t tear open a new hole into the aetherweb every year!
Look, these windshells would be more like an upgrade of books, and they will not hide the trials and errors you’ll make to gain the intelligence you need to banish the spirits!

Raka:     I’m not going to BANISH the spirits Auril, I’m going to fix the tangleweave! Banishing Spirits is a cruel thing that the gods surely won’t agree with.

Auril:    *More pleading* L-look, these shells are just a test for now, the magistrate has yet to approve of them as a potential tool for students to learn from, but in order to demonstrate my idea I need some genuine material to convince them-

Raka:     *groans* So you’re asking me to be your test subject.

Auril:    N-no, you’d be more like… a beta tester!

Raka:     It doesn’t matter what YOU call it, you’re effectively asking me to be your test subject.

Auril:    Come on, Raka, I promise you, other than the warning signal when it activates it won’t be much of a bother to you. You can just hang it around your neck and forget about it!

Raka:     Sure, and you can stalk me more effectively with that LEASH around my neck, too. You can even listen in when I’m having sex, now wouldn’t that be utterly convenient for you?

Auril:    Oh come on Raka, you know I haven’t stalked you since we graduated. Besides, the sphere in the shell contains a node to the wind-web. You know how to tether off a wind-web at will.

Raka:     The gods know I do.

Auril:    A-and these shells could actually get you one step closer to your goal, you know?!

Raka:     How so?

Auril:    Just imagine it! Not only will my invention be a milestone, but the first ever windshells will be about you! Generations of future students to learn from your actions! You’ll become a legend! Even the gods are bound to hear of your deeds one way or the other!

Raka:     *sighs* Whatever, give me that damned thing.

Auril:    Hah! I knew that last one would get you!

Raka:     Oh be still already. You’ll owe me for this, Auril!

Auril:    Of couse! You know what? When you get back I’ll cook you your favorite food- I’ll indulge you!

Raka:     Now that sounds like something to come back to…

Auril:    Oh by the way, I’m still working on the enchantments of these Shells right now. If I can manage it, I’ll try to make communication possible both ways – y’know like we could actually speak to each other long distance? Y-You could ask me to look up things in the libraries for you when you’re uncertain!

Raka:     How long will it take you to figure that out?

Auril:    I don’t know, I’m still working on that… Not sure if I can manage to get those enchantments running before you fix the tangleweave, to be honest.

Raka:     *sigh* Fine, I won’t get my hopes up. Just don’t get too intrusive if you figure it out and we’re good. Is this thing transmitting right now? I think I can sense the wind-web rippling.

Auril:    What? Oh. Oh Yea, I had turned it on before I came in to make sure it works properly. You can’t manually activate it, but, as I said, you should be able to tether the wind-web-

Raka:     Yep, got it.
Transmission ends here (maybe another sound that signals end of transmission?).

Scene 2 – Ĥwyþwyv – Evening
*Windshell sound*
The Headchief (male) and Raka are walking through the streets of Ĥwyþwyv, heading toward the Longhouse. They’re slightly breathless, as the village is built on a slightly sloping ground.

Chief:    What was that?

Raka:     Hm? Oh. Right. That’s a… a trinket a friend gave me. It allows me to speak with the people of the university directly.

Chief:    Really, such things exist?

Raka:     It’s still in development… My friend wanted me to try it, I won’t know if it actually worked until I’m back in Wakaluri.

Chief:    Could’ve saved us a lot of frustration if such a thing had been around before, the spirits are wreaking havoc everywhere and people from all around the mountain are fleeing their homes. We’ve been lucky enough to have been spared from the direct effect of the… this… you called it… tumbleweed?…

Raka:     Tangleweave.

Chief:    Ah yes, the tangleweave. Many people are trying to seek refuge with us, I’m not sure how many more we can take in, we have barely enough supplies to sustain ourselves as it is!

Raka:     Hold on a moment, since this thing turned on I need to give a quick report to the university. Keep walking.

Chief:    Alright.

Raka:     *slightly hissing and hushed* Auril if you can hear me, I hate you for making me take this thing. Sure caused me some trouble at the Watergate – They thought the purpose of this device was to figure out the weavepattern of their cursed gates and either try to tear a hole into them or copy the pattern so we can rip their business off. You might wana work on that. Thanks to the Watergates though I was able to get here in only a day and a half, but it cost me a fortune, but the university will cover that for me I’m sure. There’s a connecting Watergate in Aureolyn, from there I took a Krekou to the foot of mount Skundr. Just in case the magistrate needs to send anyone else here.
Anyway the village I’m in now is called Ĥwyþwyv, which is located in a west-facing ravine south of Wyvelin, at the foot of the Skundr. The village is definitely not on that map Akasar gave me, make sure you put a marker there to update it. The headmaster and I are reaching the longhouse now – that’s where the refugees are sheltered. I’m planning to interrogate some of them to get an overview of any spirit activity witnessed and possibly find clues on what caused the tangleweave. I’ll leave the Windshell on.

Chief:    Are you done?

Raka:     Yes.

Chief:    A’ight, come in then. Watch your-
*Loud Tonk as Raka hits her head*

Raka:     Oww!

Chief:    Ah, figured it out yourself. Sorry, we rarely get people as tall as you around here.
*The background is filled with quiet conversation*

Raka:     Are doorframes traditionally this low in this region?

Chief:    Kinda. What race are ye anyway? I don’t recognize yer features.

Raka:     My Rontar is called Miru.

Chief:    Are they all so tall?

Raka:     I’m pretty average for my kind, but I’ve never really noticed being taller than anyone.

Chief:    Right. Anyway, we have about twenty-two people down here and another seven upstairs. Most of them are of my Rontar, we call ourselves Ferol. Most come from a neighbouring villages, a few are from a bit further uphill. There’s also a few other races, a few Faraksha and Xela. Theres even two Almirians, but they don’t speak our language except for a few words. And there’s also a human, who, surprisingly, does speak Azyri really well.

Raka:     A Human? Really?

Chief:    I was surprised myself when she turned up here. Apparently there was a human settlement on almost the other side of the mountain. Why she didn’t just get off the mountain on her side is beyond me, but well, now she’s here.

Raka:     You said her settlement “was” there?

Chief:    I haven’t poked any deeper. There’s just too many people, each has their own story. I stopped paying attention at some point.

Raka:     Right.

Chief:    Who’d you like to talk to first? I’ll have to let them know.

Raka:     *groaning sigh* I suppose I will speak with all of them, except for the almirians. I probably won’t manage all tonight, though, but you can let them know I’d like to speak with them tomorrow.

Chief:    I’ll tell them.

Raka:     How many came from the neighbouring villages?

Chief:    There’s five from the nearest village, a mistress and her household and one boy not from her household. They’re all together in that space separated with sheets and storage boxes over there.

Raka:     I’ll speak with them first then.

Chief:    As you wish. I’ll inform all others.
*Raka crosses over to the section hung with sheets. She fumbles the sheets in confusion trying to find the opening*

Mistrs:    (she is heard talking behind the sheets before Raka enters)
Look, all I’m saying is what if we return and it WAS one of those spirits that eat metal or wood and they ate our house? We won’t have a home to return to if that happens, I will lose my status in the settlement!

Dunir:    We will build you a new house then, Barla and I are strong and we have Eragael to trade off to another house if we need to reestablish your standing in the village.

Mistrs:    Eragael is too young to be traded off! We should just have stayed in Gaelyarla, I wouldn’t NEED to reestablish my- Whose that? Barla, can you lift the sheets, I think someone is trying to find their way in.

Barla:    Of course.
Barla parts the sheets and lets Raka in.

Barla:    There you go.

Mistrs:    And who might you be?

Raka:     Fæhu. My name is Raka, I am-

Mistrs:    Not the person the headchief said he would send with food, obviously. Barla, I’m starving. Can you ask the people outside if we’ll be getting food anytime today?

Barla:    *sighs* Of course, Fyalfana, but keep in mind that we’re refugees here, not visiting an Inn in a big city.

Mistrs:    I realize that, but you’re the one that dragged me here, so at least make sure I get the same treatment as I would at home.

Raka:     *clears throat* As I was saying, I am the delegated patcher that was called from Wakaluri to mend the tangleweave.

Mistrs:    Oh! Ooooh, I see! Excuse my rudeness, come in. How can we help you?

Raka:     I am looking for clues as to why or how the tangleweave happened, and any kind of detail on the spirit’s activities. Any details you could provide me with will be gladly appreciated.

Mistrs:    I’m not sure how much we can help you with the how or why, but if it helps you solve the issue quickly we’ll see what we can tell you.

Raka:     Right. So your friend, Barla-

Mistrs:    He’s not my friend, he’s my confidant.

Raka:     Your confidant then. You said he’s the one that made you come here with your household. What was his reason to abandon the village?

Mistrs:    Pah, his reasons are petty at best.

Dunir:    The reason is SOUND, Fyalfana, and you know it!

Mistrs:    Be stil, Dunir, my disability has NOTHING to do with being especially vulnerable to spirits, as I’m sure this Patcher here can confirm.

Raka:     If you clear things up enough so I can make sense of it, I can try.

Dunir:    Patcher, our Mistress was born unable to walk. Such people are called “broken souled” for a reason. Now we might not know as much about spirits as someone as learned as you, but where we come from shamans and spiritualists agree that people with a broken soul are more vulnerable to spirit infestations.

Mistrs:    That is the reason they dragged me out of my own house and brought me out of the area where the aetherweave was severed. And I’m by no means happy about their disobeying me this way.

Raka:     Is that why there are no other mistresses with their households from your village here?

Mistrs:    Of course. None of them saw much of a threat by the spirits that manifested in our village – They were harmless, only interested in things that GLITTER, which neither my broken soul nor my immobile legs seem to be doing!

Raka:     I see.
Barla enters the room with some fresh baked bread and water.

Barla:    Are you at this again, Fyalfana? You can hardly blame Dunir and me for being concerned about the welfare of our Mistress!

Mistrs:    Your concerns were unfounded!

Dunir:    *groans* Patcher, could you please clear up this matter so we can finally settle this argument?

Raka:     In fact, I can. What your Mistress says is true, if the spirits were only interested in things that glitter then she was hardly in any danger.

Mistrs:    THANK you! Now you two can start packing up our belongings so we can return to my house in the morning!

Raka:     However! It is absolutely true what they say about broken souls. They ARE more susceptible to influences from the aetherweave, and since the weave was completely severed over your settlement, you will be in constant danger of a spirit infestation if you remain anywhere near the aether-frays.

Dunir:    Ha! See, we were right being worried about your safety after all!

Barla:    *soothing* Fyalfana, we’re just trying to keep you safe. We only just lost our old mistress less than a year ago, we don’t want to lose you so shortly after her.

Raka:     It was good of your staff to drag you out of the area. There are spirits that feed on immobility, and the immobility of beings is more desirable to them than that of inanimate objects – were such a spirit to find its way to your settlement, you would be a primary target.

Mistrs:    Alright, alright I get it! We will stay here until the whole weave has been repaired.

Raka:     Good! Now can I go back questioning?

Mistrs:    *designed* Yes, yes, go ahead.

Raka:     In most cases of tangleweaves, the inhabitants of an area are usually unaware of this happening, as well as ignorant to any spirit infestation that happens as a result. You seem keenly aware of the situation. How did you know that the aetherweb has been severed?

Mistrs:    We have a boy with us, Alkan, an offering from another settlement as potential new member for my household. He apparently has the ability to sense the weave and spirits. He can’t see nor hear them, but he says he can sense the presence of both. About a week ago he woke us in the middle of the night and said the aetherweave had been severed and that there were spirits roaming the streets. He was terrified, even though they didn’t do anything to harm us.

Raka:     Do you know if he was awake when the severing happened?

Mistrs:    I don’t know. Barla, Dunir, has he spoken to either of you about this?

Barla:    He told me he woke up in the middle of the night and had a terrible gut feeling… He didn’t know what to make of it so he went for a walk, and that is when he noticed spirits were roaming freely nearby.

Raka:     You said they were only interested in things that glitter, how did you find this out?

Mistrs:    Our village is located near a sparkling stream. Alkan said he sensed a large amount of spirits clustering near the stream, and when we tried to see any trace of them, we noticed that the sun was no longer sparkling in the stream as was usually the case.
Alkan had also inherited a gold necklace from his mother. After a spirit passed by very close to him he had noticed that the necklace had gone dull.

Raka:     I see. Where is the boy now?

Mistrs:    I sent him to help the people of this settlement to make up for our shelter. If you want to speak with him, Barla and Dunir will have to look for him.

Raka:     Don’t bother, I will speak with him in the morning then.

Mistrs:    If that was it, I’d really appreciate if you would leave now so I can finally have my dinner. I’ve been starving the whole day!

Raka:     Right. Enjoy your meal then.

Mistrs:    Barla, I hope you made sure to bring me a soup without Raewyn this time, you know how much I hate Raewyn!

Barla:    Of course, I asked them to specifically set aside a bowl for you before adding the Raewyn…
The conversation fades as Raka leaves the “room”.

Chief:    Anything useful?

Raka:     No, not much. I’ll have to question a few others to gather anything useful.

Chief:    Did you want to interrogate anyone else today?

Raka:     No, I think I’d like to rest for today. Will I have to share a Room with anyone in here or…

Chief:    My mistress has requested for you to be accommodated in her own guest quarters for the night. With a bed of your own, of course. Unless you find another you want to share it with tonight.

Raka:     We’ll see about that. Hold on. Auril? I’m ending the transmission.
*Deactivation sound*

Scene 3 – Iauna’s Bedroom – Night
Raka is bedding down with Iauna, the daughter of the headmistress. There’s some delighted groans and pur-like sounds of approval.
*Activation sound*

Iauna:    What was that sound?

Raka:     *distracted, snapping out of it* Hm? Oh- for the fourteens sake! Auril, I knew this was going to happen!

Iauna:    What is it? Who‘s Auril?

Raka:     Ignore it. A friend of mine gave me a trinket that activates when there is activity on the aetherweb nearby and gives me a warning, then records every sound in my vicinity and transfers it over to the university.

Iauna:    So… they can hear us now? Hello university, hello Auril!

Raka:     Don’t do that. I’m fairly certain Auril activated it manually to listen in on me.

Iauna:    So let them. Maybe they just don’t have many alternatives? I heard sexual life to be quite bleak in cities where many cultures mix and half of the citizens have weird taboos.

Raka:     Ugh, you have no idea.

Iauna:    *sheepish* So… are you going to ignore that warning signal?

Raka:     For now, yea. I don’t know what range the trinket picks activity up from, for all I know something could’ve happened at the peak of the Skundr causing this thing to activate.
*Getting comfortable again*
So, what shall we do next?

Iauna:    *sly smile* Actually I think I’d like to get to know you better. You intrigue me.

Raka:     How so?

Iauna:    You’re well educated and went to university – what part of that wouldn’t intrigue other girls?

Raka:     Girls in the village of my mother had no interest in higher education.

Iauna:    They’re fools, then. If a girl doesn’t inherit her mother’s household, she should absolutely strive for any higher education in reach. Who wants to play the second fiddle for the rest of their life?

Raka:     I was the main heir, but I didn’t want to inherit the household, so I left.

Iauna:    Brave! I am also the only heir of this household, but there is no other. I don’t dare to step away from the responsibility.

Raka:     I couldn’t bear the thought of spending the rest of my life commanding around a handful of men to make sure the house is maintained and the inhabitants well fed. Those men that belonged to my mothers household were… simple, to say the very least. All they ever talked about was their work.

Iauna:    I hear you… I’d rather be around educated people than laboring men, too.

Raka:     I always knew I was born for greater things, so I went and left my mothers household – with her blessing, of course.

Iauna:    But how did you end up as a patcher?

Raka:     What do you mean?

Iauna:    What I mean is, you and I seem to agree on the topic of speaking with simpler minded people, but isn’t patching somehow tied in with… interaction with such people? You do need to speak to many kinds of witnesses, some of which are bound to be uneducated folks. Isn’t that kind of what you’ve been trying to avoid by studying?
Raka: *sighs* You’re not entirely wrong there, but it’s part of the job, as much as I hate doing it. But I’m willing to put up with it, as long as it will eventually earn me my much desired goal.

Iauna:    And what might that be?

Raka:     I want to be known as the greatest patcher in history. My aim is to be recognized by the fourteen themselves.

Iauna:    The gods? But why? What do they have to do with any of this?

Raka:     Have you ever get to read the yontraias þorias?

Iauna:    The Book of teachings? Of course I have.

Raka:     Then you know that people who achieved being pioneers in a field of study have been known to gain the favor of the gods and were made deities.

Iauna:    And you think you have what it takes to become a deity?

Raka:     Pff, of course! I’m the most adept and skilled Patcher of Wakaluri, I’ve got a long history of soothing spirits where other summoners have failed, and I’ve been most devoted in my religious services. I’m at the very least entitled to some recognition by the fourteen.

Iauna:    Hmp. Well it certainly does sound like you put some dedication behind this. But will it suffice to convince the gods, I wonder…

Raka:     Of course it will. All that’s left is for me to make enough “noise” for them to notice me.
In the background the shutters of the window start rattling, as a stronger wind picks up outside.

Iauna:    Talking about noise, Raka, how do you make sure that sound your trinket made wasn’t a genuine warning?

Raka:     I can sense and hear when there is any commotion on the aetherweb nearby. Right now I don’t hear anything unusual.

Iauna:    *in thought* Wait…

Raka:     Hm?

Iauna:    The wind outside… That’s pretty unusual.

Raka:     How is wind unusual?

Iauna:    This settlement is shielded from wind from that direction by a cliff. Some wind comes through from there, but certainly not this strongly.
Raka gets up from the bed and walks over to the window.

Raka:     Can I open this window? I mean, is it… dislodgeable?

Iauna:    It is, but-
Raka rattles the windowframe.

Iauna:    -it needs some force. *she groans as she rolls out of bed and joins Raka at the window*
Here, let me. You push this up and with a little force- There you go. *shivers* Oh Skadi, its cold!

Raka:     O taṽrar fiyar’ta… (delivered like ‘o gods why’)

Iauna:    Snow! But how-?

Raka:     I gather snowfall is unusual as well?

Iauna:    It is, at this time of year!

Raka:     Is it possible that a breeze could’ve carried snow down from the mountain?

Iauna:    Definitely not. It would’ve melted and come down as rain this far down. I mean, it’s barely even autumn! I’m going to close the window before the snow starts collecting in here.
Iauna heaves the window shut.

Raka:     *groans* Looks like the warning wasn’t just Auril being naughty. Afraid I won’t get to indulge in your company any longer tonight.
Raka starts collecting her clothes to get dressed.

Iauna:    A shame, really. I’m sure you would’ve made an exquisite lover. And the gods know I could’ve used one by now.

Raka:     Hm~ trust me, I would’ve been that.

Iauna:    Oh now you’re really making me regret asking about that warning signal. If you manage to take care of the matter before the night ends, come back to my bed anytime… I’m sure you will need someone to warm you up with after you’ve been out in that weather.

Raka:     I sure will.
Raka leaves the door without another word. Door creeks, footsteps on wooden floor etc. She rushes outside.

Scene 4 – Forest – Night

Raka:     *breathless from fast paced walking as she rushes outside*
Heard that Auril? That’s how you handle girls. I don’t know what you’ve been trying all these years but it’s obviously not worked, so go take a leaf out of my book. Girls like educated people, so your chances aren’t exactly zero, but maybe you should act like you actually got educated once in a while.
Anyway, I’ll look around the area and see if I can find any stray spirits that might be causing this snowfall… My suspicion is that they either blew down the snow from the peak or that there is a spirit that feeds off of the warmth in water, making rain freeze before it reaches this attitude. But that wouldn’t explain the wind.
As of right now I still can’t sense any spirits nearby… I don’t know the range of your silly little trinket… goddamnit you could’ve written me a note with such details at the very least, so I could narrow down how far out I’ll need to go out looking- I’m walking uphill, theres an entry to a steep forest on the side of the village facing the Skundr. Part of it leads back down to the valley, the other uphill, but I don’t think that I want to climb up there in the dark… So I’ll just hope I can pick up any signals downhill.
A few moments of footsteps, Raka’s freezing breath and ambience.

Raka:     The moon is almost full, so its easier to see on open field. The snowcover isn’t thick yet, but it helps too. I think I’m starting to hear some sounds on the aetherweb, but I’m not certain. Auril, I don’t know if you made it possible to hear the aetherweb on the transmission, but if not then you’re an idiot because that should’ve been an essential feature. I can hear slight warbling and I’ll head that way.
A warbling chirp is heard echoing in the distance, but it’s very far away.
Raka is huffing as she finds sure footing down a hill covered with underbrush. The warbles are getting closer.

Raka:     I think I’m getting closer, I can hear the warbling clearer now. Still can’t identify the type of spirit from the sound alone but I’m assuming that it has a bird like shape. The fourteen are predictable that way…
The warble turns into a shriek and approaches rapidly quickly.

Raka:     *more hushed now* Something changed- It sounds aggravated. It should be in range now, if it manifested I’ll be able to see it – Where is it?!

Lyn:      Behind you, watch out!

Raka:     What?!

Lyn:      Get down!
The shrieking spirit passes above Raka.

Raka:     Shit- How did you-

Lyn:      It went that way! C’mon!

Raka:     You can SEE it?

Lyn:      Can’t you?

Raka:     No, I can’t!

Lyn:      Oh. Then how were you planning on capturing it?

Raka:     I wasn’t going to capture it!

Lyn:      Huh but you were looking for it, weren’t you?

Raka:     Yes, but not to-

Lyn:      We better hurry, I’m losing sight of its glyph! *she runs off ahead*
Conversation after here is conducted breathlessly as they run.

Raka:     Wait- Glyph? What Glyph?!

Lyn:      The one at its center, theres this symbol or glyph or whatever.

Raka:     That’s its rune, its core, its heart! You even see that?!

Lyn:      Well yea-

Raka:     When it passed us by, were you able to read what the rune said?

Lyn:      What do you mean by “read” it? I just saw the pattern, I don’t know how to read them.

Raka:     Nevermind, were you able to memorize what it looked like?

Lyn:      Like a number plate? No, I didn’t have a good look, it went past too quickly.

Raka:     Fair enough. What’s your name?

Lyn:      Lyn, you?

Raka:     Raka. You’re… You don’t have a tail.

Lyn:      Am I supposed to have one?

Raka:     You’re the human… from the longhouse, aren’t you?

Lyn:      Unless they hid any other humans in there and didn’t bother to tell me, I guess I classify as THE human.

Raka:     What are you doing out here?!

Lyn:      I was looking for the spirit, too.

Raka:     Looking for it?! Who would go out at night to look for a spirit?

Lyn:      You, obviously?

Raka:     I’m something different, it’s my job to look for them.

Lyn:      I caught a glimpse of that symbol-glyph-rune-thing come down from the mountain and knew it was a spirit. I tried to get close enough to beat it up.

Raka:     Beat it up?!

Lyn:      Yea, in the settlement I came from spirits devoured my friends, and I want to find one like the one that ate my friend and punch it square across the face for that!

Raka:     … You know you cant physically beat spirits, right?

Lyn:      I can still try though!

Raka:     *taken aback* Uh- I… well don’t let me stop you if you’ve set your mind to it. How did you even know I was looking for it?

Lyn:      I heard you talking about finding it.

Raka:     You were following me?!

Lyn:      No, I was out here before you, but when I heard you speak with your phone I could hear every word.

Raka:     … Phone?

Lyn:      You were phoning, weren’t you?

Raka:     I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Lyn:      You were… speaking with someone else, someone that isn’t here, right?

Raka:     … Yes?

Lyn:      See, and I heard you do that.

Raka:     Eh… let’s settle this later. Are we still on track? I can’t hear its call anymore.

Lyn:      I can still see it but faintly. Looks like it stopped – at least its not moving right now.

Raka:     Is that the only one around here?

Lyn:      Well the biggest one anyway. The smaller ones seem… docile and different somehow.

Raka:     They probably haven’t traversed through the hole yet…

Lyn:      No clue what that means. We’re getting closer. It’s that way.

Raka:     Stop. Don’t Move!

Lyn:      Huh? Aaah-

Raka:     There’s an edge behind those bushs-

Lyn:      Oh shit- I just followed the glyph, I didn’t pay attention!

Raka:     Is it in front of us?

Lyn:      Yea, in a straight line-

Raka:     That means it’s probably not on the ground but on a branch. Can you see it?

Lyn:      Only its glyphthingy, but not its… body? How can we get to it?
The warbling has turned into a soft pur-like cooing at this point.

Raka:     Shh… It’s not warbling anymore… It sounds like it’s… purring? I think it might be digesting.

Lyn:      Maybe it ate something? Hey, do all spirits devour people?

Raka:     What? Don’t be silly, spirits don’t eat people.

Lyn:      But I saw it happen in the settlement I lived in!

Raka:     Can we figure out what happened to your village later and focus on THIS spirit?

Lyn:      Okay sure… If its devouring now I guess its safe to say it won’t be eating us anytime soon.

Raka:     Stop mumbling nonsense and help me find a way down this slope.

Lyn:      Do you have any rope we could use?

Raka:     No I- Shh, I think I heard something. Do you hear that?
Distant footsteps and the breaking of twigs signal the approach of another person.

Lyn:      I can’t hear anything, what is it?

Raka:     Someone’s coming this way… *groans* don’t tell me there’s another person looking for the damned thing.

Lyn:      Hecks yea, I heard spirits are all the rage today.

Malaki:   Found you!

Raka:     *hushed, to Lyn trying not to be heard by him* Who is that… Do you recognize him- his voice? From the Longhouse?

Lyn:      Nope, never heard that voice before.

Malaki:   I’m definitely getting you this time…
þeo kuneþ!
A large impact hits the tree and the spirit shrieks.

Raka:     O fiyar’ta, what’s he doing?!

Malaki:   Yseïr!
The wind around picks up and rushes through the branches, rustling the leafs. The spirit warbles ominously, but not angry or annoyed now.

Lyn:      It looks like he’s feeding it…

Raka:     Feeding?! He’s using wind runes to attack it!

Lyn:      That would explain the white smoke

Raka:     What smoke?

Lyn:      You can’t see it?

Raka:     No, I don’t see any of whats going on, I can only hear the spirit and the rush of air!

Malaki:   Vinelar, senahæ!
More wind picks up. The spirit’s warble sounds like a mixture of a pur and laughter.

Lyn:      There again- It’s when… When he speaks white smoke from all over the place rushes around… It could be stired by the wind, or the wind is stired by the smoke, I can’t tell! That glyphthingy of the spirit absorbs that smoke somehow.

Raka:     That must mean… The white smoke must be the wind-web, and that spirit must be a wind spirit!

Lyn:      So the guy is actually feeding it?

Raka:     Yes, and it seems he is a wind-rune user… that would explain the unusual behavior of the winds.
That spirit must be one of those that devour wind-friction. They’re usually harmless and live further up the mountain. That guy must’ve chased it all the way down here and brought a gust of snow right with it.

Malaki:   *With an ominous undertone* Gwnvadur!
The spirit calls out to him and leaps around, trying to attack Malaki.

Malaki:   Hop around all you want you stupid thing, you will get crushed eventually!

Lyn:      Is he deliberately feeding it?

Raka:     I don’t think so, he seems to be trying to hurt it rather than feed it… He might not know- Hey! Hey you idiot!

Malaki:   Stay out of my affairs, human.

Raka:     I’m NOT a human!

Malaki:   Then whose armpits am I smelling?!

Lyn:      What the hell is he talking about?

Malaki:   Oh… There’s two of you huh?

Raka:     You have to stop feeding the spirit!
In the background the spirit is warbling again while the wind continues to swirl around.
Malaki: Feeding it, are you stupid? I’m banishing it!

Raka:     You’re not, that spirit feeds on wind-friction, that YOU’RE providing it with!

Malaki:   Keh! What would some city-dweller know about spirits! Go back to where you came from and let someone with experience handle this.

Raka:     WHAT did you just say to me-

Lyn:      Shut it, both of you, the spirit is getting away!

Malaki:   *growls* FUÏN SKADÏA!
The wind suddenly stops, the spirit howls out in pain as its precious nourishment is cut off.

Raka:     Stop using Wind-Runes!

Malaki:   Make me.

Raka:     If you don’t stop it will gather enough power to pass through the aetherweb and manifest!

Malaki:   Maybe that’s what I’m trying to do?

Raka:     Do you have any idea what consequences that could have?! It could serious harm the village uphill!

Malaki:   What do I care about those ignorant racist narcissists?

Raka:     If it tears through the aetherweb now, the tangleweave could expand down here!

Malaki:   I don’t give a horn about that.
Tharan! (at this rune, the wind turns into thunder)
A gust of wind picks up and Malaki rapidly speaks more runes, each giving off the sound of an impact when they hit. The Spirit warbles in pain this time, as it is oversaturated with wind-friction. It leaps off and Malaki pursues it.

Raka:     That… IMBECILE.

Lyn:      What the hell is a tangleweave-

Raka:     No time, did you see where the spirit leaped off to? Guide me!

Lyn:      Okay but you could at least ask nicely!

Raka:     Didn’t you hear what I just said about the tangleweave?

Lyn:      Didn’t you hear me asking what the hell a tangleweave is?

Raka:     *growls* Fine! Thats the condition this whole mountain is in right now that opens up holes in the aetherweb that allow Spirits to pass through unregulated and devour whatever they usually feed on without control! There, can we chase that ignorant fucktard and his overfed spirit now?!

Lyn:      Fine! It went back uphill, toward the village.

Raka:     Urgh, great- Let’s hurry.
They rush off hurriedly and their speech is conducted breathlessly again. (Add some pauses between their responses to create timely distance)

Lyn:      Tangleweave- doesn’t even come close to what it looks like, you know.

Raka:     I’m not the one that named it, now save your breath.

Lyn:      I’m getting tired of running around-

Raka:     All the more reason to shut up!

Lyn:      Alright, alright! Why did it have to go back uphill damnit…

Raka:     It must be bursting with wind-friction by now- it’s probably- trying to *huffs* Trying to get to the aetherfrays to manifest.

Lyn:      What’s that-

Raka:     That’s the region at the egde of the tangleweave.

Lyn:      Thanks. *huffing* Are we there yet?

Raka:     You tell me!

Lyn:      It’s stopped again – I’m not sure but it might be near the village now. What happens if it over-eats and doesn’t get to these aetherfrays? Can it just plop and die?

Raka:     Not to my knowledge, but I’ve never heard of anyone stupid enough to try and deliberately overfeeding a spirit…
Lyn There he is-

Malaki:   *off in the distance* Poĥaïr mar!

Raka:     *huffing*… Mar? Oh damnit… *still catching her breath*
The ground begins to rumble. The Spirit shrieks in the background, its voice is not physical, not warbly and echoy like before.

Lyn:      What’s he doing?

Raka:     He used an earth rune.

Lyn:      What does that mean?

Raka:     He’s trying to hurt the spirit physically-

Lyn:      But you said earlier that can’t be-

Raka:     Not unless they manifest. I can see it now and it’s presence has an influence on the bushes – see how it left a trail? That means it has manifested.

Lyn:      Can we undo that somehow?

Raka:     Not me, but that guy can. Stay here, I’ll give him a well-deserved thrashing.

Lyn:      Sure, let me just hold your beer…

Raka:     You raving idiot(or some other, much more flowery insult that I can’t come up with RN), do you have any idea what you’ve done?

Malaki:   Go away! This is MY spirit, I saw it first! Find your own one to play with!

Raka:     I’ve head it up to here with your stupid rebukes, if you’re unwilling to listen I will MAKE you listen- *growls and throws a punch at Malaki, but misses*

Malaki:   Where are you aiming-
Raka tackles him into the next best object. In the background, the spirit shrieks and flaps as it tries to gain altitude.

Malaki:   *growls and groans* Let me go!

Raka:     A Skur, are you?

Malaki:   So what?!

Raka:     Keh! That will make things easier.

Malaki:   What are you-

Raka:     A green and a white eye – the colors of your eyes makes guessing your elements a dead giveaway.

Malaki:   Let go you filthy brute of a mistress!
Raka: Ceræ’faïn…

Malaki:   No… no no no not water-

Raka:     Woryn…

Malaki:   Not fire either, don’t say it!

Raka:     þamrïa wyv! *Raka groans as she heaves him aside*

Malaki:   No! Aaah! *he squirms almost like in pain* My äthwar… You took my äthwar!

Raka:     Because you don’t listen!

Malaki:   Give me back my äthwar!

Raka:     I will do no such thing, not unless you start cooperating!

Malaki:   Why would I! I’ve done nothing to interfere with whatever you were doing yet you bust right in and-

Raka:     SOOTHE the wind. Now!

Malaki:   And ruin the last chance to destroy that gods-forsaken spirit? Are you mad?!

Raka:     You’ll be doing no such thing, not as long as I have your äthwar tethered! And if you ever want to have your äthwar back, start soothing the wind NOW before the spirit can start tearing a hole into the aetherweb!

Malaki:   *growls*

Lyn:      *from off mic* Guys, I think the spirit is getting away.

Raka:     *sternly* Do it! *through clenched teeth* Use ĥwyþ!

Malaki:   *he growls more and his growls fade into the rumbling of the earth*

Raka:     DON’T make me force the words out of you!

Malaki:   … ĥwyþ!

Raka:     Skadïa! … Say ræwyn!

Malaki:   Ræwyn!

Raka:     Cramyn! Tuias, Itar, Hayas! Des garïetïa!
The spirit shrieks as it loses form. Its physical voice regains the echoy warble it had before it manifested. By the end of its metamorphosis, it resembles the chirping and cooing of a little bird. It chirps and flies away.

Raka:     See? THIS is how you handle a spirit properly.

Malaki:   Pah! If I’d have had it my way, there wouldn’t be a spirit that would need handling anymore…

Raka:     If I’d have let you have your way, there would be a gaping hole in the Aetherweb now instead. That’s why I didn’t let you.

Malaki:   Gaping holes in the aetherweb will mend themselves, eventually, they just need time. They’re nothing to get all worked up about.

Raka:     Nothing to get worked up about?! Tearing another hole into the web so close to the tangleweave would have us buried in more spirits than you and I could handle even if we cooperated!

Malaki:   As if I’d voluntarily cooperate with someone like you! Besides, you promised you’d untether my äthwar if I cooperated with you, and I did. So give me back my äthwar!

Raka:     Pah! Leaving someone like you stick around this area with an intact äthwar is just asking for trouble! I will not untether you until the tangleweave is fixed, even if that means I’ll have to drag you along with me.

Malaki:   Oh you… you… failed attempt at a bossy mistress!

Raka:     Is that all you can come up with you filthy Skur halfwit-

Lyn:      Woa guys, that was cool and all, but could you stop shouting? I’m fairly sure you already woke the entire village with your little bitch-fight.
People of the village are gathering outside, mumbling.

Raka:     *growls* Ergh. You’re right.

Chief:    Patcher, is everything alright? Is there any danger, should the village be evacuated?

Raka:     No, the danger has just been successfully averted. Did the stormy winds cause any damage?

Chief:    There were a few shingles that were blown off, one shack had collapsed and the door of one barn flew away and some of the animals got away, but no one was seriously injured.

Raka:     *growls at Malaki* You’re LUCKY no one was injured by your presumptuous actions, Skur.

Malaki:   Some casualties are to be expected when dealing with Spirits.

Raka:     But we can at least try to keep those casualties to a minimum!

Malaki:   Why bother?

Chief:    Can you tell us what happened?

Raka:     *sighs* There was a spirit that fed on the friction wind makes when it scrapes across surfaces. It got oversaturated by this Skur-scum here and managed to power up enough to manifest. It almost caused another tear in the aetherweb but I managed to revert it to its original state in time.

Malaki:   You did?! You used a full-elemental charm and you contributed only for Water and Fire, if it wasn’t for my help-

Raka:     If it wasn’t for your interference in the first place, I wouldn’t even have needed a full-elemental charm to begin with, so shut up!

Malaki:   If you hadn’t interfered, that spirit would’ve been banished in the blink of an eye!

Raka:     *she slams him into the next best wall* That’s it! You caused a LOT of unrest tonight – on the aetherweb, in this village, to my SANITY – I want you to apologize! To the villagers, to the gods, to me, I don’t care which, but do it or I will tether off your other äthwar too!

Malaki:   Get off me you arrogant brute!

Lyn:      Raka, let him go already! Just untether his Edward or whatever it is you’ve tied up and let him go!

Raka:     I don’t think so! Apologize!

Malaki:   Make me!

Raka:     Apologize, or I swear I rip both your äthwars right out of your soul and make sure you’ll never have one again!
Both of them growl at each other.

Malaki:   Fine! I apologize! But only to the villagers!

Raka:     … *growls*

Lyn:      C’mon Raka, you asked for that, now at least accept it so we can all go to bed because I’m dead tired.

Raka:     Fine. Good enough for me.

Chief:    Good good. *addressing the villagers* You heard her, people. The situation has been resolved and we can all go back to bed.
Mumbling in agreement, the crowd returns to their houses.

Malaki:   Now can I PLEASE have my äthwar back?

Lyn:      Look, Raka, he’s even asking nicely now, can’t you just-

Raka:     As I said, I won’t untether anything until the tangleweave is restored. And if you cause more turmoil today, don’t think for a moment that I’ll step away from tethering your other äthwar as well.

Lyn:      Then what are you planning to do with him?

Raka:     *to headchief* Is there any place we can lock him up in for the night?

Malaki:   Wait, what?!

Chief:    There’s a small mine we could lock him up in.

Malaki:   Oh come ON!

Raka:     But he’s an earth-rune user, he could easily burrow his way out of there…

Malaki:   And then what, make a grand escape without my wind-äthwar?

Raka:     Yea I thought you wouldn’t leave without your äthwar, so you will probably burrow out of there and attack me in my sleep.

Malaki:   Now there’s an idea…

Raka:     You… weren’t even thinking that far ahead, were you?

Malaki:   I don’t attack people, and I especially don’t attack people in their sleeps, what kind of person do you take me for?

Raka:     I take you for a bloody Skur that apparently has a lot of spiritual power but no concern about what effects it can have about the people around him!

Malaki:   That sums it up quite nicely.

Raka:     Look, show me you can be trusted and won’t spring at me as soon as you’re left out of sight, and I might consider untethering your äthwar sooner.

Malaki:   And you want me to prove that by locking me up in a mine?! At least give me a corner in a house to sleep in!

Raka:     *considering it, then to chief* Is there anymore room in the longhouse for one more?

Lyn:      Theres an empty spot in my room- No one wanted to share a room with me, so I have more than enough space.

Malaki:   That’s because humans smell funny under their arms.

Lyn:      Don’t spend the night with your nose burrowed into my armpits, then.

Malaki:   I don’t need to, I can smell it from several paces away. But if RAKA here has no objections, I’d prefer that over a night in a mine.

Raka:     You sure you can handle him?

Lyn:      Yea, sure, why not. If he tries anything funny, at least I know I have a weapon to keep him away.

Raka:     Right. Then its settled.

Lyn:      What’s your name, by the way?

Malaki:   Me?

Lyn:      Who else?

Malaki:   … The name’s Malaki.

Raka:     Right. Since that’s settled… I can finally turn this thing off.
Deactivation sound of the Windshell.


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