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Soulgemmed Mods ([personal profile] soulmods) wrote2015-11-27 11:29 pm

Plot

(note: there's also a player-maintained gdoc that keeps track of different plot elements and characters!)

The Story So Far
January 2016
Characters arrive in Nyoi-cho and find themselves in a labyrinthine nightmarescape filled with warped toys. They make it to the center to find Krampus, whose sleigh is packed full of items from their home worlds. By defeating him, they finally escape from the Nightmare.
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February 2016
Characters find heart-shaped packages at their doorstep. Those who open the packages become infatuated with the packages' supposed sender, becoming increasingly violent when their affections are denied. A Nightmare takes advantage of the chaos to lure all afflicted characters into its nightmarescape, where it tricks them into thinking it is their beloved. The unaffected magi manage to fight off the afflicted magi and defeat the Nightmare, restoring everything to normal.
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March 2016
Early in the month, a girl named Hoshiko Ohka sends a transmission to the town of Nyoi-cho. Introducing herself as a magi from the nearby city of Chusei-shi, she declares her intention to facilitate peaceful relations between the magi. As she speaks, many differences between how magi normally operate and how the magi of Nyoi-cho operate become apparent. Any attempts to try to explain these differences seem to cause the transmission to be interrupted by outside interference, however, and ultimately a meetup between the two separate groups of magi is organized.

When Hoshiko and three other members of their group Cyborg Xpress leave on the morning of the scheduled meeting, however, they are attacked right before they are able to reach their destination. Sachiko, the group's tactical support, then makes contact with the magi of Nyoi-cho and warns them that an enormous monster has emerged from the town, and while it temporarily left so that it could ambush her teammates, it would soon be returning. Battle preparations are hastily made, and an evacuation effort is organized. During this period of time, it is revealed that all roads lead back to the town and that escape is an impossibility.

The monster soon arrives with the unconscious members of Cyborg Xpress as its hostages, leaving the magi cryptic transmissions to attempt to make sense of as it makes its way near the town. Said monster does not attack any of the magi itself, instead using a sound-based attack to put all magi who come too close to it to sleep so that it can capture them. Two hostages end up dying during the battle, but eventually the magi find the key to defeating the monster.

In the aftermath, another survivor - an unconscious woman holding a mysterious seed-like object - is discovered. Eventually, both surviving members of Cyborg Xpress regain consciousness, but neither remembers a thing about their life as magi. On top of that, both are under the impression that they've lived mundane lives in Nyoi-cho.

Contact with Sachiko is resumed, and characters learn that Sachiko found it impossible to navigate her way into town, even with her scanning and analysis abilities as a magi. This - along with the strange memory rewriting the visiting magi have undergone - leads some to come to the conclusion that a barrier of sorts is separating Nyoi-cho from the outside world. Sachiko vows to cooperate with everyone and help them locate the barrier using her abilities so that her friends can return safely home.
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April 2016
Nonstop rain plagues the town, and moderate flooding occurs. During its initial hours, magi take note of the fact that the school seems to be faring inexplicably well against the flood, as all water that makes its way inside is quickly sucked away to some unseen drain. Investigation of the school takes the characters to a boarded-up section of the school which, once explored, eventually reveals that an old, unused classroom within the school is hiding a secret stairwell. Due to the rising water levels, further investigation proves impossible at the time, however.

As the month goes on, the flood worsens until all characters are forced to take refuge on the higher levels of the school. Eventually, a Nightmare's familiars appear, and characters follow them inside to a beach-themed nightmarescape where a giant crab is waiting for them. They at first mistakenly believe this to be the source of the nonstop rain, but then its true source - a strange creature that can travel freely to and from nightmarescapes - appears and quickly dispatches the Nightmare, causing the collapse of the nightmarescape and sudden ejection of all of its inhabitants. Characters are then forced to fight on the flooded streets of Nyoi-cho, as well as try to save their comrades from drowning. Once they emerge victorious, the rain finally stops.
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May 2016
Once the flood has receded, characters make their way to the mysterious stairwell they'd found in April. They soon discover that a massive labyrinth is hidden beneath the school, and that said labyrinth is filled with deadly monsters and traps - many of which are fatal. Those who successfully navigate their way through the rooms, however, find notes, videos, and other items that allude to the existence of beings known as "Witches." More alarmingly, they find evidence that their movements are being watched by someone entirely unbeknownst to them and that the flood that occurred during the previous month had been engineered by this person.

Once they reach the end, the paths converge at a room where a massive plant monster resides. They are shown a video of every single death that has taken place inside the dungeon, after which the monster is awakened and battling begins. Characters soon come to the conclusion that the monster they're fighting may be one of the Witches that had been mentioned in the labyrinth's notes and decide to call Sachiko for advice on how to proceed. From this, they learn that the monster they're faced with is on the verge of death. They ask Sachiko if it's possible that the creature they're fighting was once a magi, and Sachiko confirms their suspicions before firmly telling them that they have to put it out of its misery. Some are reluctant to accept this, and an argument soon breaks out as the magi are split into two factions.

Ultimately, the magi discover evidence that leads them to believe the creature in front of them is a girl who'd been kidnapped and held inside the labyrinth for an indeterminate amount of time. With this new information, they are able to find a way to save her.
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June 2016
Early in the month, characters contact Sachiko about a map they'd discovered in the labyrinth beneath the school. The call is interrupted by outside interference before any significant answers can be obtained.

Some time later, a festival is held at the park. After the festivities draw to a close, all magi attending the festival are transported to a strange medieval city that's filled with eerie doll versions of Nyoi-cho's magi. Looking at the dolls makes them hallucinate and begin to grow paranoid.

As they make it to the outskirts of the city, they come across a decrepit shack containing the corpse of Maria and the inanimate body of the Plain Doll. Once characters exit the shack, they find countless copies of the Doll scattered around the area as the moon descends on them and reveals itself to be an animate foe that must be fought. During this battle, the moon itself does not attack the magi; instead, it disorients the magi with its gaze so that they turn on each other.

Eventually, the magi come to the conclusion that this must be the Nightmare of the Plain Doll and attempt to reason with it. Their attempts fail and they are forced to defeat it through force, at which point it is revealed that the foe they were fighting was a Witch and that the Plain Doll has been lost forever.
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July 2016
Early in the month, characters decide to investigate the train station to inquire about the strange map they'd discovered. There, they find that they are unable to acquire tickets to the neighboring towns and that one must be "qualified" in order to acquire one.

Later, their memories are wiped and everyone is implanted with false memories of having lived mundane lives in Nyoi-cho. They move in with the natives, whom they believe to be their family. However, once they accidentally wander into a nightmarescape, they begin to feel that something is amiss with their recollection of their lives.

Near the end of the month, electronic interference affects all equipment in town, and the natives who had been treating the magi as friends or family members suddenly begin to treat them as outsiders again. Shortly after this, Kyuubey transmits a message in which he tries to tell the magi the truth behind the town and help them recover their missing memories.

Ultimately, his transmission is cut short before much can be revealed, but their memories are successfully restored.
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August 2016
At the beginning of the month, all characters receive messages containing a link to a mysterious website encouraging them to turn on each other in exchange for rewards. Said website tailors its recruitment message to each individual, making use of their deepest insecurities, fears, and desires in order to convince them to take part.

Each character is given an individual profile with a point tally, and characters lose - or gain - points depending on their performance. Those who do well are given small rewards of information and experience unusually good luck, while those who do poorly are punished with misfortune.

Later, the website is hijacked by an unknown entity, during which time all characters' fortunes return to normal and all natives of the town lose the ability to perceive the existence of the offworlders. The website is quickly restored, however.

Once the month comes to an end, the website updates to reveal that the participants, in large, had two overlapping desires: desires that related to leaving Nyoi-cho for a neighboring town (be it a desire to escape or to see loved ones whom they believe are in Tsukudo-cho) and desires that related to Kyuubey. It then promises those with sufficient participation a train ticket and a meeting with Kyuubey. On top of that, the participant with the lowest amount of points is punished and turned into a Nightmare.

True to the website's word, many of the magi who went down to the train station were able to acquire tickets for themselves. However, while Kyuubey did indeed arrive in town as the website promised, Kyuubey was captured and killed by an unknown being before a meeting could take place. Said killing was broadcast over the mirrors for all the magi to see and contained a warning for them to abandon their investigation.
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September 2016
The grief seed from June's Witch suddenly hatches, due to not having been disposed of properly after it was used. The Witch that is born from it has time-reversal powers that allow it to turn back the clock on the mental development of the magi it uses its magic on. Chaos erupts in the town as the magi attempt to make sense of their comrades' sudden shift in behavior and track down the Witch.

At the same time, a whirring sound starts up beneath the school. When investigated, it's revealed to be coming from the elevator of the school labyrinth which, when forced open, yields a room on the floor below that contains a screen with a giant countdown timer and a SNES controller. Characters soon figure out that it's counting down to the date displayed on their tickets to Tsukudo-cho, but they are unable to ascertain its purpose.

A few days later, a group of civilians are bewitched into gathering in the library and attempting to burn it to the ground. Following them leads the magi into the entrance of the Witch's labyrinth, a sprawling tower that slowly transforms from a steampunk city into an eerie forest. Climbing to the top reveals a small cabin in which the body of an elderly woman and an unconscious Lilith can be found, as well as a thicket of thorns in which one of their fellow magi, Bulleta, is trapped. The magi are ultimately able to defeat the Witch and free her, but not before she has succumbed to her wounds.

Everyone who had been affected by the Witch's magic returns to normal, and the countdown beneath the school continues ticking down.
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October-November 2016
The date marked on the train tickets arrives, and the magi who'd acquired tickets for themselves depart for Tsukudo-cho. There, they find that their handheld mirrors will not allow for crosstown communications with Nyoi-cho, but that a large frozen lake in Tsukudo-cho, the surface of which acts as an enormous mirror, will. In the meantime, the countdown in Nyoi-cho reaches zero, and a game screen appears where the countdown once was.

In Tsukudo-cho, the new magi arrive just in time for a group of native magi to "wake up" - although all evidence suggests that they've been living in Tsukudo-cho for some time, they have no memory of it. All they can recall is that they made contracts with Kyuubey at some point, and that as magi they have been tasked with fighting beings known as "Wraiths." It soon becomes obvious that there are no Nightmares or Witches in Tsukudo-cho, and that Wraiths are a magi's sole way of cleaning their soul gem. The arrival of a Wraith is accompanied with thick miasma and dropping temperatures, and the visiting group from Nyoi-cho, having nowhere else to take shelter from these harsh conditions at night, make their way to a mountainside ski resort where they meet a girl.

The girl, introducing herself as Miyuki Okanoue, is an amnesiac who stands out as being the only friendly non-magi in the town of Tsukudo-cho. By befriending this girl, they learn that something happened three years prior that transformed the town and all its inhabitants drastically, though she cannot remember what. A quick phone call to Sachiko confirms that a city was wiped off of the face of the earth by an earthquake three years ago.

As time passes, Miyuki begins to remember more and reveals that the town has begun to "wake up" in response to its newest visitors. When prompted for an explanation, she divulges information on how the native group of magi had actually arrived a little over a year ago, claiming to be from other worlds. Not long after, though, they began to disappear; when they reappeared, they were changed and began to act just as if they'd lived here their entire lives. It's only after the magi from Nyoi-cho came to Tsukudo-cho that they seem to have returned to their old selves.

By working together with the magi of Tsukudo-cho, the magi begin to track down the Wraiths plaguing the town. In the process, they learn that Wraiths can seemingly rob a person of their emotions (which, for a magi, means losing access to one or more of their powers) and that the Wraiths can then utilize these emotions (and the powers that come with them) for themselves. On multiple occasions, a defeated Wraith has dropped diary pages. However, the longer the magi from Nyoi-cho stay in the town, the more drained their soul gems seem to become; even cleansing the gems cannot restore them to their former luster. In accordance with that, the magi themselves become more and more drained, both physically and mentally.

Meanwhile, back in Nyoi-cho, the magi work together to progress their way through the video game in the dungeon, which seems to be a typical JRPG depicting the story of a girl named Miyu, who carries a gleaming egg in her inventory that attracts monsters. As they unlock new dungeons and defeat new bosses in-game, actual doors open up inside the dungeon, and exploration teams are sent out to navigate the newly unlocked areas. It soon becomes obvious that areas unlocked by each in-game dungeon actually contain a real-world counterpart of the bosses to fight. Once the magi defeat the enemies in their path, however, they are able to retrieve snippets of information.

In-game, the story of Miyu takes on a dark turn when the brother of a party member is killed by a boss. Said party member leaves the party, then becomes the next boss that needs to be defeated in order to progress. After that, the next boss that appears seems to be a masked version of Miyu herself; instead of opting to fight it, the magi have Miyu throw away the egg she'd been carrying. This causes the game to freeze.

In Tsukudo-cho, the condition of the visiting magi continues to rapidly deteriorate, and Miyuki is questioned on how to return them back to normal. At this time, she is shown the diary pages that they'd retrieved from fighting the Wraiths, and she recognizes the handwriting as her own. By reading the entries, she is able to regain her memories.

From there, she confirms several key facts: she was a magi, and she fought against Witches; she had a teammate she fought alongside, but said teammate turned into a Witch; all magi are destined to turn into Witches someday. Once she learned this, she threw away her own soul gem, falling into a deep sleep; and once she woke up, the town had changed, and the Witches were gone. She then promises that those who stay in this town will never have to turn into Witches.

Soon after, the surface of the lake suddenly thaws, and communications between Tsukudo-cho and Nyoi-cho are cut off. Even the phones can no longer get through to the other town. At this time, the true forms of the native magi are revealed: they are a special type of Wraith that feed off of the emotions of magi, and they have possessed the visiting magi, resulting in said visitors' debilitation. In order to best prey on their targets, some of them have even taken on the forms of loved ones.

Just when it seems as though everything may be lost, a voice of a girl comes on through the mirrors of Nyoi-cho. It warns the magi that their friends are in trouble, then explains that should they go to the train station at this time, they will be let onto the first train to Tsukudo-cho. Then, apologizing for the burden that is being placed on everyone, it promises them they will have rides home from Tsukudo-cho as well, should they successfully save their friends.

As it turns out, everything that was said is the truth; the magi of Nyoi-cho are able to make it to the other town and help free their friends of the influence of the Wraiths, then flee aboard the trains. As the train departs from the station, the Wraiths fade away.
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December 2016
Characters find letters at their doorstep. Said letters promise the arrival of a list that divides each and every townsperson into the categories of "naughty" or "nice," which appears in the park a few days later. On it, many are shocked at the bizarre, seemingly nonsensical results that, among other things, seems to have placed every last non-magi resident of the town into "naughty." Soon after, decorative garlands appear outside every house, bringing with them strange changes - those whom the list has deemed as nice become accordingly kind and giving, while those whom the list has deemed naughty become destructive and mischievous. As the entire native population of the town has been placed into "naughty," the results are disastrous, and the vandalization of the town is widespread.

When Christmas arrives, it brings with it another letter apologizing for an indeterminate mix-up and gives everyone a consolation gift. The list and the garlands disappear, and everyone returns to normal.
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January 2017
The month kicks off with the appearance of a new shop in town which, while not yet open for business, lets off a sweet, nostalgic scent. A break-in is organized and reveals that the shop contains large quantities of incense.

Later on, all characters have a strange shared dream of a child whose parents have been slaughtered. Those who were around for March of 2016 find some of the imagery of the dream reminiscent of what happened back then. After this, the nights take a turn, and the magi find themselves unable to stay up through the night; as their jobs require them to do battle with Nightmares in order to cleanse their gems, this is a dangerous development.

Night after night, after they drift off to sleep, they find themselves in a strange dreamscape they share with their fellow magi; one that is controlled by thoughts and emotions. As the days pass, said dreamscape becomes more frightening and perilous, culminating in another shared dream, this time of a child being tortured.

They then find themselves in a strange area that seems to be an amalgamation of all the dreamscapes they've traveled through thus far, but they are not alone: a tapir slumbers there. Once woken up, it becomes hostile and attacks. The magi, who come together and are forced to confront their past traumas, defeat it, and the dreamscape is finally destroyed.

Once they wake up, however, they discover that the two surviving members of Cyborg Xpress have gone missing.
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February 2017
The shop begins emitting a sickly-sweet floral scent, at which point all magi begin to see color-coded hearts above each others' heads that correspond with their feelings towards one another. To make matters worse, they then discover that they're unable to interact each other without triggering the appearance of intrusive dialogue options which, when ignored, leads to crippling headaches. With no other leads, they decide to break into the shop yet again, this time finding several books on mythological creatures, urban legends, psychology, and philosophy, as well as a bowl filled with decorative gems. However, when they attempt to move a toolbox, they trigger an alarm and are forced to flee the premises. They also bump into the owner of the shop, a girl who calls herself Kagaku Yamashita, who reveals that she'd fired her shopkeeper due to the magi's previous break-in attempt.

Following this information, multiple magi successfully track the fired employee down in the hopes of learning more about Kagaku. From the information that they receive, it seems as if Kagaku is a suspicious and morbid individual, to say the least.

A week later, the smell disappears on its own, and everything returns to normal. On that day, however, the magi spot the figure of a girl in the distance, who quickly disappears as a lone higanbana blooms at their feet. Further investigation of the town then yields that someone has strewn missing persons posters for Cyborg Xpress around, and that calling the number provided on the posters leads to a website with a countdown.

The magi organize yet another breakin attempt, but are dissuaded from investigating the basement once they see the threatening note that has been left for them.
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March 2017
Once the countdown finally ends, the website transforms into a poll whose blurb contains several horrific revelations. One, Miki Morikawa and Hoshiko Ohka, who had gone missing in January, have been kidnapped; two, someone has been experimenting with artificial grief seeds that can be used to turn humans (and potentially magi) into Witches; and three, this someone now intends to test said artificial grief seed on one of the kidnapped magi. The poll demands that the magi vote in order to decide who lives and who is experimented on, warning them that any attempts to stop this or save the girls will immediately lead to both being subjected to experimentation. Concurrently, artificial bugs from the school dungeon are released into Nyoi-cho in order to keep the magi busy - and away from the dungeon.

Shortly after, a mysterious broadcast claims that the magi will kill Kagaku Yamashita if they wish to save the two girls, and a strange tale is relayed.

The magi search for Kagaku, but are unable to find her anywhere in town. When they break into her shop and head for her basement, they find that it's been emptied out - save for a single book crammed full of notes. Said notes seem to suggest that Kagaku has carefully observed them from the time they came to this town, and that she was the one who orchestrated many of the crises that the magi have faced up to this point. More determined than ever to find her, the magi decide to head to the dungeon, despite the site's warnings that they stay away.

The first investigation team finds a series of elaborate deathtraps waiting for them and are almost immediately wiped; only one member manages to escape with her life. She attempts to warn the others of the dangers, but her words do not dissuade others from attempting to navigate their way through the dungeon.

The second team fares even worse and, upon answering one of the dungeon's questions incorrectly, is instantaneously wiped out.

The third team, however, manages to make it farther in, triggering a message to be broadcast over the mirrors. Said message appears to depict Kagaku being violently murdered by a dungeon's trap. Shaken but refusing to give in, the team continues on. One member - Pokey Minch - manages to make it to the end, while the other two members are trapped.

Once he reaches the final room, Pokey sees Kagaku's corpse lying within the room before being greeted with a decision: he can open the dungeon path to the elevator, or he can save his friends. He chooses the former, and the two trapped members of the team are killed.

When he returns to the elevator with two others, they are shown a message giving them one final choice: they can call the elevator up to them, but both Miki Morikawa and Hoshiko Ohka will die. Once the other magi get wind of this, arguments break out over whether or not they should risk it, and a call is made to Sachiko Hatsu, who suggests that they discontinue their efforts and focus on saving Miki Morikawa. Ultimately, however, the team decides to call the elevator.

Once said elevator is in motion, a voice comes on through the intercom; it brutally mocks the three for being murderers before shutting the power to the elevator off and trapping them inside.

Shortly after, Kagaku appears over the mirrors, taunting the magi for their failure to follow instructions. As her message contains a reference to an "Arabella," whom Kagaku claims has been trying to save the magi, the magi make one last ditch effort at stopping her as they begin to call out to Arabella for help.

Unfortunately, their efforts appear to be fruitless, and Kagaku turns both Miki Morikawa and Hoshiko Ohka into Witches as promised. The town is then enveloped by a massive Witch's labyrinth, and the magi find themselves facing off against two Witches. Multiple casualties later, they finally manage to defeat the two, and are only left with the corpses of Miki and Hoshiko - as well as their grief seeds - as the labyrinth fades away.

When the magi find themselves back in town, they realize that a massive skyline has appeared over Nyoi-cho and that Kagaku Yamashita is nowhere to be found; in front of her shop, only a taunting note remains.

"I've decided to move to another city."

Attempts to call Sachiko Hatsu lead only to a brief automated message.
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