Chapter 3:

Part 1. Chapter 3: EH?

Makefits - Keys to the End of the World

                                                                    [Realm of Souls]
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It's so small, and cute, and FLUFFY!!!Bookmark here

These were the words and the sentiment that exploded in his mind as Vlend laid big, you're-so-cute-I-must-hug-you-eyes on the Soul that stood before him.Bookmark here

Wait. Great warriors aren't supposed to be small. And adventurers aren't fluffy.Bookmark here

This set of thoughts didn't so much explode as lazily float down through his head, dragging all of Vlend's excitement-laden dreams down with them. Bookmark here

In an obviously fake voice, one of the cloaked figures spoke, “If you wish to complete this link, please step forward into the center symbol."
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Given his long standing desire for this, one would have expected Vlend to run to the middle symbol.  However, after being confronted by his Soul partner for the first time, he stood there. And stared. Not out of a sense of awe, but more of a sense of 'huh?'. The robed figures that were the initializers of this ceremony, thought him rather stupid. After all, “Please step forward” was not the most difficult set of instructions ever given. In turn, Vlend would be hurt by having this thought of him by people wearing goofy robes and speaking in even goofier fake voices.Bookmark here

On the opposing symbol, the one with the pair of wheels, the Soul who now stood there had a very different reaction to all that was occurring. The black, fluffy Soul shifted his body about and took in the new surroundings, and then focused his attention across to Vlend. As much as it could be said of him, the Soul smiled. Grinned even. A ridiculous grin. He glanced at the formation between the two and then ran. His enthusiasm to reach the center made him take off like a fish from a predator. He ran like his very life depended on getting to that middle symbol immediately. His overly long legs would have kicked up dust if there had been enough. Unfortunately, being the top-heavy Soul that he was, those legs and feet outran his square fluffy body, and he proceeded to fall over. Backward. For a good moment and despite being flat on his back, his legs kept churning. They finally stopped, and, after a tremendous amount of effort, the black thing righted himself. He then bobbled, spun, and fell onto the now glowing middle symbol.Bookmark here

Avlend, the young man from the village of Farmview, just stood. Watching. Thinking. So many times as he was growing up he imagined what his Soul partner would look like. This, thing, didn't look like any of those imaginings. It didn't even come close.Bookmark here

To Vlend, the thing looked like someone had taken a long-legged chicken and stuffed it inside of a pillow -if that pillow was designed to look like a cat pretending to be a rabbit. It's body was fluffy and shaped like a square with rounded corners. It was completely black with the exception of two beady, button-like eyes and the occasional flash of pink from its sometimes visible mouth. Shooting from its body like cornstalks were two sticks that functioned as legs, perfectly straight except for mostly evenly spaced knobs. At the top of the legs were tufts of down like a baby duck and at the bottom, shoes and socks. On top it had two cat-like ears and what appeared to be a second set of floppy rabbit-like ears that hung limply in front of it, just to the side of each eye. While the description, especially the part about the chicken in a pillow, may have been a bit rude of Vlend to think, it was undeniably adequate. As far as Vlend was concerned, his Soul was a complete disappointment.Bookmark here

It worked itself dutifully to its feet using a combination of its rabbit ears and fish-out-of-water flopping and then smiled gleefully.Bookmark here

Vlend stared. His thoughts amounted to something like this: It.. What is it? It doesn't look anything like I imagined. ...I.. I should step forward. It's not like I can refuse. I mean, I could... but that would mean living life as a demon-eye. Then he had an uncharacteristic moment of optimistic thinking.Bookmark here

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[Vlend] “I'm always optimistic!”Bookmark here

[Pokh] “You?! HA! Ha. Hahaha.”Bookmark here

[Vlend] “No one asked you! And when did you even get here?!Bookmark here

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 As I was saying. A moment of optimistic thinking: Maybe its actually really powerful. There is no limit to how Souls can look after all. I should step forward; I don't want to offend it. Step forward. Move foot!Bookmark here

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[Ziqtiki] “You know, I'm finding all this thinking a little hurtful.Bookmark here

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Vlend stepped forward. The carving of the two symbols made one, glowed brightly. There was a great flash.Bookmark here

“Okozigatikigaqulandur.”Bookmark here

This was the first thing that Vlend heard upon the return of his senses. The bright exploding light had had quite the effect.Bookmark here

“Wh..what?”Bookmark here

“The robed thing said to speak our names. Mine is Okozigatikigaqulandur. Oh? Ziqtiki doesn't know if he was supposed to say all of that. The robe with the funny voice just said names. Let me start over.”Bookmark here

“Okozigatikigaqulandur.”Bookmark here

“... … …. uh... .. Vle...Vlend.”Bookmark here

It was at this point, that Vlend felt very sick. And then very tired. And then extremely hungry. A moment later he was fine again. The robed-ones then all went “HUUHHH!” real loud and walked out. Two of them mumbled about going for drinks. In hindsight, Vlend found them to be very unprofessional and considered filing a complaint.Bookmark here

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{It would have been a waste of time. The one in charge of dealing with complaints was the brother of one of the two robed men and ended that night more snickered than either of them. Also, the “HUUHHH!” had nothing to do with the ceremony. Before hand, all of the robed figures would place a wager on whether or not the Being, the Soul, neither, or both would jump at the sudden outburst. The two going for drinks won on a bet of both.}Bookmark here

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“SO? Now what Bland? What happens now? This is SO exciting!”Bookmark here

Vlend blinked at the odd thing. Blinked again. “... It's Vlend.”Bookmark here

“Oh, sorry. Vlend. Are you excited?! I'm excited!”Bookmark here

“Zi.. Ok. ...”Bookmark here

“Okozigatikigaqulandur. But you can just call me, Ziqtiki. That's what my parents call me. They have trouble saying my name too. So, it's okay. No worries.”Bookmark here

“They.. then why did they name you.. you know what, never mind.”Bookmark here

“State your special abilities for placement, please.”Bookmark here

Unknown to the two as they stumbled through each other's names, someone from the military had stepped into the room. “State your special abilities for placement, please.”Bookmark here

Vlend looked to Ziqtiki, who blinked his white, button eyes. “Well?”Bookmark here

“Isn't he talking to you?”Bookmark here

“I'm a Being and an anchor. I don't have special abilities. You're the one who is supposed to have those.”Bookmark here

“Oh.” Ziqtiki's rabbit-like ears rose slightly and fell in what was clearly a shrug. “I don't think Ziqtikis have special abilities.”Bookmark here

Souls each had abilities or special powers that they could and did use  in the Soul realm. When anchored, Souls weren't in the realm of Beings exactly.  They were just sending a portion of their spirit, or self, over the veil. So, once their spirit was successfully anchored and across, it was less about knowing what abilities they had and more about knowing how much of their abilities had translated to the other side. As a result, all Souls knew, at the very least, the lower limit of their abilities. This information the man would gather, and then he and his coworkers would decide what part of the military to assign the pair to in order to achieve the most beneficial use. Bookmark here

The man had, however, never seen anything like a Soul not knowing before. In fact, he was certain that in all of the many years that someone had been doing the job that he was, at that moment, doing, no one had encountered this issue. The pathetic sight almost made him feel embarrassed himself, just on account of being in the same room. He shook his head and instructed the two to “Follow me.”Bookmark here

The two did as told and were led into another stone room, four doors down from where they were. He then proceeded to ask the fluffy Soul a series of questions in order to ascertain his abilities. Considering that he was just winging it and hoping for the best, the man did an admiral job.
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It was in this room and during this series of questions that all of Vlend's dreams were shattered, his hopes for a strong Soul partner dashed, and his military career ended before it began.  It was from here that Avlend and his new, useless Soul partner, Ziqtiki,  were thrown out of Fort Una City broke, tired, and hungry. It was also the first time that Vlend ever wished to strangle Mr. or Ms. Robed-no-rhythm.Bookmark here

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